A week or so ago I downloaded some Bauhaus for old time’s sake and was absolutely blown away by their version of Third Uncle (other side of Ziggy Stardust single). The Brian Eno original is good, but nowhere near as deranged. (Deranged is good, for the avoidance of doubt). Which got me thinking… Of songs where the cover is better than the original. Here’s a few for starters (IMHO, of course).
- Take me to the River – Talking Heads (Al Green)
- One – Johnny Cash (U2) and possibly his version of Mercy Seat just edges it over Nick Cave???
- Superstar – Sonic Youth (The Carpenters)
- Third Uncle – Bauhaus (Brian Eno)
- Bohemian Rhapsody – Flaming Lips (Queen)
- Heard it through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye (Gladys Knight and the Pips)
- Different Drum – Lemonheads (Linda Ronstadt/ Mike Nesmith)
- Show me the Way – Dinosaur Jr (Peter Frampton) – for pure silliness
- The Ballad of John and Yoko – Teenage Fanclub (the Beatles, I don’t like the Beatles, this is as close as I get to listening to them)
- Some Velvet Morning – Thin White Rope or Rowland S. Howard/ Lydia Lunch (Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra)
There are also some songs where I like the covers as much as the originals… e.g. both REM’s and the Ramones’ version of Have You Ever Seen the Rain? are as good as the Credence original, it just depends what mood you’re in.Any more suggestions? Mr John Robb has suggested the Stranglers’ Walk on By, with which I probably concur, Catch a Falling Star by Adam and the Ants (can’t remember it??) and Twist and Shout by the Beatles (NO! See above). Update: he’s suggested The Model, by Big Black… just checked it out, it’s great. And a belated honourable mention for the Membranes own cover of Voodoo Chile, which is ace.