Monday, June 23, 2008

The worst cover songs of all time.

Because we talked about this in the morning, Doc found a list from a British guitar magazine of the "worst cover songs ever recorded". But 9 of the top ten were by people no one had ever heard of. So I thought I would make my own list of the ten worst cover songs ever recorded, with artists and songs people may actually know. Here goes.

#10. Limp Bizkit Behind Blue Eyes. The main reason for this song being one of the worst ever is simply the greatness of the original. The Who were so brilliant, and loud in absolutely the best way a band can be, that to have their song ruined by the dreadful Limp Bizkit is tragic. Limp Bizkit, it should be noted, were loud in the absolute worst way a band can be.

#9. Puff Daddy Kashmir. This song is saved from being first or second on the list simply because Jimmy Page actually showed up to play on the track. No one knows why, because when it comes to Jimmy Page, no one can actually say "he needs the money". And although this sullies, in a minor way, the legacy of Zeppelin, it is no worse than the movie for which it was recorded - that Matthew Broderick Godzilla.

#8. Lenny Kravitz American Woman. The worst thing about this cover is that it was so powerfully unnecessary. What, really, did Kravitz change in the song? What effort did he put into his version? Could he even feel the music while he played it? It just sounds like some local pub-punk band has been forced to play a covers show for money, and they're just going through the motions.

#7. Madonna American Pie. Maybe this makes me angry only because when I was in radio school, I made mention of Don McLean for some reason. And someone asked who he was. And I told her "American Pie". And she said "oh, did he cover the Madonna song?" So that annoyed the song is terrible.

#6. Britney Spears Satisfaction. Do I even have to explain this?

#5. Avril Lavigne Knocking on Heaven's Door. Again, I'm personally involved here to some degree. I was once sitting in a trailer, outside St. Laurent shopping centre, for nine days, going kinda stir-crazy. And a girl came in and wanted me to listen to a demo CD she had made singing "pop songs". And one of those songs was Knocking on Heaven's Door. And she said "I HAD to do that song, because I'm like, the biggest fan of Avril." Didn't even say Avril Lavigne. Avril, like I would automatically know who she was talking about. And I DID. And I felt like punching myself.

#4. Michael Bolton Sittin' On The Dock of the Bay. Does anyone who has heard this song think that were Otis Redding still alive, he would crush Michael Bolton's throat with a giant amp? I would like to think so. Michael Bolton is one of the five worst artists of all time, Otis Redding is one of the five best singers of all time. And there you have it.

#3. Elton John Candle In The Wind. OK, he's covering his own song. But the context - Princess Di - and the omnipresence of this piece of garbage that summer have driven this song deep into my skull, and I would gladly use an icepick to get it out. It sucked the first time, the cover version was worse, and the second time, none of us could GET AWAY.

#2. Celine Dion You Shook Me All Night Long. I know, the magazine said this was the number one worst of all time. But that bit in the middle where she yells "come on, girlfriend!" to Anastasia, her duet-partner-in-crime, makes this at least hilarious enough to be worth something. In this case, it is worth...not being number one.

#1. Our Lady Peace Imagine. The most pretentious song of all time was a classic because it was done by John Lennon. Only Lennon could have made something this pretentious still seem heartfelt and sincere and brilliant. When covered by the most pretentious band in history, this song can cause queasiness, nausea, vertigo, and brain seizures. This is the worst cover song ever recorded.

There we go. The real ten worst covers of all time. And it occurs to me that I had better do a ten-best also. In the interests of fairness. Coming soon!


  1. Well, this says it all about
    Michael Bolton doesnt it ??

    City pays Michael Bolton not to sing


  2. You dislike certain cover songs because someone mistook the cover as being the original? Or do you dislike it simply because you dislike Avril? What do you think of GnR's version?

    I think Avril's version of Knockin' on Heaven's Door is pretty good, actually.

  3. No, I really dislike Avril's version. Maybe because the album it's on - a charity album called "Peace Songs" - features about nine dreadful cover tunes, including Our Lady Peace's "Imagine". And although I do like the GnR version, I think better versions have been done by Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Warren Zevon, Roger Waters and Television. And I still think Dylan's version is definitive.

  4. Oh, and there's a version by Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Dolly Parton together that's kind of amazing.

  5. So, had Springsteen made a bad choice and included his version on the Peace Songs album, you would dislike it? ;)

    Then again, anything he does is painful to listen to, in my opinion.

  6. No idea who does it, but speaking of terrible Who covers, there's a new cell phone commercial with some crappy power chord band doing a version of My Generation... Terrible!

  7. Thanks mostly to Limp Bizkit, you could easily do a list of ten worst covers of all time and make it all Who covers. I haven't heard that commercial, though. Thank God - so far so good.

  8. Oh,, ERIC B MAN & The Black Sox !
    Have i got one for You !
    Just came to mind looking at the list,,,,
    Money,,thats what i want !
    Beatles,,& The Leaping Lizzards.
    My GOD !,,That was bad & made $$$.

  9. Here in Australia, we have an artist who is considered a legend named John Farnham. For the life of me i can't understand why, I mean he was born in England for starters and has had some great songs that I'm sure other artists would have done a far better job of... So, I proudly claim John Farnham's cover of The Beatles "Help" as not only one of the worst ever cover's of all time, but also one the most insulting! Listen to it, if you want to feel you need to cringe at something...