The B Street Band and other tribute acts who have come out of the shadows

Trump cant get the real deal, so hes had to make do with a Springsteen tribute act playing at one of his inauguration balls. Which other cover artists have stepped into the limelight

Cover bands have all the fun. With less hassle and better pay than most third-tier gigging bands, from time to time, they can even achieve glory commensurate with their objects of imitation.

So it has proved for The B Street Band, who will be taking on their third consecutive inaugural ball for Donald Trump, having played for Barack Obama in 2009 and 2013. Given the inverse McCarthyism of the media elite to those playing Trumps inauguration, the Bruce Springsteen tribute act has had to dodge considerable flak this week, especially since Garry Tallent member of the original Springsteen backing band, E Street Band tweeted: Please tell me this is more fake news. Or at least a joke.

Ive been beaten down. I havent slept. Ive been up all night, B Street founding member and keyboardist Will Forte told Rolling Stone, clearly already getting into character.

The chance to grab some limelight on the biggest stages is one only a few select cover bands have had in their time. Here are some others.

The Bootleg Beatles played to a crowd of 250,000. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

Bootleg Beatles

Clocking up over 4,000 gigs in their 37-year span, the Bootleg Beatles are almost older than John Lennon ever was. Unlike the original Beatles, who merely sang about it, they actually performed a 60-date tour in the USSR, but their high watermark came when Oasis began to take unabashed Fabs worship into the mainstream. In the same era that a giant image of Lennon would be lowered at the end of every show so that the Gallaghers could bow down in front of it, they began recruiting the Bootlegs as their support act. At Knebworth, this culminated in them playing to a crowd of 250,000 over the two nights. In 1999, the fake four played the roof of 3 Savile Row, in imitation of the famous Let It Be gig. Sadly, their 2009 plan for a 40th anniversary repeat was nixed on health and safety grounds.

The Australian Pink Floyd Show played a sellout gig at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006. Photograph: Alamy

The Australian Pink Floyd Show

Founded in 1988, The Australian Pink Floyd Show has cannily avoided any dependence on facial similarity to David Gilmour by distracting punters with a dazzling lasered-up AV show in the lysergic spirit of the original Cambridge art school crew. As well as a copy of the pink pig last seen flying over Battersea Power Station, the Aussies have their own inflatable: Skippy, a flying kangaroo. In 2008, they mounted a full-blown version of The Wall, and, while as far back as 1996 they found themselves playing Gilmours 50th birthday, their high watermark was surely 2006s Royal Albert Hall sellout.

Lez Zeppelin have struck out with their own music. Photograph: Frank Mullen/WireImage

Lez Zeppelin

In a saturated novelty landscape, Led Zeppelin tributes have ranged through all the angles, from Dread Zeppelin the songs of Led Zeppelin in a reggae style as sung by a 300-pound [140 kg] Las Vegas Elvis impersonator up to and including the Lez Zeppelin an all-female version of Plant, Bonham and Page. Having managed to tame big-stage crowds at notoriously picky moshers favourite Download festival, they have bloomed into a tribute act so confident that they record their own albums.

Oasish headlined at 2014s Glastonbudget. Photograph: PR


Lets fookin ave it Glastonbudget, were Liams opening words as Oasish fulfilled their dream of headlining 2014s Glastonbudget a Leicestershire-based festival that pulls in crowds upwards of 12,000. Short of an as-yet-uninvented Knebworthless, its the biggest stage for UK tribute acts. Perhaps he was on such swaggering form because that weekend also saw a tense recreation of the famous 1995 chart battle with Blurd playing the same event, alongside the likes of T Rextasy, Metallica Reloaded, the Killers Aldi version the Fillers, Green Date and the confusingly named the Real Nirvana.

The Clone Roses played at the 25th anniversary gig of their namesakes. Photograph: PR

The Clone Roses

While mastering John Squires endless widdly-widdly is hugely taxing on guitarists, as live singing gigs go, being better than Ian Brown doesnt take much more than turning up. The Clone Roses have long been best at both the widdly-widdly and the turning up, so for the 25th anniversary of their namesakes famously inaudible epoch-making mega-gig they decided to recreate the Spike Island concert song for song in the less remote, wind-blown and possibly-toxic surrounds of a boozer in Widnes.

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