Music in the brain: The first imaging genetic study linking dopaminergic genes to music




Sounds, such as music and noise, are capable of reliably affecting individuals’ moods and emotions, possibly by regulating brain dopamine, a neurotransmitter strongly involved in emotional behavior and mood regulation.

However, the relationship of sound environments with mood and emotions is highly variable across individuals. A putative source of variability is genetic background.

In this regard, a new imaging genetics study directed by Professor Elvira Brattico from Aarhus University and conducted in two Italian hospitals in collaboration with the University of Helsinki (Finland) has provided the first evidence that the effects of music and noise on affective behavior and brain physiology are associated with genetically determined dopamine functionality.

In particular, this study, published in the journal Neuroscience, revealed that a functional variation in dopamine D2 receptor gene (DRD2 rs1076560) modulates the impact of music as opposed to noise on mood states and emotion-related prefrontal and striatal brain activity, evidencing a differential susceptibility for the affect-modulatory effects of music and noise on the GG and GT genotypes.

In more details, results showed mood improvement after music exposure in GG subjects and mood deterioration after noise exposure in GT subjects. Moreover, the music as opposed to noise environment decreased the striatal activity of GT subjects as well as the prefrontal activity of GG subjects while processing emotional faces.

These results are novel in identifying a biological source of variability in the impact of sound environments on emotional responses. The first author of the study, Tiziana Quarto, Ph.D. student at University of Helsinki under supervision of Prof. Brattico, further comments:

“Our approach allowed the observation of the link between genes and phenotypes via a true biological path that goes from functional genetic variations (for which the effects on molecular function is known) to brain physiology subtending behavior. The use of this approach is especially important when the investigated behavior is complex and very variable across subjects, because this means that many biological factors are involved.”

“This study represents the first use of the imaging genetics approach in the field of music and sounds in general. We are really excited about our results because they suggest that even a non-pharmacological intervention such as music, might regulate mood and emotional responses at both the behavioral and neuronal level,” says Professor Elvira Brattico.

“More importantly, these findings encourage the search for personalized music-based interventions for the treatment of brain disorders associated with aberrant dopaminergic neurotransmission as well as abnormal mood and emotion-related brain activity.”




Lack of joy from music linked to brain disconnection




Have you ever met someone who just wasn’t into music? They may have a condition called specific musical anhedonia, which affects three-to-five per cent of the population.

Researchers at the University of Barcelona and the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University have discovered that people with this condition showed reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions responsible for processing sound and subcortical regions related to reward.

To understand the origins of specific musical anhedonia, researchers recruited 45 healthy participants who completed a questionnaire measuring their level of sensitivity to music and divided them into three groups of sensitivity based on their responses. The test subjects then listened to music excerpts inside an fMRI machine while providing pleasure ratings in real-time. To control for their brain response to other reward types, participants also played a monetary gambling task in which they could win or lose real money.

Using the fMRI data, the researchers found that while listening to music, specific musical anhedonics presented a reduction in the activity of the Nucleus Accumbens, a key subcortical structure of the reward network. The reduction was not related to a general improper functioning of the Nucleus Accumbens itself, since this region was activated when they won money in the gambling task.




Specific musical anhedonics, however, did show reduced functional connectivity between cortical regions associated with auditory processing and the Nucleus Accumbens. In contrast, individuals with high sensitivity to music showed enhanced connectivity.

The fact that subjects could be insensible to music while still responsive to another stimulus like money suggests different pathways to reward for different stimuli. This finding may pave the way for the detailed study of the neural substrates underlying other domain-specific anhedonias and, from an evolutionary perspective, help us to understand how music acquired reward value.

Lack of brain connectivity has been shown to be responsible for other deficits in cognitive ability. Studies of children with autism spectrum disorder, for example, have shown that their inability to experience the human voice as pleasurable may be explained by a reduced coupling between the bilateral posterior superior temporal sulcus and distributed nodes of the reward system, including the Nucleus Accumbens. This latest research reinforces the importance of neural connectivity in the reward response of human beings.

“These findings not only help us to understand individual variability in the way the reward system functions, but also can be applied to the development of therapies for treatment of reward-related disorders, including apathy, depression, and addiction,” says Robert Zatorre, an MNI neuroscientist and one of the paper’s co-authors.




The Science Backed Ways Music Affects Your Brain and Productivity




Go to the profile of Chad Grills

There you sit again: browser open in front of you, the hum of your office in the background, your to-do list sprawled out on your notepad.

And… you don’t feel like doing anything.

Faced with this lack of motivation, you start to experiment:

You try working offline. You try the pomodoro method. You take that a walk around the block, as suggested by everyone. No major improvements. You’re not being as productive as you should, and you need to fix that… fast.

So you put on your headphones, pull up your favorite pop song or ambient rain mix and listen. Instantly, you can focus on those boring tasks on your to-do list (looking at you, email).

And now you got one of them done. Then another. Now you’re bobbing your head and in the zone.





When nothing else seems to help make us productive, the right music can supercharge us. But in terms of our brain and work, what does music do and why does it help us?

Science, music, and your brain

Studies about how music affects our brains and emotions have been ongoing since the the 1950s, when physicians began to notice the benefits of music therapy in European and U.S. hospital patients. However, humans have been using music to communicate thoughts and feelings to one another for centuries.

Today, research suggests that music can help relieve negative emotions like stress, anxiety and depression. It can even decrease instances of confusion and delirium in elderly medical patients recovering from surgery. Furthermore, research says that listening to happy or sad music can make us perceive others as being happy or sad, respectively. All of these findings make it clear that, for better or worse, music’s impact on our emotions is very real.

In terms of how music affects the brain, we can turn to a specific niche of research called neuromusicology, which explores how our nervous systems react to music. Basically, music enters the inner ear and engages many different areas of our brains, some of which are used for other cognitive functions, as well. (If you want to know the specifics of this detailed process, Dawn Kent explains it neatly in her thesis.)

Somewhat surprisingly, the number of brain areas activated by music varies from person to person, depending on your musical training and your personal experiences with music. Therefore, how music impacts your ability to concentrate or feel a certain emotion can be expected to vary from person to person, too.

However, there are some general brain and mood patterns that modern music research reveals, and these can help us decide what kinds of music to listen to at work.




How music affects your brain and mood at work

For the most part, research suggests that listening to music can improve your efficiency, creativity and happiness in terms of work-related tasks.

However, there are stipulations to these benefits. For example, studies seem to agree that listening to music with lyrics is distracting for most people. Therefore, it’s often recommended that we avoid listening to music featuring lyrics when working on tasks that require intense focus or the learning of new information.

In contrast, listening to music with lyrics may actually help people working on repetitive or mundane tasks, perhaps because the distracting nature of lyrical music can provide a kind of relief from the monotony of boring work.

For a greater understanding of how music affects work, here are just a few of the many studies conducted on workplace productivity and music in recent years:

In 1972, a study published in Applied Ergonomics suggested that people doing repetitive tasks worked more efficiently when background music was played.

In 1994, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study showing that surgeon accuracy and efficiency improved when surgeons worked with music playing. Music selected by the participants had the best results and, even when working with music selected by researchers, the surgeons performed better than those who worked with no music at all.

A 1999 study in the journal of Neuroscience and behavioral physiology showed that playing classical or rock music allowed study participants to identify numbers more quickly and accurately.

In 2005, research from the journal of Psychology of Music showed that software developers experienced more positive moods, better quality of work and improved efficiency when listening to music. The study also notes a learning curve for participants using music to alter their moods.

These examples are merely a snapshot of the research that has been conducted on music’s affects on employees, but we can already start to see the benefits music has on work.

Science shows some ambient and natural music can boost your productivity

To some extent, one can make the case that music is a form of ambient noise.

Research suggests that ambient noise, or ambient music as we may prefer to think about it here, could be the best kind of music for work productivity.

A 2006 study from the journal of Ergonomics found continuous noise to be the least annoying background noise, while distinguishable speech was “the most disturbing, most disadvantageous and least pleasant environment” for participants. The study also included a “masked speech” variable, which proved to be the most effective means of arousing participants’ mental states, while (somewhat surprisingly) continuous noise was the least effective.

In 2012, The Journal of Consumer Research published a study investigating the effects of ambient noise on creativity. The study suggested that creative processes improved when participants listened to ambient noise at a moderate volume — about 70 decibels, approximately the volume of a vacuum cleaner. The study also found that creativity suffered in the presence of high-volume ambient noise — about 85 decibels, slightly louder than a garbage disposal.

Additionally, research in 2015 from the The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America found that using ambient natural sounds like a flowing stream was an effective way to improve employees’ productivity and moods in the workplace.

Considering those studies above, it’s very probable that ambient music has the potential to help improve your mood and productivity. However, for music to really improve your productivity at work, you’ll likely need to alternate between periods of no music and periods of different kinds of music.

We can recall that, when learning new information, music without lyrics is preferable to lyrical music. However, if we complete this task at work and need to switch to a more repetitive, well-known task, we may benefit emotionally and productively from listening to music with lyrics. And, depending on the complexity of the task, we’ll likely encounter instances throughout the day when we need to ditch our headphones altogether and simply focus on what’s in front of us.

That said, finding the right kind of music can be challenging at times. This is part of the learning curve mentioned in the Psychology of Music research above. Clicking around to find the right artist can certainly detract from workplace productivity but, once you know what works for you, music can become a tool for near-instant concentration.




WHICH TRAINSPOTTING FILM HAS THE BEST SOUNDTRACK?





If you are reading this article and are not aware of Trainspotting or its sequel T2, you must be too caught up in a world of jotting down trains into a WHSmith’s notepad, while enjoying a weak orange drink.

Danny Boyles’ 1996 classic has become a historical document for those caught up in all things Brit-pop and 90’s nostalgia, but it wasn’t just the motion picture that made such a splash. The accompanying soundtrack became that year’s ‘must have’ album in the same way that the Pulp Fiction OST had been the year before. For a movie set in the 80’s, the soundtrack features the big players (except Oasis and Suede) of the era; Blur, Pulp, and Leftfield as well as some musical legends like Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. But how does it compare to the follow-up?

ROUND 1: OPENING TRACKS

Iggy Pop- ‘Lust For Life.’

It is impossible to remember a time when the sound of that drum intro and the bassline didn’t evoke the image of ‘Renton’ and ‘Spud’ sprinting through the streets of Edinburgh. The perfect choice of song and a big thank you to David Bowie for making it happen. As a fan of Boyle’s first feature ‘Shallow Grave,’ Bowie recommended his friends Reed and Mr. Pop to strike a deal to have their music used for the film. Without his help, it could have been Kula Shaker’s ‘Hey Dude’ that opened the movie. The sequel ends with a Prodigy remix of the track, that sadly isn’t on the compilation.

Result: Draw – both films used the same song.

ROUND 2: THE TRACK THAT IS LIKE SO NOW!

Leftfield – ‘A Final Hit’

The mid to late 90’s was rich with forwarding thinking electronic artists were aching to break away from ‘rave’ and acid-house. Massive Attack, Tricky and obviously Leftfield would be found in the CD collections for those people who knew where to be on a Saturday night. ‘A Final Hit’ may not have been their best track, but it works on the screen.

Young Fathers – ‘Rain Or Shine’




The former Mercury Prize winners keep gaining acclaim for being one of the great British hip-hop acts. Hailing from Edinburgh and just stinking of cool – no wonder they feature on T2’s soundtrack twice, ‘Get Up’ and ‘Rain Or Shine’ help push the movie’s love of nostalgia into the now.

Result: Young Fathers

ROUND 3: THE BLONDIE TRACK

Sleeper- ‘Atomic’

Was the use of the Blondie cover by a hip Brit-pop group a cynical move to stay in touch with the zeitgeist or just a cheaper option? As Sleeper’s version is so faithful to the original, it seems silly to not just use the Blondie track. It does soundtrack one of the most beloved scenes in the film when ‘Renton’ meets ‘Diane.’

Blondie – ‘Dreaming’

‘Dreaming’ explodes with Clem Burke’s  opening drum rolls quickly followed by one of Chris Stein’s legendary guitar riffs and we already have one of the Blondie’s greatest anthems even before Debbie Harry’s sublime vocals take off; this would make any film come alive.

Result: Blondie ‘Dreaming’

ROUND 4: THE UNDISCOVERED GEM

Blur – ‘Sing’

It was a brave move for the makers to have one of Britain’s biggest bands and choose an album track from their least fashionable album ‘Leisure.’  The first time you hear those piano chords, you have to wonder how you had never heard of this track before. ‘Sing’s’ success after the soundtrack gave it a new lease of life and found it’s way back into Blur’s live set as recently as 2012.

Wolf Alice – ‘Silk’




Being included in the soundtrack left the band was over the moon, and ‘Silk’ is T2’s answer to the atmospheric ‘Sing.’ One of the best tracks on their debut album ‘My Love Is Cool’ is given a welcome platform in one of the final scenes of T2.

Result: Blur – ‘Sing’

ROUND 5: THE CLASSIC TRACK

Lou Reed – ‘Perfect Day’

Trainspotting achieved what Duran Duran failed to so the year before, and introduced a brand new audience to one of Lou Reed’s finest songs. The rest is history and with the BBC releasing a star-studded version for charity and karaoke bars across the country will seldom have an evening without it.

The Clash – ‘(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais’

Not many soundtracks can do wrong when including a Clash track, ‘(White Man)’ may not be their most known song and hopefully, it will be discovered by a whole new audience.

Results: Lou Reed – Perfect Day

THE WINNER: TRAINSPOTTING (1996).

It was level heading after five rounds, and both are brilliant compilations, but the original has a perfect mix of contemporary artists as well as relighting the fires to some forgotten classics and doesn’t include Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga.’



MICHAEL BAKER – REVOLVING DOORS | VIDEO PREMIERE




Singer/songwriter Michael Baker is back with a brand new single ‘Revolving Doors’ and here at HTF we are delighted to be premiering the accompanying video.

‘Revolving Doors’  has been lifted from Michael‘s debut album Dust & Bone, which was released last year. The video is a touching, one-shot creation from award-winning director Gary Roberts, which is based on the concept of someone’s life flashing before their eyes in their final moments.

Actress Kara Lily Hayworth‘s solo performance is truly captivating as she takes the viewer on a journey; watching her life unfold as she is sat in the cinema. Experiencing a whole range of emotions, she soon realises she’s in limbo when she witnesses the man she loves hold her hand as she passes away. This moving story was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s quote “You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Your Way Too”, which can be seen at the start of the video.  With the passing of Cohen since the video was shot back in October, it feels extremely poignant and reinforces the video’s theme of love and how it always seems to return, even in the darkest situations.

Michael will be playing a headline show at The Finsbury in London on 21st March, where he will be performing ‘Revolving Doors’ and many more of his heartfelt songs from Dust & Bone.




TUBE & BERGER BRING UNDERGROUND HOUSE TO THE MASSES





It’s Friday night and we’ve been invited down to Electric in Brixton, to witness German Duo Tube & Berger, open up for tropical house favourite Bakermat.

Bakermat is essentially accessible deep house music for the masses, and what Tube & Berger manage to provide, (without alienating the otherwise commercial audience), is a more underground deep house and techno set, which goes down an absolute storm.

Ahead of their eagerly anticipated second album, ‘We Are All Stars’ which drops sometime in May, Tube & Berger include a live element to their show with vocal PA, Richard Judge. His soulful voice and energetic enthusiasm pump up the fans and connect Tube & Berger to the crowd on a whole other level. Richard sings along to their collaborative singles; ‘Ruckas’, ‘Set Free’ and ‘Disarray’. This makes it fairly clear to see who is in fact here to see Tube & Berger, with a number of sing-a-longs now erupting from the audience.

Source: Gemma Bell




Tube & Berger may not be the headlining act tonight, but their rare London appearance has brought out of the woodwork their own mega fans, as Kitball t-shirts and banners appear waving in the front row!

Amongst their own productions which span across deep house, and a darker more progressive house, they dropped classic tune Mylo’s; ‘Drop the Pressure’, Green Velvet, Pork & Fitch’s; ‘Sheeple’ and this years’ Ibiza dance anthem, Raffa FL; ‘How We Do’.

Also making a debut appearance was the new single, also named ‘We Are All Stars’. It was one of the more radio friendly tracks of their set, but in this setting, with this kind of audience, it was an absolute highlight! Signed to label Embassy One, which is also home to Booka Shade, Röyksopp, Robyn, Moby and Björk. You can hear it here first; We Are All Stars




I’m told there will be more live elements added to their already stellar performance, so keep an eye on their Facebook page for the latest news and tour dates; Tube & Berger Facebook




IS THERE LIFE BEYOND MOTÖRHEAD?





For hard rock fans who are still mourning the untimely passing of the Motörhead legend, Lemmy, there’s hope yet, as the band’s legacy still lives on in all manner of weird and wonderful tributes from clothing to booze, as well as spin-off musical projects.

Long-time Motörhead members like Phil Campbell have wasted no time in getting down to business. The legendary guitarist was admittedly at a loss for what to do after Lemmy passed away at the end of 2015, but with his new band Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, it seems that he’s in the mood for supplying us with plenty more classic rock.

Phil Campbell

Source: Wikimedia Commons




In addition to this, is the enticing prospect of plenty of archived musical material being released from the Motörhead vaults. Just a couple of months ago, the German band Skew Siskin, unveiled a video of Lemmy in the studio and stated that the star had spent zillions of hours recording, and so there’s surely a good chance that we’ll get a good boxset of unreleased material at some point.

Source: Official Promo Shot

Until then, there’s the fascinating news that the band are going to get their own ‘insane’ gaming release. This is because Motörhead: Through the Ages is an add-on for the role-playing game Victor Vran that will feature plenty of metal-inspired costumes and guitar-shaped weapons that pay homage to this iconic hard rock band.




Not that Motörhead were exactly strangers to the gaming realm. Lemmy had already done voiceover work for the PlayStation and Xbox game Brutal Legend, and with classic songs like Ace of Spades appearing in Rock Band 2, and even a Motörhead slots game showing up at the MrSmithCasino site, it seems that the band made every effort to cater to the gaming craze.

Motorhead Slots

Source: MrSmithCasino

Such moves might be at odds with the band’s famous sex, drugs and rock’n’roll ethos. But when you consider that Motörhead have joined Iron Maiden and Slayer in creating some expensive branded socks from Stance, it’s clear that they were always willing to surprise their hardcore fanbase.

But just in case that sounds slightly too cosy for somebody as famously hard-living as Lemmy, then fear not, as the band have continued their quest to ensure that our livers are suitably challenged with their own licensed alcoholic drinks.

Motorhead Whisky

Source: Official Promo Shot

So that whether you’re toasting your slots win with a shot of Motörhead whisky, a glass of their Snaggletooth cider, or a pint of their Road Crew pale ale, you can be sure that Lemmy would approve!



ADAM BEYER DROPS 8 HOUR SET AT PRINTWORKS TO GET US EXCITED FOR JUNCTION 2 FESTIVAL!





Source: Gemma Bell

Printworks London, surely now needing no introduction from us, played host to the pre-party for Junction 2 festival which is fast approaching, this coming June, where we were treated to a momentous 8-hour marathon set from Drumcode label boss, Adam Beyer.

Having never witnessed a bad set from Adam, I knew this was going to be something truly special. Adam didn’t only play an incredible set, he really took the crowd on a journey, ploughing through an impressive selection of the best house and techno, as you would come to expect, but also introducing some key classics; which was unexpected and not something I’ve seen him do before.

Dropping some absolute bombs such as Prodigy’s ‘Outer Space’, and Faithless’ ‘We Come One’, it was a welcome surprise and obviously went down an absolute storm. To see a techno heavy crowd sing the lyrics to Prodigy’s ‘Outer Space’ in a space like Printworks is something I don’t think I will ever witness again. This was definitely one of those ‘I Was There’ moments. Hearing the buzz amongst the crowd throughout the day, and as they filtered out of the exit, “One Of The Best Sets Ever” seemed to be a fairly accurate statement. Ending the day on an absolute high, he clocks out on The Stone Roses ‘Fools Gold’. We salute you Adam, you absolutely smashed it!

Source: Gemma Bell




Often with an extended set, it’s not uncommon for there to be that slow middle hour or two where you find yourself visiting the bar or smoking area. That certainly wasn’t the case here with the dance floor constantly packed out with no one wanting to miss a single moment.

Speaking to Adam directly after his performance, he said: “I Put A Lot Of Heart And Soul Into It”. Which was clearly obvious. He really gave everything he had and carried that room through an energetic and memorable ride.

If you did happen to miss out, thankfully Mixmag was on hand to record and live stream a select three hours. You can watch this back here; Mixmag Live

Source: Gemma Bell

Adam Beyer is not only a firm fan of the calibre of events that LWE orchestrate, but he is also an active partner within Junction 2 festival. And if this ‘pre-party’ set was anything to go by, then Junction 2 looks like it’s going to be another unmissable event. Again!

Adam will be playing alongside a long list of techno giants and emerging talent. Check out the full line up and the stage splits which have just been announced today!





Source: Promo

Spanning across 5 separate stages and bespoke spaces, Junction 2 will keep the focus on quality music and unparalleled production and sound quality. Hosted at Boston Manor Park, under the M4 motorway, it will be transformed into a unique and industrial utopia. For anyone looking for that next level festival experience, this one is for you.

The stages will be hosted by, Drumcode, SONUS, The Hydra, LWE Warehouse (In Association With Relentless), and Into The Woods (In Association With Frontier). Each one designed to offer an exclusive and amazing experience.

The LWE team speak ahead of this much-anticipated event;

“When We First Found The Junction 2 Site Last Year, We Sensed We Were Onto Something Special. And Looking At That Extraordinary Space Under The M4 And The Parkland Surrounding It, We Just Knew That An Incredible Crowd And Heavyweight Sound Levels Could Create Something Truly Amazing.

The Only Thing Making Us Nervous About Junction 2 In 2017 Is Living Up To The Expectations Set By 2016. We’ve Been Thinking Hard About How To Replicate That Atmosphere, And The Overriding Conclusion We Came To Was That The Magic Ingredient Was The Crowd. Yes, You Lovely People Who Trusted Us, Had Faith And Came And Danced With Us At Junction 2.”

If you need any further persuading, watch Junction 2’s 2016 goosebump-inducing after movie here; Junction 2 2016 After Movie

Tier 1 and 2 tickets have now sold out, with Tier 3 now on sale. You can buy them directly through Ticket Tannoy here; Junction 2 Tickets




Junction 2 takes place on Saturday 10th June at Boston Manor Park.

Check out the gallery below for pictures from the pre-party warm-up at Printworks.




ANTS – THE COLONY IS COMING TO BRIXTON!





Easter weekend is fast approaching, and it’s widely known as one of the biggest party weekends of the year, which will undoubtedly offer an absolute plethora of amazing events, gigs and club nights.

To start the extended weekend’s festivities, we are going to focus on ANTS. Born out of Ibiza in 2013, ANTS is fast becoming one of the islands most essential parties. Known for their next level production, stand out marketing, and underground line-ups. They draw upon the islands clubbing cognoscenti and even the most discerning ravers worldwide.

Despite having hosted a number of nights across the country in the last couple of years, this will be their biggest party off of the island, to date. And this is all happening right here in London, on Thursday 13th April at Brixton Academy.

Heading up the bill is Bristol’s best, Eats Everything. Known for his light-hearted attitude, and energetic enthusiasm, that never fails to engage the crowd. Eats Everything is a firm favourite on the ANTS residents list, during the Ibiza residency at Ushuaia hotel.

Joining him will be dance music legends, Groove Armada. Being firm staples within electronic music’s seminal moments, Groove Armada will grace this iconic stage again, having last played here as a live act in 2010. This will obviously be a special event for the Groove Armada boys, and any fans that revelled in the crowd in those last live performances. I know we’re all itching for them to reform as a live act, but for now seeing them on this stage smashing out a fantastic DJ set will surely suffice!





Source: Promo

Listen to a live stream of Groove Armada, playing from ANTS at Ushuaia last summer.

This headlining team will clearly make for a memorable evening, playing the best house and techno amidst the towering and prodigious production from ANTS.

If that’s not enough, Ibiza resident Andrea Oliva and Waze & Odyssey have just been added to this heavyweight bill. Proving that ANTS’ latest UK takeover will be their biggest yet – and paves the way for another huge season in Ibiza this summer.

Third tier tickets are still available and can be bought here ANTS Tickets.

Source: Promo




THE GREATEST ELVIS PRESLEY COVERS OF ALL TIME





40 years ago a legend died. That legend was the former ‘King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. He went on to sell more than 600 million records and score countless number one singles all around the world and even made some films too, but approach these with caution. Through his career Elvis tried different genres from obviously rock and roll, but also gospel and country and blues, thank God he never stayed around to try his hand at hip-hop.

If you happen to ask Google how many people have covered Elvis, it will throw up hundreds and hundreds of lists and YouTube clips. Let’s just say that the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ has created quite a legacy and over the last 60 years or so there have been so many artists from U2 to Motorhead covering his songs. If you don’t believe me and have just poured yourself a beverage, then click here for further reading.

After a long search through the internet and the dark web, we have come up with ten of the best Elvis covers. Not everyone will be happy, and not everyone will write a hate comment. Just enjoy the cool, the crazy and the beautiful ten best Elvis covers that exist on YouTube.

THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS – ‘SUSPICIOUS MINDS’

Their 1985 version became a top ten UK chart hit and featured the backing vocals of Jimmy Sommerville and a trumpet.  A recent online poll rated it twice as good as Robbie Williams’ cover. Impressive stuff.



THE PET SHOP BOYS – ‘ALWAYS ON MY MIND’

Another 80’s successful cover. The PSB’s were asked to do a tribute to the King as part of a tenth anniversary and chose this track. It went on to be a chart topper worldwide and did even better than Elvis’ original. The music video footage is taken from the seldom seen film ‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’.

CHRIS ISAAK – ‘CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU’

For an artist who was constantly called an Elvis clone, it was a brave move to record this cover for the 2011 album Beyond the Sun (which featured a collection of songs recorded by Sun Records artists). The album has half a dozen Elvis tracks recorded by Isaak, but this is the standout track, which is sure to create lumps a plenty in throats across the world.

NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS – ‘IN THE GHETTO’

The band’s debut single from 1984 did little in turning the former Birthday Party members into household names, but was a great introduction into the sound of a band who would become one of the most respected bands in the world.

DOLPH LUNDGREN -‘LITTLE LESS CONVERSATION’

What can’t this man do? Olympian, martial artist, director, producer, actor and now singer. Lundgren’s tribute to the king went down a storm in Sweden and when he hosted 2010’s Melodifestivalen and now we can all enjoy the finest version of a ‘Little Less Conversation’ of all time. Featuring drum solo’s, ice-block chopping and kung-fu. Elvis would be very impressed indeed.




JOHN LENNON – ‘BLUE SUEDE SHOES’

The Beatles may not have been Elvis’ favourite band, but they certainly respected what he did for rock and roll, and here Lennon goes back to his roots with this all-star version of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’. Sadly the accompanying video was filmed by someone down a pit.

THE BLUES BROTHERS – ‘JAILHOUSE ROCK’

If you have not seen the film The Blues Brothers, please stop reading this article and get watching. Welcome back. The end track of one of the best musical-comedies of all time is the perfect swansong for the brothers Blues and includes all of the films musical legends, the film-crew and John Candy saluting.

LITTLE RICHARD – ‘HOUND DOG’

Some would say that Little Richard was the real King of Rock n Roll. This is a rare version of Richard leaving his piano behind and just performing a killer version of one of Elvis’ most well known songs.

THE CRAMPS- ‘HEARTBREAK HOTEL’

The legendary punks paid tribute to his tenth anniversary of his passing with this fantastically energetic cover of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. Hopefully, someone out there will do The Cramps’ Lux Interior the honour of paying a similar tribute in 2019 ten years after his unexpected death.

NORAH JONES – ‘ARE YOU LONESOME’

Norah Jones’ smooth cover of one of Elvis’ biggest hits is a great way to end this list and what a wonderfully touching voice. Some may even say this eclipses the original.

It was so hard to choose a top ten and many people will be audible tutting to these choices, so just enjoy the music guys and if you hated the songs, just watch Dolph Lundgren doing a drum solo again.



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