The Better Letter: Vacation Edition

Some vacation fun this week

I’m on vacation this week, so you’re getting an abbreviated TBL. The emphasis will be on fun, so I’m hoping you’ll find it short but sweet. Of course, if you listen to all the music (you should!), it will be plenty long.

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Horrible covers 

I include a lot of music in TBL and a fair amount of popular culture, too. Here is a mix of both: My list of the worst covers ever (original artist in parentheses). I won’t offer any commentary, although I’m tempted. These performances speak for themselves.

Madonna | American Pie (Don McLean)

The Flaming Lips (with Miley Cyrus and Moby) | Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (The Beatles)

William Shatner | Rocket Man (Elton John)

Britney Spears | (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones)

U2 | Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

UB40 | The Way You Do the Things You Do (The Temptations)

Counting Crows | Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)

Michael Bolton | When a Man Loves a Woman (Percy Sledge)

Cher | Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)(Betty Everett)

Bruce Springsteen | War (Edwin Starr)

Marilyn Manson | Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Eurythmics)

Great Covers

Here are some great covers to try to even things out. There are a few more of these because, well, they’re better, if not as funny, and because good music is good for the soul.

Jimi Hendrix | All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan)

Johnny Cash | Hurt (Nine Inch Nails)

The Beatles | Twist and Shout (The Isley Brothers)

Foxes and Fossils | Suite Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts | I Love Rock and Roll (The Arrows)

Run-DMC | Walk This Way (Aerosmith)

The Mamas and the Papas | Dedicated to the One I Love (The Shirelles)

Stevie Wonder | We Can Work It Out (The Beatles)

Bonnie Raitt | Angel from Montgomery (John Prine)

Whitney Houston | I Will Always Love You (Dolly Parton)

Eric Clapton | I Shot the Sheriff (Bob Marley and the Wailers)

Janis Joplin | Me and Bobby McGee (Kris Kristofferson)

Ike and Tina Turner | Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Aretha Franklin | Respect (Otis Redding)

Amy Winehouse | Valerie (The Zutons)

Linda Ronstadt | You're No Good (Dee Dee Warwick)

Eva Cassidy | Songbird (Fleetwood Mac)

Adele | Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan)

Marvin Gaye | I Heard it Through the Grapevine (The Miracles)

Totally Worth It

Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor…together, on Sweet Baby James.

The most important thing I read last week. The coolest. The sweetest. The most poignantThis is incredible. This is incredibly gracious. This got dark in a hurry. How trading for yourself often works out (very badly). Frederick Douglass statue torn down on the anniversary of his famous Fourth of July speech. Philosophers’ camp.

Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton…together, on a New Orleans-infused Layla.


God said to Noah, “I’m putting my rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between me and the Earth.” He is for us and not against us. God is with us. That’s at least partly why, as the Russian proverb says, hope dies last (Надежда умирает последней). Hope sees the rainbow. It arches over all our shortcomings, our sins, our impatient outbursts, the demanding of our rights.

Let this song fill your heart the rest of this day and beyond: Rainbow in the Sky, by Phyllis Unkefer and Cageless Birds. Live in the hope the rainbow promises. It is this week’s benediction.

May God give us the grace to live in peace.

Contact me via rpseawright [at] gmail [dot] com or on Twitter (@rpseawright). Don’t forget to subscribe and share.

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Thanks for reading.

Issue 21 (July 10, 2020)