Q: On Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged in New York” album, several songs are covers of songs by other artists. Where can I find the original versions of these songs?
A: Recorded on November 18, 1993, “MTV Unplugged in New York” (1994) is considered by many to be the best album in the “Unplugged” series. Of the fourteen songs on the album, six are covers. Three of the six, “Plateau,” “Oh Me,” and “Lake of Fire,” are by the Meat Puppets and can be found on their second album, “Meat Puppets II” (1983). In fact, two members of the Meat Puppets, brothers Curt and Cris Kirkwood, played on the three tracks. “Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam” is originally by the Vaselines, a band from Edinburgh, Scotland that was one of Kurt Cobain’s favorites. The song can be found on “The Way of the Vaselines: A Complete History” (1992). “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” is a traditional song that was made famous by folk legend Leadbelly and can be found on many of his albums. The most famous cover song on the album has to be David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World.” The song is the title track of Bowie’s 1970 album, which was very controversial at the time of its release due to the cover photo of Bowie wearing a dress. “MTV Unplugged in New York” became Nirvana’s third No. 1 album.
Q: I recently purchased Leann Rimes’ “Greatest Hits.” I really like “Last Thing On My Mind,” her duet with Ronan Keating. What can you tell me about Ronan Keating?
A: Born in Ireland in 1977, Ronan Keating first achieved fame as a member of the boy band Boyzone. The band was phenomenally successful in Europe throughout the mid-to-late-90s. In the UK alone, they have amassed sixteen Top 5 hits, including six that went to No. 1. They made a cameo appearance behind a contrite Bono in U2’s 1998 song, “Sweetest Thing”. In 2000, Keating released his first solo album titled “Ronan”, followed by “Destination” in 2002, and “Turn It On” in 2004. His pairing with Rimes was an extension of his apparent love of American country music. His first No. 1 hit in the U.K. was a cover of Keith Whitley’s 1988 country hit “When You Say Nothing at All”. He also had another U.K. No. 1 in 2002 with a remake of Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and reached No. 2 with a remake of Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes In Me”. In addition to being included on Rimes’ “Greatest Hits”, the song can also be found on Keating’s third solo album, “Turn It On”. Since then, Ronan has recorded several additional solo albums, including “When Ronan Met Burt”, his 2011 album of Burt Bacharach standards. Earlier this year, he released his tenth solo album, “Time of My Life”, which he says was inspired by his wife, Storm Uechtritz, and the contentment he is feeling these days as a result of their relationship.
What’s the name of that song? Where are they now? What does that lyric mean? Send your questions about songs, albums, and the musicians who make them to MusicOnTheRecord@gmail.com. Bradford Brady and John Maron are freelance music writers based in Raleigh, NC.