I had fun putting together the list of Top Ten Rock Instrumental Songs a little while ago, so I decided to do it again. This time, I’m listing artists that took a good song and did an great cover. Again, these are in no particular order.
- Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: Blinded by the Light. The Springsteen song is all right, but Mann’s cover blows it away. I wrote about this song a few years ago.
- Dream Theater: Funeral For A Friend / Love Lies Bleeding. I love the original Elton John version as well but Dream Theater’s live version on “A Change Of Seasons” is excellent. They also do a great version of Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers.
- Aerosmith: Come Together. They didn’t make vast changes to it, but they managed to make it sound like an Aerosmith song. If only we could forget the terrible movie it came from.
- The Ataris: The Boys of Summer. Make no mistake, the Don Henley original is one of my all-time favourite songs, but I really like this cover. Weird – a one-hit-wonder band, and the one hit wasn’t even their song.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival: I Heard It Through The Grapevine. The original is a Motown classic, but the CCR version is a rock and roll classic – eleven minutes long with a number of guitar solos.
- Van Halen: You Really Got Me. I was a huge Van Halen fan back in the 80’s, and now whenever I hear the Kinks original, I just think “how lame”. Van Halen actually did a number of pretty good covers in the David Lee Roth days (i.e. back when they were good) – Where Have All The Good Times Gone (more Kinks), Dancing In The Streets, Happy Trails, Ice Cream Man, You’re No Good, Big Bad Bill, Oh Pretty Woman.
- Metallica: Turn The Page. I’m a fan of Bob Seger, and this is one of his best songs, but Metallica’s version kicks serious ass.
- The Tea Party: Paint It, Black. Of all the bands to take a song with a sitar in it and do a cover without one. They just made it a straight-ahead rock and roll song and did a great job.
- Queensrÿche: Scarborough Fair. Can a hard rock band take an acoustic Simon & Garfunkel song, add distorted electric guitars, and make it their own? Yup, turns out.
- Faith No More: War Pigs. I really prefer Faith No More’s version of this song to the original, though admittedly I’m not a huge fan of Ozzy or Black Sabbath. Faith No More also did a cover of Easy by the Commodores, but rather than doing a Faith No More version, their version sounds like the original.
Runners-up: U2: All Along The Watchtower, John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello: Wild Night.
Honourable mention: Seether: Careless Whisper. Started off as a joke during a concert, but they did a good enough job of it that the fans loved it, so they actually recorded and released it. Cool song.