Although many ignore this, Pixies made the history of music, paving the way (along with R.E.M.) for the so-called alternative music of Nirvana, Radiohead and so on. Both Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke have always explicitly admitted the influence of the Boston band. Pixies created a musical formula that became a recurring element in the rock of the 90s: those clean verses which gradually acquired charge, tension, exploding then in the distortions and the voices of the chorus. It’s enough to recall any song from Nevermind to have an example (Cobain himself, in one of his last interviews, talked about how much they “consumed” this formula and about his wish to seek new directions).
Here we will not talk directly about the Pixies. But we will prove their importance and their crucial influence through the covers of their songs, made by the artists that loved them.
Where Is My Mind?
Where Is My Mind? has an incredible number of covers. Their most famous song, extracted from Surfer Rosa, become a classic hit played by novice musicians and experienced bands. Such as Placebo, who had it in all their live tours. In this video we can see Brian Molko’s band singing it with Frank Black (pseudonym of Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, singer and guitarist of Pixies).
Other honorable mentions: James Blunt, Weezer (we’ll find them again later), Arcade Fire, Kings Of Leon and the wrestler John Cena. John Cena, yes. Look here.
Here Comes Your Man
Here we come into the world of cinema: in a scene of (500) Days of Summer, Tom Hansen, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, dares a cover of the famous Here Comes Your Man, from the album Doolittle (1989).
For Velouria, from the album Bossanova (1990), the best is offered by Weezer, the masters of the covers: they did it also for Radiohead (Creep, Paranoid Android) and Nirvana (Breed, Sliver, Aneurysm)
A song like Debaser, homage to 1929 surrealist masterpiece Un Chien andalou, produced by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, could only be covered by a character like David Bowie, who already used scenes of that film to introduce his shows.
Bowie also played the cover several times when he was on tour with Tin Machine.
The Pixies-Bowie story goes on. Bowie will play with Frank Black several times and several years after the previous video he will perform with Moby a gritty cover of Cactus, from Surfer Rosa, in The Jay Leno Show.
We close this list with the cover of a group of Pixies’ devoted fans: Arcade Fire, that are used to homage the band in their tours with songs like Wave Of mutilation, Where Is My Mind? or Alec Eiffel.