Universal Hall Pass’s cover of “Ring of Fire” on American Idol

Melissa Kaplan

A friend alerted me that Adam Lambert on American Idol sang Universal Hall Pass’s arrangement of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” a couple weeks ago. A cover of a cover? Aha! Apparently Ryan Seacrest thought it was a version of the song by Chris Cornell. Oops. I finally checked out Adam’s version on YouTube and it was really, really bad. So bad I don’t think I should even link to it.

If you want to hear Melissa Kaplan of Universal Hall Pass’s outstanding version of “Ring of Fire”, listen to it in the playlist below of eight covers. Or download the MP3 from the Universal Hall Pass website. Melissa was the singer of one of my favorite Boston bands, Splashdown.

Photo Credit: I’m not sure who took this photo. It’s an old press photo when Melissa was in Splashdown.

Music Worth Noting : Universal Hall Pass Covers “Ring of Fire”

One of my favorite Boston bands, Splashdown, broke up a couple years ago after Capitol Records decided not to release their Blueshift album. All three of the band members moved on to other interesting projects. Melissa Kaplan (vocals/lyrics for Splashdown) started her own band called Universal Hall Pass, a project featuring her vocals and lyrics plus guest contributors. She was in North Carolina recently recording music for a forthcoming album. Maybe she’ll be lucky and the record label who picks her up will actually release it. In the meantime, she’s made a few songs available on her website. The latest MP3 is a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” When most bands cover a song it’s hard to really even tell them apart; but Melissa does a great job adding her own style to this song including middle eastern influences and stunning vocals. The song was a joint collaboration with the electronic duo Mugat. (Universal Hall Pass : Ring of Fire)

Update March 29, 2009: A lot of people saw someone sing Universal Hall Pass’s version of Ring of Fire on American Idol. If you’re wondering what Melissa Kaplan’s version of the song sounds like, listen to it in this mix of eight covers.