array(11) { ["results"]=> int(1) ["pages"]=> float(0) ["page"]=> float(0) ["previous"]=> NULL ["next"]=> NULL ["from"]=> int(0) ["to"]=> int(19) ["offset"]=> int(20) ["baseurl"]=> string(50) "" ["urlpath"]=> string(62) "" ["links"]=> array(0) { } } The Leaf Label: BLOG ARCHIVE FOR MARCH 2017
Happy Birthday MES
Published 5 March 2017 by Tony Morley

In recognition of The Fall’s indefatigable Mark E Smith reaching the grand old age of 60, here’s a playlist of other people’s songs that The Fall have performed over their 40 year career.

This list contains every known cover version performed by the group (either live or in the studio), along with the original (or at least most appropriate) version, that currently exists on Spotify. Some of the originals are missing, as are some of the covers, but one way or the other this playlist includes pretty much everything. No particular order, other than that some of my favourites come top. It’s quite a revelation, covering rockabilly, dub, country, disco, proto-punk, out and out pop and, uh, Christmas carols, with Smith's favourites apparently being The Monks, Iggy Pop, Gene Vincent, Frank Zappa, and Frankie Valli...

Smith has an uncanny ability to take a song, whether obscure or well-known, and make it his own. Sometimes played fairly straight, sometimes unrecognisable, often with changed lyrics and titles, it took me years to realise some of these songs weren’t Smith originals. I started compiling this a couple of years ago, but was defeated by the sheer volume of songs. MES’s special birthday seemed like a good reason to finish it.

I’m indebted to the extraordinary Reformation Post TPM Fall song list for its incredible research. Additional inspiration from The Quietus, The Fall Online and this great compilation, released by Ace in 2011.

MES at 60: The Fall's cover versions