I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Kaiser Chiefs

Yesterday I set you up to expect Pinball Wizard as today’s post. It’s true, Ver Chiefs did scoot around the Olympic closing ceremony covering The Who and nodding to Elton John who had had a hit covering the song himself. And it was quite the moment. There were so many music moments over that summer that made me fall back in love with British pop music. Going to the games and hearing Underworld, Arctic Monkeys and Frank Turner rub shoulders with Rudimental, Pet Shop Boys and The Chemical Brothers made Britain feel great and futuristic and inclusive. Where did the spirit of 2012 go? I digress.

The Kaiser cover I have chosen to represent their extra curricular activities is Gladys Knight And The Pips perennial classic. As covered by Marvin Gaye, The Slits, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Smokey Robinson, Ike and Tina, Ella Fitzgerald, Garth Brooks, Average White Band, Foghat, The Flying Pickets, The Riff Burglars (nope, me either), Edwin Starr, FM, Fairport Convention & Amy Winehouse. So, you know. It’s a popular tune.

The Kaiser’s version was laid down early doors (I can’t really crowbar a Light My Fire gag in here I think I used them all up during Doors Week) for the UK indie charity compilation Help! A Day In The Life. The Help series is a gift that keeps on giving. The Britpop wave crest riding original compilation has donated tracks to SFTD before and I’m sure it will again. Proceeds go to War Child, tuneage goes straight to the memory banks. It’s safe to say the Day In The Life redo didn’t reach the heady heights of the original in many places. Though it did also feature Radiohead’s I Want None Of This… but that’s for another time.

The Kaiser’s version of Grapevine has more in common with The Slits than any other. It has that upstroke raga feel and an urgency to it’s pace. It’s tight and boingy and yes. That’s a word used in a piece of music criticism (sort of). So they’ve done Grapevine and Pinball Wizard. Both pretty ruddy classic. They’ve also done The BuzzcocksEver Fallen In Love, The Stranglers No More Heroes, Elvis Costello’sPump It Up and (this ones quite odd) Paul McCartney & Wings Jet. So far so seventies obsessed. Slip into the 80’s and they’ve had a crack at Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon and Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone. Their cheeky chappie take on Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and their bombastic Foo Fighters/Green Day/Queen slip into We Are The Champions honk out the irony, so sides of cheese are well in order along with your classic rock and sounds of the suburbs. There are countless online perfromances of them tipping up at various TV/Radio/Online studios and having a crack at anything from The Cure to The Beatles.

They’ve done more contemporary covers too. Christine & The Queens, MGMT, Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus have all been Kaisered. So too obviously has the Girls Aloud debut single Sound Of The Underground. They know their place bridging jukebox guitar hits to current indie pop.

Their next move has to be to get away from the drain hole of mere jukebox jangle. Sure they need to keep the pop hooks. To balance the mainstream glare on one side of the horizon and the landfill shadow cast over their future in the other, these Kaiser Chiefs need to become anointed warriors the same way Elton, The Who and Wings all managed to forge their impenetrable armour. The Kaisers must ascend and become An Albums Band!

6 thoughts on “I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Kaiser Chiefs

  1. Dude’s got a damfine voice. And the band rocks on with crisp skill. You’re making a fan of me. I loved seeing Fassbender in there singing Karma Chameleon with them. “The Kaisers must ascend and become An Albums Band!” And then they must tour the US. I’d buy a ticket to see them. You are blessed to have seen so many great bands live!

    Liked by 1 person

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