5 Weirdest Rock ‘n Roll Covers
Certainly Not Everyone’s Cup Of Tea
This is an unpopular opinion but we find cover versions utterly refreshing most of the time. Some people think it should be exactly the same as the original but perhaps they’re totally missing the point. It’s not to copy but to pay homage to the artist and therefore adding a twist or different flavor is always welcome. Some covers are so good they rival the original – take Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” for example. It was as raw and spine-chilling as Nine Inch Nails’ rendition.
The following covers, however, are bizarre to say the least. Rock ‘n roll has always been about breaking rules but you know, the five songs on this list will either make you love or hate them but it will surely confuse the heck out of you.
5. Mick Jagger & David Bowie – “Dancing In The Street”
Originally recorded by Martha and the Vandellas, there have been numerous versions – that from The Mamas and The Papas, The Grateful Dead, Black Oak Arkansas, Van Halen and of course the most extra of them all – David Bowie and Mick Jagger.
Bowie and Jagger’s collaboration was for a good cause – the Live Aid famine relief. To be fair to these legends, the criticism they received were more because of the music video than the actual song. Considering they had zero budget and they made do with what they had, this is still painful to watch.
“We banged it out in just two takes. It was an interesting exercise in how you can do something without worrying too much.” – Mick Jagger
It’s like someone who’s supposed to be in charge just told them to do whatever they want. And so they ended up trying to upstage each other. Oh and someone tried to remove the song (yes, there’s a SILENT version) and we’re telling you, we can’t decide if it’s crazy or hilarious.
4. Pearl Jam – “Last Kiss”
Just because we think it’s weird doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Truth be told, Eddie Vedder can sing the yellow pages and it would still be a hit. And “Last Kiss” is actually kind of good – it’s only strange when you try to compare it to Pearl Jam’s other grunge classics on their catalog.
But as a standalone track, it’s something we would add to our playlist when we’re feeling overly dramatic and emotional.
“It’s a spare, morose song with Vedder’s voice warbling lovelorn over a straight-ahead drum beat. Going back to basics has put Pearl Jam back on top.” – TIME’s Christopher John Farley
It’s stripped down, raw and minimalist – all of this combined somehow made the whole tragic story of the song more painful. Some find it way too mellow for the band but numbers don’t lie and “Last Kiss” became Pearl Jam’s highest charting track in the US. Eat that, haters.
3. Guns N’ Roses – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
Axl Rose at the top of his game can pull off almost anything. Heck, in his 50s, he even took on Brian Johnson’s job which isn’t the easiest thing in the world of rock. But his take on Bob Dylan’s classic tune “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” had us pleading for mercy.
Some tracks you just leave alone and this is one of them. Bob Dylan created a masterpiece and it was as if Guns ‘n Roses were brainstorming and looking for more ways to receive hate.
Fun Fact: GnR played this during a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury.
Adding your own spin to a song is okay, as we said, that’s what covers usually are. But while this isn’t the worst there is, we still think it sounds strange. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with this but perhaps it just didn’t work well for us. Even some of their fans thought this was just unforgivable.
2. Mike Flowers Pops – “Wonderwall”
If your cover version propelled you into stardom then you might have done something right. If you haven’t seen or heard this yet, we advise you not to take ANYTHING seriously.
Does it sound weird? Yes, yes it does. Is it meant to be that way? Probably. You see, you will need some sense of humor to even appreciate this. Hating something like this is a lot like getting angry at Mr. Bean – pointless and any way you look at it, you lose.
“Dressed in a suit which time had forgotten and bedecked by the most outrageous blonde wig, Flowers’ version of ‘Wonderwall’ caused more grins than grimaces, and sold nearly half a million copies.” – AllMusic
It’s cheeky and cheesy – all the things we look out for in parodies. Rumor has it Noel Gallagher was also quite impressed! And get this, this easy listening arrangement even peaked at no. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. It’s funny, unforgettable and a huge hit – it’s definitely a win-win for Mike Flowers Pops.
1. Chris Cornell – “Billie Jean”
“Billie Jean” has been covered numerous times but not like this. Chris Cornell and his hauntingly beautiful voice – it sounds a wee bit strange especially if you’ve heard Michael Jackson’s version more times than you can count.
You know, if someone told us “Billie Jean” would move us to tears, we would’ve laughed out loud. That is, we all thought we were all emotionally stable adults until we heard Cornell turn it into a ballad.
“The lyrics are brilliant, and the way that the way the lyrics are put together. The story isn’t spoon-fed to you, it’s poetic.” – Chris Cornell
It’s unique and different and we like it. Even if you’re Michael Jackson’s biggest fan, there’s absolutely no way you can’t appreciate this version. You can’t dance to it, sure, but it’s going to make you feel a lot of things. Now that we think about it, no one does it like Chris Cornell.