From the NY Post nonetheless…
By MARY HUHN and MAXINE SHEN
Brian Ibbott of the podcast, Coverville, has a library of the best covers ever…
posted by NichelleClick here to commentJuly 18, 2007 — Click Here For MPFrees
IF you’re experiencing déjà vu, don’t worry – you really have heard it all before.
It’s the summer of the cover songs, with albums by Mark Ronson, Bryan Ferry and even Poison recording other artists’ songs. Then there’s “Instant Karma,” a benefit album for Darfur, featuring John Lennon classics recorded by wide-ranging artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Big & Rich . . . and Avril Lavigne doing “Imagine” (the horror).
Which got us thinking: What are the best covers of all time?
They’re the versions that make you forget there was ever an original, Janis Joplin doing “Me and Bobby McGee” or Soft Cell’s take on “Tainted Love.” Or, perhaps, it’s a track that’s so brilliantly redone in a different style, it finds a whole new generation of fans – such as Cake’s understated redo of Gloria Gaynor’s disco-hit “I Will Survive,” or Johnny Cash’s heartwrenching take on synth gods Depeche Mode.
In no particular order, here are popular music’s 100 greatest covers – plus a few bonus tracks you can download for free today at nypost.com.
1. “Stairway to Heaven,” Dolly Parton (Led Zeppelin)
Queen of country rescues song from amateur guitar players everywhere with a soulful rendition that’ll have you in tears.
2. “Baby Got Back,” Jonathan Coulton
MySpace white boy folk-rocks his way through an ode to big butts; great four-part harmony on “L.A. face with the Oakland booty.”
3. “Hazy Shade of Winter,” the Bangles (Simon and Garfunkel)
The way Paul Simon originally intended it – with a killer guitar riff and a drugged-out Robert Downey Jr.
4. “Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’Connor (Prince)
Close-cropped video and passionate rendition brought little-known Prince track to light.
5. “Showroom Dummies,” Señor Coconut & His Orchestra (Kraftwerk)
Not the first time Germans have hid out in South America, but with better results.
6. “Smooth Criminal,” Alien Ant Farm (Michael Jackson)
Turns “Annie are you OK” into a head-banging mantra.
7. “Personal Jesus,” Johnny Cash (Depeche Mode)
Electronica transformed into a painful, soul-crushing ballad. In a good way!
8. “Against All Odds,” the Postal Service (Phil Collins)
We can’t wait for what they’re going to do to “Sussudio.”
9. “Easy (Like Sunday Morning),” Faith No More (the Commodores)
If this song can’t get you some lovin’, take a hard, hard look at yourself.
10. “Tainted Love,” Soft Cell (Gloria Jones)
11. “Tainted Love,” Marilyn Manson (Gloria Jones)
12. “Under Pressure,” My Chemical Romance and the Used (Queen and David Bowie)
Emo panters prove that David Bowie and Freddie Mercury were the original definition of “guyliner.”
13. “Mah Na Mah Na,” Cake (Piero Umiliani)
Going back to the classics, Cake gives “Sesame Street” the business.
14. “Wicked Game,” H.I.M. (Chris Isaak)
The love-metal band makes the sexy song even hotter by adding wailing and driving guitar licks. Video isn’t as good, though.
15. “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want,” Muse (the Smiths)
Short and sweet, Muse delivers all the punch of the original without getting wimpy about it.
16. “Blue Monday,” Orgy (New Order)
The only reason you even need to know who this industrial band is.
17. “Satisfaction,” Devo (the Rolling Stones)
Start-stopping their way to brilliance.
18. “I Want Candy,” Good Charlotte (the Strangeloves)
Hard to get hold of since it was recorded for the prom scene in “Not Another Teen Movie,” the pop-punks give the sugary sweet song a dose of bratty punk flavor.
19. “How Soon Is Now,” Love Spit Love (the Smiths)
Richard Butler’s Psychedelic Furs-swagger makes the hit a little less mopey, more killing.
20. “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Paul Anka (Nirvana)
The ex-teen idol takes the grunge off and polishes it with a swingin’ sound to within an inch of its life.
21. “Walk,” Avenged Sevenfold (Pantera)
A7X’s updated, supercharged version of the song makes Pantera seem like the Carpenters.
22. “Let Down,” Radiodread (Radiohead)
This reggae tribute to the British rockers features Maytals singer Federick “Toots” Hibbert. It may be better than the original.
23. “Crazy Train,” Bullet for My Valentine (Ozzy Osbourne)
The Welsh band stays true to the Prince of Darkness’ track by updating it with metalcore riffs.
24. “All Along the Watchtower,” Jimi Hendrix (Bob Dylan)
Hendrix’s heavy electric-guitar riffs, coupled with the pounding bass and drum, added a deeper dimension to Bob Dylan’s folksy first.
25. “Helpless,” k.d. lang
All that angst, without the pitiful moan. Catch it at the end of Julie Christie’s new film “Away From Her” and cry yer eyes out.
26. “Louie Louie,” the Kingsmen (Richard Berry)
It took just one studio take in 1963 for a garage band from Portland, Ore., to create a rock classic out of the 1957 Latin-flavored original. Purists note the 1961 “Louie Louie” by Rockin’ Robin Roberts is where the Kingsmen found inspiration – including the timeless shout-out “Let’s give it to ’em right now!”
27. “Alabama Song
(Whiskey Bar),” The Doors (Weill/Brecht)
Leave it to Jim Morrison to make this sound even more decadent than it did the first time around.
28. “Wonderwall,” Ryan Adams (Oasis)
New York troubadour’s less-Beatles-y version of the Brit pop smash.
29. “Take Me to the River,” Talking Heads (Al Green)
David Byrne and company’s staccato new wave version overtook Green’s smooth original.
30. “Walk This Way,” Run DMC (Aerosmith)
Rap slams into rock and help revive Aersosmith’s career.
31. “Me and Bobby McGee,” Janis Joplin (Kris Kristofferson)
With a few gender changes in the lyrics, Joplin made you forget any other version.
32. “Gloria,” Patti Smith (Van Morrison’s Them)
Smith added a memorable intro, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins / But not mine,” to fit her punk/poet style.
33. “I Fought the Law,” the Clash (Bobby Fuller Four)
The Clash turbo-charges the classic. If the law won, why do they sound so exuberant?
34. “Star-Spangled Banner,” Jimi Hendrix (Francis Scott Key)
At Woodstock in 1969, his sonic bombs bursting in air made sleepy hippies in the crowd sit up and take notice.
35. “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” Saint Etienne (Neil Young)
Sarah Cracknell takes the lead on a ballad that makes you forget it was a beer commercial (kidding, Neil!)
36. “Bring Tha Noize,” Anthrax (Public Enemy)
Invented rap-rock as we know it by fusing Anthrax’s guitars with Chuck D’s spits. Linkin Park should send these guys a Christmas card.
37. “Satisfaction,” Cat Power (Rolling Stones)
Cat Power’s molasses-slow, minimalist take on the Stones’ power-pop anthem renders the song all but unrecognizable – more a total overhaul than a cover.
38. “You’re No Good,” Linda Ronstadt (Betty Everett)
In 1975, Ronstadt took what had been a minor 1963 hit for soul singer Everett and turned it into a roots-rock anthem. For the Queen of Covers, this was Ronstadt’s finest hour.
39. “Another Brick in the Wall Parts 1, 2, 3,” Korn (Pink Floyd)
Korn don’t need no education when it comes to interpreting this song about dropping the F-bomb on authority.
40. “Hallelujah,” Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen)
It was a stunner already, made more bittersweet and beautiful by Buckley’s premature death.
41. “My Way,” Sid Vicious (Frank Sinatra)
The Sex Pistol’s sputtering, sped-up ode to the Chairman of the Board made it an anthem to safety-pinned punks everywhere.
42. “Always on My Mind,” Pet Shop Boys (Brenda Lee)
Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson may have busted the charts with the country hit, but the Brit electronic pop duo broke through on the dance floor.
43. “Oh, Pretty Woman,” Van Halen (Roy Orbison)
2 Live Crew’s cover was a parody that became a Supreme Court case. And Van Halen’s video with David Lee Roth dressed as Napoleon was banned by MTV due to some midgets stroking a transvestite’s legs. Who knew Orbison was this filthy?
44. “. . . Baby One More Time,” Travis (Britney Spears)
Scottish rockers were one of the first to recognize the beauty of some Spears tracks, and it became a Napster-era hit.
45. “Boys of Summer,” the Ataris (Don Henley)
Emphasizes the punk rock by switching Henley’s “Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” with a “Black Flag” sticker.
46. “Eight Miles High,” Roxy Music (the Byrds)
Golden Earring did a 19-minute version, but this dreamy interpretation stole glam-wavers hearts.
47. “Superstar,” Sonic Youth (the Carpenters)
With electric guitars and piano, this haunting version of the ’70s pop hit echoes the Karen Carpenter tragedy.
48. “John the Revelator,” Depeche Mode (spiritual)
Post-drug knob twisters turn folk’s oral tradition into rocking enlighten-ment.
49. “My Favorite Things,” John Coltrane (Mary Martin)
Heaven, Elvis Costello said, plays this song. (Hell plays the original by Julie Andrews.)
50. “If You Leave,” Nada Surf (OMD)
Originally on the “Pretty in Pink” soundtrack, the New York indie-pop band stripped down the synth-pop British hit on “The O.C.”
51. “Everybody’s Talking,” Harry Nilsson (Fred Neil)
Nilsson’s remake of this blues- and folk-singer’s song, was only a minor hit until it was featured in “Midnight Cowboy.”
52. “Respect,” Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
Onstage at the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival, Redding called it “A song that a girl took away from me. A good friend of mine, this girl, she just took this song.” Sock it to Aretha for teaching how to spell with her signature trans-formation, which hit No. 1 on the pop charts.
53. “Crazy Mary,” Pearl Jam (Victoria Williams)
The grunge band’s haunting, melodic ode appears on “Sweet Relief,” a 1993 benefit album for Williams.
54. “Working Class Hero,” Green Day (John Lennon)
Billie Joe Armstrong – fresh from ranting about the “American Idiot” – is the pitch-perfect voice to cover Lennon’s folk song about bureaucratic brainwashing.
55. “Comfortably Numb,” Scissor Sisters (Pink Floyd)
A glam, neo-disco version of Pink Floyd’s melancholy ode to heavy sedation? Improbably, it totally worked, and propelled the Scissor Sisters to international stardom.
56. “Jolene,” the White Stripes (Dolly Parton)
The red-and-white-striped duo bring their signature garage blues to the country classic, making it sound more desperate than ever.
57. “Darling Nikki,” Foo Fighters (Prince)
The Fighters wisely choose not to stray far from “Purple Rain” territory here, presumably being content to introduce one of Prince’s most deliciously naughty songs to a new generation.
58. “Spider-Man,” the Ramones (for 1967 TV cartoon series)
The local superheroes of the punk movement put their three-chord attack to the cartoon theme, and the results were webtastic!
59. “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston (Dolly Parton)
Whitney Houston’s soaring vocals sent Parton’s 1974 country hit soaring to the top of the pop charts for a 14-week stay.
60. “It Was A Very Good Year,” William Shatner (Frank Sinatra)
It’s debatable whether Shatner did this or “Common People” best. He can’t sing, but that’s what makes this great. He’s mastered the art of the pause.
61. “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Luna (Guns N’ Roses)
The indie rockers turn the hard-rocking anthem into a shimmering, ethereal dream.
62. “Landslide,” Dixie Chicks (Fleetwood Mac)
Dixie Chicks add a pleasant twang and some nice harmonies to this ballad.
63. “King of the Road,” R.E.M. (Roger Miller)
The ultimate bar-band version, recorded during a studio improv. You can actually hear bassist Mike Mills calling out the chords to guitarist Peter Buck. Michael Stipe, meanwhile, forgets the words.
64. “Nobody Does It Better,” Radiohead (Carly Simon)
The Oxford brain trust covers a cheesy track from a James Bond movie? Yes, please.
65. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding,” Elvis Costello and the Attractions (Nick Lowe)
Written as a tongue-in-cheek swipe at hippies; Elvis and the Attractions turn it into something else entirely in a few brilliant, blistering minutes.
66. “Stop Your Sobbing,” the Pretenders (the Kinks)
Chrissie Hynde made this number shimmer, and, with it, announced the arrival of a band to reckon with.
67. “I Shall Be Released,” The Band (Bob Dylan)
Dylan’s old backup band delivers a beautiful take on this number, highlighted by the late Richard Manuel’s ethereal vocal.
68 . “Chelsea Hotel,” Lloyd Cole (Leonard Cohen)
Every bit as urbane and wry as the original, except that Cole can actually sing.
69. “Proud Mary,” Ike and Tina Turner (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
The combustible husband-and-wife team began CCR’s swampy song as a slow-moving story, highlighted by Ike’s Mississippi-deep voice complementing Tina’s tale (and tail).
70. “Just,” Mark Ronson with Alex Greenwald (Radiohead)
Guitars to horns, angst to upbeat. Brilliant.
71. “Jimmy Loves MaryAnn,” Josie Cotton (Looking Glass)
Forget “Johnny Are You Queer?” This is what Josie should be remembered for.
72. “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” Elton John (The Beatles)
It’s heresy, but Elton’s lush epic version makes the original sound positively
73. “Venus,” Bananarama (Shocking Blue)
This bouncy little number stomps all over the cheesy original.
74. “Jackie Blue,” Smashing Pumpkins (Ozark Mountain Daredevils)
Metal meltdown of the old favorite.
75. “Love Hurts,” Nazareth (the Everly Brothers)
The screeching howl of pain this song was meant to be.
76. “Blinded by the Light,” Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (Bruce Springsteen)
A total classic, while the original wasn’t. Plus the mystery of the whole “wrapped up like a douche” thing.
77. “Baker Street,” Foo Fighters (Gerry Rafferty)
There’s no way to screw up a song this good, and this metal version doesn’t disappoint.
78 “Ain’t That a Shame,” Cheap Trick (Fats Domino)
Killer first cut on the classic “Live at Budokan” LP.
79. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” Isaac Hayes (Glen Campbell)
By the time Hayes finished his own deep-voice version, it was 18 minutes after he began. And the trip was worth it!
80. “Dear Prudence,” Siouxsie and the Banshees (The Beatles)
The ’80s Goth queen Siouxsie Sioux takes on The Beatles’ “White Album” track, allegedly an ode to Mia Farrow’s depressive sister, Prudence (who might have made a good Goth herself).
81. “Twist and Shout,” The Beatles
(the Isley Brothers)
The Fab Four brought their unstoppable exuberance to this R&B hit.
82. “Helter Skelter,” U2 (The Beatles)
As Bono says, Charles Manson stole it from The Beatles, and U2 admirably stole it back.
83. “Imagine,” A Perfect Circle
The dark piano chords and violins give a sinister, fatalistic feeling to Lennon’s utopian ode to a better future.
84. “Eleanor Rigby,” Thrice (The Beatles)
Beatles for people who like a little scream with their pop melodies.
85 “Live and Let Die,” Guns N’ Roses (Wings)
Axl uses his license to kill to butch up this track that Paul McCartney wrote for a James Bond flick.
86. “With a Little Help From My Friends,” Joe Cocker (The Beatles)
Slow, soulful, daring cover of a peppy Beatles tune became a highlight of the Woodstock festival. And Cocker sang it while completely trashed.
87. “Hurt,” Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)
With this incredibly moving song and video, the tale is no longer Trent Reznor’s.
88. “Enjoy the Silence,” Lacuna Coil (Depeche Mode)
A dreamy Italian chick in a tight black corset makes any song better.
89. “I Will Survive” Cake (Gloria Gaynor)
Cake never meant this as a joke but alt-hipster fans loved the irony and the song.
90. “Rock el Casbah,” Rachid Taha (the Clash)
You haven’t heard world music until you’ve heard this Middle Eastern-inflected take on the punk classic.
91. “Sex (I’m A),” Peaches (Berlin)
Peaches updates the new-wave classic with a predictably naughty take on an already naughty song.
92. “Caldonia,” Mos Def (Cab Calloway)
Unpredictable as always, the Black Star rapper and actor recorded this swinging jam for HBO’s “Lackawanna Blues.”
93. “Wasted,” Camper Van Beethoven (Black Flag)
California ska rockers remake the hardcore track into a violin-enhanced hippie delight.
94. “Low Rider,” Drunken Boat (War)
An indie-rock take on a funk classic. George Lopez ought to use this version when he plays colleges.
95. “Turn, Turn, Turn,” the Byrds (Pete Seeger)
To be fair, Seeger was covering the song, too – from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
96. “Don’t Give Up,” Willie Nelson & Sinead O’Connor (Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush)
An unlikely pair for an unlikely song, but man is it scorching. Especially ’cause Willie’s singing it to the IRS.
97. “Glamorous Life,” the Fever (Sheila E.)
New York post-punk act turns Sheila E.’s come-on into a f – – – you.
98. “Stairway to Heaven,” Rodrigo y Gabriela (Led Zeppelin)
The Mexican-born, Dublin-based string duo give a little flamenco; a nice after-drink for Dolly’s version.
99. “Since U Been Gone,” Ted Leo (Kelly Clarkson)
Standout of the most-covered song of 2005. Wait until he gets around to “Umbrella.”
100. “Star Wars” theme, Bill Murray (John Williams)
You’ll die laughing when you hear Murray’s “Saturday Night Live” cheesy lounge-singer version – with words.
Publication: NY Post
Publication date: 18/07/2007