Sep 25

Best and Worst Cover Songs of All Time

If you ever want me to waste a few million brain cycles thinking about something, just ask me to compile a best of/worst of list. Perfect OCD feeder.

Here was the ask: name the 5 best, 5 worst, and 5 never-made-but-should-be cover songs.

I, of course, completely ignored the 5 limit and just went with it. Except for the should-be-mades, since anything good I think of I’m going to cover myself and why give away my best ideas, amirite?

== Best ==
Note: my preference is for songs that reimagine the original rather than just recreate it. Basically when I hear these covers, I wished I had thought to interpret the song that way. Because of this, I generally exclude traditional roots-y cover songs and the like.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney (Dolly). Also a worst cover ever.
All Along The Watchtower – Jimi (Dylan)
Respect – Aretha (Otis Redding)
Tainted Love – Soft Cell (Gloria Jones)
Ghost of Tom Joad – RATM (Springsteen)
Darling Nikki – Foo Fighters (Prince)
Higher Ground – RHCP (Stevie Wonder)
Nobody Does it Better – Radiohead (Carly Simon)
Me and Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin (Kris Kristofferson)
Blinded By the Light – Manfred Mann (Springsteen)
Got To Get You Into My Life – Earth Wind & Fire (Beatles)
Superstition – SRV (Stevie Wonder)
Voodoo Child (Slight Return), Little Wing – SRV (Jimi). SRV was a great cover factory, but that’s blues for you.
Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm (Michael). Could also be on worst list.
Jolene – White Stripes (Dolly)
I Can’t Go For That – Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers (Hall & Oates) (Youtube)
The Man Who Sold the World – Nirvana (Bowie)
Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles (Simon & Garfunkel)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Devo (Rolling Stones)
Let Down – Easy Star All Stars (Radiohead)
No Quarter – Tool (Led Zeppelin)
You’re No Good – Linda Ronstadt (Betty Everett)
Why Dont U Call Me Anymore – Alicia Keys (Prince)
Helter Skelter – U2 (Beatles)
Boyz-N-The Hood – Dynamite Hack (Easy-E)

== Easily could also be on the Worst Covers list as well: ==

Blue Monday – Orgy (New Order)
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Marilyn Manson (Eurythmics)

== Worst ==
Oh FSM, these are terrible. Note: these are all “serious” covers where the artists are really trying. Joke/unserious covers are excluded. I’m going to start by saying every cover of Imagine (Lennon) has sucked. Ditto for Smells Like Teen Spirit. … but I pretty much hate every one of these songs listed below for making me want to vomit in my mouth.

I Will Always Love You – Whitney (Dolly)
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Tori Amos (Nirvana) worst cover ever. Bar none.
These Boots Were Made for Walking – Jessica Simpson (Nancy Sinatra)
Hurt – Johnny Cash (NiN)
When a Man Loves a Woman – Michael Bolton (Percy Sledge)
Emotive (entire album, but particularly Imagine and What’s Going On) – A Perfect Circle
Imagine – Avril Lavigne. I’m serious about all Imagine covers sucking.
Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead (Prince)
Funkytown – Psuedo Echo (Lipps Inc.)
Soul Man – Blues Brothers (Sam and Dave)
Lady Marmalade – Xtine, Mya, etc (LaBelle)
Bring Tha Noize – Anthrax (Public Enemy)
I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany (Tommy James & the Shondells)
Always on My Mind – Pet Shop Boys (Brenda Lee)
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – Britney Spears (Rolling Stones)
Sweet Child o’ Mine – Sheryl Crow (GnR)
Purple Haze – The Cure (Jimi)
Faith – Limp Bizkit (George Michael)
Cat’s in the Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe (Harry Chapin)
Get it On (Bang a Gong) – Power Station (T. Rex)
Everything ever created by UB40.