I wrote about Daniel Johnston in a Late Movies post two weeks ago, pointing to some of my favorite performances by him. One of the tricky things about Johnston is that his voice isn't the best, and it can be hard to get past that for many listeners. So in this post, let's listen to ten covers of his songs by other artists. A lot of these can be found on the album The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered (available on MP3 and remastered CD). Enjoy.
Beck - "True Love Will Find You in the End"
"Don't be sad; I know you will. Don't give up until true love finds you in the end."
M. Ward - "Story of an Artist"
"Some would try for fame and glory; others aren't so bold." By my hometown hero, M. Ward.
Bright Eyes - "Devil Town"
"All my friends were vampires. I didn't know they were vampires. Turns out I was a vampire myself, in the Devil Town." Stick around for the shredding.
Sparklehorse & Flaming Lips - "Go"
As the YouTube poster says: "I dare you to find a more beautiful song."
TV on the Radio - "Walking the Cow"
"I am walking the cow. Really don't know how I came here. Really don't know why I'm staying here."
Eels - "Livin' Life" (Live, 1997)
See also: the studio version.
Mercury Rev - "Blue Clouds"
Live in Rel Aviv.
Jad Fair & Teenage Fanclub - "My Life is Starting Over Again"
Okay, Jad Fair is an acquired taste, perhaps as much as Johnston. But I think this is pretty awesome -- plus there's a video.
Starlight Mints - "Dead Lover's Twisted Heart"
"Though the wind is blowing free, and the sun's shining happy, a million faces show no sympathy. But buried deep beneath the shopping mart, mmm, the dead lover's twisted heart!"
Yo La Tengo & Daniel Johnston - "Speeding Motorcycle"
Johnston calls up a radio program to sing lead over the phone. A bit awkward and wonderful. I love the very end. I love the record this comes from, Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo. "Speeding motorcycle, let's speed some more." (See also: the Yo La Tengo-only version from Fakebook.)
What Have I Left Out?
Post your favorite Johnston covers in the comments!