What do Joss Stone, The Flaming Lips, A Perfect Circle, N*E*R*D, The Hives, Maroon 5, and The Oak Ridge Boys all have in common? They have all covered the White Stripes song “Seven Nation Army.”
Yes, you read that correctly, I said The Oak Ridge Boys.
The Oak Ridge boys and their song “Elvira” are cemented into my mind forever. I probably heard that song a gagillion times growing up and I can always remember sitting in the back seat of my grandparent’s car listening to it while on road trips. I always demanded that they re-play it, mostly because I liked the guy with the deep voice. I can recall countless hours of sitting in the car with my grandfather in a mall parking lot because he always refused to go in with my grandmother because he hates shopping. I sat with him, and we would listen to The Oak Ridge Boys. Or Ray Charles.
Anyways, twenty-five+ years later, I never imagined that I’d even write a blurb about The Oak Ridge Boys, nor that they would be covering one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. Go to their Myspace page (yes, they have one) and have a listen to the song yourself.
Personally, I think it’s a little lame as I’ve played that exact piano riff myself (and I don’t even know how to play piano). The vocals are nothing special and theyÂ remind me ofÂ the strained vocals of Johnny Cash in some of his final recordings. That guy with the deep voice who used to go “Uh hmm, Bop, Uh hmm Bop, A mile, mile” is now going “Bom, bom-bom, bom bom bom, bom.”Â Or is he (and the chorus) actually saying “Bon” and trying to channel the soul of Bon Scott? This song almost has a rather goth twist to it, plus, a dancing disco beat in the background?
Personally, I’m not a big fan of covers unless they re-work a song so much you can barely tell what the origin is, but I kind of question The Oak Ridge Boys’ motive on this one. You can almost imagine some record producer coming to them with the song and suggesting them to give it a try to be “hip and cool” to all of the youngsters.
Hopefully these ideas are incorrect and they truly just wanted to take a crack at a song that they really liked. The rest of their new songs sound like classic Oak Ridge Boys and classic country, which is fitting for them. I guess if this song in question directs some attention to them (hence this post) and it helps them sell a few records, then I’m fine with that. Although I’m not a fan of The Oak Ridge Boys’ music today, I’m happy to see them survive at doing something they love.
They provided me with memories eons ago that I’ll never forget, though I never knew it at the time.