Hear a Dance Version of Van Halen’s ‘Panama’ by Bird and the Bee
Both members of the Bird and the Bee are Van Halen fans, but that doesn't mean they took a faithful approach when covering "Panama." Listen to the L.A.-based indie-pop duo's new synth-driven update below.
"'Panama" is such an epic, driving, rock jam,” multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin told Billboard. “Van Halen blends anthemic songs with virtuosic playing like nobody else and David Lee Roth always delivers. [Bird and the Bee vocalist] Inara [George] and I discovered we were both big fans of Van Halen growing up and had so much fun re-interpreting this one."
George also admits to learning something as the Bird and the Bee reworked Van Halen's No. 13 hit from 1984.
"You really know when a song was embedded in your brain at a young age,” she said. “I had always assumed that ‘Panama’ was about the Panama Canal? Is it because I was studying that at school at the time the song came out? It’s possible. So, imagine my surprise when Greg and I started working on the song and I started learning the lyrics. The song is about a car and a girl! Duh!”
This is the first new music from the Bird and the Bee in four years. They released "Panama" via Amazon, so Amazon Music listeners can ask Alexa to play "the Amazon Original by the Bird and the Bee" via the Amazon Music app for iOS and Android, or on Alexa-enabled devices.
Inara is the daughter of Lowell George, the late leader of Little Feat. He died when she was only five. Jackson Browne later wrote the song "Of Missing Persons" for Inara in his memory.
They weren't kidding about being Van Halen fans, by the way. The Bird and the Bee's 2009 album Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future features a song called "Diamond Dave," in which the narrator admits to a school-girl crush on Roth.
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