March 14, 2007

Worst cover songs ever

Stereogum has a post today pointing the way to the list of worst covers ever recorded butchered. They suggest the following abominations:

20. “You Shook Me All Night Long” — Celine Dion and Anastasia
19. “Downtown Train” — Rod Stewart
18. “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” — Guns N Roses
17. “Demolition Man” — Manfred Mann
16. “American Pie” — Madonna
15. “My Generation” — Hilary Duff
14. “It’s My Life” — No Doubt
13. “Video Killed The Radio Star” — The Presidents of the United States of America
12. “Walk this Way” — Macy Gray
11. “Another Brick in the Wall” — Korn
10. “I’m A Believer” — Smash Mouth
09. “Satisfaction” — Britney Spears
08. “Sweet Child O Mine” — Sheryl Crow
07. “Big Yellow Taxi” — Counting Crows
06. “911 Is a Joke” — Duran Duran
05. “Anarchy in the UK” — Motley Crue
04. “Behind Blue Eyes” — Limp Bizkit
03. “Feel Like Making Love” — Kid Rock
02. “Dock of the Bay” — Michael Bolton
01. “And It Stoned Me” — Bob Dylan

I would like to respectfully submit the following addendum, which is really, really, insultingly bad. You may think it’s awful when it starts. Just wait. It gets worse as it goes along, peaking with the gospelly backup vocals on the chorus and the peppy brass instruments.
Cigarettes and Alcohol (Oasis cover) – Rod Stewart

It dovetails nicely with the crystal-vivid dream I had last night that I was at the 1995 Oasis show at The Fillmore in SF (it showed up in this picture I took; maybe it came from there to color my dreams). I was hanging out backstage with (no lie) Screech and A.C. Slater. Seriously, I’m not making this stuff up, kids. It’s too good.

So what other musical desecrations are out there that I’m forgetting to mention?
Tagged with .


  • Atomic Kitten – The Tide Is High

    Sarah N — March 14, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  • panic! at the disco eleanor rigby

    fall out boy roxanne

    Ian — March 14, 2007 @ 4:52 pm

  • Love the post and the blog btw.
    I guess in addition to those on the list i would add the following :
    1)All Saints- Under the Bridge
    2)Orgy-Blue Monday
    3)Alanis Morissette-Crazy
    4)G’n'R- Sympathy for the Devil
    5)Fun Boy Three-Our Lips are Sealed (trainspotting sntrk 2)
    And just for fun- Tori Amos- A total eclipse of the heart (she just lacks the passion)
    Although I enjoy Talk Talk, I thought No Doubt did a good job with “It’s My Life”.

    Si — March 14, 2007 @ 5:23 pm

  • Not that this one is necessarily bad, but definitely one of the most head scratching, but have you heard the new bluegrass cover of Rick James’ “Superfreak” by Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs? I’m a big Bruce Hornsby fan, but this sounds like something out of a very strange dream…I could see doing it live and improvising but I believe it’s on the new cd…any thoughts?
    But for plain horrible, I’d have to add Duran Duran’s “White Lines” to the list…

    Frank — March 14, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  • Bob Dylan should punch Sammy Hagar in the face for butchering Rainy Day Women. It’s on Hagar’s new album, which is a complete disaster as a whole. Jimmy Buffett is bad, but someone trying to rip Mr. Parrothead off is even worse!

    Oh, and Mony Mony from Billy Idol sucks too.

    Bryce — March 14, 2007 @ 7:11 pm

  • I seem to recall Rod Stewart’s butchering of his music bringing some world class comments from Tom Waits though. I’m not certain but I think he described Downtown Train thus:
    ‘So bad as to be almost unrecognisable.’ and said of his shit karaoke attempt at Tom Traubert’s Blues:
    If I’d know he was going to sing it I never would have written it.

    So it was worth suffering the butchering, just for those put-downs. The man’s a legend!

    Matthew — March 14, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

  • Hank Williams III’s cover of Springsteen’s Atlantic City is definitely one of the most offensive things i’ve ever heard.

    amy — March 14, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

  • I always thought William Shatner singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was pretty bad. Then again “If I Had A Hammer” by Leonard Nimoy was no gem. I guess any Trekkie who sings could make the list. Or any singer on the ‘Golden Throat’ compilation.

    Yon — March 14, 2007 @ 10:08 pm

  • Speaking of William Shatner… (did I bring him up?)… he has a new CD out since January 4th… and according to Amazon, over 200 folks think it’s almost five star worthy..

    Heather why haven’t you been blogging Shatner? Is it age discrimination?

    Beam me up.

    Yon — March 14, 2007 @ 10:17 pm

  • Awww… I really liked Gwen Stephanie’s version of “It’s My Life” as well as the original Talk Talk version :(

    However, and I know a lotta people might hunt me down for saying so, but I really disliked Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails “Hurt”. He may be the Man in Black, but his dark side is good fun, not Nihilistic!

    el walto — March 15, 2007 @ 1:46 am

  • I’d say Jesse Malin’s butchering of Bastards Of Young on his new disc more than qualifies

    -tom — March 15, 2007 @ 6:46 am

  • Heather, great post! A few years ago, I really got into Frank Sinatra and Nat Cole adn the jazz classics which are often dubbed “The American Songbook.” I’d like to add all of Rod Stewart’s cover versions. Not only did he bludgeon these great songs but he did it over and over and over again on 3 or is it 4 volumes now. Please STOP, someone STOP him. His voice is horrible on these tracks.

    Matthias Treml — March 15, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  • Matthias, I agree completely. The other thing about Rod Stewart that MUST MUST be stopped is the gratuitous crotch-shot album covers. Dear good lord. Put that thing away.

    heather — March 15, 2007 @ 8:26 am

  • I have to say that this is a category that is at no loss for contenders. I think Dolly Parton’s cover of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ although funny on many levels, is not on even more. the Ramones cover of ‘Have You Ever Seen the Rain’ also too much juxtaposition to work. And almost every cover by actors that really shouldn’t be singing.

    Stephen K. — March 15, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  • I wasn’t aware that Clay Aiken was pretending he could pull off Where the Streets Have No Name. Thanks for that, though it’ll haunt me now. It’s not that his singing is bad, he just doesn’t have the passion.

    As for me, i’d add Bono’s version of Hallelujah because it just kills the song for me.

    jojoware — March 15, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  • jojoware, I actually like that Hallelujah by Bono because it’s so different and sexy.

    heather — March 15, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

  • I can’t really criticize Madonna’s cover of “American Pie,” simply because the original is truly one of the most awful songs ever written. At least Madonna’s version is shorter!

    Lamestain HQ — March 15, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  • I love the Carpenter’s tribute album, ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ but (and I can’t even remember who does the song off the top of my head) but the version ‘Rainy Days of Mondays’ just sounds like his batteries are going flat.

    Sarah N — March 15, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

  • Fun Boy Three-Our Lips are Sealed (trainspotting

    i believe that’s the original…..
    the go-go’s did the cover…me thinks….

    SINEDDIE — March 15, 2007 @ 9:17 pm

  • it’s got to be Back in the USSR by Lemmy from the butchering the beatles cd.

    SINEDDIE — March 15, 2007 @ 9:19 pm

  • heather, that rod/oasis cover makes me bleed from my eyes. talk about sucking the life and joy out of something good…jeez.

    ortholomeux — March 17, 2007 @ 11:41 am

  • Rod Stewart’s cover of Primal Scream’s “Rocks” was pretty atrocious too. That man asbolutely cannot cover songs.

    Anonymous — March 17, 2007 @ 4:33 pm

  • OCBoddity says:

    Ever heard and survived Barbra Streisand’s attempt at Bowie “Life On Mars?”. That really makes you sick….

    Anonymous — March 18, 2007 @ 11:12 am

  • Bob Dylan’s version of Creep. That was lightyears worse than awful.

    Ash — March 20, 2007 @ 4:24 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

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