Elton John released his cover of Eagles of Death Metal's "I Love You All the Time" last week. Where the original was a three-minute Gerry Rafferty-inspired boogie-rock tune, the singer-songwriter transformed it into a powerful, dramatic, nearly five-minute piano ballad. It's part of the band's Play It Forward campaign to raise money for victims of the terrorist attack on their Paris show last year.
"The Elton John cover is like ... wow," Josh Homme, who drums for the band and organized the campaign, tells Rolling Stone. "He tuned it into this, like, this glorious animal, this beast. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, is that our song?' I felt part of his version instead of him doing a version of ours."
Eagles of Death Metal launched their Play It Forward campaign last November, a few weeks after the attack. They asked their peers and fans to record versions of the song and promised to donate their royalties to the Sweet Stuff Foundation, which would in turn give 99 percent of money raised to victim relief. The initial round of Play It Forward covers included versions of the song by Florence and the Machine, Imagine Dragons, Savages and others. A second go included renditions by Halestorm, Nada Surf and Chelsea Wolf. John's version arrives with versions by Beck with members of the Strokes, Faster Pussycat and others.
The band collected links to all the covers on their own Play It Forward website. From their, users can stream or purchase the tunes via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify or the unique Play It Forward store.
Homme says John's version of "I Love You All the Time" helped him realize something unique about the project. "The idea was, 'Take only what you need to make whatever you want,'" he says. "And so I think, in that way, the covers are an exhibition of peoples' talents, and their willingness to say, 'If I'm going to do this song, I need to make it mine, so I'm going to do this.' And that is a wonderful thing, taking ownership of it and going, 'Mine goes like this.'"