Have you ever noticed that Rock differs from Blues and Jazz in that it’s considered really uncool to do cover songs. It’s all the Beatles fault I guess. Ever since they started writing and performing their own material it’s been despicable to perform music written by others even if your own compositions are total shit (even when compared to the total shit written by Ringo Star).
Well, here are a few artists I’m glad defied conventional wisdom and chose to be themselves… by being someone else
The Beatles – Twist & Shout (Bert Russell) Before they revolutionized pop by writing their own superb material the fab four were not above recording the definitive version of this early rock masterpiece.
Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) I never cared much for the original. Too many strings and not enough of a beat. Charles solves both problems with an infusion of soul.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Seek and Destroy (Iggy Pop) I never cared much for the Stooges. Maybe that’s because I heard this amped up version of their best known song before I heard Iggy Pop’s tired recording.
Sinead O’Connor Nothing Compared 2 U (Prince) Go on, tell me you don’t love this song.
Guns N Roses – Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney) While Paul did have a few good songs he was never my favorite Beatle. This is the only solo song of his I can say I care for, but even with it being coupled with a cool Bond flick I prefer the hard rocking GNR version.
Nirvana – Turnaround (M. Mothersbaugh/G. Casale) Nirvana did some fine covers in their short time, but this is one of my favorites from them. Probably because it’s not blown out of proportion as much as those on Unplugged and comes from an album half the fans don’t know exists.
Fear Factory – School (Cobain) Of all the Nirvana covers by metal bands (Machine Head, Otep) this is the one that seems the most natural. Fear Factory’s blazing drums match up perfectly with the buzz-saw guitar riff.
Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams (Stewart) They took a new wave hit that sounded like it was played by a computer and turned it into a goth rock anthem.
Devo – Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards) They took a rock anthem and turned it into a new wave hit that sounds like it was played by a computer.
Rage Against The Machine – Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan) The thing about this song is that when Dylan sings it I’m not convinced he won’t work on Maggie’s Farm again someday. But when Zach de la Rocha sings it you know he’s not gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more.
Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney) For the longest time I thought this was just the theme song for The Wonder Years. Then I found myself surprised to find out it was a Beatles song and that Cocker’s version is much better.
Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) What can I say about this one?