The Cover-Song Showcase Showdown: Who’s The Loneliest Singer Of Them All?

Dec 21st, 2006 // 11 Comments

Time for another installment of the Cover-Song Showcase Showdown, in which we dig up numerous recreations and bastardizations of a beloved song, and let you vote on which is the least offensive. Today’s candidate Badfinger’s 1970 lament “Without You,” which has been taken on by artists ranging from Il Divo to Heart. We’ve got the two versions that hit No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts–by Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey, whose covers are mashed up in the above clip–in competition, as well as takes on the song from mop-topped American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken and Chicago-based provocateur Bobby Conn.

Clay Aiken – Without You [MP3, link expired]
Mariah Carey – Without You [MP3, link expired]
Bobby Conn – Without You [MP3, link expired]
Harry Nilsson – Without You [MP3, link expired]

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  1. brasstax

    Seeing Mariah’s mouth open and Nilsson’s voice come out is a real mindfuck.

  2. The Mozfather

    I’m going with Nilsson, but I find this song to be one of the most schmaltzy crimes to ever be inflicted upon the music-consuming public.

  3. JDR

    anyone else try to download the Mariah Carey version only to hear a skipping mess?

  4. brasstax

    What you’re hearing is the sound of glitter.

  5. mike a

    I heard that Nilsson didn’t write it, and that whoever did comitted suicide two weeks later.

    It was Peter Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger. Both committed suicide by hanging within several years of each other. Badfinger were possibly the unluckiest band in rock history, which is saying something. The Without You bio tells the story in gory detail. You’re left almost feeling sorry for the band in the wake of “Without You”‘s runaway success (and accompanying royalties, sapped away by corrupt management and bad contracts).

  6. nonnyl

    i love the tone & quality of Harry Nilsson’s voice. Mariah’s is an impressive work. I just don’t tolerate the gratuitous flourishes she’s compelled to toss around very well. I prefer the subtlety of either Harry or Clay. I’ve heard Clay sound better (effortless), his voice seems a bit tight in this song, though he nails it even if with effort.

  7. dangold

    Yes, Mariah’s file is messed up.

  8. nonnyl

    I heard that Nilsson didn’t write it, and that whoever did comitted suicide two weeks later. High price for his crime huh? heh. Maybe I’m schmaltzy but i like the song. Harry, then Clay, then Mariah. and yeah that was interesting how closely the video & audio matched on that…someone is editing with real talent, or Mariah’s the Karaoke Queen. (Q: how to do a cover song? A: just like the original. ONLY NOT!)

  9. Dancomono

    Damn, not the best introduction to Bobby for the uninitiated (and sans the fabulous Glass Gypsies). For full effect, try to picture him dolled up in eyeshadow and a jumpsuit, inexplicably in the audience and dangerously close to your face.

  10. mollyssrogers

    I accidently clicked on the wrong name! I meant to vote for Clay Aiken. Maria’s is really good but I think Clay’s shows more restraint and yet more emotion, Maybe there was something wrong with the audio on the other two but they sounded really bad

  11. MJ

    I’m sorry guys, but Mariah’s version is a classic in its own right. She makes it pretty entertaining to listen to all the slow-mo overblown angst.

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