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Posted at 10:02 AM ET, 06/22/2007

Friday List: Worst Cover Songs Ever

By Liz Kelly

Well do I remember the Saturday night in 1998 when I recoiled in horror as P. Diddy (then known as "Puff Daddy") furiously "rapped" over Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir", backed by Jimmy Page (sellout) and a complement of classical musicians.

How had this abomination happened? Where was Robert Plant and why was he not rushing out on stage to best P. Diddy Daddy with his own honey-dripping Viking-inspired wail? I think I passed out in pain sometime after Diddy tore off his jacket in rage and uttered his 432nd "Ya."

See how long you can stand it:

Nine years later, my gut feeling has at last been validated by Web site Retrocrush, which compiled an ungodly list of the 100 Worst Cover Songs Ever. Diddy's take on "Kashmir" is there, though it only made it to no. 96 on the list. Other dishonorees include Kelly Osbourne for her cover of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach," Ugly Kid Joe for the long-gone band's early '90s remake of "Cat's in the Cradle," Fergie for her outright pilfering of JJ Fad's "Supersonic" and Pat Boone for his predictably included entire album of metal cover songs.

Although the list is incomplete -- Retrocrush is releasing it in increments -- there are probably a few missing, some that shouldn't be there at all and some (like Diddy) that deserve a higher or lower ranking. What songs would you include? Share 'em below...

By Liz Kelly  | June 22, 2007; 10:02 AM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists  
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Comments

Counting Crows murdered _The Ghost In You_. Eeeeew. (Robyn Hitchcock, however, did a really brilliant cover of the same song.)

And I think the Marilyn Manson's take on _Sweet Dreams_ was heresy. Ugh.

Posted by: Susan | June 22, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Nothing to add at this time but thanks for making my Friday a little bit brighter with a quick glimpse of Hottie Mulder... (era-appropriate reference!)

Posted by: DGJ | June 22, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse


I'm not sure this counts a cover, but P Diddy "Missing You". OMG, talk about double whammy, He trashes the Police "Every Breath You Take" and the Notorious B.I.G at the same. The song is just painful to listen to.

Posted by: Lisa1 | June 22, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

1. Madonna's cover of Don McLean's "American Pie." I think she recorded it for the soundtrack of some movie where she was having a baby with Rupert Everett. Dull, uninspired, and useless. She somehow wrestled the title of Worst Cover of "American Pie" Ever from the Brady Kids. To save time, Mike and Carol's kids started in the middle of the song.

2. Lenny Kravitz's cover of the Guess Who's "American Woman." I think it was on the soundtrack of one of those crappy Austin Powers sequels. (Hmm, I sense a trend . . . bad covers of songs with "American" in the title made for lousy movie soundtracks.)

3. Any of Geezer Rod Stewart's recent covers of pop standards, rock classics, whatever. His voice is gone, he should hang it up and stay home with whatever model he's married to this year.

Posted by: Jack | June 22, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Vanessa Carlton covering the Stones "Paint it Black." Ugh, argh, WHY??? Why would anyone allow some poptart teen cover the greatest Stones song ever???

Posted by: AG | June 22, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

i didn't last more than 15 seconds with the horrid abomination of "Kashmir." WHY JIMMY, WHYYYYYYY???? I WORSHIP Zeppelin and this is how you repay me??? (tears falling) Sigh...this just opened up old wounds that i thought had closed.

i can't think of many other covers that were god-awful. i am in agreement with that gross Lenny Kravitz cover of "American Woman" and Madonna's pathetic "American Pie."

And the Counting Crows also murdered Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."

Posted by: name | June 22, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen I am Sam but the soundtrack of Beatle cover songs is so very awful. It's as if the Beatles led the British Invasion riding in an elevator drinking warm mild and wearing beige.

Posted by: toomuchcaffeine | June 22, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Madonna's cover of "American Pie."

And much as I loved Tori Amos' "Strange Little Girls" album, it does have two clunkers; her covers of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Heart of Gold" (well, the latter can be excused as it was an awful song in the first place).

Posted by: Joseph J. Finn | June 22, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

just thought of another one: Britney Spears doing the Stones' "Satisfaction" - that was another abomination.

okay i need to stop thinking about this before i get REALLY MAD at so many abominations.

Posted by: name | June 22, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Pretty much anyone who attempts a Dylan cover song is not as good as the Dylan version.

I also remember back in the day when I thought that Tiffany had come up with "I think we're alone now"!

Posted by: sjcpeach | June 22, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

One of my favorite MTV retro clips that they show on I love the 90s is when Vanila Ice says he isnt sampling from that other song and starts "dun dun dun dun" vs. dun DUN dun dun" - its like totally different!

Posted by: Icey | June 22, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

ok - I admit it - Come with Me is on my iPod. I love it. Esp. the part where he says that he'll 'effin bite you".

Another worst - anytime anyone covers the Joni Mitchell Parking Lot song. You know that is when their career is going down the tubes.

Posted by: danielle | June 22, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Korn's version of "Faith"...I just don't get it

Posted by: librarylady | June 22, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

OR when Britney sang "I love Rock n Roll" in her awful awful movie? Granted these days Brit is more rocknroll than she was back then with the shaved head and rehab lifestyle.

Posted by: re:name | June 22, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Beyonce, Britney, and Pink covering "We Will Rock You" in that Pepsi commercial a couple years back -- only Pink comes anywhere close to having the snarly attitude that one requires to do well, otherwise it looked like Barbie dolls trying to imitate Chuckie -- yeah, didn't work.

Agreed with the list with Madonna's "American Pie" and Ataris "Boys of Summer"

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh good - I'm glad someone else mentioned Britney Spears doing "Satisfaction" first. So I'm not the only one. For the record, it's...not very good.

Posted by: h3 | June 22, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't call Vanessa Carlton a "poptart", and her debut album was released when she was 22, so not really a "teen" either. But yeah, her covering "Paint It, Black" was pretty bad anyway. (If you think it's the greatest Stones song ever, you should punctuate the title correctly, with the comma. :P )

"Big Yellow Taxi" was a horrible song in the first place, so while Counting Crows' cover is bad, it's not entirely their fault. Well, aside from picking it as a song to cover in the first place.

There have been some other horrible covers fairly recently, but nothing is coming to mind at the moment... perhaps I've repressed the memories.

Posted by: kevin | June 22, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Whoever sings that cover of the Roxette song It Must Have Been Love - the one that was in Pretty Woman. Its a BAD cover.

Posted by: whoisthat? | June 22, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Britney Spears cover of "I Love Rock and Roll" is nauseating.

Also, Madonna sampled the Doors "Light My Fire" for "Beautiful Stranger" on an Austin Powers soundtrack. That was unfortunate.


Posted by: Julie | June 22, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I dunno, I saw the Jimmy Page/P. Diddy collaboration and thought it was kind of cool, well interesting at least. And I was/am a huge Zep fan.

Horrible covers: I got on Paul McCartney once over 'Live and Let Die' lyrics. But, the G'n'R version blows IMHO. (Tho Slash's guitar work is excellent.)

Posted by: Snyder | June 22, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I'll get crucified for this but Aerosmith's cover of "Come Together" was just godawful. In fact, everything from that movie was godawful.

And although I'm loathe to admit it, I much prefer Elton John's cover of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" to the original.

And Liz, a DC area fixture, the Pat McGee Band, several years back used to to a live version of Pink Floyd's "Time" that was far better than the original. And I've got years of dope-induced "time" with "Time" so making that statement is something.

Posted by: scott | June 22, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I think Aretha Franklin's cover of Otis Redding's "Respect" really sucked. Took the "listen woman, I work hard all day and all I want is my dinner on the table when I get home" vibe out of it and made it all about feminism or something. That's just wrong.

Posted by: WoW | June 22, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

while i tend to be in the school of thought that like good movies and good song does not to be remade. that said, i have noticed a pattern of young blondes covering past hits that are extremely excruciating. i give you:

1. jessica simpson's cover of berlin's "take my breath away". i believe it was dedicated to her husband at the time. no wonder that didn't last

2. any britney cover: bobby brown's "my perogative", joan jett's "i love rock and roll", robert palmer's "simply irrestible" and the list goes on...(btw, thank you, karma)

3. carrie underwood's cover of the pretender's "i'll stand by you". how can you sing that w/such lack of feeling? i hope chrissy hynde smashed that cd w/her guitar

Posted by: cee_jay | June 22, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Rolling Stones -- who's with me that Justine Bateman's cover of "Satisfaction" in the movie of the same name is one of the rockingest covers ever? No one? Okay, then.

Posted by: MonkeyMan | June 22, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I think Sean Combs is known as just Diddy now.

Posted by: your husband | June 22, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Um ... I kinda like the P Diddy version of Kashmir and the Lenny Kravitz version of American Woman.

But I LOATHE the Jessica Simpson version of "Every Breath You Take," and on a more serious note, I think Travis Tritt's "tribute" performance of "Walk the Line" is a travesty.

Oh, and then there's this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FONt47Z0KZg
(Celine Dion doing AC/DC)

Posted by: Kate | June 22, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Britney covering My Perogative was just as bad as anything else she's done...Bobby Brown ain't much but at least he had that.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Ok I love me some country and I even like Reba a whole lot but when she duetted a version of Because of You with Kelly Clarkson it was soooo bad.

However, this wasn't quite a cover issue but I loved the dueling versions of How do I by Leanne Rimes and Martina McBride. Apparently ConAir asked Leanne to record the song for the movie and then decided her voice wasnt "mature" enough for what they were going for so they had Martina re-record. Law suits ensued and the 2 versions were released around the same time.

Posted by: countryluv | June 22, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of inconsequential attempts at cover songs -- didn't Mandy Moore do a whole album of covers of 80's/90's songs a few years back? IIRC, there was a cover of XTC's "Senses Working Overtime" that was just painful.

Posted by: VoR | June 22, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Britney Spears doing "My Prerogative" oh the pain. Granted it wasn't an excellent song to start but that was wrong.

I agree with Lisa1 on "Missing You" just when you thought it couldn't get worse, Faith starts to sing and then BAM Sting joins the mix. Argggggggghhhhhh.

Tom Jones doing "Kiss" by Prince. Only Prince can do a Prince song.

Pearl Jam's cover of "(Sitting on) the Dock of the Bay".

Granted "She's Like the Wind" was not a masterpiece but it became less so when Lumydee(sp?) got it. I liked it of a little bit there but I finally got some sense.

Posted by: petal | June 22, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

It cracks me up when these twenty-something poptarts cover Aerosmith's "Walk this Way." I mean, have they listened to the lyrics?


Today I heard a really, really bad cover of "Killing Me Softly." Had this drum/bass thing going on that was killing ME.

Posted by: b | June 22, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I love Leonard Nimoy. I listen to that album all the time.
I remember many, many terrible "variety shows" from the 70's where B-list celebs would "cover" songs like "Everybody's Talkin'" or "Send in the Clowns". There was one chick in a kaftan with a lisp singing that....one of the worst things I ever heard.

Posted by: POS | June 22, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

i cannot believe liz didn't mention william shatner's "lucy in the sky with diamonds."

Posted by: b | June 22, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I almost threw my TV out the window when I saw that Sanjaya, of all people, was covering the Kinks's "You Really Got Me"

I also loathe Madonna's version of "American Pie"

Posted by: Lulu | June 22, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

ok - i have the right answer on this one... because any of these three songs, all from the same album, could hit the top 10...

Sugar Sugar - Mary Lou Lord With Semisonic
Josie And The Pussycats - Juliana Hatfield
Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah - Violent Femmes

(then again - liz phair's tra la la song is rockin cool - so the album isnt a total waste ;))

Posted by: Quintilius Varus | June 22, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

How about the cover of Louis Armstrong's It's a Wonderful World done by Kenny G? That should be considered a crime.

Posted by: EZ | June 22, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Oh! And Pearl Jam's cover of "Last Kiss"

Posted by: Lulu | June 22, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Regarding your Dylan comment, I submit the Jimi Hendrix version of "All Along the Watchtower." The two versions are so different that it's easy to forget that Hendrix is covering Dylan, but yep, there it is...

Posted by: For sjcpeach | June 22, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

librarylady: Limp Biskit covered the song Faith, not Korn. But, I can see how you got them confused...

Anything P. Diddy does...ugghhh.

Posted by: Amy F. | June 22, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

That horrible remake of "Drift Away" that came out oh, in 2000 or 2001. Who did that anyway? Oh yeah, Uncle Cracker. What's HE been doing lately?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I scrolled down to number 43 and then had to go take a Relpax.

What gets me about that list isn't that they're awful covers... they're awful covers of songs that were AWFUL ORIGINALS!!! Like (I'm prepared for stones to get thrown my way) "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy," "I'll Melt With You," "Funkytown," "Papa Don't Preach," "Boys of Summer," "Edge of Seventeen"... the ORIGINAL versions of these 45s were all on my SET THEM AGAINST THE BASEBOARD RADIATOR AND WATCH THEM MELT list.

I'd say that "The Tide Is High" by Blondie is probably the worst cover I've ever heard. I can't remember who did the original but it WASN'T Blondie. Some reggae group from the 60s. Blondie's cover is horrible. Notice, next time you hear it, how she sounds so bored and disinterested by the end of the record that she starts doing that yelping thing with her voice ("The tide is hiiIIIEEE!"). I truly believe that Satan put this record on earth to punish people like me when we least expect it.

Rita Coolidge's cover of "(Your Love Is Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" is my first runner-up. Again, "bored and disinterested." It's like Mrs. Jackie Wilson on Paxil.

Whitney Houston's hog-calling version of "IIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEIIIIIEEEEEIIIII Will Always Love Eyyoooouuuuuuuuueeeeooeeeeeeeiiiiiieeeeiiii" is pretty f'n atrocious too.

And the Beach Boys version of "Rock And Roll Music" is pretty limp.

That's all I can think of with a migraine.

Posted by: Margo | June 22, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

the celine dion clip was horrible. horrible. but it also reminded me, i hate it when people do covers of songs written by the other gender and try to change the he/she lyrics. ("he was a fast machine"? doesn't do it for me) get over it and just sing the original lyrics as they were meant!

Posted by: seattle | June 22, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I was starting to like Alanis Morrissette cover of King of Pain, until she started singing "Queen" of Pain at the end...it just ruined it for me.

Posted by: st.louis | June 22, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

margo - totally agree. so maybe since they're bad originals remade by bad artists is pretty much setting them up to be horrible covers? so they were doomed from the start!

Posted by: seattle | June 22, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

That's exactly the reason I disagree with your premise, sjcpeach. When I read your original post, I thought "yeah, but the hendrix cover of "watchtower" seriously rocks", but wasn't quick enough to post before your clarification.

So, even if you're saying that Hendrix's "Watchtower" is the exception that proves your rule, I'm going to have to politely, yet adamantly, disagree with your Dylan pronouncement, based on the fact that there are still some other great Dylan covers out there. (see, e.g. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/93279/the_ten_best_bob_dylan_cover_songs.html)

Posted by: VoR | June 22, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

God forbid I ever have to hear the Scissor Sisters cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" ever again in my lifetime. It made me far more depressed than the original ever did.

Posted by: UV | June 22, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Should The Cure's Lovesong ever be covered? No. Especially not by 311.

Posted by: lizpoppe | June 22, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Dylan, what was the Dylan album that had ALL COVERS on it. It was a double album set, and had him singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and other "classics." Was it SELF PORTRAIT?

All I know is, (1) it was the only Dylan album that ROLLING STONE gave one star in their record guide, and (2) growing up, it was the only Dylan album that our local public library owned.

Posted by: Max | June 22, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Michael Bolton's cover of "You Don't Know What It's Like." You know it's bad when you prefer the falsetto BeeGees version to the cover.

Posted by: SuSuBelle | June 22, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Michael Bolton's cover of "To Love Somebody." You know it's bad when you prefer the falsetto BeeGees version to the cover.

Posted by: SuSuBelle | June 22, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

VoR,
First, it wasnt me who clarified with the Watchtower comment. Second, I do admit that there are some excellent Dylan covers out there. Looking at that website you referenced I actually really love the Indigo Girls Tangled Up in Blue. However, most of the time I will still like the original Dylan version at least as much and most times slightly better.

In fact I think its telling - do you think there is another artist who's work has been covered as much as Dylan?

Posted by: sjcpeach | June 22, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Why did you have to bring up Michael Hairweave Bolton? Yegads, what he did to "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" should have been punishable by a lifetime of community service work at Home Depot.

Posted by: Margo | June 22, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Margo - THANK YOU for your comment about Whitney's ruinous version of Dolly's "I Will Always Love You"...that screaming would be enough to convince me to run the other way if the sentiment were directed at me!

Posted by: Amy | June 22, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Who in the h!@# let Scissor Sisters cover Pink Floyd?!

Thanks, UV, for the warning. I'll be on the lookout -- that kind of shock could kill a person!

Blech.

Posted by: CMC | June 22, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Anything by William Shatner. Anything. Anything at all. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Posted by: SoMD | June 22, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Eleven words trump this whole list:

Rod Stewart- "Still The Same:" Great Rock Classics Of Our Time.

Posted by: Brian | June 22, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

With humility, I propose Cheryl Crowe's cover of GnR's "Sweet Child of Mine". Simply brutal.

Posted by: Mike | June 22, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way" by...? And it interpolates "Free Bird" too if I recall correctly, or maybe that was a different song.

Although it was a megahit, Bananarama managed to suck all the soul out of "Venus".

Sometimes the worst covers though are those that don't take any risks at all, and are just carbon copies of the original. Why even bother? There are too many examples to name.

Posted by: Jaybob | June 22, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

SoMD, I would agree with you about Shatner with the exception of his cover of Pulp's "Common People" from a couple of years ago -- it's excellent!

Also, I give Pat Boone credit for even trying to do the metal thing, given his background and public image.

Posted by: Jaybob | June 22, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Well...let's have a little fun with this. Anyone remember Shriekback (yes, as in "Nemesis") covering KC and the Sunshine Band's "Get Down Tonight?" What about Laibach pounding Opus' reggae ditty "Life Is Life" into an industrial death march? I loved most of the soundtrack, but Josie & the Pussycats (aka Kay Hanley, Matthew Sweet, and Bif Naked) doing "Money(That's What I Want)" was painful.

The winner, IMO, may be Rick Springfield doing a note-for-note impression of "Baker Street."

Posted by: Karmadrome | June 22, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post about Sheryl Crow's "Sweet Child of Mine" but someone beat me to it. So instead I'll say that I hated Jessica Simpson's version of "Take My Breath Away" and I really hated her version of "Angels."

Posted by: deena | June 22, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I was going to post about Sheryl Crow's "Sweet Child of Mine" but someone beat me to it. So instead I'll say that I hated Jessica Simpson's version of "Take My Breath Away" and I really hated her version of "Angels."

Posted by: deena | June 22, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

What about Faith Hill's disgusting pop/country cover of "Piece of my Heart" originally done by Janice Joplin? I almost stroked out when I heard that....and not only the actually singing/cover but that she claimed she'd never heard the original.

Oh, I wish I could get all of that horrid experience out of my brain.

Posted by: gardenerquilter | June 22, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Sheryl Crow's "Dyer Maker." I mean, I hope she was kidding.

Limp Bizkit covered "Faith," not Korn. NOt that that makes it any less bad.

Also, I like the Pearl Jam "Dock of the Bay" cover, but I have a bootleg where they did "Beast of Burden," and it's superbad. In their defense, Eddie sounded wasted, but still...

Posted by: Sigh | June 22, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I just remembered another one that used to drive me nuts: Jackson Browne's live version of "Stay." It just had that whole limp zinfandel-sipping late 70s California studio rock thing about it, and worst of all, he couldn't even sing the falsetto... it was some woman, or a 12-year-old boy, or something. Lame-o.

Posted by: Margo | June 22, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

i second (third?) the nomination of pearl jam's "last kiss" cover. i love you, eddie, but don't ever, ever, ever do that again.

celine dion remade "natural woman" a few years back, and there's something distinctly unnatural about that. one, you don't cover aretha. it's just not done. (yeah, i know carole king did it. she wrote the song, so she's allowed.) two, celine is plastic. so not natural.

for what it's worth, i love the limp bizkit cover of "faith." great stuff.

Posted by: firehat | June 22, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Oh wait. I have it. The worst. cover. evar.

At the end of a long, drunken session, R.E.M. finished with a commercial for "Walter's BBQ." The tape was still rolling at the end, and Michael Stipe starts slurring "Uh ain't got no cigarettes" and the rest of the band eventually picks up on it. Why is this the worst. cover. evar?

1. Michael Stipe only knows one verse.
2. He knows that verse wrong.
3. The band are so drunk they can barely stand, and it shows.

"King of the Road" by R.E.M. on "Dead Letter Office." A must.

Posted by: Karmadrome | June 22, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

This would, in fact, be a more interesting list if it were a list of GOOD covers rather than bad...
The Futureheads Hounds of Love
Love is All Around by Husker Du
Jump by Aztec Camera
and my fave...
NOFX's rendition of Go Your Own Way with the classic 'If I could baby, I'd give you my socks!!!' (this one is on my playlist)

Genius...

Posted by: Quintilius Varus | June 22, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

This might not technically count since it's a cover of a song from a musical, but I really, really hate Rufus Wainwright's cover of 'The Origin of Love' from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's like he took all the awesomeness of that song, chewed it up, and vomited out a steaming pile of suck.

Posted by: janie | June 22, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The worst cover song EVER is the Limp Biscuit cover of The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes." How can anyone simply omit the last verses??? Especially a metal band?? What does it mean to "Discover L.I.M.P????" I hope Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry meet Fred Durst in a dark alley sometime. I want to put my fingers down my throat every time I hear that horrid song. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

Posted by: MAX | June 22, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Tiffany:

"Isawhimstandingthereisawhimstandingthere."

Posted by: Brian | June 22, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of steaming piles of suck . . . I would like to add: 1) anything Michael Bolton 2) Alanis Morissette's cover of Seal's "Crazy" 3) Josh Groban and Angelique Kidjo's cover of Sade's "Pearls." They are all vomit inducing.

Posted by: Renee | June 22, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

didn't someone cover Frampton's baby i love your way in the 90's? i remember cringing at something along those lines.

but speaking of covers..this morning i heard tom jones cover black betty on his reload album - something that had the potential to be awful - but really worked for me.

Posted by: juliem | June 22, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Michael Bolton also cover "When a man loves a woman"? I think he did and I know it sucks.

I second the Limp Biscuit "Behind Blue Eyes" I think Halle Berry was in the video. Although I do like the cover of "Faith".

I throw my vote behind "Last Kiss" by Pearl Jam as well. Urrggghhhhh

Posted by: petal | June 22, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Max:

Bob Dylan's cover album was "Self Portrait," but it wasn't "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that he covered, it was "The Boxer."

He also did a crapolicious cover of the Everly Brothers' "Take a Message to Mary."

To top it all off, it was a double album, so you got twice the self-indulgence of a single album.

Posted by: Jack | June 22, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Beyonnce recently covered "Kissing You" by Des'ree from the Romoeo and Juliet movie (the one with Leo and Claire). She BUTCHERED a perfectly perfect song. I guess she can't do everything.

Posted by: Venus | June 22, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Tori Amos doing Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. I could have the artist/song match-up wrong but I clearly remember a female taking that song and totally wussifying it.

Posted by: LeeLee | June 22, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

the original version of "Only in America" had lyrics like "Only in America, Land of opportunity, Can they save a seat in the back of the bus just for me. Only in America, Where they preach the Golden Rule, Will they start to march when my kids go to school." (it was originally done by the drifters) I think the whitewashing of this song had got to make it the worst cover ever.

Posted by: New Orleans, LA | June 22, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I hope this leads to a discussion of the BEST cover songs...I would rather read those!

Posted by: CJB | June 22, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the original version of "How Do I Live" was recorded by Trisha Yearwood, not Martina McBride. And the story I was told is that Trisha had to wait until ConAir was released to release her version so Leanne's Daddy rushed to get her version released sooner.

Posted by: highceediva | June 22, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

lots to consider but how terrible was Limp Biskit's "Wish You Were Here?" Bad enough to make this list.

Posted by: Barry Jive | June 22, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

WHAT?? a list of the crappiest covers ever and no Rod Stewart yet?

Let me count just a FEW of his sins:
"Have I Told You Lately"
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain"
"Just Like a Woman"
"This Old Heart of Mine"
"Try a Little Tenderness"
"You Make Me Feel Like a Natural (Wo)Man"

And his biggest sin of all:
"What a Wonderful World"

PS - "Scott" is wrong about one thing -- there is one GREAT cover from the horrific "Sgt. Pepper" movie, and that's Earth Wind & Fire doing "Got to Get You into My Life."

Posted by: proxl | June 22, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree with the other posters -

michael bolton should be beaten for stealing Otis Redding's 'Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.'

I will personally punch him in the face for Otis if I ever find myself in his odious proximity.

Posted by: Tony | June 22, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Best cover ever -

Jimi Hendrix 'All Along the Watchtower'

Even Bobby D plays the song now using Jimi's arrangement.

Posted by: Tony | June 22, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

No Woman, No Cry"-Various Artist.

Every artist who smoked weed tries to cover this song. Please stop it, I don't care much weed you smoke your version will never match Bob Marley's

Posted by: Lisa1 | June 22, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

My Humps covered by Alanis Morrissette. Good? Bad? You decide.

Posted by: LV | June 22, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

This discussion is making my ears bleed.

Liz, can we discuss good covers next?

Posted by: celebritology fan | June 22, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, I have to say that anyone who covers "I will always love you." By Dolly Parton just sucks in my opinion. Yes, that includes Whitney Houston.

Equally sucky is anyone who dares to sing Imagine by John Lenno

Posted by: Irish girl | June 22, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

You know, I originally recoiled in horror just like Liz when I first saw this P. Diddy (or whatever the f his name is now) performance with Jimmy Page, being the big Zeppelin fan that I am, but, like Kate, I kinda like it now that I see it again. Maybe it's just hearing the song "Kashmir" that I like, but the duet is not as bad as I remember.

Posted by: Andy G | June 22, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't really have much disagreement with this bad cover song list. There are a few I like, but I admit most of them fall into the "it's so bad it's good" category.

Good cover songs would have to include Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower". Also good is Tiamat's version of "Sympathy for the Devil". They correct my least favorite part of the original - the horrible "Oooh-who-who" in the background - without losing it's spark. Lawmower Deth also does a version of "Kids in America" that just cracks me up.

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | June 22, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Re:

>>Best cover ever -
>>Jimi Hendrix 'All Along the Watchtower'
>>Even Bobby D plays the song now using Jimi's arrangement.

How can you tell?

Posted by: Brian | June 22, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I can't let this opportunity pass by. What about William Shatner's "Rocket Man"?

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | June 22, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I've got two:

The Lemonheads cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson." My ears cry in horror whenever I hear this bland cover.

Hootie's cover of "I Go Blind." It was originally done by a Canadian band a few years earlier. I cannot stand Hootie anyway, and this is just awful.

Unmitigated bleat....

Posted by: LL | June 22, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

To sjcpeach:

My apologies -- thought the 2nd post from "for sjcpeach" was also by you -- which explains why I was confused that it appeared that you were defending a Dylan cover after making your original statement. However, I still think your premise that "[p]retty much anyone who attempts a Dylan cover song is not as good as the Dylan version" is tangential to the topic at hand. And it may even be incorrect -- Hendrix's "Watchtower" and the Byrds (but not Shatner's) "Tambourine Man" are arguably better than the originals -- but the list topic isn't "what cover songs are worse than the originals?"; rather, it's "what cover songs blow chunks?" Accordingly, I think we're arguing 2 different things here -- you want to assert the primacy of Dylan's originals over anyone who covers his material, and I'm defending the notion that many of the covers of Dylan's tune do not, in fact, blow. Both correct, just approaching the issue from different angles.

Posted by: VoR | June 22, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who hate the current Green Day re-work of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero"?? Truth be told, I can't say I know the original version all that well, but this new one dddrrrrrraaaaaaaggggggggsssss on and on and on....

Posted by: Arlington | June 22, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Recently, a hip-hop version of Cutting Crew's "(I Just)Died in Your Arms" was released, and it. Is. Foul. I believe the artist is Smitty with vocal assistance from Robin Thicke, iff that tells you anything. Also haven't forgiven Diddy for ruining "Kashmir" and "Every Breath You Take." Those two abominations were crimes against humanity.

Not sure who brought it up, but someone asked about the most covered band of all time. Doesn't the Beatles' "Yesterday" top the list of songs most covered?

Posted by: musicgeek | June 22, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

For Lisa1:

I think I've found the exception to your anti-"No Woman" cover rule. I think the Fugees version isn't actually bad. It takes the slightly slower tempo of the live version (versus the uptempo studio version, and kind of just rolls with it. Maybe not as strong as the original (see argument, above), but Wyclef, Lauryn and Pras pretty much do it up right.

Posted by: VoR | June 22, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey, a philosophical question: Can a cover truly be horrible if it was a sucky song to begin with? True cover crimes are of GOOD songs, right?

Like, didn't "I Just Died in Your Arms" suck on its own? How much more damge could a cover do?

Posted by: proxl | June 22, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much agree with all the choices...seems like people here have good taste in seeing what's in bad taste...although I take exception to the original "Boys of Summer" I have a big place in my heart - and on my ipod - for Don Henley/The Eagles

Posted by: near consensus | June 22, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

That's:

How much more DAMAGE could a cover do?

Posted by: proxl | June 22, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

kevin, there's arguably no comma in "Paint It Black." The Stones included a comma when they released the single but later omitted it. It's obviously a grammatical error. Legend has it the extraneous comma in "Paint It, Black" is the missing apostrophe in "Mothers Little Helper." At any rate, the Stones have since used "Paint It Black" to avoid racial controversy.

Posted by: comma | June 22, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Do live performances count? If so, The worst cover I think I ever heard was the multiple band version of the Beatles "Across the Universe" at the 2004 Grammys.

Whooooooo boy. Bad! Bad! Bad!

Posted by: Doink | June 22, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is that William Shatner's "Rocket Man" better be in the top 5. Sinatra's cover of "Mrs. Robinson" should be up there too. Francis, we'll always love you, but you had no business trying to sing that one.

Posted by: J | June 22, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Boys of Summer"

I love this song too!

Posted by: Irish girl | June 22, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Santa Baby" by Madonna. Eartha Kitt should strangle Madge with a Christmas stocking for this baby-voiced holiday atrocity.

Posted by: Tallulah Bankrupt | June 22, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Duran Duran released an album called Thank You which featured covers of Grandmaster Flash's White Lines(Don't Do It) & 911 is a Joke by Public Enemy. Surreal and wrong.

Posted by: Smitty | June 22, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Colvin covered Gnarles Barkley's "Crazy." Just typing it is confusing, and it sounds even worse.

Posted by: boston liz | June 22, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

This might drag up some bad memories but how about Michael Damian's '89 cover of David Essex' "Rock On".

Blue jean baby queen - Rock On! (Jaaaaames Deeeeean...)

Posted by: Gag-oriffic | June 22, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Bad: Van Halen doing "You Really Got Me".

Worse: Van Halen doing "Pretty Woman".

So Bad it's good - Pat Boone doing "Smoke on the Water". I hated Deep Purple anyway.

Good: Otis Redding doing "Satisfaction". Turns the Stones' faux R&B into the real thing.

Posted by: John | June 22, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Rosie O'Donnell's holiday album from a few years back (if I ever find my copy, it's going on eBay). And pretty much most, if not all, of the various renditions of holiday songs.

Posted by: WDC | June 22, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

This might drag up some bad memories but how about Michael Damian's '89 cover of David Essex' "Rock On".

Blue jean baby queen - Rock On! (Jaaaaames Deeeeean...)


OMG!! I just laughed out loud...

Posted by: WDC again | June 22, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"(I Just) Died in Your Arms" was never one of my favorite songs, but, believe it or not, the cover is infinitely worse. It involves that electronic twiddling with the vocals that Cher popularized back in the '90s with "Believe." That musical pedigree alone should tell you that it's a new level of crap.

Posted by: musicgeek | June 22, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Damn you music geek! Now I have "Rock On" and "Believe" in my head at the same time, sometimes fusing into a version of "Rock On" with a "Believe" pedigree. Hey, maybe I have a hit on my hands...

Posted by: Gag-orrific | June 22, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Rod Stewart covers are awful! He's not adding anything to them and when I'm thinking a great CCR or Van Morrison song is coming on, or name almost any other song, out of my radio comes that gravelly voice. He just does karaoke versions with that accent and is over the hill and doesn't add anything original, maybe just plays scottish Frank Sinatra and tries to play with the phrasing, messing up the flow.....ugh!

Posted by: Kate | June 22, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

How about Limp Bizkit doing "Behind Blue Eyes" and never even getting to the good part, just Fred Durst whining on and on...

Oh yeah, Mariah Cary singing Def Leppard's "Bringin' on the Heartbreak."

Shoot me.

Posted by: YurMom | June 22, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

WHY WHY WHY did they choose Aerosmith for "Give Peace a Chance" on the Amnesty Internional's new album of Lennon covers (Instant Karma)? It's TERRIBLE>

Posted by: Kelli | June 22, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Amy F.: Thanks! Limp Bizkit, Korn, whatever, they're uniformly awful :)

Posted by: librarylady | June 22, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Celine Dion covering "You Shook Me All Night Long":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FONt47Z0KZg&eurl=

Posted by: Dan | June 22, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Sheryl Crow "Not Fade Away" as a friggin' hair dye commercial. If there was ever a masculine song it is "Not Fade Away". Come on: "My love is bigger than a Cadillac". Buddy Holly was great with his nerdy exuberance, the Stones version had a dark side to it, the Dead had that incredible back-beat with two drummers. I cringe when I hear that song estrogenized.

Posted by: sdimig | June 22, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

didn't read every comment so I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this- Britney Spears cover of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative". It wasn't the greatest song when he sang it but she really mad it blow.
Also Vanessa William's cover of the Isley Brother's "work to do" is really bad. And Liz, right on about Diddy, Puffy, fluffy whatever the hell his name is "rapping" (he can't even do that)over Kashmir- made me want to scratch out my own eyes.

Posted by: plamar1031 | June 22, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

How does the Diddy/Jimmy Page collaboration/abhoration even count as a cover? Isn't that almost better classified as "sampling" when new lyrics are placed over an old hook? As far as I can tell (and I didn't make it very far watching the video) he doesn't use any of the original lyrics, just the backup tune.

Posted by: seattle | June 22, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

oh oh here are a few more:
-Prince's "If I was your girlfriend" by TLC and Beyonce (which she did as an interpolation into another cover "Me and My Girlfriend"). I wonder if they ever really listened to the original Prince lyrics and caught on to the sly references; probably not!
-Tupac Shakur's "Me and my girlfriend" done horribly by Jay-z and the aforementioned, Beyonce.

Posted by: plamar1031 | June 22, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

ok, no one's mentioned this one yet...

Phil Collins cover of Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors"

Posted by: myearshurt | June 22, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Limp Bizkit's cover of Behind Blue Eyes is rather putrid. The took a great Who song and sucked all of the life out of it. Fred Durst is just a poser.

Someone earlier mentioned Alanis Morrisette's version of My Humps. I actually think that one is a good parody showing how stupid the original song was.

Posted by: Tom | June 22, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Someone beat me to this, but even worse than Behind Blue Eyes was when Limp Bizkit (may have been just Mr. Durst) took every ounce of soul and emotion out of Wish You Were Here. Keep yelling about nookie, Freddie, and leave the real music alone in peace.

Posted by: Patrick | June 22, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Thoroughly offended by he or she who included the Youtube link to Celine Dion's "You Shook Me All Night Long" cover. Being an unapologetic voyeur of musical atrocity, I watched it, and was then directed by Youtube to watch something worse - Shania Twain covering the same song. Didn't think it could get worse than Celine Dion air guitaring on her stiletto-heeled, white-leather-pant-covered leg. It did.

As for the best covers, the list is endless. I propose the following:

Rolling Stones, "Time Is on My Side"
Jimi Hendrix, "All along the Watchtower"
Dave Matthews Band, "All along the Watchtower" (a good song is a good song)
Dave Matthews Band, "Angel from Montgomery"
Dave Matthews Band, "Long Black Veil" (what can I say, I like DMB)
Johnny Cash, "Hurt" (original song by NIN)
Miranda Lambert, "Dry Town" (whole album is amazing)
Fountains of Wayne do a humorous version of "Hit Me Baby, One More Time"
Aretha Franklin, "Respect"
Elvis Presley, "Hound Dog"
Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, "If I Had a Boat" (originally by Lyle Lovett). It is not, to my knowledge, recorded anywhere, but this is quite possibly the best cover I have ever heard.
Otis Redding, "Satisfaction"

I have to admit, I liked Alien Ant Farm's version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." I am also a fan of Disturbed's cover of "Land of Confusion."

And, of course, if you ask Little Richard, he wrote and recorded everything first, invented the Internet, created the smallpox vaccine and brokered the Camp David Accords.

Posted by: musicgeek | June 22, 2007 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, this is a fun thread!

Worst covers:
Marilyn Manson: Sweet Dreams (the first in a string of covers they've done)

Re: Has any artist been covered more than Dylan?
Yes, the Beatles.

Best covers:
"Tainted Love" as covered by the Australian band The Living End.
"You Can't Hurry Love" as covered by Phil Collins (okay, doesn't qualify as best, but decent)

Posted by: spinal fusion | June 22, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

how about all micheal bolton covers...most of madonna's new material and American Pie, Whitney's whine on I will always love you -- but I am sure Dolly enjoys the royalties -- all poptart songs...Oh and the tra-la-la cover by Liz Phair is the Banana Bunch Theme Song, I do like it...of course I still have my Banana Bunch cereal bowl from back in the day.

Posted by: angie | June 22, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

how about all micheal bolton covers...most of madonna's new material and American Pie, Whitney's whine on I will always love you -- but I am sure Dolly enjoys the royalties -- all poptart songs...Oh and the tra-la-la cover by Liz Phair is the Banana Bunch Theme Song, I do like it...of course I still have my Banana Bunch cereal bowl from back in the day.

Posted by: angie | June 22, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

You know a really bad cover when you spend the whole time wondering why the singer would pick that song in the first place.

Dolly Parton's cover of "After the Gold Rush" was just weird. So was Sheryl Crow's "Sweet Child of Mine". Tori Amos singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit"? WTF?

But I really liked Alanis Morisette's cover of "My Humps", and the Hendrix version of "All Along the Watchtower" is probably the best cover ever -- Hendrix took a mediocre song and made it brilliant.

Posted by: Uncle Mike | June 22, 2007 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Green Day's cover of Working Class Hero. Pretentious, and just genually a bad cover.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 22, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

At least he had an orchestra playing behind him, people need to lighten up, it's only music...

Posted by: Jon | June 23, 2007 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Any song from Gloria Estefan's totally uninspired album of covers. Identical instrumental arrangements to the originals, and soulless parroting of the original vocals. A total waste of time.

Of course, as other folks have mentioned, William Shatner's "Rocket Man" cover is atrocious, but in my opinion worthwhile because it is so amusing (especially with the video).

Posted by: Alan in Boston | June 23, 2007 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Any song from Gloria Estefan's totally uninspired album of covers. Identical instrumental arrangements to the originals, and soulless parroting of the original vocals. A total waste of time.

Of course, as other folks have mentioned, William Shatner's "Rocket Man" cover is atrocious, but in my opinion worthwhile because it is so amusing (especially with the video).

Posted by: Alan in Boston | June 23, 2007 1:51 AM | Report abuse

What about Dolly Parton doing Stairway to Heaven?

As to best covers - clearly Watchtower is there (also covered great by Neil Young and Chrissie Hynde), but I haven't seen any mention of Joe Cocker and A Little Help from My Friends.

Posted by: John G | June 23, 2007 4:32 AM | Report abuse

Check out Rachid Taha's Arabic-language version of "Rock the Casbah." It works beyond the initial joke...

Good cover: Al Green covering the Bee Gees' "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" Or was it the other way round? anyway his version is much better.

Posted by: ccqueen | June 23, 2007 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Some good choices here, but I can't believe no one mentioned Shaggy covering Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning."

God, what does it say about me that I know who did the original? That was a rhetorical question...

But as someone said earlier, bad songs make bad covers. Shaggy torturing this one makes me cringe every time and reach for the tuner.

Posted by: Jennifer | June 23, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Some good choices here, but I can't believe no one mentioned Shaggy covering Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning."

God, what does it say about me that I know who did the original? That was a rhetorical question...

But as someone said earlier, bad songs make bad covers. Shaggy torturing this one makes me cringe every time and reach for the tuner.

Posted by: Jennifer | June 23, 2007 7:29 AM | Report abuse

KD Lang's rendition of "Johnny Get Angry." The song is about a girl who is freaking out because her boyfriend isn't upset when he finds out she's been cheating on him.

Lang missed it 100% and decided it was about a guy who beat his girlfriend. Lang is an idiot with an agenda.

Posted by: Ben | June 23, 2007 7:30 AM | Report abuse

geeze-louise people, thank you for putting a smile on my face this Saturday morning!

Posted by: LMAO | June 23, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I dunno Michael Bolton sang "Sttin' on the dock of the Bay" live at the Apollo contest they have, didn't get the hook...

Posted by: George Myers | June 23, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Maries osmonds redo of the singing nun on her new album

Posted by: r s | June 23, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

not one but really everything by justin timberlake. i don't get this little piss ant. he get's punked and get's on a cell phone yelling "mom get over here" then at some award show he keeps talking "i have a big head" over and over. he want's to come across as a guy from the hood but reality is he is a kid from M-I-C-KEY MOUSE.

Posted by: Bill | June 23, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Um, petal, you are so wrong -- Tom Jones' cover of Kiss is so very very wonderful. Think I better dance now!

And, since it was asked, Alanis Morrisette's cover of My Humps is brilliant, like turning doggie doo into a diamond.

Last -- thanks for the shout-out to Willima Shatner's version of Common People. I mean, it's got Joe Jackson, folks!

Posted by: welshie | June 25, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Going waaay back, what about Pat Boone's laughable white bread version of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti"? Possibly the first of bad covers?

Posted by: Miker | August 16, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

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