Friday, March 24, 2006

Cover songs

Cover songs in hard rock and metal have been around a long time. Zeppelin did some old blues songs and Deep Purple had a hit with a cover on Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. Yet it wasn't until say the mid-late 1980's that cover songs really began to be a common practice. My thoughts on cover songs are simple and that is that if you feel the need to do a cover song then you better put some of your own sound into it or else what's the point? I remember hearing the Less than zero soundtrack years ago. I thought that Poison doing Rock and roll all nite by Kiss would be a good choice for them. However it was actually very boring because they put very little of themselves into it and it wasn't even as competent as when Kiss recorded it. They sounded fairly uncomfortable and a bit like a music student trying to struggle through some song they have been assigned to do. I was skeptical when I first heard Slayer were doing In-a-gadda-da-vida just because of the difference in style. Yet Slayer trimmed it down immensely and threw their best Reign in blood style sound into it and boom there was one of my favorite cover songs of all time. Under all the speed metal shell, it was still Iron Butterfly's song yet Slayer put their own sound into it and it sounded great.
I think there is a bit more to it than just adding your own sound, but that is important. You have to have the musical skills to cover certain bands. If you are going to cover Iron Maiden or Rush then you better have the skills to do it because it will show right away if a band are in over their heads. Metallica have done piles of cover songs, but I think ultimately they have done about half good and half bad. They did manage to turn me onto Budgie with their covers of Crash in brain surgery and Bredfan. Yet when I heard the originals, I realized that the Metallica's versions were just alright.
I can't fairly give a list of favorite and least cover songs because I have probably only heard a small portion of cover songs done by metal bands. I will say offhand that I think the band that has done the best cover songs of any hard rock/metal band is WASP. Typicaly they have done covers of mid 60's to early 70's rock and hard rock bands. I am guessing this would fit in with music that Blackie Lawless listened to while he was a teenager. They have covered Paint it black by the Stones, Locamotive Breath by Jethro Tull, Mississippi Queen by Mountain and I don't need no doctor by Humble Pie plus a few others. All of the covers I have heard are faithful enough to the originals yet the band easily puts their own sound into the song as well.

Are there any covers done by hard rock or metal bands that you really like or really hate?


Blogger UnHoly Diver said...

I have to say that I really liked Metallica's covers of "Turn the Page" and "Whiskey in the Jar". Another one I really liked was G n R's cover of Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door". I could have done without Aerosmith's "Come Together", mainly because I grew up with the Beatles, and, IMO, no one can do their songs any justice.
I know he's not considered hard rock/metal, but I absolutely loved Stevie Ray Vaughan's covers of Hendrix's "Little Wing" and "Voodoo Chile(Slight Return), and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition". He was an amazing performer, and added so much to his versions of these songs.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Bruce-SRV isn't considered hard rock, but Hendrix is so that sort of counts. I like SRV's early stuff a lot. He could seamlessly blend Hendrix style riffs with thick blues rock.

11:14 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I agree with everything that Bruce said so it is hard for me to add anything. But I might add that Ozzy's recent album of covers seemed more miss than hit. Although to give him some props his cover of himself with Primus was really good.

1:51 PM  
Blogger Sgt Fluffy said...

WASP did a cover "Its a Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC that really kicks ass others I like are
1. Metallicas cover of Killing Jokes "The Wait"
2. Sepulturas Cover of Moterheads "Orgasmatron"
3.Kevin Gilberts cover of Led Zeps "Kashmir"

2:27 PM  
Blogger Anonymous Mom said...

Yes, I really LOVE "Rock & Roll" covered by Heart. Those gals kick some ass and I consider them to be true rockers, not just some fluff chick band.

I enjoy most covers because it's interesting to see what the other band comes up with - unless of course it's so bad you can't stand it.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Ranea said...

Disturbed did a cover of Tears for Fears song Shout. I didn't care for the original version, but Disturbed rocked it. They even put a reference to Vanilla Ice in it that's funny. And I agree with Bruce on Whiskey in the jar, I love that one too.:)

6:54 PM  
Blogger UnHoly Diver said...

Yeah, I liked the "Shout 2000" cover from Disturbed, too. It definitely had a different feel to it.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

I loved Guns n' Roses version of "Since I Don't Have You". I also remember a great Hard Rock version of "House Of The Rising Sun" by Frigid Pink. Also BOC did a good version "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place"

7:08 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Great White and Heart have both done many Led Zeppelin covers--GW a whoel album!--but both sound more like Zep cover bands than a group trying "new spin" cover attempts.

I like WASP's "The Real Me" (The Who), even if it's pretty straight up.

Six Feet Under's second covers album, Graveyard Classics 2, covered the AC/DC album Back in Black in its entirety. It was awful, downright comical if you could stand listening to it.

I heard that Disturbed (I think it was Disturbed) re-made "Land of Confusion" (Genesis) on a recent album. Anyone heard it?

-- david

4:22 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...


The Disturbed cover of "Land of Confusion" is quite good. Heavy but still respectful to the original.

And I liked the Six Feet Under covers of AC/DC. Comical, yes, but that's what's great about it!

I know this isn't a metal band, but Rufio's cover of Madonna's "Like A Prayer" is fantastic! You should check it out.

10:54 AM  

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