10 Best Rock Cover Songs
If you love your music, you're going to love the 10 best rock cover songs ever recorded. Before you cry out plagiarism, realize that a cover isn't necessarily one artist mooching off of another's creativity. It's more inspiration than anything else. Either way, here are the best rock cover songs ever recorded.
- Nirvana—"The Man Who Sold the World" (originally by David Bowie) A sorrowful guitar melody and Cobain's slightly scraggly voice blend perfectly in this mellower tribute to Bowie's original hit. While it might lack the "zazz" of the source material, it can definitely be said that this song is among Nirvana's finest, even if they didn't write it themselves.
- Dynamite Hack—"Boyz in the Hood" (originally by Easy-E) On this list for its sheer absurdity, the idea of four waspy white kids covering the lyrics of gangsta rapper Easy-E sounds ridiculous at first. When you put it all to a calm, almost soothing guitar melody, you have what some claim is definitely one of the most inventive rock cover songs of all time.
- Urge Overkill—"Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" (originally by Neil Diamond) The song that pretty much made "Pulp Fiction" for most viewers, this was the perfect melody to have Uma Thurman dancing to in the middle of the film. A slow, seductive beat is only slightly overshadowed by the lead singer's plodding vocals which ooze sexuality. There really couldn't be a more perfect version of the song.
- The Foo Fighters—"Darling Nikki" (originally by Prince) Oddly enough, Prince was reportedly opposed to the band covering his song. It's difficult to see why, considering that this version is better than the original. Grohl's rough vocals and harsh guitar riffs make this sordid tale of anonymous hotel sex nearly believable.
- Guns N' Roses—"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (originally by Bob Dylan) Many fans did indeed cry foul when they heard Axl Rose and his boys were covering the eponymous Dylan hit. However, it turned out that Rose's heavy metal-tuned pipes managed to do the song justice. A slow and plodding melody helps maintain the somber tone of the song without copying it too much.
- Alien Ant Farm—"Smooth Criminal" (originally by Michael Jackson) With its machine-gun guitar riffs and harsh male vocals, it's one of the best rock cover songs that sounds the least like its source material. It's also the song that pretty much made Alien Ant Farm's career. While it might not do the original Jackson hit a great deal of tribute, it's arguably one of the most original cover songs of all time.
- Cake—"I Will Survive" (originally by Gloria Gaynor) A low, almost spoken-word vocal style and methodical beats that define Cake's signature style juxtaposed with Gaynor's lyrics of female empowerment. Who knew that it could sound so good? It might not have topped any of the Billboard Charts, but it's definitely one of the best rock cover songs ever due to its sheer amount of creativity.
- Sinead O'Connor—"Nothing Compares 2 U" (originally by Prince) When she's not tearing up pictures of The Pope on live television, this Irish crooner has time to sing a sad song or two. This is especially evident when she transformed Prince's hit into a brooding melody of longing and desire. Her sweet, high-pitched vocals and underscored musical tones make this one of the best rock cover songs ever.
- Jimi Hendrix—"All Along the Watchtower" (originally by Bob Dylan) What many in the music world consider to the "The Clash of the Titans." Here we have the greatest guitarist who ever lived getting inspiration by one of the best lyricists known to man. Easily one of the greatest songs ever recorded in human history.
- Marilyn Manson—"Sweet Dreams" (originally by The Eurythmics) This cover by the most controversial rocker ever gets on this list for its sheer transformation of the source material. Manson managed to take a bubbly, almost seductive pop song and twisted it into a brooding and frightful romp through our worst nightmares. If sweet dreams really are made of these, we can't wait to wake up as soon as possible.