Thanks, but no thanks, to the deluge of tribute discs

By Tom Sinclair
Updated October 27, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

In From The Storm: The Music of Jimi Hendrix

type
  • Music

This tribute thing has gotten out of hand. At first, hearing artists reinterpret their icons’ songs seemed fun and slightly subversive. Then came the flood of mediocre covers from musicians only too happy to serve up predictable Xeroxes of familiar tunes. Sadly, the trend continues.

For a high concept from hell, it’s hard to top Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King (Lava/Atlantic), which reprises King’s seminal 1971 album, Tapestry. With contributions from the likes of Amy Grant, Rod Stewart, Richard Marx, and All-4-One, it’s a resolutely MOR bland-out. Even more onerous is In From The Storm: The Music of Jimi Hendrix (RCA), a collection of covers rendered by Sting, Carlos Santana, Steve Vai, and others — including the London Metropolitan Orchestra, whose efforts fall far short of the grandeur Hendrix envisioned when he sang of hearing ”trumpets and violins” on ”Are You Experienced?”

A lineup of moderately ”alternative” artists (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flaming Lips) gives Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon (Hollywood) a slightly edgy feel. No one improves on Lennon’s originals, although Cheap Trick does a fresh take on ”Cold Turkey.”

Episode Recaps

Marvin Gaye laid the groundwork for ambient funk, so it’s fitting that many artists on Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye (Motown) swathe Gaye’s grooves in trippy impressionism. Madonna and Massive Attack score points with a seductive ”I Want You.” Digable Planets push the envelope with a 10-minute tone poem to Gaye (”Marvin, You’re the Man”). It’s not bad, but even the best tribute deserves damnation by faint praise. We don’t want to encourage anyone else.

In From The Storm: The Music of Jimi Hendrix

type
  • Music
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