Nevermind The Posers

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What Cover Song Do You Feel Is Better Than The Original? May 4, 2011

I would have to say “Crimson and Clover” covered by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.  Originally by Tommy James and the Shondells, I feel that Jett’s version blows the original out of the water; the drums and guitar really make this cover work.  I’ve never been a fan of Donna Lewis’s “I Love You, Always Forever,” but when I heard the track covered by Jukebox the Ghost, my mind was changed.  This version doesn’t make me embarrassed to listen. 
Hands down, the first thing I thought of was “War Pigs” as covered by the Dresden Dolls, originally by Black Sabbath.  The drumming Brian does on that song makes me stare in awe every single time.  They are a two piece band and still do the song justice with a full sound and enough energy to make this one, kick-ass cover.  I generally hate covers, but this one is my absolute favorite.

I can think of many cover songs that are far better than the originals.  In fact, I feel that’s the mark of a great cover.  In my opinion, it’s silly to cover a song that’s already awesome, although many bands do.  I really enjoy it when a band takes a song and makes it so much better than it was (which is usually not the case with covers).  Some examples are as follows: Nirvana‘s cover of Shocking Blue’s “Love Buzz,” Joan Jett and The Blackheart‘s cover of Arrow’s “I Love Rock ‘n Roll,” and The White Stripe‘s cover of Dusty Springfield’s “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.”

It’s hard to say, because I know of an amazing cover that’s right on the tip of my tongue, but of course when it comes time to write about it, I can’t remember the song or who covered it.  So for now, my pick is Gary Numan’s 1979 tune “Metal”, covered by his worthy successor to dark themes and electronics, Nine Inch Nails.  Numan’s original version was part The Pleasure Principle, an album set to a self-composed Sci-Fi story taking place in a gritty, violent and increasingly dangerous world over run by technology and paranoia.  What makes NIN’s cover so amazing is that it not only expanded upon the original musically, but that it actually sounds more like a song that defines the universe Numan intended to create than the original.  The NIN version is a journey into madness and paranoia, which gets exceedingly worse with every second clocked, as the clanging of metal increases with creepy out-of-tune guitars, repetitive grunts and droning dead air.  I would almost say that this version better illustrates Numan’s vision for his nightmarish dystopian future.

I am on the fence, but I think it’s a tie between Jimi Hendrix‘s cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and Refused‘s version of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Even though the original song is great, No Doubt‘s cover of “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk is one of my favorite, and I would say better than the original.  I also like Kim Wilde‘s cover of “Keep Me Hanging On,” originally by The Supremes.

3 Responses to “What Cover Song Do You Feel Is Better Than The Original?”

  1. Denise Says:

    Stigz, you beat me to it 🙂

    First song that popped into my head for this was Jimi Hendrix‘s cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”. I love Jimi’s music so much.

    But I really love Judas Priest’s cover of Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” also. 🙂

  2. j9 Says:

    I completely agree with Stigz; “All Along The Watchtower” is Jimi’s song, hands down. Also Mark is spot on with NIN’s cover of Metal. Amazing in a way only Trent Reznor could make it.

    My selection would have to be U2 doing “Helter Skelter” on their live album, Rattle and Hum. (youtube it, seriously. The Edge owns it, after ripping it out of Charlie Manson’s hands, who stole it from The Beatles.)

    Runner up would be Metallica covering Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page.” I don’t think Metallica’s version is better, but it’s equally as great as the original. Kirk Hammet replicating the original version’s saxophone solos on his guitar is a feat many guitarists wouldn’t think to do, much less successfully accomplish.

  3. Dahlia Delgado Says:

    I like ‘Ball of Confussion’ with Love and Rockets originally of The Stylistics. a very Black Power Song. =)

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