Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Best and worst hard rock/ metal cover songs of the 80's

I remember a time when doing cover songs wasn't done all that frequently. I mean it was just done here and there and became more common by the late 80's. By the 1990's is when it really seemed to become the thing to do as cover albums and tribute albums began popping up all over the place. Well, I am just going to focus on cover songs that were recorded by hard rock/metal bands in the 1980's. Here are my top 25 with the artist then song title and the original artist in parenthesis.

1)Slayer-In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Iron Butterfly)
2) WASP-The real me (The Who)
3) Sanctuary-White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
4)Flotsam and Jetsam-Saturday night's alright for fighting (Elton John)
5)WASP-Mississippi Queen (Mountain)
6)Exodus-Lowrider (War)
7)Armored Saint-Saturday night special (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
8)Scorpions-I can't explain (The Who)
9)WASP-Paint it black (Rolling Stones)
10)Metal Church-Highway Star (Deep Purple)
11)Overkill-Sonic Reducer (The Dead Boys) -Overkill's version is where I got the inspiration for the name of my blog!
12) Testament-Nobody's Fault (Aerosmith)
13) Slayer-Dissident Aggressor (Judas Priest)
14) WASP-Easy Livin' (Uriah Heep)
15) Metallica-Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg)
16) Heathen-Set me free (Sweet)
17) WASP-I don't need no doctor (Humble Pie)
18) Iron Maiden-Cross eyed Mary (Jethro Tull)
19) Sodom-Iron Fist (Motorhead)
20) WASP-Locomotive Breath (Jethro Tull)
21) David Lee Roth-Tobacco Road
22) Megadeth-No more Mr. Nice Guy (Alice Cooper)
23) Dark Angel-Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
24) Metallica-Am I evil? (Diamond Head)
25) Lizzy Borden-Long live rock and roll (Rainbow)

Here are the bottom five.
1)Megadeth-Anarchy in the UK (Sex Pistols)-Just an extremely boring and annoying version.
2)Lizzy Borden-Born to be wild (Steppenwolf)-Here is band who had done some good covers (Long live rock and roll, White Rabbit) yet they did this dud live for Decline of western civilization 2.
3)Twisted Sister-Leader of the pack (The Shangra Las) -This was the coffin nail for their once promising career.
4)Keel-Let's spend the night together (Rolling Stones) -Has Ron Keel ever sounded worse?
5)Poison-Rock and roll all nite (Kiss)-You would think this would have been a good song for them to cover. Yet you have to have some degree on enthusiasm and they didn't.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do a pretty mean cover of Rock & Roll All Night! After three beers and two shots of course.

3:26 AM  
Anonymous WallOfMetal said...

Judas Priest - Paint It Black
Broken Hope - Captain Howdy

5:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, it would almost seem that WASP has built a career on cover songs...I hadn't realized just how many they have done!

I'm a big Twisted Sister fan and thought that "Leader of the Pack" was just some cutesy thing that they had to get out of their system...unfortunately that album (Come Out and Play) was followed by "Love is For Suckers" which is by far the worst TS album ever. Things were never the same...

6:25 AM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

I'm sorry, but anyone who covers The Who should be strung up...

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to like the Exodus version of Low Rider.

As far as covers go though you are so right about a million being done in that timeframe.

Motley Crue did a good job with Smoking in the Boy's Room, I thought.

And yes, Diamond Dave had a few covers...and don't even mention VH's Diver Down. :)

Lillian Axe re-did "No Matter What" by Bad Finger. It wasn't too bad, but I think it was in the 90s.

10:00 AM  
Blogger DPTH International said...

Ragnorak(UK) did a black metally cover of Manowar's Heart Of Steel which I like.

Tad Morose does a great cover of ABBA's Knowing Me Knowing You that is fabulous.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Hard Rock Hideout said...

Riot did a cover of Born To Be Wild on the Narita Album.

They also did a cover of UFO's
Only You Can Rock Me on the Through the Storm Disc that is absolutely killer.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Hard Rock Hideout said...

Also Britny Fox covered Slade's - Gudbuy to Jane

and of course no one can forget the biggest Slade rip offs of all time:

Quiet Riot's - Mama Weer All Crazee Now and Cum On Feel The Noize.

Metallica covered Queen's Stone Cold Crazy (and did a better job of it, at least I thought so anyway.)

I really hated Warrant's cover of We will rock you.

Sweet F.A.'s cover of Mama Told Me Not To Come was horrible.

Of course its not really a cover, but if you want to hear a really bad one. Listen to Faster Pussycat do Silent Night. Its like nails on a chalk

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked Poison's "Rock and Roll All Nite." I also like their cover of "Cover of a Rolling Stone" (Dr. Hook). But I can't stand their "Your Mamma Don't Dance," and "We're An American Band" doesn't seem to sound right coming from them either.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Bruce said...

Metallica's cover of Bob Seger's "Turn the Page" was better than I thought it would be..

4:25 PM  
Blogger Sgt Fluffy said...

Really good list. I totally agree with #1. Slayer owned that one. ANd Bruce, I agree with no one should or could cover The Who, but WASP did a really graet job with the Real Me.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Captain Corky-Tape that some time and post it on your blog.


Rockdog-Releasing Leader of the pack as the first single off the album and doing a video that wasn't even funny were poor decisions.

Bruce-I love the WHO and I think both of the covers I listed are great versions.

Onmywatch-With Diver Down and Crazy from the heat, Diamond Dave is probably the artist who was involved with the most cover songs in the 80's.

DPTH-I have not heard either of those.

Hard rock hideout-The Cult and Zodiac Mindwarp both covered Born to be wild around the same time as Lizzy Borden. My favorite cover of that song might be the one with Raven and UDO doing it. I have that on a picture disc single.
Warrant did an alright cover of "Train, train". Faster Pussycat did a good cover of "Your'e so vain".

bubba-Welcome. Poison just never seemed very excited when they were doing cover songs.

Bruce- I agree.

Sgt. Fluffy-When I first heard that Slayer shortened that song the three minutes or so I was shocked. Then I heard it and knew it was perfect.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the people's comments. I also agree with you saying Poison's version of Rock and Roll all nite sucked. For a bunch of guys who claim to be influenced by KISS it didn't show at all. The song had no balls whatsoever. I did like Motley's Helter Skelter and also Aerosmiths. Come to think of it, you can't go wrong covering that song.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Jay-Welcome. Motley Crue's Helter Skelter came close to making my best covers list.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? You left Winger doing Purple Haze of your top 25? LOL! Just kidding!

Truthfully, I really like WASP's version of The Real Me, almost as much as The Who's.

Great List

5:28 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Mike-Thanks. The real me by WASP is an excellant version. True enough to the original to be respectful, but they add enough of their own sound to make it interesting. That's the approach every band should take when doing a cover.

8:05 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Not only was Twisted Sister's 'Leader of the Pack' the worst cover of any genre it was also the most insipid video of all time. Mr. Roboto excluded.

7:21 PM  
Blogger George Vader said...

Nothing wrong with the mighty Van Halens-Diver Down album, Pretty Woman, Dancing In The Streets and Where Have All The Good Times Gone were all fine covers, though far too many for one album.

9:50 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

For the bad list:
Kiss - "Then She Kissed Me"
GnR - "Sympathy"

For the good list:
Saxon - "In the Court of the Crimson King" (Yeah, it was a shocked, but it was good.)

11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Twisted Sister's "It's Only Rock N' Roll (But I Like It)" was pretty nasty, too. And I agree with Hard Rock Hideout's comment that Warrant's "We Will Rock You" was pretty bad. And while it's probably not cool to criticize Ozzy, I thought "Missippi Queen" was a poor fit for him.

As for the good, I liked Metallica's "Crash Course in Brain Surgery", G n' R's "Ain't It Fun", and I saw Def Leppard do a good version of "Black Betty" in concert- though I don't know if they've ever recorded it.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

wallofmetal: Priest didn't cover "Paint It Black". It was on one of Glenn Tipton's solo albums. But Judas Priest's covers of both "Diamonds and Rust" and "The Green Manalishi" are classics!

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to look up Graveworms cover of Iron Maidens Fear Of The Dark, then you'll hear the best metal cover

1:17 AM  
Anonymous ScooterTrash said...

So where would you put Krokus's cover of Ballroom Blitz?

4:08 PM  
Blogger LANCE said...


4:50 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

Arabesque is a Dutch band. Stargazer is on a Deep Purple/Rainbow tribute disc. See

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Magpie said...

Wrathchild America did an absolutely blistering cover of Pink Floyd's "Time".

Mama's Boys did a verson of "Higher Ground" that would make Red Hot Chili Peppers weep.

Judas Priest's cover of Johnny B. Good was a pleasant surprise, as was Raven's version of "Gimme Some Loving"

12:32 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

I've always had a soft spot for Megadeth's cover of "Anarchy...". I sometimes think I'm the only one who likes it! Also, I have always liked Celebrity Skin's version of "S.O.S." even if I'm not so sure of the actual band.

1:45 PM  

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