I love a good cover. I love a bad cover. I love covers. The song “America” is all over the place right now, have you noticed? Simon and Garfunkels 1968 tune is now an advertisers dream. “All come to look for America” is a charming chant for an auto maker, dontcha think? Americans love cars and if we’re just taking Grampa’s remains in a jar to see the nations treasures, well what better tune to join us and Grandma on the journey?
I’m not a Simon and Garfunkel historian, or mega fan and well despite my age I never much listened to more than “Mrs Robinson”, and that only cuz it was faster than the regular puff. But within recent years I’ve paid them a bit more mind and have come to love a lot of what they did. So when this tune popped up in the ad campaign it caught my ear and beckoned a listen. The lyrics are cute enough, though they seem somewhat sinister. Then what happens? Yup with the power of Spotify I, the cover fan, search for a cover. Someone taking a new spin on an old ditty. Found one
So there’s Thanksgiving on the horizon what could be more America than that? Well, how about a British progressive rocker singing the tune? Meh, why not. There is something a bit more psychedelic about the incredible amount of keyboard action and the vocal shrill of Jon Anderson certainly takes the song in a much different direction than the soft boy throat of Paul Simon. Is it better than the original? Nah. There is an element of ‘don’t fuck with a good thing’ in this tune. Like hearing ‘Sweet Caroline” being sung by Kenny Rogers or something, there’s something simply ‘off’. Is this a great song? Absolutely and if it weren’t for the self indulgent musical solos making a 4 minute song an 8 min song I think it would rank even higher.
From the opening march to the the hurky jerky speed of lyrics sung the tune takes on a more intricate depth. Its no longer a folksy coffee house but a purple hazed flat, dig? Figure Yes recorded this in 1970, they had 2 years to make it their own. They did good.. not great. Pass the Tofurky.