Ok, so carrying on from my list of the top 10 best cover versions ever, I thought I’d pick out my favourite ever remixes. And of course, the one that most makes me want to rip off my ears…
- Nuyorican Soul – I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun (4hero remix): This could well have been one of the best covers as well, but it needs to be noted for the remix. A beautiful bit of 70s soul-jazz-opera, given some very gentle drum & bass stylings, and turned into one of the best tunes of the 90s.
- Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full (Coldcut remix): Probably the best thing that Coldcut have ever done, this turned sampling & remixing into an art-form. It mixed slowed down hip-hop, Asian chanting and weird snippets from films. You’d be hard pushed to find a hip-hop or dance artist who wasn’t influenced by this somehow.
- Happy Mondays – Hallelujah (Andy Weatherall Club mix): For anyone who was young(ish) and British, this was probably a defining record. It turned the indie kids onto dance, as Britain went raving. It’s amazing how slow it sounds now, although it still sounds damn good.
- Mos Def – Umi Says (Zero 7 remix): I could have easily chosen their re-stylings of Lambchop or NERD, but this is my favourite Zero 7 mix. It’s a beautiful bit of intelligent hip-hop anyway, but the strings and added orchestration take this to another level.
- The Fugees – Ready Or Not (Aphrodite remix): This was THE tune of the mid 90s drum & bass tune. It’s got a searing drum beat, the slightest hints of the original song (bits of Lauryn Hill’s vocals) and it absolutely ****ing rocks!
- Lamb – Cotton Wool (Fila Brasilia remix): Another track that was an underground essential in the 90s, art-house band Lamb get the best bits of trip-hop & drum & bass from Fila Brasilia. Gilles Peterson still plays this now.
- Paul Weller – Wild Wood (Portishead remix): Weller is in my opinion the most underrated British artist there is, if only for the way that he’s never afraid to test new things, but never as embarassingly as David Bowie. Here he gets the masters of the scary bass line to make his accoustic classic into a trip-hop masterpiece.
- Azzido Bass – Doom’s Night (Timo Mass remix): The undisputed tune of Notting Hill Carnival from a few years back, anyone who has heard it would recognise it a mile off. The building acid squelch is one of the most recognisable of any tune since Josh Wink in the early 90s.
- Beastie Boys – Body Movin’ (Fatboy Slim remix): Much better than his rather crude mix of Brimful of Asha by Cornershop, this shows Mr Slim putting all his big beat magic into an otherwise quite ordinary Beasties track. But then, let’s be honest, most Beastie Boys songs are pretty average, which only makes Fatboy Slim’s job more impressive.
- Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (Danny Krivit remix): If even an artist was less in need of a remix of her songs to get people dancing then it’s Aretha. And yet this remix is very respectful, adding some lovely echo, playing around with the drums, and generally adding to what is already a fantastic track. Artfully done.
Ok, so there are ten remixes that I absolutely love. A few of them would probably be in a lot of people’s lists. Quite a few wouldn’t. Let me know what you think.
And whilst you’re thinking about it, how about this monstrosity – the worst remix ever:
- The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (James Lavelle remix): Ok, so this is probably quite harsh as it’s not really that bad a remix. It’s just so bloody lazy! Hey James, what say you chuck on a standard Mo’ Wax style beat, and add a bit of scratching? Better stick to running a record company. Oh, but then he wasn’t very good at that either was he?
To help you recover, here’s the “no-need to remix” it original from The Verve.