One of the greatest joys of being a music lover is hearing artists you love covering songs by artists they love on tribute albums. Here’s a sampling of noteworthy tribute albums you can currently listen to for free on Hoopla thanks to your Livingston Library card.
Rock n’ Roll Pioneers
Rave On Buddy Holly
Amazingly, Buddy Holly only recorded music for three years of his shortened life, but his prodigious talent and prolific output resulted in a massive musical legacy. The roster of artists on this tribute album– from rock & roll hall of famers like Paul McCartney and Lou Reed, to 21st Century stars like Julian Casablancas and Florence + the Machine– is a testament to that.
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
Fats Domino and his music have been beloved far and wide across generations, genres, and geography. This tribute includes contributions from John Lennon, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Los Lobos, plus fellow New Orleans natives Trombone Shorty, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint…and that’s not even the half of it!
This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul
Rubber Soul is the album where The Beatles took a giant leap forward in their songwriting sophistication. This 2005 album runs the gamut from beautifully faithful covers (Rhett Miller’s lovely rendition of “Girl”) to playfully avant-garde (The Fiery Furnaces’ experimental reimagining of “Norwegian Wood”).
Concert for George
Recorded at Royal Albert Hall a year after George Harrison’s death, this touching memorial concert features performances from friends and collaborators like Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Anoushka Shankar, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, members of Monty Python, and of course, Paul & Ringo.
Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert
Celebrating what would’ve been Lennon’s 75th birthday, this concert’s all-star lineup includes John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow, Spoon, The Roots, Willie Nelson, and an explosive guitar solo from Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello during “Power to the People.”
Classic Rock / Pop
Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix’s talent and psychedelic blues style were so awesome that this album contains tributes not only from a variety of artists that he influenced (The Cure’s spacey take on “Purple Haze,” PM Dawn’s hip-hop spin on “You Got Me Floatin””), but also from his guitar-hero contemporaries (Eric Clapton’s version of “Stone Free”) and predecessors (Buddy Guy’s cover of “Red House”).
Revamp: The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Restoration: The Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Elton John and his co-songwriter Bernie Taupin have influenced so many musicians, they couldn’t all fit on one album. Revamp features artists from the pop, rock, and R&B side of the spectrum (Lady Gaga, Queens of the Stone Age, Mary J. Blige), while Restoration showcases John & Taupin’s more country-styled fans (Kacey Musgraves, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert).
Osaka Ramones: Tribute to the Ramones – Shonen Knife
Japanese garage rockers Shonen Knife play The Ramones’ pop-punk classics with sunnier style and a slightly softer edge, and they’re just as irresistibly fun as the originals.
If I Were a Carpenter
Shonen Knife also appears on this tribute to 70’s soft-rock superstars The Carpenters, along with other 90’s alternative rock icons like Sonic Youth, The Cranberries, and Matthew Sweet.
Singers & Standards
Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbgook
Dear Ella – Dee Dee Bridgewater
Ella Fitzgerald’s 1957 tribute to Duke Ellington marked the beginning of many memorable collaborations between the two legendary artists. Forty years later (and just a year after her death), Fitzgerald received her own jazzy tribute from Grammy and Tony award-winner Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Dinah Sings Bessie Smith
Dinah Washington was known as the “Queen of the Blues,” so it’s fitting that she paid her respects to Bessie Smith (“Empress of the Blues”) with this soulful album.
Tribute to Billie Holiday – Rosemary Clooney
As part of her late-70’s comeback, vocal jazz icon Clooney recorded this gorgeous tribute (also known as Here’s to My Lady) in honor of the incomparable Billie Holiday.
Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day – Nellie McKay
Nellie McKay infuses 21st-Century sensibility and wry humor into good old-fashioned song styles, and she seems to have a ball channeling national treasure Doris Day on this album.
Folk / Singer-Songwriters
Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan
Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International)
A Tribute to Bob Dylan in the 80s: Volume 1
How many ways can a musical artist honor the great Bob Dylan? The possibilities are endless, judging by these three albums. There’s reggae-styled covers on Is It Rolling Bob? , like Frederick “Toots” Hibbert doing “Maggie’s Farm” and Gregory Isaacs singing “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Chimes of Freedom has everything from mariachi (Mariachi El Bronx playing “Love Sick”) to Celtic punk (Flogging Molly rocking “The Times They Are-A Changin'”), and an array of more mainstream heroes in between (Johnny Cash, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello). Even one of Dylan’s lesser-appreciated periods gets some love on A Tribute to Dylan in the 80s, an eclectic collection starring the likes of indie rockers Built to Spill, comedian Reggie Watts– even a collaboration between Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Aaron Freeman of Ween.
Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (Motion Picture Soundtrack)
For a compilation of studio-recorded tributes to Leonard Cohen by artists like Billy Joel, Tori Amos, and Willie Nelson, check out Tower of Song. For a soundtrack of live concert tributes from musicians such as Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, and Martha Wainwright, there’s Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man.
A Tribute to Joni Mitchell
As you can hear on this album, Joni Mitchell’s songwriting touched not just fellow acoustic guitar-strummers like James Taylor (“River”) and Emmylou Harris (“Magdalene Laundries”), but artists as diverse as Prince (“A Case of You”) and Bjork (“The Boho Dance”).
Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King
Few classic albums can boast as many hits as Carole King’s Tapestry, and this tribute offers worthwhile covers featuring Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Faith Hill, The Bee Gees, and Celine Dion.
A Tribute to Woody Guthrie
Recorded from concerts performed in the wake of Guthrie’s death, this album contains tributes from his son Arlo, as well as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Richie Havens, Odetta, and Woody’s #1 fan, Bob Dylan.
Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger
Over the past hundred years of American folk music, perhaps only Woody Guthrie has been as influential as Pete Seeger. This album unites a lifetime’s worth of Seeger disciples like Bruce Springsteen, Roger McGuinn, Ani DiFranco, and the Indigo Girls.
Soul / Funk / R&B
Marvin is 60: A Tribute Album
Released to coincide with what would have been Marvin Gaye’s 60th birthday in 1999, this tribute is most memorable for collaborations like Erykah Badu & D’Angelo’s “Your Precious Love,” and Grenique & Tony Rich’s “If This World Were Mine.”
A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield
Mayfield was a master of soul, R&B, funk, and gospel, and this tribute brings out impassioned performances from Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, the Isley Brothers, Aretha Franklin, and B.B. King.
The Musical Mojo of Dr. John: Celebrating Mac and His Music
Recorded live in New Orleans, this concert appropriately has a feel-good party vibe and a genre-spanning guest list that includes The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, John Fogerty, the Neville Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, and Mavis Staples.
Adios Amigo: A Tribute to Arthur Alexander
While not exactly a household name, Arthur Alexander is regarded as a “country-soul pioneer” whose songs have been covered by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, and Tina Turner. On this album, artists like Robert Plant, Frank Black, and Graham Parker do their part to help raise his profile.
Big Star Small World
Big Star may not have sold many records, but they’ve influenced countless power-pop and indie rock bands since the ’70s. Big Star Small World has acts such as Wilco, Teenage Fanclub, The Afghan Whigs, and Juliana Hatfield covering the band’s ridiculously catchy tunes.
Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson
Roky Erickson’s fiery voice inspired fellow Texan Janis Joplin, and his psychedelic style fascinated a cult-like following. Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye claims contributors as big as ZZ Top, R.E.M., and T-Bone Burnett.
Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle
Singer & songwriter Kate McGarrigle was renowned in her native Canada, though not as well-known in the U.S. Sing Me the Songs is a concert tribute starring her sister and bandmate Anna, her children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, plus Norah Jones, Emmylou Harris, and Jimmy Fallon.
Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo
Escovedo ought to be as revered across the country as he is in Austin’s music scene. When he needed help paying medical bills back in 2003, admirers such as Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and Son Volt contributed to this benefit tribute album.
Kerouac – Kicks Joy Darkness: A Spoken Word Tribute With Music
Jack Kerouac’s poetry is extremely musical on its own, and it becomes even more lively when performed on this album by musicians like Joe Strummer, Eddie Vedder, and Lydia Lunch.
Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs of Shel Silverstein
Many readers are familiar with Shel Silverstein’s poems and books for children, but he was also an accomplished songwriter. This album has artists like Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, and My Morning Jacket covering his work.
– Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian