Over the past few weeks, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has been spending his time in self-isolation covering some of his favorite songs for a series he’s dubbed “No Fun Mondays.” His latest installment is a reverent rendition of Raspberries frontman Eric Carmen’s solo single “That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
Where the original, released in 1976, started off with a sort of sparse, rockabilly vibe — the likes of which Bruce Springsteen would later emulate on “Glory Days” — and a big, brassy chorus buttressed with lush, AM-radio-ready backup vocals, Armstrong plays it straight. The guitar takes center stage in the music, from the scratchy riff to the wiggly lead line, leaving room for Armstrong’s voice to surf over the top.
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“Today’s song is ‘That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll’ by Eric Carmen who was also in The Raspberries,” Armstrong wrote in the video’s description. “However the first time I heard this song was by teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy. My sisters would dance around the house to this one!” (Incidentally, Cassidy’s version, which became a Number Three hit in ’77, boasts even more bells and whistles than Carmen’s.)
Cassidy responded to Armstrong’s kind words on Twitter. “And my daughters are dancing to this now,” he wrote. “Nice work Billie Joe!”
Carmen also shared some words of kindness for Armstrong. He tweeted, “Big shout out to Billie Jo [sic] Armstrong of Green Day for this ultra-cool new take on ‘That’s Rock ‘n Roll’!”
As part of his “No Fun Mondays” series, Armstrong has also shared covers of the Bangles’ (Prince composed) “Manic Monday,” the title song from That Thing You Do!, and Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America.” “I have a small studio, and as soon as the shutdown happened, I was like now I can go in and to occupy my time, go in and do some recording and some writing,” Armstrong said of the series in an interview with The Late, Late Show’s James Corden.
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