Last week, Fantasy Records and Hear Music released Rave On Buddy Holly, a 19-track tribute album dedicated to the bespectacled rock and roll icon. Artists like Paul McCartney and Lou Reed cover Holly classics on the album, as do the Black Keys and Modest Mouse.
But the finest Holly cover of all is Patti Smith's incredibly moving, Spanglish version of "Words of Love."
The venerable singer-songwriter and Godmother of Punk tells NPR that it was bass player Tony Shanahan's idea to slow the song down and "make it more atmospheric." However, introducing the song in Spanish -- palabras de amor -- and incorporating words like alma and corazón into the track was her way of acknowledging Holly's widow, Marie Elena, whose native language is Spanish.
While Smith's cover isn't in a foreign language, per se, she did inspire us to find other covers that are. The result: an international hodgepodge of popular songs sung in sexy foreign languages ranging from Portuguese to French, and even Chichewa, the national language of Malawi. Check out our favorite international covers after the jump.
5) "Rebel Rebel" - Seu Jorge
Seu Jorge covers 14 Bowie tracks for The Life Aquatic soundtrack, and each one could've made this list. But we chose "Rebel Rebel" because it's one of the greatest counter-culture anthems of all time, and the word "makeup" sounds really funny in Portuguese.
4) "Marie-douceur, Marie-colère" - Marie Laforêt
In the 1960s, Marie Laforêt made a name for herself popularizing American folk songs in France. While she's best known for covering Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel, her 1966 version of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" is total perfection. It's loud, angry, and the gnarliest French cover ever.
3) "Quiero Que Me Quieras" - Gael Garcia Bernal
Simply put, we prefer Regional Mexican covers of incredibly obnoxious '80s "rock" songs over incredibly obnoxious '80s "rock" songs. Yeah, even when they're rudo y cursi (rude and tacky).
2) "Junto y Felices" - Roberto Jordan
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The Turtles inspired a lot of people to
do drugs be happy together. Roberto Jordan did the same for his people in Mexico.
1) "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" - The Very Best
Vampire Weekend has been branding catchy African indie beats since 2006. In fact, they named "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" after a dance rhythm from the Congo. But Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig isn't African. However, Esau Mwamwaya is, and in 2008, he totally made "Cape Cod" his bitch.