Eilish has paid homage to a number of artists both on stage and in the studio in recent years
Billie Eilish is certainly no stranger to the much-loved musical artform that is the cover version. After all, a number of tracks from her growing back catalogue of knock-out pop-noir have been covered this year by artists such as Alicia Keys, Bastille and Sigrid, serving up a whole new kind of artistic appreciation for some of Eilish’s biggest hits.
Eilish herself has become something of a regular practitioner of the cover version over the past few years, with her most recent effort coming just this week as she shared a preview of her take on Elliott Smith’s ‘Let’s Get Lost’ on The Howard Stern Show. While the full version of that song has yet to surface (all we’ve heard so far is an audio clip from a studio recording on her phone), her Smith cover looks set to join the stellar collection of Billie Eilish cover versions that are already out in the world — the best of which we’ve rounded up for you below.
The Strokes – ‘Call Me Back’
Eilish took on the laidback (and arguably oft-overlooked) ‘Angles’ album track back in April 2018 as a web exclusive during her guest performance on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show in the US. Her harmony-laden acoustic version of the Julian Casablancas and Nick Valensi-penned song is sure to delight fans of Eilish, The Strokes and good music in general.
Michael Jackson – ‘Bad’
Australian radio station Triple J’s ‘Like A Version’ series is renowned as the staging ground for a whole host of memorable cover versions: think Tame Impala’s take on OutKast’s ‘Prototype’, CHVRCHES covering Arctic Monkeys or Denzel Curry giving Rage Against The Machine a run for their money with his electric performance of ‘Bulls On Parade’.
Eilish rose to the challenge for her Triple J performance by aiming high with her not-at-all-Bad song choice, performing a stripped-back cover of the MJ classic with her brother and regular songwriting partner Finneas.
Drake – ‘Hotline Bling’
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Terrifyingly toothless artwork aside — shudder — there’s really nothing to dislike about this studio take of Eilish’s delicate indie version of Drake‘s 2015 mega-mega-hit (unless you’re particularly averse to ukuleles, that is). Released in 2018 as a B-side to the single ‘party favor’ for Record Store Day, Eilish’s version of ‘Hotline Bling’ also used to be a regular presence in her early setlists.
Childish Gambino – ‘III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd)’
Hopping back over to the US for another live radio session in November 2018, Eilish selected a track from Donald Glover’s sprawling Childish Gambino album ‘because the internet’ to perform during a guest appearance on SiriusXM. Her acoustic version of ‘III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd)’ is an interesting take on the R&B-styled original, and also sees Eilish playing along on, yes, a ukulele.
Phantogram – ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’
Over to the BBC Radio 1 studio now, where we have Eilish covering Phantogram‘s 2016 single ‘You Don’t Get Me High Anymore’ for Annie Mac’s show back in February. “It’s one of my favourite songs… and I might bomb it,” the singer said in warning ahead of the performance — but you already know she wouldn’t ever do such a thing.
Jessie Reyez – ‘Body Count’
Performed in Toronto during two live dates back in November 2018, Eilish showed love for her friend Reyez with a special acoustic rendition of the latter’s single ‘Body Count’ — look, there’s that ukulele again!
Rob Dickinson – ‘The End of the World’
Phil Taggart’s Chillest Show welcomed Eilish and Finneas in March for their ‘Piano Sessions’ series, with the pair covering Rob Dickinson’s ‘The End of the World’. If the actual apocalypse happened to be soundtracked by this tranquil cover of Dickinson by the O’Connell siblings, we’d probably be OK with that.
If all those cover versions weren’t enough for you, then here’s a video you’ll likely enjoy: Billie singing snippets of tracks by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj and Radiohead for Elle‘s Game of Song Association series. Covers and cover galore!