Yesterday, we gathered to talk about our favorite Johnny Cash songs. And in that discussion came a lot of talk about cover songs. Johnny's version of the NIN song 'Hurt' came up and there was a mention of 'Me First and the Gimme Gimme's,' a quasi-punk super group that plays nothing but cover songs like this. Hey! We talked about that song too!
Some bands will learn a song note for note and play it, record it and perform it as it was originally intended. Kinda boring but, can be quite cool if your new favorite band is covering a song from your old favorite band. For me that would be like:
- The Hellacopters* covering "Cold Night for Alligators" by Roky Erickson.
What I most like about some covers are the unique interpretations by the covering artist. Like the Supersuckers version of Ice Cube's "Dead Homiez." Cool, a bit funky and totally unexpected. Or Nashville Pussy **putting their whiskey soaked hellbilly spin on 'First I Look at the Purse' by the Contours.
In some rather unusual cases, bands that have covered themselves. Sorta.
Gather 'round for a brief lesson in Metal History: Back in '85 during the recording of Anthrax's 'Spreading the Disease,' guitarist Scott Ian, drummer Charlie Benante, former bassist Dan Lilker and Psychos vocalist Billy Milano formed a side project called Stormtroopers of Death, or SOD. They recorded a 24 track album of high speed thrash/punk songs; most of which clock in under two minutes and a few under ten seconds with song titles and themes that were just downright offensive to just about everyone. On this album was a song titled 'Milk' which was rerecorded by Anthrax as 'Milk: Ode to Billy' in 1991 for their , get this, cover album entitled "Attack of the Killer B's." Also on this album was their collaboration with Public Enemy; 'Bring the Noise' (an almost, kinda, sorta cover).
And of course there have been some notoriously bad, bad, bad, cover songs. For example, Busta Rhymes cover of Black Sabbath's 'Iron Man' which appeared on the Black Sabbath tribute album "Nativity in Black II" AND featured guest vocals by Ozzy. Tsk tsk.
AND Sheryl Crowe's cover of Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Mak'er". My god that was incredibly horrible (and let's just forget her cover of GnR's Sweet Child o' Mine).. Come to think of it, that entire Zeppelin tribute album, Encomium, was just bad.
*Could not locate the Hellacopters version on youtube because of UMG.
**Image for this video is NSFW.