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Atrocious Cover Songs
September 4, 2003 6:20 PM   Subscribe

When Bad Singers Happen To Good Songs: The Songicides! In today's Spectator Markus Berkmann amusingly raises the deadly spectre of the worst covers ever recorded. We're talking assassins here. I nominate Phil Collins's massacre of Holland/Dozier/Holland's "You Can't Hurry Love", as originally sung by Diana Ross and the Supremes; U2's goring of Cole Porter's "Night and Day", best sung by Sinatra or Ella and, worst of all, though he's my favourite artist, Leonard Cohen's mangling of Irving Berlin's classic "Always". What's the worst cover version you'd like to report to Musical Homicide?
posted by MiguelCardoso (137 comments total)

 
My vote for "worst ever" goes to The Vengaboys' version of Xavier Cugat's "Brazil" (perhaps the greatest song of all time).
posted by Marquis at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2003


Whatever you choose, it's bound to be here.

I'm partial to Joe Pesci's Got To Get You Into My Life, but they're all pretty bad.

In fact, this was going to be my next MefiSwap CD.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:33 PM on September 4, 2003


Marquis: I not only agree, I don't thank you for reminding me.

"Brasil" - which is definitely "perhaps the greatest song of all time" was written, music and lyrics, by Ary Barroso, the great Brazilian composer.

Xavier Cugat, like Edmundo Ros, was a great performer, though. As a child we had a weekly TV programme of his and, when I was about 11 and visited Portugal, I actually met the great man in the Estoril Casino. I've still got his autograph. A week after that a surly Oscar Peterson came to the same place and turned me down. Perhaps because he was Canadian?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:34 PM on September 4, 2003


let it be known that i love tori amos, but "worst cover" vacillates between her versions of "this old man" and rem's "losing my religion".

oh, and there's a boston-band who have started including "two-headed boy" by neutral milk hotel and wilco's "we're just friends" in their live sets. it's special. the bad kind of special. (i don't want to name them, but if you're in boston you've likely seen the lead singer's crotch plastered all over town.)
posted by pxe2000 at 6:42 PM on September 4, 2003


Avril Levigne doing Metallica's Fuel.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:49 PM on September 4, 2003


I'm almost ashamed to admit that I bought, many years ago, a cassette of popular songs sung by operatic tenor Peter Hoffman, which was bad enough to be fairly laughable. Memorable were his renditions of the Beatles' "Yesterday", and the Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", both sung at Wagnerian full-tilt in an accent somewhere between Schwarzenegger and Madeline Kahn in "Blazing Saddles".

"Yooff losst zat luffink feelink, o-o dat luffink feelink....!"

A brief googling tells that more recently he's recorded "The House of the Rising Sun"...
posted by gimonca at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2003


What melodrama! The writer starts out at least trying to describe what makes a cover good or bad, but very quickly gives up and resorts to such cute pithyness as "The grim terror that was Phil Collins’s ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’" and "The Human Foghorn’s version blighted the lives of millions". I frankly thought the Phil Collins song was nice and upbeat with fun harmonies; I guess that makes me part of the problem somehow.
posted by JanetLand at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2003


I'll go the other direction. I fart in the general direction of Rod Stewart's conventional cover of "Northern Bound Train" that comes nowhere close to the depth and melancholy of Tom Waits's original.
posted by psmealey at 6:53 PM on September 4, 2003


Natalie Cole dubbing herself onto Nat Cole's "Unforgettable" was truly unforgivable. (And I'm actually fond of Tori Amos's cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" -- it's the funniest thing I've ever heard. I've been told that it wasn't intended as a joke, but I have a hard time believing that.
posted by Zonker at 6:53 PM on September 4, 2003


Britney Spears doing "I Love Rock And Roll." That bimbo dosen't even have a nodding acquaintance with rock and roll.
posted by jonmc at 6:54 PM on September 4, 2003


Some things should just be left alone; Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses is a prime example and the Sheryl Crow version makes me cringe everytime I hear it.

I've never been fond of Sinatra's version of Mrs. Robinson.

The Rolling Stones should never have done any country songs, be they covers or not.
posted by ashbury at 6:55 PM on September 4, 2003


It is my understanding that the RIAA is considering punishing file sharers by forcing them to listen to Madonna's cover of "American Pie" and Brittney Spears' cover of "I Love Rock and Roll."
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:56 PM on September 4, 2003


Shatner. Sings. Lennon. McCartney.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:57 PM on September 4, 2003


The Rolling Stones should never have done any country songs, be they covers or not.

asbury, my man, I respectfully suggest that you re-listen to "Sweet Virginia," and "Let It Bleed."
posted by jonmc at 7:06 PM on September 4, 2003


David Bowie singing "God Only Knows." Joan Baez singing "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Bob Dylan singing "The Boxer."

Ouch.
posted by argybarg at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2003


Any cover of the La's "There She Goes". I mean, come on. Enough already.
posted by drinkcoffee at 7:09 PM on September 4, 2003


Technically I suppose it's not a cover, but when I first heard Gangsta's Paradise it had a very immediate, positive effect on me. I rushed out and bought the CD of Songs in the Key of Life (which I had previously had only on LP and never played any more) and put it back into frequent rotation in my daily life, if only to get the atrocity of "Gangsta's Paradise" out of my ears. All's well that ends well.

Also, I agree that Brasil is "definitely perhaps the greatest song of all time."
posted by soyjoy at 7:13 PM on September 4, 2003


MIchael Bolton ( the original asshat) covering Percy SAledge's "When a Man Love's a Woman".
posted by timeistight at 7:20 PM on September 4, 2003


David Bowie singing "God Only Knows."

That's not his worst cover. Check out his upcoming album in a couple of weeks for a horrendous version of The Modern Lovers song, Pablo Picasso.
posted by machaus at 7:22 PM on September 4, 2003


Perhaps you have all forgotten the recent pseudo-celebrity ensemble cover of Marvin Gaye's immortal "What's Going On."

I just reminded you. Thank you for suffering today.
posted by Stan Chin at 7:22 PM on September 4, 2003


Does "A Fifth of Beethoven" count as a cover? And while we're shuddering at the thought of disco, how about a bad cover of a bad song -- Donna Summer doing "Macarthur Park".
posted by joaquim at 7:40 PM on September 4, 2003


Anything by Mrs. Miller. Guaranteed to make you want to tear your ears off.

There are a number of covers I really like, though: John Wesley Harding's version of "Like A Prayer", The Oysterband's take on "Love Vigilantes". I even like Dolly Parton's "Stairway to Heaven" (Because it is a folk song, dammit!) The Lemonheads' punked up version of "Luka"...

But then again, I also like Barry Manilow and John Denver--so my taste is highly suspect. Just ask some of the poor folks who have been subjected to my mixes in the CD swaps.
posted by eilatan at 7:44 PM on September 4, 2003


If "A Fifth of Beethoven" counts, so does "Stars on 45".

And jon, I respectfully request that you re-listen to "Dear Doctor".

Thar's a pay-un whar thar wunce was mah hart.
posted by yhbc at 7:48 PM on September 4, 2003


Elvis Costello doing his own song, "God Give Me Strength" with Burt Bacharach's overblown arrangment gets my vote. (I'm a big Elvis fan too!)
(Bette Midler covered it too...just as badly.)
The song was sung with much better effect by Kristen Vigard in the movie "Grace of My Heart".
posted by black8 at 7:49 PM on September 4, 2003


Don't think I've heard Britney Spears' "I Love Rock and Roll", but her version of "(Can't get no) Satisfaction" can send you running and screaming in terror.
posted by piper28 at 7:51 PM on September 4, 2003


I think the worst cover of any good song is one that simply tries to replicate the original recording -- in terms of delivery, tempo, key, tone, etc. Both in the commercial pop world and the indie world, there are way too many of those to name. Bleh. I'd rather hear covers where the new artist at least tries to add something or convert the song to a different style, even if it ultimately sucks. (Then I can at least laugh, instead of being bored to death.)

As for a cover that's so *off* that it's either cracked or brilliant, there's a version of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" as performed by Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist. I haven't seen the video piece, "Sip My Ocean," that accompanies it, so I'm probably missing a lot. (I do like other video pieces by her.) But that song on its own -- a friend of mine had the CD, and you just have to hear it. It starts off fairly normal, and then she gets progressively more, um, intense.

In David Bowie's defense, I liked his version of the Pixies' "Cactus," even if it seemed like he was trying to play the I'm-still-hip credibility card. (And speaking of covers of "Pablo Picasso," Phranc did a cheeky version where she changed it to "Gertrude Stein." I thought that was pretty clever back in my college-radio days.)
posted by lisa g at 7:55 PM on September 4, 2003


Probably any of the covers that KMFDM have done. Probably their take on Mysterious Ways from U2. Hell, even most of their own music falls into the same category of laughable shittiness. Oh how I love you, KMFDM.
posted by angry modem at 7:55 PM on September 4, 2003


Zappa doing Hendrix's "Purple Haze" is either the best thing or the worst thing I've ever heard.
posted by duckstab at 7:56 PM on September 4, 2003


Rod Stewart is a repeat offender in so many ways, but on topic, the travesties that are his versions of "Have I Told You Lately" and "Broken Arrow" comprise the torture in my personal version of Hell #32.
posted by janespeed at 7:57 PM on September 4, 2003


Worst? But there are soooo many!

Limp Bisquik's cover of "Faith" comes to mind (but their cover of "Sanitarium" at the Metallica Icon thingy was good, and it really pains me to admit that as I HATE L.B.)

Speaking of Metallica covers could anything have been worse than Snoop Dogg's lame attempt at "Sad but True"?

Since I'm on the subject of Metallica, "Turn the fucking Page"!!??!!

"Louie,Louie" by Black Flag (pre-Rollins check out the "Everything Went Black" CD)

Best.Cover.Ever
posted by MikeMc at 7:58 PM on September 4, 2003


there's a version of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" as performed by Swiss video artist Pipilotti Rist. I haven't seen the video piece, "Sip My Ocean," that accompanies it, so I'm probably missing a lot.

It was an amazingly immersive installation of soothing underwater footage against the manic bleatings of the song cover. If it hits a video art retrospective near you, don't miss it.
posted by machaus at 8:04 PM on September 4, 2003


In reality, nothing can be worse than covers performed by Leonard Nimoy, although William Shatner singing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" comes close.
posted by Jimbob at 8:06 PM on September 4, 2003


btw, Rod Stewart did "Downtown Train", not "Northern Bound Train"
posted by goddam at 8:11 PM on September 4, 2003


...and let's not forget Shatner's moving rendition of Tambourine Man.
posted by fatbobsmith at 8:11 PM on September 4, 2003


damn goddam, you're right. I was thinking that, but the mind faltered, and I could only remember that Pete Droge song title. Booze kills brain cells, kids. Don't end up like me. Back on topic, of U2's many detestable qualities, their pompous cover of "Helter Skelter" deserves special mention.
posted by psmealey at 8:15 PM on September 4, 2003


Britney Spears doing "I Love Rock And Roll." That bimbo dosen't even have a nodding acquaintance with rock and roll.

Closely followed by the recently endured (I was at an airport and couldn't get away from the monitors) shrieking bimbo Mariah Carey covering early Def Leppard with a blood-curdlingly lame 'Bringin' on the Heartbreak'.

Not that the original was the pinnacle of rawk, of course. Yes, I liked the first couple Def Leppard albums, mostly because they take me back to passenger-seat highspeed nighttime teenage pickup truck rides along the summer lakeside with a nubile young woman sitting on either knee and a bottle of rye in my hand. How could I not have a soft (or slightly firmer) spot, for memories like that?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:16 PM on September 4, 2003


I'd rather hear covers where the new artist at least tries to add something or convert the song to a different style, even if it ultimately sucks.

That's what I thought, until I heard Tim Curry's reggae-calypso version of "I Will."

Oh, and angry modem: I have it on good authority that KMFDM sucks.
posted by soyjoy at 8:17 PM on September 4, 2003


Pretty well anything off those terrible "tribute" album that first started to rear their ugly heads in the late 80's/early 90's could be nominated. The Neil Young one being the best of the litter, and they went downhill from there. Nobody needs to hear 3rd-rate college rock bands take on the Byrds.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 8:19 PM on September 4, 2003


I *like* the Stones doing country. Richards really means it; Jagger really doesn't. It makes a nice tension.
posted by timeistight at 8:22 PM on September 4, 2003


"Louie,Louie" by Black Flag (pre-Rollins check out the "Everything Went Black" CD). Best.Cover.Ever

Quite possibly true. Definitely one of my faves. Dinosaur Jr covering the Cure (damn I forget the song name) was one of my faves around the time I had that on a few mixed tapes, too.

Johnny Cash's recent cover output, though a little spotty perhaps, has been pretty shit-hot as well.

The Neil Young one being the best of the litter

'The Bridge' it was called. Man, I loved that album. Took forever to track down again via p2p.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:23 PM on September 4, 2003


Talking obscure (if you're not Australian), and talking The Cure, try to track down Australian rockabilly band The Living End's cover of "10:15 Saturday Night". It gets my vote for one of the best covers out there.
posted by Jimbob at 8:26 PM on September 4, 2003


Oh, there's an mp3 sample of it here.
posted by Jimbob at 8:28 PM on September 4, 2003


I haven't heard the other Tori Amos covers discuessed here, but she does a fantast job of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat". Of course it is a great song to begin with.

Any recording of MacArthur Park is crap. It was written as crap, and no matter how you slice it, it still comes out crap. The only good cover of it would be the one of those containers they use to seal up radiactive waste for ages in a salt dome.

It's hard to pick one crappy cover from so many....
posted by Eekacat at 8:34 PM on September 4, 2003


Black Hole Sun - Steve & Eydie. God help us.
posted by dejah420 at 8:34 PM on September 4, 2003


Hootie and the Blowfish doing Zep's Hey Hey What Can I Do on Encomium. The absolute nadir.
posted by UncleFes at 8:36 PM on September 4, 2003


The Residents can't get no Satisfaction. Though I suppose unintentional badness is more fun.
posted by ook at 8:53 PM on September 4, 2003


Ooo! Ooo! Who was it that did that cover of "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" that changed the last chorus to "Now he's Good, Good Leroy Brown"? That was bad, bad. But google couldn't help me. It was like, Mac Davis or Paul Anka or some such. Maybe it only happened on the Carol Burnett Show, I don't know.

Oh yeah, and that Bloodhound Gang cover of "The Roof is on Fire" with the goofy verse lyrics... actually, that was kind of fun to listen to, now that I think of it. But it was still a travesty.
posted by soyjoy at 8:56 PM on September 4, 2003


I, for one, really liked U2's version of Cole Porter's "Night and Day." I thought it brought a dark, obsessive, urgent quality to the song that many interpretations glossed over. It's also a sonically interesting song, and was a bridge of sorts between their Joshua Tree/Rattle & Hum era and the darker Achtung Baby.

Actually, most of the Red Hot + Blue tribute to Cole Porter album is quite good. You can find lots of interesting transitional material there: Sinéad O'Connor's solid cover of "You Do Something to Me," (which came right before her so-so standards album) and "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," which, I believe, was the first solo recording by Annie Lennox (right before Diva came out).

And of course, the wonderful, full version of "Miss Otis Regrets/Just One of Those Things" performed by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues. God, I miss Kirsty.

Oh wait, were we talking about cover songs we don't like?
posted by pjhagop at 9:02 PM on September 4, 2003


The Gregorian chant version of "In The Air Tonight" by Phil Collins. So bad it wraps around to being good again. I admit it, it's a guilty pleasure. Cheesilicious.

Oh yeah, Saga's inexplicable cover of "Taxman." Awful.

Best cover ever: KOMPRESSOR's version of "The Girl from Ipanema."
posted by kindall at 9:11 PM on September 4, 2003


Worst cover versions: Beatles division.
posted by jonp72 at 9:27 PM on September 4, 2003


Any recording of MacArthur Park is crap. It was written as crap, and no matter how you slice it, it still comes out crap.

Ahh, but Maynard Ferguson turned Macarthur Park (and many more disco era cheez-whiz songs) into pure music gold. Don't underestimate the contemporary jazz instrumental.
posted by PrinceValium at 9:30 PM on September 4, 2003


My vote goes to the David Bowie/Marianne Faithful
rendition of "I"ve Got You Babe". Truly horrific.
posted by maus501 at 9:37 PM on September 4, 2003 [1 favorite]


Natalie Merchant, live, covering the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil".

"Ooh ooh... ooh ooh..."

Hideous.
posted by eyebeam at 9:40 PM on September 4, 2003


Can't believe no one has mentioned T.A.T.U.'s cover of The Smiths "How Soon is Now."

Also sucking is The Flaming Lips cover of Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head." Simply awful.
posted by Quartermass at 9:56 PM on September 4, 2003


As much as I love them, I am compelled to call out Duran Duran. They did an entire album of covers, and while some were okay (Iggy's "Success" "White Lines") there were some which were beyond understanding, most notably the attempt at Public Enemy's "911 Is a Joke." Owning the CD, I'd share an mp3'd snippet of that cover, but really, if you haven't heard it, you never need to. Never.
posted by Dreama at 10:00 PM on September 4, 2003


Wing.
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:09 PM on September 4, 2003


Edward Furlong singing "People Are Strange".

The worst drunken karaoke night could not compare.
posted by Katemonkey at 10:30 PM on September 4, 2003


You are all, tragically, wrong. The worst cover ever was done by a local hair metal band that was quite popular in L.A. in the 1980s, called "Leatherwolf" (like Dave Barry, I am not making this up). They were big enough to have a record deal, albeit on Metal Blade records. The song they covered was CCR's Bad Moon Rising, and while this cover has fallen to the obscurity it deserves, it is truly the most awful thing ever. I found (miraculously) an mp3 of it during the peak popularity of Napster, and I treasure it as my own personal reminder that I had horrible, horrible dear god so awful it defies description HORRIBLE taste in music. I would post it to a server to share with you all, but I'm sadly lacking in servers and/or bandwidth. However, if anyone is desperate for the punishment, email me and I'll send you a copy.
posted by jonson at 10:37 PM on September 4, 2003


Billy Idol


LA Woman


The line that KILLS me.

She drinks wine spody odeeeeeeee!


What an a$$h_le.
posted by RubberHen at 10:45 PM on September 4, 2003


I think the worst cover of any good song is one that simply tries to replicate the original recording

I agree. For example, Sixpence None the Richer's recent identical-arrangement version of The La's "There She Goes" is completely pointless.

Three good covers: Johnny Cash doing U2's "One," Aztec Camera doing Van Halen's "Jump," and that kid from The Commitments doing Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." Oh, and Jack Black does a great job on Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" in High Fidelity.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:04 PM on September 4, 2003


My vote goes to the David Bowie/Marianne Faithful
rendition of "I"ve Got You Babe". Truly horrific.


Oh, but the video footage..... Marianne Faithful dressed in a full nun's habit, obviously sporting a little "habit" of her own.

When Junkies Attack (Good Songs)

/I got you bay-bay
posted by evilcupcakes at 11:10 PM on September 4, 2003


Three good covers: Johnny Cash doing U2's "One,"

See also: Johnny Cash doing "Your Own Personal Jesus."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:22 PM on September 4, 2003


Avril Levigne doing Metallica's Fuel.

Avril Lavigne doing System of a Down's Chop Suey, laughably bad.

And I remember hearing a Japanese girl band doing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, which was quite painful due to the common Japanese difficulty in pronounciation of the letter R.

And I can't stand any band covering "Waiting Room", like it's not always terrible but Fugazi has written other songs, I hate hearing that one again and again.
posted by bobo123 at 11:22 PM on September 4, 2003


Can't believe no one has mentioned T.A.T.U.'s cover of The Smiths "How Soon is Now."

Jesus, I really didn't need to know that this even exists. Hands off The Smiths!

I do, however, think Tori Amos' cover of Eminem's "97' Bonnie & Clyde" is utterly brilliant.
posted by jokeefe at 11:56 PM on September 4, 2003


I take it as a good sign that no one recalls Age Of Chance's wonderful cover of Prince's Kiss, which I still have on vinyl.
posted by Dagobert at 12:28 AM on September 5, 2003


Tit: I actually think T.A.T.U.'s cover is magnificent.

Tat: On the other hand, Kate Bush's version of "Rocket Man" sets my teeth on edge. Burning up her FEEEEOWSE up there alone...
posted by gdav at 12:39 AM on September 5, 2003


-Bowie's cover of 'Alabama Song' (whiskey bar? you know, the same one the Doors covered) is pretty fucking terrible. Come to think of it, I've always felt that Pin-ups is fairly unlistenable.

-The Feelies, one of the great underrated American post-punk bands, doing 'Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey'. An ugly stain on their otherwise top-notch first LP.

-To all the first-wave mod invasion bands that did the always cloying 'Dancing in the Streets' (the Who, Kinks, etc): shame on you.

-...and You Will Know Us By the trail of Dead do the Monkee's beautiful(!) 'Porpoise Song' a grand disservice. Good thing it's yet to be released (a former roommate of mine worked with them on their last EP and brought home a copy for us all to laugh at).

-Finally, I released a lukewarm album with two legendary indie performers a few years back. We covered/butchered/ruined/whatever 'Ruby Tuesday', 'Michelle' (always hated that tune anyways), and did a medley of (in incorrect order) 'On Top of Old Smokey', 'Take Me to the Other Side', 'Pretty Woman', some Metallica song, 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', 'Ding-Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead', 'Walking on Sunshine' (yes, Katrina and the Waves), and probably some others. Atrocious? Muh-hahahahaha. The embarrassment center of my brain still hurts. Imagine playing *that* one live. At least I got paid.
posted by item at 12:54 AM on September 5, 2003


Pat Boone's In A Metal Mood: No More Mister Nice Guy should deserve at least an Honorable Mention for Most Bad Covers In One Place.
posted by monosyllabic at 12:55 AM on September 5, 2003


Gotta agree with jonmc's choice of Britter's "I Love Rock And Roll."

Mind you, I'm sure everyone can find something they hate on The Money or the Gun's "Stairways to Heaven" album -- all tracks are covers of "Stairway to Heaven". The Rolfe Harris one may have kitch value but it makes me want to make sicky sounds.
posted by krisjohn at 12:57 AM on September 5, 2003


I dunno--even though I love the original, "Stairway" is held by so many people to be some sort of sacred pinnacle of artistic excellence that I get a perverse kick out of the Rolf Harris version, almost as much as the one they used to trot out on CBC's "Nightlines" all the time that featured lyrics adapted from the Gilligan's Island theme.

And speaking of Nightlines, that show was also responsible for introducing me to perhaps the ultimate musical atrocity--Sinatra, in full-on Vegas mode, finger-snapping and "heeey, Jack"-ing his way through the Beatles' "Something." (Come to think of it, the Isaac Hayes version of same, off the "Isaac Hayes Movement" lp, is also pretty toxic.)
posted by arto at 1:19 AM on September 5, 2003


Anything by Mrs. Miller. Guaranteed to make you want to tear your ears off.

Mrs Miller? Sounds like a lame Canadian rip-off of the legendary Mrs Mills - master of the cockerny knees-up.

Straddling the border between pleasure and pain is lofi Walthamstow psychedelic wag (and Countdown champion, natch!) Bevis Frond's cover of Hey Joe. It's done at double-speed with his elderly mum singing lead vocals. It's a wrap in under two minutes and is - um - an experience. Not sure if you'll find it to buy these days, but it was on an album called Triptych.
posted by bifter at 1:49 AM on September 5, 2003


See also: Johnny Cash doing "Your Own Personal Jesus."

See also: Johnny Cash doing "Hurt" which almost goes without saying.

On the derivative, ridiculous covers side, I just heard some goofass neo-punk wannabes (Atari something?) covering Don Henley's "Boys of Summer." The crunchy soundalike chord structure was bad enough, but the triteness of the singer's phrasing makes it entirely clear that he has absolutely no clue what the hell he's singing. He doesn't understand the story being told in the lyrics one little bit.

Plus, the "Deadhead" sticker on the Cadillac has suddenly morphed into a "Black Flag" sticker which undermines the meaning of the lyric in unspeakable ways. It was more heave-inducing than hearing Sheryl Crow "unh unh unh unh unh-ing" her way through Led Zep's D'yer Mak'er, another scornworthy cover from the aforemention Encomium "tribute" compilation.
posted by Dreama at 2:57 AM on September 5, 2003


On the derivative, ridiculous covers side, I just heard some goofass neo-punk wannabes (Atari something?) covering Don Henley's "Boys of Summer." The crunchy soundalike chord structure was bad enough, but the triteness of the singer's phrasing makes it entirely clear that he has absolutely no clue what the hell he's singing. He doesn't understand the story being told in the lyrics one little bit.

This is a perfect lead into my choices for worst cover(s) ever:

Punk covers.

They've become more and more common in the last five years; probably Limp Bizkit's rendition of "Faith" made other bands realize that hey, we can take a good song, strip any sense of arrangement or nuance out of it, and turn it into three distorted chords. Fucking awful. (See the version of "Boys of Summer" just mentioned, Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal", and a host of others. They make me puke.)

And that is why I think Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are the worst band of all time.
posted by nath at 3:06 AM on September 5, 2003


Punk (well, sort of...) covers in reverse are cool though: cf. Corduroy's jazz-funk cover of Motorhead by Hawkwind.
posted by bifter at 3:36 AM on September 5, 2003


hey, we can take a good song, strip any sense of arrangement or nuance out of it, and turn it into three distorted chords

That is a growing trend, and it can suck, but you've hit the mark about all covers. There are some that are done for fun, like Alien Ant Farm's "Smooth Criminal," taking a really silly song (Annie are you okay?) and taking the piss from the Michael Jackson as well, because they are (or were) fans. There are some done for the sake of doing a respectful reinterpretation, like Annie Lennox's "Medusa" CD or Fugees putting their spin on Roberta Flack. Some are done in tribute, and while those can get maudlin, at least there's some effort made to do a good job.

It's the ones that are done just because it can be done, or by someone who thinks that they can outperform the originator or has no respect for the original/originator that are trouble. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are a great example, and Fred Durst wouldn't spit on George Michael if Michael was engulfed in flame. Britney Spears thought that Pat Benatar was the originator of "I Love Rock and Roll" and when corrected by a reporter (after it was recorded, meaning none of Britney's people ever clued her in) Britney's reply was something like "Well how am I supposed to know that? It came out before I was born!"

As in many endeavors, attitude is the key.
posted by Dreama at 3:51 AM on September 5, 2003


Some of my alltime favourite covers:

The Stray Cats - Can't Hurry Love...Their version starts out sounding like "Lust for Life" but ends up reminding me how great a song it was, after hating it thanks to Phil

7Seconds - 99 Luft Balloons...Sung like he really means it. It rocks so hard it hurts.

Others? Paul Westerberg has been coving some great 70's pop/pap for a while and they are all great I think..."Make Your Own Kind of Music" & "Sunshine" especially. And I also think that Johnny Cash has been doing an amazing job in the last few years of finding really cool, appropriate songs to cover. He shows that there really is a thread running from NIN to the Grand Ol Opry!
posted by Richat at 4:17 AM on September 5, 2003


Fuzzy Love makes covers that should be awful, but are amazingly satisfying. It's the best record I ever found in a 10 cent discard bin. They reverse the normal awful cover scheme- they make wedding-band fodder out of both Manilow and Soundgarden, but get to the underlying sincerity and fun of the originals.

They even do a passable "Smell Like Teen Spirit", and song so tied to a time and place, and a specific musical arrangement, that even Nirvana knew not to unplug it. I don't think think masterpieces should be covered- just like you shouldn't remake a classic film. Cover and remake the less than perfect songs. If you want to redo the Beatles, do something like "Hey Bulldog". If you are going to remake a movie, choose something like Ocean's 11.

Speaking of "Brazil" - I just heard Dexter Romweber (better known from the Flat Duo Jets) do an absolutely stunning version of the song live. I hope he puts it on his next record.
posted by bendybendy at 4:17 AM on September 5, 2003


I think the worst cover of any good song is one that simply tries to replicate the original recording

Agree. It's just boring. I never understood why a great band like Echo and the Bunnymen would do a straight cover of the Doors' People are Strange. What's the point?

As far as worst cover of an already bad song, how about Dancing in the Street done by two (already) aging light in the loafers rockstars Mick Jagger and David Bowie? Oh and the video can only be described by Col. Kurtz's death rattle: "the horror, the horror". I'm fairly certain that Bowie stays awake nights wishing that the 80's never happened.

Two great covers of two great songs are Nirvana's version of Leadbelly's Where did you sleep last night? and Social Distorsion's version of Johnny Cash's, Ring of Fire...!

And if you are Spanish, and over the age of 25, Enrique Iglesias' version of Nacho Pop's, Chica de Ayer, will drive you to homicide or suicide, depending on how close or far you are from the Iglesias family Miami mansion when you first hear that unholy mutilation of your childhood nostalgia by Spain's most embarrasing foreign representitive. He and his sockless loafer wearing father are proof that Spain still is being punished for all the negative Karma created by the Inquisition.....

¡Me cago en la puta!
posted by sic at 4:45 AM on September 5, 2003


Zappa doing Hendrix's "Purple Haze" is either the best thing or the worst thing I've ever heard

I feel the same way about the Hindu Love God*'s version of "Raspberry Beret" by Prince.

(*supergroup made of Warren Zevon & the rest of REM)
posted by macadamiaranch at 5:25 AM on September 5, 2003


Coming in late here, but as I was driving home tonight I heard a GREAT cover of 'Heard it through the grapevine' by some band that sounded like Liquid Liquid fronted by Nico.

I have no idea who they are, but it had me tappin' the steering wheel all the way home.
posted by backOfYourMind at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2003


Worst cover ever? Easy: Dennis DeYoung (you know, the Styx guy) doing Hendrix' Fire. Commiting it to tape. Releasing it to the world. The man had/has no shame.

Somebody above mentioned all the lame tribute albums, and in general I'll agree that they're lame, but one track on a Springsteen tribute caught my ear: Hank Williams III doing Atlantic City, starting with a jaunty bluegrass feel, then switching to a minor key near the end. Definitely different than the original.
posted by deadcowdan at 6:18 AM on September 5, 2003


Bowie's cover of 'Alabama Song' (whiskey bar? you know, the same one the Doors covered) is pretty fucking terrible.

This is indeed the worst cover ever recorded in human history (for those interested, you can find it on the Ryko out-of-print release of Scary Monsters). I actually won a bet in college because my roommate was unable to make it through the entire four-minute song without turning off the CD player.

In Bowie's defense, though, he's done some of the best covers of all time as well--he completely stole "Wild is the Wind" from Nina Simone, and the covers on Black Tie White Noise and Heathen are pretty good as well.
posted by Prospero at 6:19 AM on September 5, 2003


i can't stand Jose Feliciano's version of "Light My Fire".

oh and stav, Dinosaur Jr. did "Just Like Heaven". excellent cover. although i don't care for their version of Frampton's "Show Me the Way" (but then again i really don't care much for the original)
posted by goddam at 6:20 AM on September 5, 2003


Mrs Miller? Sounds like a lame Canadian rip-off of the legendary Mrs Mills - master of the cockerny knees-up.

Except she was born in Kansas and lived most of her life in California.

And dear God, I'd forgotten about the Hindu Love Gods. I used to have that tape.

Another great cover is the Reverend Horton Heat's take on Guadalcanal Diary's "Watusi Rodeo". I admit, I like cover songs, particularly the ones that don't try to be a carbon copy of the original. I know of someone who doesn't like covers unless they sound *exactly* like the original, and I've got to wonder what the point in that is, exactly.
posted by eilatan at 6:30 AM on September 5, 2003


gdav - I quite like Kate Bush's cover of Rocket Man.

monosyllabic - re: Pat Boone' metal album, I agree. Boone's performance is about on a level with Shatner & Nimoy, only Boone is supposed to be a singer.
posted by tdismukes at 6:30 AM on September 5, 2003


Through my job, I found out that there exists a live recording of Rosemary Clooney doing a version of "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover."

I never actually listened to the song, but the mere idea makes my sphincter queaze.
posted by jonmc at 6:32 AM on September 5, 2003


Oh! I just remembered the worst cover I ever, ever heard--goddam's mention of Jose Feliciano's "Light My Fire" (which is awful) brought it to mind.

Cher. "Whip It" Only heard once, on an AM radio station, 10 years ago, but utterly unforgettable in its awfulness.
posted by eilatan at 6:32 AM on September 5, 2003


I was all ready for a laugh, but found the Black Hole Sun cover by Steve & Eydie interesting and...good!

And Best. Cover. Ever. is Age of Chance doing Prince's "Kiss."
posted by perorate at 6:35 AM on September 5, 2003


Oh, and I was just painfully reminded of this: at my workplace we often have a Spanish-language station that caters to the local Mexican population on, and it features many awful covers: a dead earnest version of Nazareth's "Love Hurts," ABBA's "Chiquita," and worst of all an off-key version of the Whitney Houston classic "I Will Always Love You" (and judging by the arrangement, the singer was unaware the song was originally done much more tastefully by Dolly Parton [a sentiment I don't get to express everyday]).
posted by deadcowdan at 6:43 AM on September 5, 2003


Spanish Abba Covers?

Over at April Winchell's site, she's got Hindi Abba covers!
posted by jonmc at 6:48 AM on September 5, 2003


It was more heave-inducing than hearing Sheryl Crow "unh unh unh unh unh-ing" her way through Led Zep's D'yer Mak'er, another scornworthy cover from the aforemention Encomium "tribute" compilation.

I once saw Sheryl on the teevee trying to explain the song title "D'yer Mak'er," saying "On the one hand, it's like die-er maker, but I think it's also a kind of a joke, like, hey, did you make her? So it kind of has two meanings."

Uh, Sheryl. Sheryl. That's Jamaica, okay? Think it through.
posted by argybarg at 7:06 AM on September 5, 2003


haven't heard zappa do purple haze, but the cure's version makes me shudder just thinking about it...and ozzy did a pretty bad version too.

anyone who thinks pat boone was bad should try Carl Strygg Sings the Cassics...imagine an album sung entirely in a horrible falsetto, doing covers like "born to be wild", "barracuda", and "american woman" - words can't describe how awful it is....
posted by spunkster at 7:18 AM on September 5, 2003


Chad Kroeger and Kidd Rock doing "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting". Gag.
posted by btwillig at 7:20 AM on September 5, 2003


there's a toronto singer who owns a restaurant called Hello Toast but for the life of me I can't remember his name. he did a whole album of covers. it was dreadful beyond belief. i could get any roomful of people rolling on the floor laughing just by putting it on (and that's not an exageration). he did Gowan's You're a Strange Animal, Rush's Tom Sawyer, Heart's Barracuda, and a whole bunch of others. all in a falsetto. ("he puts the false in falsetto.")
posted by dobbs at 7:27 AM on September 5, 2003


dobbs...that's the guy...carl stygg...owns "Hello Toast"
posted by spunkster at 7:30 AM on September 5, 2003


spunkster, year, i missed your post up there as i was searching my cd collection for the guy's name. heh. i can't find it. someone must have lifted it during a party or something. goddamn that thing was awful.
posted by dobbs at 7:38 AM on September 5, 2003


Two rocking covers, on one album, no less: Stevie Wonder's Higher Ground and Hendrix' Fire, both on Mother's Milk by the Chili Peppers. Two of the very few covers that I might actually choose over the originals, if pressed.

All the covers I hate have pretty much been covered already.
posted by LairBob at 8:22 AM on September 5, 2003


Zappa doing Hendrix's "Purple Haze" is either the best thing or the worst thing I've ever heard.

Oh, but don't overlook the oh-so-pomo, so-bad-it's-good Kronos Quartet cover of said "Purple Haze"; it will beat you into submission as you attempt to wrap your brain around the idea that this is, in fact, a string quartet... playing... Hendrix... and they freakin' mean it.
posted by JollyWanker at 8:44 AM on September 5, 2003


Anything by Mike Flowers.

Cheese deluxe.
posted by bwg at 8:48 AM on September 5, 2003


In Bowie's defense, though, he's done some of the best covers of all time as well--he completely stole "Wild is the Wind" from Nina Simone

My kneejerk reaction is Impossible! so that is one cover I have got to hear.

I quite enjoy covers and like to collect them - have made a few discs w/several covers of the same song all in a row. Works best w/jazz standards, though. Though that travesty that is Sinead's cover of You Do Something To Me - come on, there's not an ounce of soul in there. Sometimes - though it is rare - a cover is even better than the original. IMO, Indigo Girls' version of Romeo and Juliet is far superior to the Dire Straits original. Raw and powerful, whereas DS's is a cute little ditty.

Lots of references to Tori Amos' covers here - Smells Like Teen Spirit is good, mostly because it's so bizarre. Her cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is my all-time favorite - she sings it as a true lament.

I treasure it as my own personal reminder that I had horrible, horrible dear god so awful it defies description HORRIBLE taste in music

No, not horrible, just not very discerning... ; )

posted by widdershins at 8:49 AM on September 5, 2003


Two of my favourite covers: Wilson Pickett singing "Hey Jude" with Duane Allman on guitar (Allman had dared the Wicked Pickett to do it) and "Funny How Time Slips Away" by Al Green and Lyle Lovett.

And speaking of punk covers, how about Sid Viscous singing "My Way," from the closing credits of "Goodfellas"?
posted by timeistight at 8:55 AM on September 5, 2003


Oh wait...I forgot about that Massive Attack cover of "Light My Fire" at the end of Protection. I generally like Horace Andy's singing, but that one set me teefs grindin'.

Best cover? Bauhaus doing "Ziggy Stardust".
posted by black8 at 9:01 AM on September 5, 2003


Just the other day I heard Teena Marie's version of Marvin Gaye's 'Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)'. I never changed a radio station faster in my live once she started scatting mid song. The Atari's cover of 'Boys of Summer' -- utter crap.

And what the hell is wrong w/U2's version of 'Night and Day'? It's so mysterious and haunting. Age of Chance's version of 'Kiss' is so damn good. It's the only reason why I still keep my old cassette tapes.
posted by beatnik808 at 9:15 AM on September 5, 2003


Sonic Youth's cover of Plastic Bertrand's "Ca Plane Pour Moi" is high on my list for great covers. It retains the style of the song, but also has that Sonic Youth "something or another" that makes it oh so fun.

Also, Camper Van Beethoven's cover of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk album has its good moments as well. Nina Hagen's take on "My Way" is psychotically wonderful too. Don't forget the Circle Jerks "Golden Shower of Hits (Jerks on 45)"...
posted by Raymond Marble at 9:17 AM on September 5, 2003


I really like Husker Du's almost-all-shouting version of "Helter Skelter," but the consensus among pretty much everyone else I know that has heard it is that it's awful shit.

But really, the screaming's pretty nice.
posted by COBRA! at 9:43 AM on September 5, 2003


In Bowie's defense, though, he's done some of the best covers of all time as well--he completely stole "Wild is the Wind" from Nina Simone

My kneejerk reaction is Impossible! so that is one cover I have got to hear.


Hard to believe, but true--it's great. I know of two official recorded versions--the studio version on 1976's Station to Station, and a live version, performed in 2000, in the three-disc limited edition of Bowie at the Beeb.

Oh--and speaking of Bowie, I just remembered my second least-favorite cover: Nirvana's recording of the "The Man Who Sold the World" that they did for MTV Unplugged. It's pretty much by the book, except that they aren't able to pull off the haunting ending, with the guitar part looping under those excellent and increasingly complex vocal harmonies. Of course, being by Nirvana, it immediately got lots of radio airplay, and Bowie later recorded his own, overproduced, drum 'n' bass "cover version", seemingly as a joke (it's on the CD single for "Strangers When We Meet").
posted by Prospero at 9:50 AM on September 5, 2003


I agree with Widdershins - I quite enjoy covers. Some that I have enjoyed in the past:

Save Ferris - Come On Eileen
Disturbed - Shout
Powerman 5000 - Let The Good Times Roll
Skrew - Helter Skelter
Lollipop Lustkill - Personal Jesus

Oh, and Dreama, I disagree about Me First and the Gimme Gimmes trying to outdo the artists they're covering. They strike me as purely doing it for the fun and stupidity of it. I mean, have you heard "Raining on Prom Night" or "The Rainbow Connection"?
posted by starvingartist at 10:00 AM on September 5, 2003


Unexpectedly terrific covers:

Flatt & Scruggs "Last Train To Clarksville"
Motorhead "Louie Louie"
Jason & The Scorchers "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
Supersuckers "Bloody Mary Morning"
Dolly Parton "Shine"
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie "It's Too Late" (yep, the Carole King number)
Wilson Pickett "Sugar Sugar"
Etta James "I Got You, Babe"
posted by jonmc at 10:30 AM on September 5, 2003


Tom Jones & Stereophonics' cover of "Mama Told Me Not to Come" is pretty great. I also like Camper van Beethoven's cover of "Pictures of Matchstick Men" and Balancing Act's cover of "Can You Get to That?"

Then there are covers that are done so well that the cover artist owns the song, like The Beatles with "Twist and Shout." And songs that sound like covers but aren't, like U2's "Angel of Harlem."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:30 AM on September 5, 2003


and of course:

Motorhead & Girlschool "Please Don't Touch"
posted by jonmc at 10:31 AM on September 5, 2003


and ( I swear this is it)

Otis Redding "Day Tripper"
Dusty Springfield "Tupelo Honey" & "piece Of My Heart"
Impatient Youth "Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition"
Aretha Franklin "The Wait"
Austin Lounge Lizards "Brain Damage Eclipse"
Thin Lizzy "Whiskey In The Jar
Arthur Conley "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da"
posted by jonmc at 10:42 AM on September 5, 2003


Can we put a moratorium on futher covers of "I Put a Spell On You?" Nina Simone's is the only decent version. Everyone else's (especially YOURS, Bryan Ferry) sucks.
posted by black8 at 10:45 AM on September 5, 2003


a dead earnest version of Nazareth's "Love Hurts"

Nazareth's version was itself a cover. I think the Everly Bros. first did this one up, and Gram Parsons did a version that will make lacerates come to your eyes.
posted by luser at 11:23 AM on September 5, 2003


Nazareth's version was itself a cover. I think the Everly Bros. first did this one up

Roy Orbison
posted by Bonzai at 11:42 AM on September 5, 2003


Speaking of good Roy Orbison covers, I'd say Linda Ronstandt's cover of Blue Bayou is about as good as it gets.
posted by Bonzai at 11:49 AM on September 5, 2003


(I suppose this is as good a place as any to mention this...)

I've always thought it was a shame that Frank Sinatra didn't return the favor and sing a swinging "Anarchy in the U.K." On sunny afternoons like this one I can almost hear it.
posted by wobh at 12:03 PM on September 5, 2003


okay, and now on to good covers:
the bangles' version of emitt rhodes's "live" is amazing. i really like tori amos's cover of "rattlesnakes" by lloyd cole. jennifer warnes (of all people) put out a swellegant leonard cohen tribute album. tracy bonham's "50ft queenie" is especially great when you realise she's singing and playing violin at the same time. the local band medea connection has been known to cover mission of burma's "ballad of johnny burma" live.

and then there's moby's bbc-altered "that's when i reach for my chiuahua".

stop me before i turn into bradlands in the swifties thread...
posted by pxe2000 at 12:11 PM on September 5, 2003


jonmc & deadcowdan:

An ABBA cover I both love and hate simultaneously is "Dancing Queen" by P (Gibby Haynes, Johnny Depp, Sal Jenco and Bill Carter).

Gibby Haynes (also of the Butthole Surfers) sings this cover, at a slower beat than the original, with a slight crooner and offkey tone.
posted by titboy at 12:18 PM on September 5, 2003


When punk covers were fun:
The Dickies doing Night in White Satin and Paranoid

Good times.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:20 PM on September 5, 2003


Natalie Merchant's version of "Because the Night" is the worst cover ever IMO. Beautiful, powerful song reduced to Lilith Fair girly-girl simpering glurge. The Psychedic Furs re-recording of "Pretty in Pink", while not a cover per se, runs a close second.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:45 PM on September 5, 2003


I feel the same way about the Hindu Love God*'s version of "Raspberry Beret" by Prince.

The Derailers do an amazing "Bakersfield sound" version of "Raspberry Beret"...you haven't lived until you've heard a Rockabilly leaning towards C&W version of a Prince song.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:59 PM on September 5, 2003


Billy Idol's cover of "Heroin" is far, far worse than his cover of "L.A. Woman." Has to be heard to believed.

The Flaming Lips' overwrought cover of "I Just Can't Get You Out Of My Head" is a joke, so I don't think it counts...
posted by L. Ron McKenzie at 1:04 PM on September 5, 2003


Best covers ever (at least the ones I can remember at the moment):

8 Miles High - Husker Du
Gram Parsons - Sing Me Back Home
David Eugene Edwards - Ain't No Sunshine
Sixteen Horsepower - Fire Spirit, Bad Moon Rising
Langley Schools Music Project - Mandy, You're So Good To Me
P.J Harvey - Is That All There Is
This Mortal Coil - Song To The Siren, Late Night
posted by echolalia67 at 1:15 PM on September 5, 2003


Worst cover ever: The Gypsy Kings mangling "Hotel California." Awful, awful.
posted by antimony at 1:21 PM on September 5, 2003


My vote for a few of the best:

The Bad Plus - These are the Vistas

They cover Blondie- Heart of Glass, Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit and Aphex Twin's - Flim


Amazing
posted by deathofme at 1:33 PM on September 5, 2003


Speaking of The Bangles, their version of "Hazy Shade of Winter" kicks Simon & Garfunkel's ass. And I love Blind Melon's "Three is a Magic Number" and Better Than Ezra's "Conjunction Junction" from the Schoolhouse Rock Rocks tribute.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:35 PM on September 5, 2003


Rock over, Joe Pesci. Rock on, Telly Savalas.
posted by arto at 2:43 PM on September 5, 2003


If we're talking fun and stupid covers, give me Richard Cheese over Me First and the Gimme Gimmes any day. What he does actually takes a little skill; I could grab three of my friends and pound out a Gimme Gimmes album in two hours. (And of Richard Cheese... well, his version of Disturbed's "Down with the Sickness" has to be heard to be believed.)

Best covers ever... I've actually been thinking about this lately. I think the two most obvious choices in the world, which I haven't seen mentioned here, are Jimi Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" and The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" (which each a)redefined the song and b)provided an American classic).

Other personal favorites of mine are Rufus Wainwright's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" on the Shrek soundtrack (I like it better than Jeff Buckley's), the Black Crowes doing Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle", and Nirvana's take on Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?"

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way about punk covers, too... add to the list Lagwagon's version of "Brown Eyed Girl", which made me puke.

Still trying to think of more legitimately awful covers that aren't just let's-make-a-buck punk remakes.
posted by nath at 4:12 PM on September 5, 2003


Late to the party . . . I don't suppose Sting's appearance with No Doubt at the Super Bowl halftime counts?
posted by palancik at 4:57 PM on September 5, 2003


Oh! Someone mentioned a cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads"...reminded me of one of the greatest summer songs ever.

Toots and the Maytals doing, well, "Take Me Home, Country Roads"

Yup. Its great.
posted by Richat at 5:34 PM on September 5, 2003


Oh, but don't overlook the oh-so-pomo, so-bad-it's-good Kronos Quartet cover of said "Purple Haze"; it will beat you into submission as you attempt to wrap your brain around the idea that this is, in fact, a string quartet... playing... Hendrix... and they freakin' mean it.

Hey, I just loved this, and I make no apologies. "We're listening to a string quartet! The world's coolest string quartet! And they're playing Hendrix! We are now all cool together!"

The Best:

Cowboy Junkies, Sweet Jane
PJ Harvey, Highway 61
Hole, Both Sides Now (a spectacular act of revenge)
Radiohead, Nobody Does it Better
posted by jokeefe at 6:03 PM on September 5, 2003


Oh, and of course This Mortal Coil: Song to the Siren
posted by jokeefe at 6:04 PM on September 5, 2003


I did like the Carpenter's songs covered by various artists. Like, "Top of the Worl" by Shonen Knife. Call it good kitsch.

Best Michael Jackson cover ever? Billy Jean by Shinehead. Bloody wicked cool. If someone finds it, please send it to me, I only have a tape version and can't find it on CD.

And Jeezuz! dobbs, I swear I heard that CD at work [no, no, not mine, yo!] and I did ask...ah, who the hell is this? Um, it's a friend of mine! oooops. No shit. That is fucking awful, I said. Thanksalot spunkster. Too funny. She listened to the complete CD. Aaaack. I ran out for a long smoke break, indeed.

A good cover of Gershwin's "My Man is Gone Now" by the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce, Gun Club.

Speaking of Sonic Youth, I loved their Madonna's "Into the Groov[y]". Did it better than her.

I was always afraid of these MeFi CD exchanges, gad, some of the stuff I'd have to hear. youch. Prolly buddy Stygg. HA!

Great thread.
posted by alicesshoe at 7:35 PM on September 5, 2003


Great cover:

Devo pretty much launched their career with a brilliant deconstruction of the Stone's Satisfaction.

As for Dylan songs, I always felt his songs were starter versions as sung by him, almost sure to be improved upon once covered.

Great thread. I've been grabbing lots of these on p2p in anticipation of my turning myself into the RIAA once amnesty strikes.
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:04 PM on September 5, 2003


If by Telly Savalas - 'nuf said!
posted by tabbycat at 7:59 AM on September 6, 2003


oh my god...even though this is a bit late...i totally forgot to mention the most horrible of horrible covers....David Hasselhoff doing "Hooked on a Feeling"
posted by spunkster at 9:42 AM on September 8, 2003


Does Switched-On Bach count as a cover album? And can it ever be forgiven for what its deadly moogs wrought?

Also, anyone remember Faster Pussycat mauling "You're So Vain"? No?

That's for the best.
posted by Skot at 10:14 AM on September 8, 2003


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