Anybody with an ear for this kind of thing knows the Live Lounge, BBC Radio 1 feature originally presented by Jo Whiley, and now by the lovely Fearne Cotton.
Live Lounge, on which artists are invited to perform an original alongside a cover of their choice, is renowned for its tendency to throw up interesting and unexpected takes on well-known tracks (Arctic Monkeys doing Amy Winehouse’s ‘You Know I’m No Good,’ Robyn taking on Alicia Keys’ ‘Sleeping with a Broken Heart’). Being the BBC, it’s all lovingly archived, bizarrely frequent recurrence of N-Dubz and all.
Hawaiian singer-songwriter Bruno Mars is the latest to grace the BBC studios, and his debut performance is everything a cover version should be: beautifully arranged, personalised and performed in the light-hearted manner in which it was intended. He even throws in a couple of lines from the Beach Boys’ similarly-titled ‘California Girls’ and a clever take on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’