Horrible cover versions

I’ve had a couple of conversations with nickjb and genericus about bad cover versions over the last few. We were dredging our brains for the worst covers we could think of, either because a good song was humped to death by some horribly inappropriate interpretation, or a mediocre song was taken to the logical limit of its badness.

Some notables were:

  • Natalie Merchant doing “Because the Night” like she had a teacup on her knee.
  • Fine Young Cannibals present the Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love”
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears do “Minnie the Moocher”. Late enough in their career to have drum loops.
  • Phil Collins skullraping “You Can’t Hurry Love”
  • Michael Jackson sings “Come Together”. Auuiiggh.
  • 10,000 Maniacs again, this time murdering John Prine’s “Hello in There”
  • James Taylor “How Sweet It Is to be Loved By You”
  • Shaun Cassidy “Rebel Rebel”
  • R.E.M.’s teeth-grindingly whiny version of “Pale Blue Eyes”

Please add yours!

31 thoughts on “Horrible cover versions

  1. I haven’t heard it in its entirety so I can’t speak for myself, but my friend Vince is morally repulsed by Sheryl Crow’s cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

    1. I don’t doubt it.
      And interestingly enough I feel that Guns ‘n’ Roses doing “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is a low point in the genre itself.

      1. Re: I don’t doubt it.
        God, that cover made me want to stick pointy objects in my ears. One of my favorite Dylan songs, too. Have you seen the film?

      2. Re: I don’t doubt it.
        Warren Zevon’s cover is good, though. Even if you don’t know that he was dying of cancer when he recorded it. Hearing him sing “Open up, open up, open up” makes me laugh and shiver at the same time.

  2. Exposed (aka Sydney DJ Pee Wee Ferris)’s commercial-dance cover of Blue Monday is genuinely atrocious. It’s basically hi-nrg house/dance, with a female vocalist singing the vocals adding a “ooh-ooh-yeah” after every other line. I should dig up a MP3s. (I haven’t heard a single good cover of Blue Monday; the least offensive one was Norwegian ambient-electronica outfit Flunk’s Valium-coated acoustic-guitar-strumming take on it.)
    And then there’s Tatu’s cover of “How Soon Is Now”.

  3. 1.) The Darkness – “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”
    2.) Tiffany – “I Think We’re Alone Now”
    3.) …and whoever did that mashup/cover/monstrosity of “Freebird” and “Baby I Love Your Way”.
    A.

      1. HAHA
        I specifically mentioned the Cleopatra label’s goth tributes to NIN and Smashing Pumkins during the conversation! Gag and puke!

  4. Phil Collins, post-Genesis, period.
    ‘Groovy Kind of Love’ – his version – rots, too.
    Mariah Carey’s version of ‘I’ll Be There’
    Ann Murray: ‘Daydream Believer’
    Don’t forget Shaun cassidy singing ‘Da Do Ron Ron’
    & I’m not fond of The Bangles’ ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ – certainly not compared to the original, anyhow.
    so many more I’m forgetting right now…

  5. Ho ho yes the Fine Young Cannibals!
    No mention of how inappropriate Michael Bolton’s entire career is, let alone “When a Man Loves a Woman”?
    And, of course, let’s not forget Britney Spears covering “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” “because she loves Pat Benatar”.

    1. Re: Ho ho yes the Fine Young Cannibals!
      and OH MY FUCK lets not forget the horrifying spectacle of her, BackN*Synch[whichever boy band it was], Nelly, and Aerosmith shitting all over “Walk This Way” at the superbowl a couple years ago.
      My eyes and ears have still not healed.

  6. That Norah Jones or whoever trying to do Fell In Love With A Girl. AAAAAAAAAAGH AGAHOUGAHOUGHHHHH.
    Yeah, anyone who tries to cover Tom Waits deserves scorn in my book. I mean, just cut it out, ok? I mean, unless you’re Marianne Faithful…
    The Sundays version of Wild Horses. I just can’t listen to it without going insane.
    The whole of that Tori Amos cover album except for Heart of Gold. I think she did that one really well, but the rest needs drowning.
    We were thinking that a Wesley Willis tribute band would be fun. I made up a new song called the Cow-Snake, all about fimmtiu. I think I am ready to take on the mantle. All I need is a rhythm ace!

    1. I know it’s heresy, but I like the Sundays’ version better than the Rolling Stones one.
      Also: any cover of Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet”. I’ve never heard one that doesn’t make me want to rip my ears off.

      1. Re: R&J – I find myself fortunate that the reason that I’ve never heard one that didn’t make me want to rip my ears off is that I’ve never heard one.

  7. I would have responded sooner if I wasn’t suffering hysterical amnesia…
    The face that We Built This City exists AT ALL is bad enough. That there is not one, but several covers, apparently, is a crime against humanity.
    Also, for what it’s worth, The Shaggs did a cover of the Marie Osmond hit “Paper Roses”. I managed to forget how bad it is, but I have my theories.

    1. Who the hell covered “We Built This City”?
      I’m not sure the Shaggs doing a song counts as a “cover”. It’s more of a.. erm.. tribute?

      1. I was thinking “atrocity”, but ymmv.
        Honestly, I’m not sure who would cover We Built This City, but I heard one, mentioned it on my LJ, and was told that there were more than one. Pheer.

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