Cover Versions

I was a big fan of Electric Light Orchestra back in the Dark Ages of my youth and, when pissed, regularly shoved on headphones and “sang” along to my favorite track which was “Do You Want My Love”. This was long before karaoke was invented so it was just you, your drink-fuddled mind and Jeff Lynne and his mates blasting out fab stuff.

Anyway, as I was waiting at the traffic lights the other day, I became aware of a familiar tune I hadn´t heard in decades and then realized it was “Living Thing”, another brilliant stomper from ELO. But instead of that heavy rhythm and electrifying guitar magic that makes it impossible to stand still, this was a tinny, anaemic version that sounded as if it was being squeezed out of the voice boxes of adenoidal choirboys in a large, cold cathedral. The source was a cut-price carpet shop which had put a speaker outside blasting out this pitiful, criminal cover. I was tempted to kick it over, go in and set fire to the place for desecrating a great band.

Cover versions – fuck ´em, I say! Here´s a link to get your adrenalin flowing ISACers:

Nominated by Mr Polly

166 thoughts on “Cover Versions

  1. I like ELO too mr P!
    But also dislike ‘covers’ of tunes,
    Original is usually best, although the Stranglers cover of ‘walk on by’
    Pisses all over the original.

        • Well thank fuck i aint heard no cover versions of my type of music to say the least not quite 40 but love the 70s .gerry rafferty was always a good un /love the live tours of BMW youll never get better than them live

        • Something like :
          “Jon Snot’s necktie lies a-fest’ring in a minge
          Caffy Newman’s minge, Caffy Newman’s minge
          Jon Snot’s necktie lies a-fest’ring in a minge
          And the cocks go wombling on.”

          Desperate, I admit…
          But then so is La Newman.

  2. I caught a Xmas instrumental version of Go Your Own Way last year. Hanging too good for the cunts.
    The various boy and girl ‘bands’ (where band is defined as non musicians who can emote in autotune mode) rely on ripping the bollocks off real songs. Rappers do similar by ‘sampling’ which means ripping off real music.
    I look forward to a cunter’s list of cover abominations.

  3. Agree but a few half decent covers exist.

    Roxy Music – Jealous Guy
    The Specials – A message to you, Rudy
    Marvin Gaye – I Heard it through the grapevine
    Nirvana – The man who sold the world
    Johnny Cash – Hurt

    But those are all made some time ago. I haven’t heard a good cover in ages. It’s all tinny crap in order to appeal to millennials.

    • Roxy Music were great but they turned Jealous Guy into a weedy, whiny love song stripped of all its vulnerability and apologising.

        • Fucking ‘Disturbed’s version of sound of silence done it for me fucking dog awful shite!

          • Good covers…

            Vanilla Fudge = You Keep Me Hanging On
            Cream – Crossroads
            Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe
            James -Sunday Morning
            Soft Cell -Tainted Love
            The Jam – So Sad About Us
            Badfinger – Come And Get It
            Faces – Wicked Messenger
            Scott Walker – If You Go Away
            The Smiths – Golden Lights
            CCS – Whole Lotta Love

            Crap covers…

            U2 – Everlasting Love
            Simple Minds – Sign O’ The Times
            Wet Wet Wet – Love Is All Around
            Whitney Houston – Higher Love
            Tom Jones & Cardigans – Burning Down The House
            Annie Lennox – Train In Vain
            Manic Street Poofters – Suicide Is Painless
            Scarlett Johansscunt – Bizarre Love Triangle
            Lliy Mong – Mister Blue Sky (sorry, Mr Polly)
            Vic Reeves & Wonderstuff – Dizzy

  4. What cheeses me off is on television adverts there’s someone covering a song that is usually loud or fast but sings it slowly and quietly with hardly any instruments.

    Those adverts with the black beauty horse bank for instance.

    You’re Not Alone by Olive is fast usually.

    • Beat me to it Spooners, what were once outright ‘last song of the set’ rock stompin’ stadium rousers being reduced to turgid, 60bpm, drippy arsed solo piano ballads voiced by some over-emotional neurotic session singer: bunch of fucking arse!

      • Very true, C Chops.

        When will they cover a slow, drippy version of ‘Smack My B*tch Up’, by The Prodigy?

  5. Why is it, over the past few years there has been a flood of soppy, insipid versions of classic songs? Usually heard in advertising, these versions are usually performed by a half-asleep Dido soundalike and feature just a piano accompaniment. Dull as dishwasher coma-inducing muzak.

  6. I prefer The Pet Shop Boys version of ‘Always On My Mind’ to Elvis’ version.

    I’ll get my coat…

      • They were the worst…remember ‘Go West’. RT? ‘The King of wishful thinking…’ what a line. His voice was excruciating to my ear.

        • Pay attention Miles – I already said PSB’s ‘Go West’ was great!

          As was their monumental version of ‘I’m Not Scared’. Even though they did write it themselves.

          • “His voice was excruciating to my ear.”
            You’ll have to excuse him RTC. He is paying attention but he’s only got one ear!
            I think the jelly and cream in the other is making him a trifle deaf.
            I wear my coat all the time now.

          • I think Mrs Plastic needs to up his medication. I’ll write a fresh prescription… to be taken aurally.

          • Ah… got you. Apologies Miles, GW didn’t really show up much on my radar… utterly forgettable.

    • No need to do that Gene.

      PSB are pretty damn good at covers: Id suggest that Elvis cover was first rate; their Go West is better than the Village People original and they also cleverly adapted Streets Have No Name with the Andy Williams Just too Good to be True/ Cant take my eyes off You which that arch tax dodging fuck Bonio would never have the imagination to do in a million years.

      More recently they added a bit of extra polish the Killers Read My Mind.

    • The Willie Nelson original is good, Elvis was a cover artist more than anything. That said he transformed many songs.

      • Sometimes remixes can work. ‘A Little Less Conversation’ comes to mind. Still Elvis’s voice but remixed. The video is great with the different dancers in the boxes. That’s usually the fourth song on my solo drinking night….which is due.

      • The song Always On my Mind was written by Mark James and Johnny Christopher. Elvis recorded his version in March 1972-ten years before Willie Nelson did his version. So actually Willie Nelson was doing a cover. The Pet Shop Boys version is great, too. But PSB thought about songs they covered and made them sound like PSB originals,instead of going down the Robson & Jerome route of karaoke singing-by-numbers and just doing a copy.

  7. I feel your pain Mr Polly, but can’t altogether get on board with this cunting. As with all music and songs in general, there are good cover versions and bad cover versions.

    In fact many cover versions are actually better than the originals! A few good ones off the top of my head:

    The Doors – Back Door Man
    Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower
    Mothers Of Invention – Directly From My Heart To You
    Blues Magoos – Tobacco Road
    Vanilla Fudge – Some Velvet Morning
    Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues
    Love My – Little Red Book
    Cream – Spoonful (Wheels of Fire)
    The Byrds – Mr Tambourine Man
    Amboy Dukes – Baby Please Don’t Go
    Free – The Hunter
    Klaus Nomi – Lightnin’ Strikes
    John Coltrane – My Favourite Things
    Big Brother & The Holding Company – Ball And Chain
    The Residents – Hey Jude (and everything else on The Third Reich And Roll LP)
    Spooky Tooth – I Am The Walrus
    Alizee – Ella, Elle L’A
    Ramones – California Sun
    MC5 – Tutti Frutti
    The Who – Young Man Blues

      • Fook me ! Klaus Nomi and The Residents.
        That’s stirred some memories.
        Satisfaction by Devo was ( in my ‘umble opinion ) better than the original.
        Are We Not Men ?
        We Are Cunts !
        Get To Fuck.

        • Afternoon Jack. Devo’s ‘Secret Agent Man’ was another good one… though nowhere as eccentric!

          Mongoloid I am a mongoloid…

      • Ruff Tuff – Talking of Love, a two man band called Occasionally David released a cover of the whole Forever Changes album in 1987.
        And about anaemic covers, no better example than the Searchers’ ‘When You Walk In The Room’, originally recorded (and written) by Jackie DeShannon.

        • Blimey – I hadn’t heard of Occasionally David or their cover of Forever Changes. Will check it out, thanks Alan.

          You’re not wrong about that Searchers cover mind. I still love their first LP ‘Meet The Searchers’ though… one of the first LPs I ever bought.

          • Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues. Better than the original?
            No way. Eddie Cochrane’s was much better, even The Who’s.

          • I didn’t say it was better Bertie, just good. Though I do prefer it… and The Who version.

    • I’m in awe of your knowledge there RTC. I must check some of them out on the basis that there are many outstanding artistes in that list. I thought I knew my music but I don’t even know some of the originals; yet alone the covers!

      I’ll agree with your sentiment too. Some covers really are better than the originals (but never when adapted for adverts or Christmas)

      And in my opinion Manfred Mann could always be relied upon to do a decent job on some of the more obscure Dylan and Springsteen album tracks. I was listening to their Angel Station just the other day…. what a great album!

      • Morning Isaac. Agree, Manfred Mann did some excellent covers.

        PS: As a ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh’ fan I’m sure you remember ‘Directly From My Heart To You’.

        • Indeed I do Ruff.

          Fantastic memory you have there about our mutual admiration for Weasels a year or two ago.

          I even heard Camarillo Brillo on the local radio whilst on the M25 last week. Can Frank now be considered mainstream I wonder?

          • I don’t think so. A lot of his stuff is evidently popular, though still far from mainstream imo.

            And there’s always at least one song per album to confound or offend the unthinking masses…

        • I’ve not heard „Kontakte“ in three decades and therefore nolens volens never heard that superb 2009 interpretation by the Talea ensemble.

          Many thanks, RTC.

          • My pleasure Mr Sheen. Good to know not everyone on this site is a philistine. 😀

  8. Try getting hold of William Shatner’s and Leonard Nimoid’s album “Spaced Out”.
    There are cover versions of Tamboreen Man and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds which are truely unforgettable and heart stopping. But not in a good way!
    Might be something on YouTube.

  9. Most modern cover versions are atrocious. The worst offenders are the crack heads that take some riff from a great track, distort it and endlessly repeat it in some boring synthesised 30 minute long techno- dance tune for drug addled Millennials to dance too like Zombies.

    • “I hurt myself today.” sent a shuddering chill up my spine when I caught it being used as the backing track to a film about a deep tech diving training session that went … wrong… With two kids, that song made the decision for me about my hankering to move into tech/wreck and cave diving. Nope.

  10. Stock,Aitkin and Waterman were responsible for some terrible atrocities….the Cunts produced some terrible cover versions too.

    PS……much as it grieves me to say it, Pink’s version of White Rabbit is surprisingly good. It’s a song that I’ve had stuck in my head for weeks now,can’t shift it.

    • I wonder who Mr Stock was? You never saw him or heard him interviewed. Anyway, Kyle instead of ‘I should be so lucky’ should have recorded music with a deeper meaning. Stockhausen, Aitken and Waterman.

          • Dunno Rtc, ordered them but as im on holiday not sure if theyve arrived, little ms miserable never said if they have.
            At the risk of sounding selfish Rtc im going to hide them high up to stop the random crisp theft of the unenlightened.

          • The Hermes man probably threw them over the fence, they’ve split and been eaten by the squirrels. Sorry to bring you bad news.

          • Haha hope your both wrong, waited 30+yrs tp retaste those babies!
            All i need now is a Texan bar stockist an im on my way back to the 70s!
            Bottle of Alpine pineappleade as well
            Do you remember Alpine?
            Came round on a flatbed wagon?
            Best mineral ever…

          • Might of been a northern thing, Blunty wont know it, doubt anyone but the mayor and the katonas could afford it in Warrington!

  11. Chas and Dave played guitar on this Labi Siffre track. Skip to 2:10 for Eminem (my name is)

          • Really Miles?
            Knew you were a man of good taste but that just confirmed it!
            S.A.H.B is a band I’d of loved to of seen live!

          • One of my greatest regrets I had my chance to go Miserable but of course didn’t. What a knob. On my solo drinking nights, headphones jammed in, I always end up searching about for any last scrap of video of them. But there’s so little. One of those very rare bands (for me) that every track works gloriously. And every track unique.

          • Yes only footage ive seen was Old Grey Whistletest stuff.
            Brilliant band.

          • Love the insanity of this, the insane guitar of Zal Cleminson.

            Vambo Marble Eye / Lyrics
            Hobo villa, Hobo need
            Even dead, fear alone indeed
            Even dead fear marble eye
            He been living in a lullaby

            Machinery overheat
            Vambo teaching mastery
            Over shaka, shake her fast
            Even old marble eye go past him

            Up the go go river
            Give away, lobster hobo, say OK
            Long, long lover
            She say goodbye
            He been living in a lullaby

            Up the go go river
            Give away, lobster hobo, say OK
            Long, long lover
            She say goodbye
            He been living in a lullaby

            Vambo never, show him face
            Hold him head in no disgrace
            Hobo villa on the Hobo need
            Even the dead fear alone indeed

            Even dead fear marble eye
            Ain’t no way for he to die
            Tell me no story, tell me no lie
            He been living in a lullaby

            Up the go go river
            Give away, lobster hobo, say OK
            Long, long lover
            She say goodbye
            He been living in a lullaby

            Vambo Comin’ to the rescue
            Vambo rule OK, Vambo rule

  12. Dare I suggest that Bob Dylan songs are generally done better by others rather than the man himself?

        • Anti -semitic warning!!!!

          Never bought into it. Urbanite Jew pretending to be Woodie Guthrie. Fake as fuck. No, stick to the higher forms-like Bernstein, Gershwin. That their (piano) forte.

    • Except by Patti Smith who made an arse of herself representing him at the Nobel Prize ceremony last year and forgot the lyrics in the middle of A Hard Rain’ Gonna Fall. Serves the jumped-up prick right for snubbing the show but still taking the cash. At least Sartre just refused to accept it regardless of the money on offer.

  13. Kylie’s version of ‘Locomotion’ stuck with me.

    Also, Madonna’s ‘Holiday’ which I think was originally sung by a french girl.

  14. That twat who did Wonderwall. Mike Flowers or whatever, can’t be arsed looking it up.

    That was pretty fucking shite.

    Although Hylda Baker and Arthur Mullard’s cover of ‘You’re the one that I want’ was an all time classic.

    • I liked The Mike Flowers Pops version of Wonderwall!

      I’ll get my coat, again…

      • The BBC (4 it was) and Paul Morely. But this time it was very good. The history of easy listening. And where it came from-Herb Albert, Burt Bacharach. But before that. Revolutionised what I listen to. Morely making the point at the end that maybe ‘Rock and Roll’ was the aberration in popular music.

  15. WTF has the photo of Neil Kinnock with the nom got to do with cover versions?

    • Kinnock’s probably doing his own cover version:

      “EU to me are everything, the sweetest song that I could sing, o-boyo…”

      • That would be a hit Bertie if the they ‘sampled’ Kinnock’s Sheffield election rally cry- ‘ALRIGHT…ALRIGHT…ALRIGHT’. Maybe Fatboy Slim could make something of it- he’s a Labour Party supporter

        • Afternoon Miles.
          I found Tony Blair’s cover of Pearl Jam’s ‘Education’ a bit repetitive, as he released it three times.

  16. Johnny Cash’s rendition of Personal Jesus?
    David Bowie’s cover of Sortow?
    Peter Wyngarde’s cover of Neville Thumbcatch?
    Leonard Nimoy’s cover of Love of the Common People?

    What I object to more is taking classical pieces and putting words on them.
    Holst’s Jupiter is one victim of this.

  17. I love that “Suspicious Minds” cover version out at the moment by DJ Bojo & The Cowardly Cunts:

    ” 🎵 I’m caught in a trap,
    I can’t get out…..”

  18. The worst cover version ever, by a mile, was Eric Claptons Wonderful Tonight. Admittedly it was a cover of his own song, but it merits a mention such is it’s awfullnessness.

  19. Kylie Minge did a few covers. All of the utter shite, but I couldn’t care less as it gave me an opportunity to ogle her amazing arse.

      • Sorry, One Flew Over. I just reread my comment and I wasn’t for one minute suggesting you were of that disposition!

        • No probs. I’m defo not afflicted with ‘the gayness’.

          But I would’ve shoved my nose up her arsehole for hours on end back in the day, without question. Her turds probably smelled of potpourri anyway.

    • Koily performed at the Sydney Olympic closing ceremony and during her gyrations the camera caught a heartstopping upskirt shot and broadcast it to the world.

      It scarred me for life, in a good way

  20. Most of Joe Cocker’s stuff was wonderful. He even took a fucking Ringo song and turned it into a classic. Leave your hat on can peel paint and Bird on a wire is sublime. The Eagles did a good job on Don’t stop.

    • The Damned did a good cover of “Eloise” but it still wasn’t as good a cover as Paul and Barry Maskinback’s.

      • Fucking belting tune, The Damned’s version. Best played at full volume on my Dolby car stereo.

    • Joe Cocker also did a brilliant reggae style cover of “Summer In The City” by Lovin’ Spoonful.

    • Cocker’s Woodstock version of ‘With A Little Help…’ totally nailed it!

  21. Chris Farlowe’s “Out of Time” was far superior to the Rolling Stones.

    • Love The Wurzel’s “I Am A Cider Drinker”, hilariously covered by Roy Chubby Brown as “I Am Asylum Seeker”…
      I am asylum seeker
      And I’ve arrived for some dole
      I am asylum seeker
      Through the Chunnel I found a big hole, in the fence
      It doesn’t make sense

      Excuse me
      Is this England?
      Is the DSS near the dome?
      Oh you British,
      You are so friendly!
      You never tell us to fuck off home

      I am asylum seeker.
      I’ve got a wife and ten kids
      I am asylum seeker
      We’re Afghans, Iraqis and Yids
      And we’re not going back
      Along that fucking rail track…

  22. I think most would agree that there are some great covers (often way better interpretations than the original) and some horrors.
    Eg I think that the Byrds’ take on ‘Bells of Rhymney’ and the Beatles’ take on ‘Money’ are sensational.
    As others have pointed out above, there have been a lot of zombie-like boy band rehashes which are abominable; just cash generating fodder for cunts like Cowell. I want to retch at any cover version of ‘Yesterday’ and ‘My Way’.
    My particular abominations are Aretha Franklin’s shriekingly horrendous ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ and Madonna’s mauling of the Don McLean classic ‘American Pie’. So some great covers, some abysmal. I suppose you pays yer money…
    An interesting cunting Mr P.

    • I used to love this version and found it hilarious but now the sight of Mullard makes me want to puke.

  23. The cover versions done by X factor robots and shit like Ellie Goulding are a load of crap, but there are some great cover versions:

    Saxon – “Ride Like Wind”
    Stevie Ray Vaughan – “Little Wing”
    Jimi Hendrix – “All Along the Watchtower”
    Aerosmith – “Love Me Two Times”
    Guns & Roses – “Sympathy for the Devil”

  24. Surprised nobody has mentioned the rather excellent Sex Pistols/Sid Vicious cover of My Way, which included this amusing lyric substitution:

    Original lyric:
    My friend, I’ll say it clear
    I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

    Sid’s Lyric:
    You cunt, I’m not a queer
    I’ll state my case of which I’m certain

    Very apt for ISAC. Enjoy:

    • Miles & MNC –
      Yes indeed, I find you correct on both counts. Well observed and well remembered. Both excellent efforts by the Vicious one. Both bought by me as singles back in the day.

      Being a Smash Hits reader in those days, I’d heard about the rather fruity lyrics to the B side of Something Else, namely the excruciatingly funny Friggin’ In The Riggin’. I didn’t have my own record player at the time so had to ask mumsy if I could use her music centre (remember those?). Family was gathered in the front room, so having sought said permission I put on Friggin’ In The Riggin’ and made a sharp exit. I thought it would be funny. I got a bollocking. Some parents have no sense of fucking humour at times. Cun…erm…better not.

      • Check out Sids brilliant phone conversation with Rodney Binginheimer, IY!
        Rodney (70s music biz type) thinks hes talking to Johnny Rotten on the pistols american tour, its actually Sid,
        Rodney “you can get anything you want out here!”
        Sid “can you get egg n chips?”

  25. Excellent Nom!

    Normally, covers stink… However one or two surpass the original:

    The Damned – Citadel (Stones)
    The Dickies – Paranoid (Much more energy than the Sabbath version)
    Penetration – Nostalgia (Buzzcocks)
    SLF – Love Of The Common People

    Did I grow up during the punk era ? Yes, obviously !

  26. Great topic for cunting; the electronic sampling approach has its purpose in advertising and elevators,

    Honest reworkings can be marvellous; a couple not already mentioned:

    Price of love: Status Quo<Brian Ferry
    White room: Cream<Ace Frehley

  27. At early Stone Roses gigs the band used to cover Sigue Sigue Sputink’s ‘Love Missile’… I saw them do this a few times… A shame they never recorded it, as it was better than the original…

    The master of the cover? Scott Walker interpreting the work of Jacques Brel…

  28. The Jam did some great covers…

    Batman Theme
    Get Yourself Together
    Stoned Out Of My Mind
    So Sad About Us
    Taxman – I mean Start!

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