Following his two recent books cataloguing the glory years of Top Of The Pops, music wrier, Peter Checksfield, has turned his attention to those perennial rock gods, the Rolling Stones. More accurately, those artists who have chosen at some point in their careers to cover songs by the Rolling Stones. This bumper tome takes an in depth look at five hundred cover versions of Rolling Stones songs recorded by a vastly varied selection of artists.
‘Undercover’ not only includes the obvious Stones standards, like ‘Brown Sugar’ (covered by everyone from Little Richard to Ken Boothe to Thunder); ‘Honky Tonk Women’ (Ike & Tina Turner, Waylon Jennings, Elton John) and ‘Satisfaction’ (Otis Redding, The Supremes, Devo); but the book also covers many lesser-known songs and some lesser-known artists, too. Coventry band, The Mighty Avengers, recorded three (as then) unreleased Jagger-Richards compositions which resulted in some minor, albeit fleeting, chart success.
It could be argued that in these days of ever-expanding Wikipedia entries there’s less of a need for weighty rock encyclopaedias of this type. However, where ‘Undercover’ really comes into its own is in the 130 exclusive interviews that Checksfield carried out with many of those artists recording the cover versions featured in the book. We get fascinating insights from musicians as varied as Justin Sullivan of New Model Army; Bob Bradbury of glam almost-heroes, Hello; Gale Paridjanian of Turin Brakes; Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow of Anvil; Dick Taylor of The Pretty Things, Marc Almond and Sandie Shaw.
‘Undercover: 500 Rolling Stones Cover Versions That You Must Hear!’ is a fascinating reference work on both the songwriting and the enduring influence of one of the world’s greatest rock and roll bands and will probably be something I’ll keep on dipping into.
Published: November 2022 – visit Peter Checksfield’s website here
Book review: ‘Top Of The Pops: The Punk & New Romantic Years 1976-1986’ by Peter Checksfield
Book review: ‘Top Of The Pops: The Lost Years Rediscovered 1964-1975’ by Peter Checksfield
‘Look Wot They Dun! – The ultimate guide to UK glam rock on TV in the 70s’ by Peter Checksfield
Review: The Rolling Stones ‘Exhibitionism’ at The Saatchi Gallery