Friday, May 11, 2007


Metal Mark had a post about covers and Jeff had one about tribute albums, so I thought I'd get in on the act and post a list of some of my favorite covers.

  • Slayer - "In-a-gadda-da-vida" - Slayer does an amazing job with this Iron Butterfly classic. They trim it down to a manageable length and turn it from trippy to brutal. This is probably my favorite cover of all time.

  • Clash - "Pressure Drop" - The Clash often did reggae better than many reggae artists. Here they take reggae and turn it into punk by adding an edge, not just speed.

  • Revolting Cocks - "Do You Think I'm Sexy" - The Revolting Cocks take Rod Stewart at his most shallow and turn it into a hard, dark song that makes me feel dirty.

  • Devo - "Satisfaction" - I think "Satisfaction" is one of the worst songs ever recorded, but I really like how Devo capitalize on how cold the song really is.

  • Fu Manchu - "Freedom of Choice" - This is the opposite of Devo's cover above. Fu Manchu takes the cold precision of Devo and turns it into a heavy, sludgely stoner tune.

  • Blue Cheer - "Summertime Blues" - It's amazing how much a song can change over a little more than a decade. Blue Cheer takes this old Eddie Cochran rock n roller and turn up the amps!

  • Dynamite Hack - "Boyz N the Hood" - Dynamite Hack was a terrible band, but they certainly nailed this cover by turning the definitive gangsta song into a sappy ballad.

  • Wilson Pickett - "Hey Jude" - You'd think it'd be tough to cover a song like "Hey Jude," but Pickett's impassioned vocals and some great horns breathe an entirely different energy into this one.

  • SOD - "Diamonds and Rust" - Okay, this one isn't really a cover per se, but it sure is funny!

  • Evan Dando - "Skulls" - I always thought the Misfits' version was funny, because it's so melodic and the content is so nasty. Evan Dando's sacharine sweet voice adds a lot to that same effect.

  • Black Flag - "Louie Louie" - This one has been covered a million times and not all of them are as happy as the Beach Boys or the Troggs, but none are as angry as Black Flag's. The additional verse changes everything.

  • Mark Arm - "Masters of War" - Mark Arm gives more edge to a song whose lyrics were always harsh.

  • Jimi Hendrix - "All Along the Watchtower" - It must be a great cover when it's the definitive version. This is actually one of my favorite Hendrix songs.

  • Johnny Cash - "Hurt" - I never fully believe Trent Reznor. Sometimes it just seems like he's negative for the sake of being negative. Johnny Cash never suffers from this problem. His version of "Hurt" takes a well-written song and adds honesty.

  • Realm - "Eleanor Rigby" - Realm was a decent though forgotten thrash band from the late 80s, but they do a great version of "Eleanor Rigby." It loses a lot of the melancholia of the original, but manages to add a different energy that makes it more interesting than simply speeding it up.

  • Prong - "(Get a) Grip (on Yourself)" - I was skeptical when I first heard that Prong covered this one, but hearing it made me realize that it was the perfect song for them.

  • Fear Factory - "Cars" - Fear Factory proves just how good a band they are by taking on this Gary Numan tune. It retains the cold hook of the original, but makes it heavy. This makes it so clear that they understood the song and is anohter of my all-time favorite covers.

  • Mighty Mighty Bosstones - "Sweet Emotion" - The Bosstones take on Aerosmith's best song, ramp up the energy and throw in some horns!

  • Yo La Tengo - "Nuclear War" - How do you improve a Sun Ra classic? Add children swearing.

  • Soundgarden - "One Minute of Silence" - The idea of recording a minute of silence can only work...twice. Soundgarden's cover is almost as brilliant a novelty as John Lennon's original.

  • Nouvelle Vague - "Too Drunk to Fuck" - The only way a Bossa Nova cover of the Dead Kennedys could work is if it's done by a band who understands both.

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Higher Ground" - The Chili Peppers pull this off with more funk than Stevie Wonder.

  • Communards - "Don't Leave Me This Way" - You don't have to like dance music to love this one. If this doesn't get you fired up, check your pulse, you might be dead.

  • DOA - "Takin' Care of Business" - Anarcho-punks DOA not only ramp up the energy, but add a little politics as well.

  • Tim Version - "1916" - Motorhead failed to give this song a genuine, gritty, everyman appeal, but the Tim Version fixes that.

  • Jane's Addiction/Ice-T - "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" - The dueling vocals add a new dimension to this Sly and the Family Stone classic.

  • Joss Stone - "Some Kind of Wonderful" - I never thought this was a great song, but Joss Stone can breathe life into anything with her rich, sensuous vocals.

Those are some of my favorite covers. What are some of your favorites?



Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Well, dang, dude, that's as comprehensive a list as I'd come up with. Covers often piss me off, but you listed all of my favorites, but I'd add the Stones' "Not Fade Away." Might actually be better than Buddy Holly's because of the blues and honky tonk angle. Too bad that ingenuity flocked away later in their career. And Realm's "Eleanor Rigby" is nothing short of amazing. Living Colour did the Bad Brains' "Sailin' On" when I saw them live that was impressive too.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I must agree, quite an impressive list. I've never heard of that cover of "Masters of War" but I will try to check it out. My favorite cover of all time is probably "House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals. Not only is it my most favorite cover song but probably my third most favorite song ever.

2:07 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Ray - Good call on "Not Fade Away," but I'm not sure I like it more than the original. It's one of my favorite Buddy Holly tunes and one I learned to play for my kids! I think I once heard John Frusciante do an acoustic cover of "Salin' On" that was very good, but I might be confused.

Jeff - "House of the Rising Sun" is a great song. I knew the Animals didn't write it, but who did it originally? The Adolescents covered in on their 1987 album, Brats in Battalions, but that's a far cry from the Animals version.

Another cover that I forgot is Chris Isaak doing "Blue Moon." It's one of all-time favorite songs and Isaak, despite his contrived image, nails it. He's got a great voice for that kinda stuff.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Good point on D.O.A. because they did a good job with that song. I would also add Anthrax's cover of Cowboy Song, WASP's cover of the Real Me, Armored Saint's Saturday Night Special and Sanctuary's White Rabbit. I prefered Motorhead's version of Louie, Louie to Black Flag's.

9:51 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

Mark - I'm not with you on the Motorhead versus Black Flag thing. I only vaguely remember the Anthrax and Sanctuary covers, but I recall them being pretty good. I dropped the ball on WASP's version of "The Real Me" though. That was a really good cover!

9:59 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:41 PM  
Blogger The Mad Hatter said...

I'm not a fan of most covers myself, but Manfred Mann's version of Springsteen's "Blinded By The Light" is amazing. I can't believe you mentioned S.O.D. Wow. I personally think their death ballads are the funniest.

1:59 AM  

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