Mumford & Sons covers The National's 'England' on 'VH1 Unplugged' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Mumford & Sons doing The National? Yes, please.

The buzzy English folk rockers are the latest to take the plunge on VH1’s recently rebooted Unplugged series, and EW has the exclusive video of their cover of stately Brooklyn-based indie outfit The National‘s song “England.”

It turns out that the Mumford boys have admired The National for a long time. “We’re big fans,” says Mumford & Sons vocalist Marcus Mumford just before performing “England” in the video, embedded below.

“Last summer,” he continues, “we got to see them, like, five or six times, and really loved High Violet as an album and that song [‘England] obviously sticks out for us cause we’re English. Still trying to figure out if it’s offensive towards English people, but yeah, we’re making it non-offensive. We’re making it sort of like a real Britannia song today.”

“When we were asked to play a cover, it just sort of jumped out. As opposed,” he jokes, “to playing Ween’s version of ‘Waving my D— in the Wind,’ which we thought we’d save for another time.” Watch it here:

VH1 Unplugged: Mumford & Sons premieres online Thursday, June 23, at 8 p.m. at and will air on VH1 Friday, June 24, at 11 p.m. The online premiere this Thursday will be accompanied by a live viewing party where fans can watch and chat with one another.

In addition to “England,” the band will also perform their own “Sigh No More,” “Roll Away Your Stone,” “White Blank Page,” and “The Cave” from 2009’s Sigh No More.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more:
Mumford & Sons strip down ‘The Cave': Watch a piece of their intimate New York City show
Mumford & Sons: Ben Lovett talks about playing with Dylan, recording with Ray Davies, and high-fiving R. Kelly
Mumford & Sons: An EW Q&A with frontman Marcus Mumford

Comments (39 total) Add your comment
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  • Alex

    Yuck, can this awful band not ruin a perfectly awesome National song. Stick to making phony folk and wishing you were half the band the Fleet Foxes are. Mumford & Sons are such posers.

    • Garrett

      wow you have no taste in music or have a feel for passion

      • Alex

        I’m positive my taste in music is better than your’s if you listen to Mumford&Sons. I’d rather listen to the worst Panda Bear song than anything Mumford has ever put out. Yeah, I said Panda Bear, I listen to better music than you get over it.

      • Greg

        *yours, not your’s.

      • AC

        Music is the most subjective thing on the planet. Saying that you are positive that your taste is better than anyone elses is just like saying “I’m a huge, self-important DoucheBag”

      • Lee

        Alex is getting defensive with opinions and no facts. Not an effective way to prove your point. Alex–I have a tip for you: do NOT become a defense lawyer. You’ll be terrible at it.

    • Rich

      I love the new Fleet Foxes AND the last M&S albums equally. Can’t you just appreciate both??

      Although I still prefer The National’s original version of this…

    • Andrew

      It’s always funny when people argue over “who’s taste is better”

    • Alex you are a


    • Alyssa

      You sir, are one of the reasons I’m losing faith in humanity. I suggest you go listen to your Justin Bieber cd for the 1800th time.

  • Sarah

    While it’s good, I think Mumford’s own music is much better than this song. Nothing matches their own music.

  • JGo

    It’s hard to compare because Matt Berninger’s voice is just so distinctive, but a new favorite band covering an all-time favorite band’s song is still full of win for me.

  • Genie

    Thanks for this post, love this performance!

  • Jack

    I agree with the posts against Mumford & Sons, I think this band is terrible. They have nothing unique about them, their songs lack emotion, and borrow elements of other genres to create awful music. Why this band has gotten any recognition is beyond me. There are so many bands out there that take their influences and create unique music, example: Future Islands. But no, lets give this crap band mainstream radio play. Blargh. The National is a great band btw, they take so many existing elements and create unique emotional filled music.

    • Alex

      You are 100% correct, this band is nothing more than a grab bag of sound from a bunch of better bands.For music that ostensibly prizes the appearance of honesty and confession, Sigh No More sounds surprisingly anonymous, giving a sense of the band as engaged music listeners but not as real people

      • AC

        For music that ostensibly prizes the appearance of honesty and confession, Sigh No More sounds surprisingly anonymous, giving a sense of the band as engaged music listeners but not as real people

        I bet you lifted that paragraph straight out of “Hipsters Douche Review Weekly”

    • Andy

      This sounds pretty horrible and kind of a failure in terms of a cover song. First time seeing a clip of this band play live…please stick to the studio boys.

    • Evan

      you guys are just hipsters thats all its not your fault you hate people who are famous

      • Lee

        You gotta feel sorry for the hipsters (or those born 1980 – present). What great recording artist, film director or novelist can they claim? No one. They missed out on the 1960s/70s with the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zep. The missed out on the 1950s with J.D. Salinger, James Dean, Marlon Brando and Elvis Presley. They missed out on the 1920s with Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Who can they claim? Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Avatar. Ha. Ha. Ha. No wonder the hipsters are in a grumpy mood. I guess I would be too if I hadn’t lived through the 60s and 70s.

      • AC

        Lee, don’t be some smarmy 50 year old that only thinks what he grew up with is worthy of being called Art. The 80’s/90’s produced a ton of great directors, bands, and novelists. Directors Stone, Spielberg, Coen Brothers, Tarentino, Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, Eastwood. Novelists: Brett Easton Ellis, David Foster Wallace, Cormac McCarthy, Neal Stephenson etc.. Great Recording Artists Michael Jackson, Prince, Springsteen, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Talking Heads, Radiohead, Beck, U2, Tool.
        Stop being that typical old dic that can’t stop talking about how great the old days were and enjoy all the great artists people born after 1980 have loved
        Stop being that typical old dic that can’t stop talking about how great the old days were and enjoy all the great artists people born after 1980 have loved

  • Tyler

    Great band, great song.

  • stevenjaba

    Sounds like we have the classic “Your favorite band sucks” argument brewing here. Pointless as it all comes down to personal taste. That said, I love some Mumford and Sons.

    • Nesquick

      I agree, the bigger a band gets the nitpicks get ridiculous. I’ve seen them play live in a concert hall, they play with sincerity and passion and its totally believable. Despite what these negative comments have to say, they’ve connected with the general public consciousness. They’ve worked hard to be where they are now, it’s through word-of-mouth from their live performances and engaging in audience participation. Sure there are better bands out there, Mumford and sons admit this. They are making music what they love and I’ll just let the nay sayers say all they want. Doesn’t do anyone any favours.

      • Garrett

        thank you!!!

  • Michael

    Mumford and Sons are phenomenal. Not only was their album one of the best of 2010, but their live performance was AMAZING and one of the highlight concerts I attended last year! (Iron Maiden being another favorite.) Those that criticize are merely stirring the pot. I don’t believe they are true music fans. A true music fan will accept and respect whatever music an individual listens to. Poor Alex just sounds uneducated and immature in his comments. I pray one day he will learn acceptance and understanding, but I doubt it.

  • Glamrat

    Great band love great bands. Very cool.
    Twitter: @glamrat

  • Sarah

    i don’t mind mumford & sons, but this cover is nowhere near the brilliance that the national brought to the original. i’ll stick with the national, thanks.

  • KFar

    They say “kinda like our Rule Britannia song today.” Not “real Britannia.”

  • Sadie

    Wow, I love when people take time to not only read a post about a band they dislike, but watch a performance AND post a negative comment. Someone needs to get a j-o-b.

    Meanwhile, LOVE Mumford. Saw them in concert just last week, and they were incredible, even in the sweltering North Carolina heat. Can’t wait to see this special!

    • Laura

      Ditto! Why waste your time watching a performance of a band you claim to loathe? Mumford is awesome!

      • MountainHi

        Perhaps because they chose to cover a song by The National, a band we appreciate. Might not have had negative energy for Mumford & Sons if the cover hadn’t sucked. I don’t dislike them, but the cover didn’t do the song or them any favors.

  • Caryn K

    The boys are just fine. If you don’t like, don’t listen. The bottom line is that they sing from the heart.

  • Tyler F

    Mumford & Sons are an okay band. The National are wonderful. This cover isn’t that great. Sorry M&S! Stick to the folky stuff, don’t try to be as cool as The National. There’s no one like Matt Berninger, except for maybe Tom Waits.

  • Blake

    I guarantee if Mumford and Sons were hadn’t gained their recent string of popularity you would still consider them a great band. Sure, the cover doesn’t do justice to the National but when has anybody covered the National effectively? Mumford and Sons still put together an incredible album that incorporates elements of music that are innovative to the indie music scene

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