Manic Street Preachers – Umbrella (cover of Rihanna’s R&B track)

Umbrella turned Rihanna into a global superstar. The Manic Street Preachers’ cover of it just confirms their status as godlike geniuses…

There’s a fine history of working class British men covering songs by Black American artists (notice I said working class, so I’m not talking about The Rolling Stones.) In recent years this tradition as made a noticeable come back with covers of Independent Women by Elbow and, further back, The Wedding Present covering Shaft. So, in the week in which they were proclaimed as Godlike Geniuses by NME it seems only right that the Manic Street Preachers should join this proud pantheon.

Manic Street Preachers cover Rihanna’s Umbrella

Umbrella by Rihanna was the tune of 2007, spending what seemed like a lifetime at No. 1. I have to say that I wasn’t actually a big fan, despite the fact that I loved SOS, with its great use of a sample from Soft Cell’s Tainted Love (itself a cover of a song by Marc Bolan’s other half, Gloria Jones.) And yet as with all the best cover versions the Manics manage to bring something new to the track; in this case swathes of guitars and keyboards.
Of course the Manics have a couple of great covers in their back catalogue, including Suicide Is Painless (the theme from MASH) and a beautiful version of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (maybe they should have had an umbrella – sorry!), also a theme-tune, this time from Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.)In each case the cover signified the state of the mind the band were in at the time and if that holds true for their cover of Umbrella by Rihanna then the boys are pretty much on top of the world., a state-of -mind which is only likely to be continued if their cover of Umbrella spends as long as the top as Rihanna’s did; why not help them out and download Umbrella now?Umbrella image: Joi on Flickr


  1. This cover by the MSP is surprisingly, really blinkin good.

    It’s up there with the Wedding ‘Pressie’ doing “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, Bragg’s “Chimes of Freedom” and Nirvana’s version of “The Man Who Sold the World”.

    Heck I’d say it’s on par with Neil Diamond’s version of “Mr Bojangles”

    Ok I’m getting carried away now! But I’m genuinely impressed.

    It’s also good news for a lazy cultural farts like me as I can go back to sleep for another 15years now without worrying I’m missing anything

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