Ten Choice Cover Songs By Jeff Tweedy: Japanese Breakfast, Fleetwood Mac, The Clash, John Prine & More

Photo by Sammy Tweedy

For anyone who has read Jeff Tweedy’s memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), it is clear that he is a student and fan of music before anything else. Within the pages of his book, Tweedy explored how the records his parents used to listen to and his own personal curiosity of art shaped his first record collection and how that collection had an effect on the music he is creating to this day. Another clear hint that the Wilco frontman is a pure music nerd is the number of covers he has done. 

Even at his most recent solo show, which took place on December 2 in Three Oaks, Michigan, Tweedy kicked things off with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” then later covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies” in tribute to the recently passed Christine McVie. Whether it’s live solo or with Wilco, or a clip captured from an episode of The Tweedy Show, the Instagram live show where he performed, videos of Tweedy playing other artist’s songs are thrown throughout the internet for diehard Wilco/Jeff Tweedy fans to come across. 

While the sheer amount of these cover videos can be intimidating, Glide has found some of the finest covers Jeff Tweedy has ever performed. Check out our picks below: 

Kokomo, In” – Japanese Breakfast July 1, 2021 

This song comes from Japanese Breakfast’s 2021 album Jubilee. Tweedy performed the song on episode 189 of The Tweedy Show. When the band’s lead singer Michelle Zauner got wind that Tweedy played her song, she had this to say: “Words can’t begin to express how mind-blowing it is to discover this vid of Jeff Tweedy covering Kokomo, IN. Wilco has been such a huge influence on my music for so many years. The arrangement of Jesus, etc was the elegant perfection we strived for when we were recording Kokomo. The narrative arc of “Posing For Cars” and my need to solo for three mins was directly inspired by “At Least That’s What You Said.” I freaking walked off the aisle to She’s A Jar. I just can’t even handle it and had to share. Fuck.” 

“Little Lies” Fleetwood Mac – December 2, 2022 

On the heels of the sad news on the passing of Fleetwood Mac songwriter Christine McVie, musicians from all genres paid tribute to one of the most celebrated songwriters of all time. Tweedy took his turn paying tribute at the aforementioned solo show he performed at the start of December. Tweedy performed “Little Lies”, a close to perfect song written by McVie for Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night album. 

God” – John Lennon October 9, 2020

On what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday, Tweedy brought his son Spencer and Liam Kazar to perform Lennon’s “God”. The song is taken from Lennon’s 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. With Spencer on drums and Kazar on bass, Tweedy crooned through the song with grace. 

Old Country Waltz” – Neil Young October 19, 2021 

Jeff Tweedy “Old Country Waltz” (Neil Young cover)

This cover was uploaded to Wilco’s Youtube page just weeks before Tweedy hit the road for a select few dates to promote his album, Love Is King. The band featured on the cover is the same band he took on the road with him for dates in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The video was recorded at Chicago’s The Hideout, a small venue in the city where Tweedy has played both solo shows and concerts with Wilco over the years. 

Death or Glory” – The Clash August 21, 2020 

This cover was taken from A Song for Joe, a benefit livestream for the late Joe Strummer that featured legends like Bob Weir and Bruce Springsteen covering tracks from Strummer’s songbook. Tweedy participated by adding a folksy twist on “Death or Glory”, taken from The Clash’s seminal album London Calling

Please Don’t Bury Me” – John Prine April 7, 2020

Jeff Tweedy – Please Don’t Bury Me (John Prine)

When the celebrated singer/songwriter John Prine passed in 2020, fans of the icon and music fans at large were deeply saddened. You can hear Tweedy start to choke up at some parts while covering Prine’s 1973 song “Please Don’t Bury Me”, which Tweedy recorded for The Tweedy Show. Tweedy played this song the same day Prine passed, making it a dark yet fitting tribute to the country legend. 

For You (I’d Do Anything)” – Roky EricksonJune 30, 2021 

In 2021, Light In The Attic Records teamed up with the estate of Roky Erickson to release May The Circle Remain Unbroken. The compilation album features a collection of artists covering songs from Erickson’s discography, Tweedy being one of them. Bill Bently, who produced the tribute album, also worked as a publicist for both of Tweedy’s bands, Wilco and Uncle Tupelo and reached out to Tweedy for his minimalist, gentle cover of “For You (I’d Do Anything)”. 

Cut Your Hair” – Pavement April 25, 2020 

(Cover starts at the 34 minute mark). On this episode of The Tweedy Show, the family came together to cover Pavement’s hit “Cut Your Hair”. This episode also featured the family covering “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star. 

Simple Twist of Fate” – Bob Dylan October 30, 2007 

Reaching all the way back to the early 2000s, Tweedy’s cover of Bob Dylan’s 1975 Blood on the Tracks song “Simple Twist of Fate”. Tweedy recorded this cover for the soundtrack to the film “I’m Not There”, which is an abstract biopic that has multiple actors playing Bob Dylan at different stages in his life. 

I’m Only Sleeping” – The Beatles February, 2014 

Tweedy is no stranger to a Beatles cover, and his 2014 rendition of Revolver’s “I’m Only Sleeping” is one of his strongest This particular cover was featured on Tweedy’s Roadcase 032 album, Roadcase is the live album series that is released through Wilco’s own dBpm Records. This Beatles cover is joined by covers of Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” along with live versions of Tweedy originals.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2ty66PpzjM

Related Content

4 Responses

  1. I love this choice list of covers. Highlighting these influential songs is really important in pinpointing Tweedy (and Wilco’s) musical DNA – it’s why I included a Covers section in my 2019 book, Wilcopedia.

  2. One of the best things about the Tweedy Show is getting exposed to new artists as well as deep cuts from the better known. Jeff Tweedy’s knowledge of music is encyclopedic and his taste is impeccable. Two of my favorite songs I only know because of him are “Human” by Molly Sarlé and “Love Like a Wire” by the late Diane Izzo. I hardly need to mention his own songs are beautiful art. When I feel despair (which is often) about the current zeitgeist, I console myself with the fact that at least I get to live in the time of Jeff Tweedy.

    1. I found that Molly Sarle’ “Human” song through them too! Sammy did a beautiful job on it. The Sirty Projectors song too

  3. Thanks for this! I have been lobbying Jeff on his substack to record a solo covers album based on how many excellent ones he tossed off there and on The Tweedy Show, from Billie Eilish to Radiohead. (The show got me and thousands of others through the pandemic, and more.)

    In fact your Kokomo clip is from my YouTube page, where I have been archiving the show’s performances for future generations. (I make no $ from it.) I have made a playlist of covers – both by Jeff and his talented sons Spencer and Sammy – and sub-lists of Dylan, Neil Young, and Beatles, because they did so many of those.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLy91Eseyhin_gtNJ0SrPUlK56NUaMSbDZ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide

Twitter