Ted Leo Drops Two New Covers

Rock star Ted Leo keeps pretty busy as the frontman for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, but occasionally he reveals how truly eclectic his tastes are. He’s self-released a few awesome covers through the last few years on the internet (I recommend taking the time to listen to his cover of Concrete Blonde’s "Joey," in which he gives Johnette Napolitano a run for her money). This morning, Leo shared two new songs via his Twitter account: covers of Donovan’s "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" and Claude “Curly” Putman Jr.’s “Green Green Grass of Home.”

On his website, Leo shares the context for these two recordings:

A producer at Radiolab emailed me asking if I’d contribute two songs dealing with “color” in some way, for a show they were doing on the theme. I spent some time learning and recording the songs I chose and sent them along. I was told they sounded “great,” and then never heard anything else about it. The show aired this past week with many songs from other musicians, but without mine, which I only realized by listening to the show, as I am generally a fan, and listen often. Fan or not, though, I thought this was kind of shabby.

He later tweeted that he didn’t mean to cause any fights with Radiolab. But really, let’s just be glad he made the tracks available for us online. Not bad news for a Monday morning, you guys. Listen to the songs below.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Announces 2012 Inductees

The 2012 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced this morning and, unsurprisingly, the list of five performers encompasses a wide variety of dudes, and just one lady. The five inductees in the performer category are as follows: Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, Laura Nyro, the collected bands The Small Faces / The Faces, and Beastie Boys. Blues guitarist Freddie King will also be inducted as an early influencer of rock and roll. This is the first year that Guns N’ Roses were on the ballot, whereas the rest of the performers had been nominated in previous years. 

Curious as to how the nomination process works? Let’s take it a look at the official rules:

Artists become eligible for induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists’ contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.

The Foundation’s nominating committee, composed of rock and roll historians, selects nominees each year in the Performer category. Ballots are then sent to an international voting body of more than 500 rock experts. Those performers who receive the highest number of votes – and more than 50 percent of the vote – are inducted. The Foundation generally inducts five to seven performers each year.

This year, there were just fifteen nominees in the performer category (you can check out the ballot over at the Village Voice, where critic Maura Johnston reveals her five picks), and the shortlist was a bit more diverse, including The Cure, Eric B. & Rakim, Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Rufus with Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, and War. Writes Johnston: 

Of the people I voted for, Heart, Rufus and Chaka, and Eric B. and Rakim were the first-time nominees who didn’t get in. (Donna Summer has been on the ballot before; the "disco sucks" sentiment is still holding over from the ’70s, apparently. It’s kept seven-time nominee Chic out, too, which, sigh.) Given that so many of this year’s inductees were return trippers to the ballot, maybe it’s a wait ’til next year sort of thing?

In the meantime, it’s a good excuse as any to listen to the somewhat underappreciated Laura Nyro all day. Nyro, who’s kinda like a bluesy, psychedelic Carole King, is perhaps more known for her songwriting, having penned many pop hits recorded by other artists like Three Dog Night and the Fifth Dimension. Here’s a video of her performing the latter’s hit "Wedding Bell Blues" as well as "Poverty Train" at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967: