the Decemberists covers archive :: 56+ covers and counting!

So it turns out that I really enjoy putting together these covers archives. It gives me a chance to rediscover the depth of influences of some of my favorite bands and — in cases like this — rediscover how great the band is.

I used to be a HUGE Decemberists junkie. I’m still a fan, but about five years ago they would easily have ranked in my top five favorite groups still making music. I’ve dropped slightly on the fandom radar, but have always kept up with the group. So for that reason I knew they had to be next on my list to assemble a collection of their covers. They’ve been performing for years and have always delighted fans with a wide range of covers. I mean really, it’s everything from Kate Bush to the Modern Lovers over here…

For starters, we’ve got Colin’s three covers EPs, songs by Morrissey, Shirley Collins and Sam Cooke, then a complete list of all the Decemberists covers I could find.

The Decemberists Covers Archive

MP3: Colin Meloy – I Know Very Well How I Got My Name (Morrissey)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Pregnant For the Last Time (Morrissey)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Jack the Ripper (Morrissey)
MP3: Colin Meloy – I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty (Morrissey)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Sister I’m a Poet (Morrissey)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Every Day is Like Sunday (Morrissey)

MP3: Colin Meloy – Dance To Your Daddy (Shirley Collins)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Charlie (Shirley Collins)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Barbara Allen (Shirley Collins)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Cherry Tree Carol (Shirley Collins)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Turpin Hero (Shirley Collins)
MP3: Colin Meloy – I Drew My Ship (Shirley Collins)

MP3: Colin Meloy – Cupid (Sam Cooke)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Summertime (Sam Cooke)
MP3: Colin Meloy – That’s Where It’s At (Sam Cooke)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Good Times (Sam Cooke)
MP3: Colin Meloy – Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)

Read the rest of the list after the break.

MP3: The Decemberists – Ask (The Smiths)
MP3: The Decemberists – The Ballad of El Goodo (Big Star)
MP3: The Decemberists – Chinese Bones (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – Clementine (Elliott Smith)
MP3: The Decemberists – Crazy on You (Heart)
MP3: The Decemberists – Bridges & Balloons (Joanna Newsom) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Bring On the Dancing Horses (Echo and the Bunnymen)
MP3: The Decemberists – Echos (Pink Floyd)
MP3: The Decemberists – Feel Like Making Love (Bad Company) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Glacier Bay (Scud Mountain Boys) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Goodbye Girl (Squeeze) [this is Tarkio, Colin’s early band]
MP3: The Decemberists w/Death Cab for Cutie – Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac)
MP3: The Decemberists – Human Behavior (Bjork)
MP3: The Decemberists – I Feel Beautiful (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – I’ll Come Running (Brian Eno) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – I’m Sticking With You (Velvet Underground)
MP3: The Decemberists – I Saw Nick Drake (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – It Sounds Great When You’re Dead (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – King of Carrot Flowers pt 1 (Neutral Milk Hotel) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Let’s Go (the Feelies) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Little Boxes (Malvina Reynolds)

MP3: The Decemberists – Madonna of the Wasps (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – Meat is Murder (Smiths tease)
MP3: The Decemberists – Messages of Dark (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – Mr Blue Sky (ELO)
MP3: The Decemberists – Nighttime (Big Star)
MP3: The Decemberists – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Band) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Nobody Home (Pink Floyd)
MP3: The Decemberists – Oh No (Lavender Diamond)
MP3: The Decemberists – Pablo Picasso (Jonathan Richman)
MP3: The Decemberists – Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas) (John Denver)
MP3: The Decemberists – The Sickbed of Cuchuliann (the Pogues)
MP3: The Decemberists – Sickness (Donner Party) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Southern Girls (Cheap Trick) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Sue (Brian Jonestown Massacre)
MP3: The Decemberists – Tam Lin (Fairport Convention)
MP3: The Decemberists – Tonight (the Soft Boys)
MP3: The Decemberists – Uncorrected Personality Traits (Robyn Hitchcock)
MP3: The Decemberists – Up the Junction (Squeeze)
MP3: The Decemberists w/Mavis Staples – The Weight (the Band)
MP3: The Decemberists – What Goes On (Velvet Underground) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Wooden Ships (CSN) *new
MP3: The Decemberists – Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush)
MP3: The Decemberists – Your Love (the Outfield)

Giant, giant, giant thanks to the folks over at The Decemberists’ message board and my friend Ronnie for helping me compile this list. And as always, if you’ve got any covers I haven’t included, shoot me and email and I’d be glad to host them!

41 thoughts on “the Decemberists covers archive :: 56+ covers and counting!”

  1. On the Portland compilation “Bridging The Distance,” they cover Fleetwood Mac’s “Think About Me.”

  2. “Nothing to Hold On To” was later released as a large part of the song “Sleepless”, which is part of the “Dark is the Night” benefit compilation album released about a year ago.

    It’s not a cover: it’s an original composition.

  3. There’s a killer cover of Eno’s “I’ll Come Running” from Sounds Eclectic bouncing around the internet somewheres. I’d argue that it tops the original.

  4. I’ve got the cover of “I’ll Come Running”, and I also have them doing a fantastic cover of The Velvet Underground’s “What Goes On.”

  5. The NYCTaper site also has a great cover of REM’s Begin the Begin that features Peter Buck playing with Colin and co.

  6. The Decemberists’ cover of Joanna Newsom’s “Bridges and Balloons” on the compilation that came with The Believer 2005 music issue is really great. There are many on here that I haven’t heard, and I’m looking forward to it. Thank you for putting this together!

  7. Man, I can’t believe I forgot the Newsom cover! That’s one of my favorites. I need to check my other HD. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. There is a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel’s King Of Carrot Flowers. Granted, in the only version that I’ve been able to find Colin doesn’t remember all of the words. Haha. :D

  9. I don’t think I can listen to Colin Meloy singing “The Weight” — my heart might just burst.

    That said, my favorite cover I’ve ever heard them do was the song that goes “When I was a baby, I looked like a pig…” by the Donner Party (and also covered at one point by the New Pornographers), but I don’t have a recording of that. That was in Madison, WI, in 200…6?

  10. On their Australian tour last month they played The Go-Betweens ‘Bye Bye Pride’ at least at both their Sydney dates, don’t have a recording myself but would love one.

  11. I have a random recording of the D’s playing “Let’s Go” by The Feelies. And does Colin’s segue into Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” at the end on “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” on his solo Live album count?

    Also, this music player is probs the best web player I’ve ever seen.

  12. i find it interesting that the person who recommended me this was Colin Meloy on twitter. I would not have expected that.

  13. Which member of The Decemberists sings the lead on “Your Love” by The Outfield? It clearly isn’t Colin… Love the list!

  14. I have a better version/recording of them doing Crazy on You in Denver over the summer. It’s a bit more balanced than the version on here — a.k.a. you can hear the singing better instead of just the guitar being really loud. Is this something you’d like?

  15. @Emily: That is Chris Funk, their lead guitarist.

    Some others I have (probably all from the Live Music Archive [which says not to distribute in mp3]): The Night they Drove Ole Dixie Down, What Goes On, The Slinky commerical jingle, and a version of Your Love where they also covered Don’t Stop Believing and Jesse’s Girl. If you want any of these, let me know.

  16. If yer gettin’ all Colin, don’t forget his cover of Airscape by Robyn Hitchcock &The Egyptians from his Happy Cactus days. It’s on Glass Flesh.

  17. Everyone-
    If you have covers that are not on here, just zip them up and send them to Matt (matt @ He’s not going to say “no” to anyone who has something not yet posted. :-)

  18. thank you so much for hosting these! I host a a weekly show on covers on our local co-op station, and it’s people like you who help me find music to play! Thanks again!


  19. They covered Fisherman’s Blues by the Waterboys (with Mike Scott making an appearance on guitar) at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in 2007… I don’t have a copy but I’d love to hear it again.

  20. They also played ‘Take It to the Limit” by the Eagles a few years ago at the Electric Factory in Philly with Becky Stark. Wish there was a copy of that somewhere.

  21. My husband and kids and I saw the Decemberists on November 7, 2008 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. While we were waiting in line outside we heard them do a cover of “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. Sure wish I could hear that again, it was magic.

    Also, don’t forget that the Decemberists covered “My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist” by Tarkio. ;o)

  22. Don’t know if you’re still keeping this up to date, which I hope you will, but you could add the great covers of the Dead’s “Row Jimmy” and R.E.M.’s “Cuyahoga.”

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