Sometimes a Cover Version becomes my favorite version. Sometimes, even though I will enjoy and appreciate the original, a Cover of it will come around and steal my heart and become my favored choice. Elliott Smith’s version of Big Star’s quintessential ode to adolescent innocence and coming-of-age, “Thirteen”, is one of those Covers. I do love Big Star’s, yes, but there is something in the vulnerability and heartbreak of Elliott’s version that just does me in – in the very best way. It feels delicate, breakable, open, hopeful, yet sad. It reminds me of how it felt to be thirteen.
“Thirteen” appeared on the posthumous compilation Album, New Moon, which features Songs of Elliott Smith’s from 1994-1997. It is the final Song on Disc/Album 1. Let’s have a listen to it:
“Thirteen” by Elliott Smith
The original version, by Big Star, was described by Rolling Stone magazine to be “one of rock’s most beautiful celebrations of adolescence”. (from Wikipedia) I would have to agree. It captures simply, and beautifully, the innocence, energy, naivete, hope, and bittersweetness of being a teenager.
“Thirteen” was written by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell. Let’s have a listen to the original:
“Thirteen” by Big Star
What do you think of Elliott Smith’s Cover Version? How does it compare to the original to you? Do you have a favorite of the two? There are other Covers of “Thirteen”, is there one that you prefer as a Cover?
Don’t forget to check back next Sunday for another Edition of Under the Covers Sunday. You won’t want to miss it.