Miguel's cover of Elton John's 1974 hit "Bennie and the Jets" has us excited about hearing the rest of the remakes on the iconic singer's album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" that is being reissued next week.
In the meantime, we revisit other soulful reworkings of the song that scored Elton a performance on "Soul Train" and a No. 1 record in Detroit. Our list includes Ashanti, Mary J. Blige, Frank Ocean and Alice Smith.
Here's our top five, in descending order:
1. Miguel "Bennie and the Jets" (2014)
Leave it up to Miguel to put a rock, psychedelic spin on Elton's "electric music" classic. It surprising how comfortable the alternative R&B singer is in this space as the song easily sounds like it could fit on his 2012 album "Kaleidoscope Dream." Though there was no attempt to disguise the Elton cover, the "Adorn" singer was able to make it is own, and Wale's "spaced out" rap about fame is the perfect compliment. Just one question. Doesn't it sound like Miguel is singing "BETTY in the Jets?"
2. Alice Smith "Dream" (2006)
I don’t think anyone thinks of "Bennie and the Jets" when listening to Alice Smith's "Dream." The recording that earned her a 2008 Grammy nomination for best urban/alternative performance and appearance on Ellen, is steeped in individuality, her rich, bluesy vocals and her killer, funky band. Sounds perfect for a James Bond soundtrack, right?
3. Frank Ocean "Super Rich Kids" (2011) featuring Earl Sweatshirt
Frank Ocean's version loops Elton's famous, pacing chords, but blends in additional soft horns, soothing bass and warm kick drums for distinction. Plus, Frank's narrative, delivery and angelic background vocals allow him to transform this song into his own.
Ashanti's use of "Bennie and the Jets" on her song "Good Good" from her album "The Declaration" is more subdued. Elton's memorable piano notes are the most identifiable portions of the song used on the Jermaine Dupri-produced track. This approach allowed the princess of hip-hop soul to escape a barrage of comparisons to Elton's version.
5. Mary J. Blige "Deep Inside" (1999)
Mary J sped the tempo up a bit for her rendition "Deep Inside," a song about her desire for people to see her as a regular person. "The car I drive, the clothes I wear … don't make the woman," she sings in her sultry, signature style.
See, Sir Elton John perform the song on "Soul Train" in 1975: