Genre-bending cover song suggestions?
October 20, 2005 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Covers with a Twist I'm looking for a good list of genre-defying cover takes of popular songs for a mix CD. What I have in mind is along the lines of: Faith No More's cover of Easy (Like Sunday Morning), Aztec Camera's cover of Van Halen's Jump and Nina Gordon's covers of Straight Outta Compton and 18 & Life

I'm not particularly interested in classical versions of contemporary music (e.g. Apocalyptica), or string quartet "tributes" of Nirvana et. al.
I am not at all interested in parody songs along the lines of Weird Al. Also, I'm not looking for "standard" cover songs that we've all heard on a million tribute albums that don't represent a fairly significant departure from the original version.
Extra points given to "name" performers covering other's songs in interesting ways, though I am open to anything.

A couple of links to get you going:

Several interesting covers by Nina Gordon

Gin and Juice by the Gourds

Baby Got Back (alt-country take)

Lounge-style covers by Richard Cheese

...and Frank Bennett

Bluegrass covers of AC/DC and others by Hayseed Dixie

I know there are a million others, so help me out!
posted by DeeJayK to Media & Arts (132 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Marilyn Manson's Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and I Put a Spell On You.
posted by Rothko at 4:01 PM on October 20, 2005

This has been been asked before...
posted by Specklet at 4:02 PM on October 20, 2005

Paul Anka has just put out a new CD called Rock Swings featuring such hits as 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'It's My Life' , 'True', 'Blackhole Sun', 'Eyes Without A Face', etc.
posted by DandyRandy at 4:04 PM on October 20, 2005

Devo covering "Satisfaction" (of course)
posted by Rumple at 4:05 PM on October 20, 2005

Dolly Parton does a good "Stairway to Heaven".
posted by Tlogmer at 4:09 PM on October 20, 2005

Dwight Yoakam and Train in Vain
posted by forrest at 4:10 PM on October 20, 2005

Fantômas's "Fire Walk with Me"
posted by hototogisu at 4:11 PM on October 20, 2005

Tlogmer's post reminded me: search Amazon for "a Bluegrass tribute" to find bluegrass covers of songs by Led Zep, Kiss, Metallica, etc.
posted by forrest at 4:15 PM on October 20, 2005

China Drum's version of "Wuthering Heights" bests Kate Bush's original, methinks.
posted by scody at 4:17 PM on October 20, 2005

Sympathy for the Devil by Laibach.

Pretty damned bizarre...I remember when this first came out, there was a shot of the lead singer with his nude wife and 12 year old daughter. I only saw it once and then the morality police had it pulled, because of course any nude child creates pedophilia and any nudity in any case is obscenity.
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:18 PM on October 20, 2005

Album detail with a segment from that video (no nudity in this part).
posted by Kickstart70 at 4:23 PM on October 20, 2005

Scody, methinks not.
posted by fire&wings at 4:24 PM on October 20, 2005

I missed the old thread, so here's some fresh additions:

See the Sep. 4, 2005 Memepool post about rappers covering Phil Collins songs for some suggestions.

Mindless Self-Indulgence covering Method Man's "Bring the Pain"

Tom Jones covering the Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House"
posted by rxrfrx at 4:24 PM on October 20, 2005

Carlos Malcolm's "Bonanza Ska."

It's the theme from the TV show, Jamaicanized back in the 60's.
posted by jonmc at 4:25 PM on October 20, 2005

Lawnmower death - Up the junction (Squeeze)
This flight tonight - Nazareth (Joni Mitchell)

I'll return to this..
posted by fire&wings at 4:28 PM on October 20, 2005

Nickel Creek's bluegrass version of Pavement's "Spit on a Stranger" is great.
posted by escabeche at 4:29 PM on October 20, 2005

Luther Wright and the Wrongs' "Rebuild The Wall." And anything by Me First & The Gimme Gimmes.
posted by Vidiot at 4:32 PM on October 20, 2005

Instead of that lousy Paul Anka album, how about Richard Cheese instead?

Johnny Cash became the master of unexpected covers in his later years. Any of the American Recordings albums, including the Unearthed box set.
posted by Hildago at 4:34 PM on October 20, 2005

Also: Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out and Cat Power's The Covers Record. (I can't usually stand Cat Power, but her cover of "Satisfaction" was great.)
posted by Vidiot at 4:34 PM on October 20, 2005

It's old news, but Boyz in the Hood done by Dynamite Hack always makes me chuckle. All laid-back and acoustic guitar, and it even has a quote from The Beatles' Blackbird at the end. Genius.
posted by chrismear at 4:34 PM on October 20, 2005

I love Nevermore's cover of The Sound of Silence. The keep the essential melody and the most memorable guitar hook intact but largely rewrite the rest of the music in grand fashion.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2005

Toots & the Maytals covering John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads".

Luka Bloom does a nice acoustic guitar version of L.L. Cool J's "I Need Love".

Soul singer Betty LaVette has a new album where she covers Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Joan Armatrading and other female singer-songwriters.

St. Etienne's electro-reggae-disco version of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart".

See also: Copy, Right?
posted by barjo at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2005

"Boyz in tha Hood" by Dynamite Hack (folk cover of rap song). "Fraggle Rock" by Allister (punk cover of kid's show theme). "In Between Days" by Ben Folds (piano-pop cover of Cure tune). These come immediately to mind as I avoid work, but I have hundreds of great cover tunes at home.
posted by solid-one-love at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2005

Ben Folds covers Dr. Dre/Snoop's "Bitches Ain't Shit" and The Darkness's "Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman". Don't know if the tracks are on any CDs, but they're available from iTunes.

Jonatha Brooke covers the Alan Parson Project's "Eye In The Sky" on her album Back In The Circus. Also on there are (not as good) covers of James Taylor's "Fire & Rain" and The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows."

Actually, that last one is kind of good.
posted by emelenjr at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2005

Dynamite Hack does a nifty cover of Eazy E's Boyz 'n Tha' Hood
posted by spacewrench at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2005

Oh, and Tad Morose doing ABBA's Knowing Me, Knowing You is just one gem from an album full of them.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:37 PM on October 20, 2005

M. Ward's cover of Bowie's Let's Dance (link goes to a sample).

And then there's Carl Strygg covering.... "the classics", like Rush's Closer to the Heart or this one of American Woman or Gowan's A Criminal Mind and these others. (Apologies in advance for sharing these with you.)
posted by dobbs at 4:40 PM on October 20, 2005

On each of their albums cowpunk outfit Jason & the Scorchers has covered a country or folk chestnut. They've wreaked havoc on "Lost Highway," "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town," "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man" and an absolutely volcanic take on "Take Me Home Country Roads."
posted by jonmc at 4:41 PM on October 20, 2005

Ben Folds covers Dr. Dre/Snoop's "Bitches Ain't Shit" and The Darkness's "Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman". Don't know if the tracks are on any CDs, but they're available from iTunes.

Damn, beat me to it.

I Don't Want to Miss A Thing by New Found Glory
Faith by Limp Bizkit
I Will Surive by Cake
posted by geeky at 4:46 PM on October 20, 2005

This female folk tribute to Ozzy is in transcendental realms (see, eg, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath).
posted by Wolfdog at 4:49 PM on October 20, 2005

oh also

Paint it Black by Vanessa Carlton
posted by geeky at 4:51 PM on October 20, 2005

Frente's cover of New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle"
The Dismemberment Plan's cover of Jennifer Paige's "Crush"
Catherine Wheel's cover of Rush's "The Spirit of Radio"
posted by Kwantsar at 4:51 PM on October 20, 2005

Stars cover of This Charming Man
posted by gregariousrecluse at 4:55 PM on October 20, 2005

Radiohead did a drunken cover of Winter Wonderland in a webcast. They've also done a few other curveball covers, including Nobody Does it Better which as expected they now intensely regret.
posted by abcde at 4:56 PM on October 20, 2005

The Bangles' cover of "Hazy Shade of Winter"
posted by kirkaracha at 4:56 PM on October 20, 2005

Oh, and Tatu does a fantastically bad version of How Soon Is Now
posted by gregariousrecluse at 4:56 PM on October 20, 2005

Another "Gin and Juice" cover, this time by Sissy Bar.
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:57 PM on October 20, 2005

Tori Amos' cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
posted by kirkaracha at 4:57 PM on October 20, 2005

a: golddiggas

exhibit b
posted by dorian at 5:04 PM on October 20, 2005

Oh, and the "second sexiest song" he mentions at the end of that recording of Nobody Does it Better is Creep.
posted by abcde at 5:04 PM on October 20, 2005

oh, pants! -- and shonen knife's daydream believer, of course.
posted by dorian at 5:10 PM on October 20, 2005

Elbow's cover of Independent Woman by Destiny's Child

All of the "Exotic Beatles" cds.
posted by Lotto at 5:11 PM on October 20, 2005

Giant Sand's cover of Sabbath's Iron Man
fIREHOSE's cover of Public Enemy's Sophisticated Bitch
Hüsker Du's version of Love is All Around (Mary Tyler Moore theme)
posted by dobbs at 5:11 PM on October 20, 2005

I Don't Want to Miss A Thing by New Found Glory

They've also done punk versions of several other songs, my favorite being "The Glory of Love" (Karate Kid theme song)

In searching iTunes for the Dynamite Hack song (sadly iTunes doesn't have the video), I found a compilation called "Take a Bite out of Rhyme" that looks pretty decent, despite the cheesy name.
posted by rorycberger at 5:13 PM on October 20, 2005

Charlie Hunter Trio - Nirana's "Come as you are"
Luka Blooom - LL Cool J's "I Need Love"
Richard Thompson - "Oops! I Did It Again"
posted by octothorpe at 5:17 PM on October 20, 2005

I love Hurra Torpedo's Total Eclipse of the Heart, but I'm not sure if it works as well without the appliance bashing video...
posted by FYKshun at 5:18 PM on October 20, 2005

Tori Amos has an entire album of covers - Strange Little Girls. The most surreal has to be Eminem's '97 Bonnie & Clyde...
posted by blackkar at 5:21 PM on October 20, 2005

Check out The Bad Plus doing any number of songs... The iTunes store has 'em to hear.
posted by john m at 5:22 PM on October 20, 2005

The Scala Choir's cover of the Divinyl's "I Touch Myself"
Shawn Colvin's cover of the Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place"
They Might Be Giants' polka version of the Allman Brothers' "Jessica"
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme's lounge cover of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun"
Ben Folds' cover of the Cure's "In Between Days"
Edson's cover of The Darkness' "I Believe In A Thing Called Love"
Dennis Brown's trancendant reggae-soul cover of Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman"
posted by nicwolff at 5:23 PM on October 20, 2005

Tool did a really interesting take on Led Zeppelin's No Quarter...

Jaime Cullems did an INCREDIBLE version of Radiohead's High and Dry

And you've listened to Stevie Ray Vaughen cover Jimi's Little Wing, right?
posted by trinarian at 5:24 PM on October 20, 2005

Lullabye Arkestra's cover of Gershwin's Summertime
Constatine's doing See-Line Woman (Nina Simone)
Negativland's interpretation of I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Electrelane doing a great version of Leonard Cohen's The Partisan
Pixies doing Born in Chicago
Buffalo Tom doing VU's All Tomorrow's Parties
posted by dobbs at 5:28 PM on October 20, 2005

The hardcore band Coalesce released an EP of Led Zeppelin covers called There is Nothing New Under the Sun.
posted by zztzed at 5:38 PM on October 20, 2005

And add Nouvelle Vague, which has a whole album of favorite tracks from the early eighties (The Clash, Joy Division, and the Cure) in a style that mixes of bossa nova, jazz and sixties pop.
posted by Carsey at 5:41 PM on October 20, 2005

And add Nouvelle Vague, which has a whole album of favorite tracks from the early eighties (The Clash, Joy Division, and the Cure) in a style that mixes bossa nova, jazz and sixties pop.
posted by Carsey at 5:44 PM on October 20, 2005

Rhythm Collision did a punk rock version of the Cheers theme song.
posted by mullacc at 5:48 PM on October 20, 2005

oooh yes, Carsey! I can't recommend Nouvelle Vague's "The Guns of Brixton" highly enough.
posted by Vidiot at 5:50 PM on October 20, 2005

Another big vote for Paul Anka and Rock Swings. Smells Like Teen Spirit works extraordinarily well as abig band sound.
posted by Neiltupper at 5:51 PM on October 20, 2005

Coil's cover of Tainted Love must be heard to be believed.
posted by Jairus at 5:58 PM on October 20, 2005

Dump's That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice is an entire album of Prince covers. I recommend 1999, Rasperry Beret, The Beautiful Ones, and Pop Life.
if you didn't know, Dump is James McNew, the bassist for Yo La Tengo. I think he's a major inspiration behind many of Yo La Tengo's incredible covers. McNew also does some awesome covers on A Grown-Ass Man, including Cowboy Song & Mr Too Damn Good.
what else? The Smashing Pumpkins cover Landslide and A Girl Named Sandoz (Stevie Nicks and The Animals, respectively). I have to go do laundry now, but I'll have more later tonight...
posted by carsonb at 6:00 PM on October 20, 2005

Rasputina do a lot of covers, including awesome ones of All Tomorrow's Parties and You Don't Own Me.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:09 PM on October 20, 2005

--"Sunshine Superman" (Donovan) covered by Mel Torme
--'Knocking on Heaven's Door" by Nina Hagen
--"All Apologies" (Nirvana) by Sinead O'Connor
--Red House Painters have done wonderful ballady versions of tons of songs. Look for "I am a Rock" (Simon and Garfunkel) or "Don't Fear the Reaper". Their version of "All Mixed Up" (the Cars, don't know if that was a hit, but i loved it as a kid) was used in a Gap ad a few years ago.
-There's a pretty good album of Carpenters covers by alternative bands from the mid-nineties called "if I were a Carpenter".
posted by theperfectcrime at 6:09 PM on October 20, 2005

"I Will Survive" by Cake.
posted by theperfectcrime at 6:11 PM on October 20, 2005

"Kiss" (Prince) covered by Tom Jones
posted by theperfectcrime at 6:16 PM on October 20, 2005

The Supersuckers' cover of Ice Cube's 'Dead Homiez,' which starts as noirish lounge and finishes as punk rock.

Ella Fitzgerald's big-band rendition of Cream's 'Sunshine of Your Love.'

'Sunshine Superman' was also covered by psych-punks Alice Donut.

There are a lot of sitar-rock albums by folks like Ananda Shankar and Lord Sitar, many of them pretty cover-heavy.

The Dead Kennedys tribute album 'Virus 100' includes a bunch of cover versions, my favorite being the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy's updated version of 'California Uber Alles'/'We've Got a Bigger Problem Now.'

"Gimme a budget and watch me hack it/
Gimme a beat and I'll show you how to jack it/
I give the rich a giant tax loophole/
I leave the poor livin' in a poophole."

And, speaking of DKs covers, the Dread Kennedys' In Dub We Trust album isn't very good.
posted by box at 6:16 PM on October 20, 2005

Drive-By Truckers, "Hey Ya"
The Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt), "After the Gold Rush"
Cry Cry Cry, "Fall on Me"
Cowboy Junkies, "Ooh Las Vegas"
Blue Dogs, "Brick House" (bluegrassy with vocals)
American Music Club, "Goodbye to Love"
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, "This Land is Your Land"
Ben E. King "4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)"
Tori Amos, "Turn the Page"

And I second Dolly Parton's cover of "Stairway to Heaven"
posted by smash at 6:28 PM on October 20, 2005

"Got To Get You Into My Life" -- Earth, Wind & Fire (Beatles)
"Tears of a Clown" -- English Beat (Smokey Robinson)
"Save a Prayer" -- Eve's Plum (Duran Duran)
"Hounds of Love" -- The Futureheads (Kate Bush)
"Such Great Heights" Iron & Wine (The Postal Service)
A bunch of late-period Johnny Cash songs, but especially "One" (U2) and "Hurt" (nine inch nails)
"Voices" -- Jon Brion (Cheap Trick)
"In Between Days" -- Luka Bloom (the Cure)
"In Your Eyes" -- Mitch Allan (Peter Gabriel)
"Against All Odds" -- The Postal Service (Phil Collins)
"The Killing Moon" -- The Quakes (Echo and the Bunnymen): a swing version
"Come On Eileen" -- Save Ferris (Dexys Midnight Runners)
"This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" -- Shawn Colvin (Talking Heads)
"We Will Become Silhouettes" -- The Shins (The Postal Service)
"Just Like Heaven / Como el Chico" -- Si*S (the Cure)

I have bunches more. Cover songs are one of my geekish obsessions.
posted by litlnemo at 6:42 PM on October 20, 2005

WASP does an awesomely bad hair-metal cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love."

The Supersuckers cover "Hey Ya" (outkast). Pavement does a gorgeous version of "The Killing Moon" (echo & the bunnymen). The Geraldine Fibbers rock the hell out of "Jolene" (dolly parton). My hard drive is full of covers, whee!
posted by freakscout at 6:45 PM on October 20, 2005

Reckless Kelly has a great cover of "You Shook Me All Night Long" on Live at Stubb's.
posted by ThatSomething at 6:46 PM on October 20, 2005

Two suggestions...

[1] "The groundbreaking music of Radiohead re-imagined for solo piano by Christopher O'Riley." You can hear it, free, with out any downloading, here.

[2] Anti-war cover songs of artists such as John Lennon, and Joni Mitchell on A Perfect Circle's "EMOTIVe". More here.
posted by JPowers at 6:50 PM on October 20, 2005

A week and a half ago, I heard a polka band do Margaritaville in a German beer hall in rural Maryland. That was some freaky shit.

And how can we forget Eugene Mirman?
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:01 PM on October 20, 2005

I probably mentioned it in the other thread, but as no-one else ever does, Jimmy Eat World's version of Firestarter by the Prodigy.

and hey, you need yourself some Me First & The Gimme Gimmes.
posted by corvine at 7:09 PM on October 20, 2005

posted by hifimofo at 7:20 PM on October 20, 2005

"The Passenger" (Iggy Pop) by Siouxsie y los Banshees
"Ziggy Stardust"-Bauhaus
"Surfin Bird"-Cramps
posted by theperfectcrime at 7:36 PM on October 20, 2005

The Cardigans do an awesome cover of Ironman.
posted by number9dream at 7:37 PM on October 20, 2005

Ditto to the Bad Plus. It's a jazz piano trio (piano, drums, acoustic bass) and all the guys have monster jazz chops, but the drummer and bassist were also raised on rock and heavy metal. They do a lot of original things, but their cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is really, really fun... excellent bass solo by Reid Anderson. I highly, highly reccomend either "These Are the Vistas" or "Give".
posted by rossination at 7:39 PM on October 20, 2005

--"Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" (Smiths) by The Dream Academy (instrumental version, if that counts, and even if it doesn't).
--Erasure did an EP of ABBA covers called Abba-esque. Some ABBA cover band did an EP of Erasure songs called Erasure-ish.
posted by theperfectcrime at 7:44 PM on October 20, 2005

Fwiw, that ABBA cover band that covered Erasure was Bjorn Again. I was kinda thinkin' it was Blue Swede, but they did some rocking 70's pop anthem or another now that i think about it.
posted by theperfectcrime at 7:50 PM on October 20, 2005

The Bad Plus piano/drum/bass cover The Pixies "Velouria."
posted by fatllama at 7:53 PM on October 20, 2005

Don Ho singing "Shock the Monkey" available on iTunes.
posted by ColdChef at 8:07 PM on October 20, 2005

Bloodshot has a compilation album that has Rex Hobart & the Misery Boys doing a nice honky-tonk cover of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and bluegrass band the Meat Purveyors doing a trilogy of Madonna covers.
posted by whatideserve at 9:12 PM on October 20, 2005

some of the best genre-bending covers I know of (aside from the ones mentioned above) are a couple of interesting album-length Pink Floyd reworkings. the first is Luther Wright & The Wrongs' Rebuild The Wall and the other is the Easy Star All-Stars' Dub Side of the Moon (some tracks here). These two albums are song by song re-workings, and have their strong and weak moments.
other stuff:
matmos doing sousa: The Stars & Stripes Forever (embedded mp3)
yesterday's new quintet (madlib) - Stevie Vol. 1 (tribute to Stevie Wonder)
self has an album called gizmodgery that is composed entirely on toy instruments. he does an inspired take on the Righteous Brothers' What A Fool Believes.
...more later as I sift further into this mess I live in.
posted by carsonb at 9:22 PM on October 20, 2005

Dolly Parton also covers "I Get A Kick Out Of You" (Cole Porter?) and Collective Soul's "Shine."

Dwight Yoakam also has a wonderful cover of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me."
posted by librarina at 9:29 PM on October 20, 2005

man, the second I hit post I thought of some more:
here's one I'm not a fan of myself, but have sold to many, many people: Moody Bluegrass: A Nashville Tribute to the Moody Blues.
Calexico put out an EP a while back called Convict Pool that has a couple of great covers: The Minutemen's Corona and Love's Alone Again Or.
This is kinda out there, but the Kidz Bop kids have been scoring a major win on one or two tracks their last few albums. To hear a chorus of young children sing along to Modest Mouse's Float On (Vol. 7) is just awe-inspiring.
let me know if I'm off the mark here, or I might go all night.
posted by carsonb at 9:32 PM on October 20, 2005

Come As You Are - Dani Siciliano (Nirvana)
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 9:51 PM on October 20, 2005

don't think it's been mentioned yet, and alas I can't link it here, but there's a cover of "Too Drunk To Fuck" that the Detroit Cobras have done which is just AWESOME.

if you really want it, email me, and if i'm at home i'll try to dropload you or something.

whoa. my mistake. It's nouvelle vague. Weird. Don't know how I made the mistake. The Detroit Cobras do have a pretty laidback strokes cover that I like as well.
posted by fishfucker at 9:59 PM on October 20, 2005

neko case does Neil Young (Dreaming Man) and Hank Williams (Alone and Foresaken) on Canadian Amp, as well as some other Canadian artists Hank's the exception - he's not Canadian.
Optiganally Yours does Jimmy Webb's Wichita Lineman on their first album, Spotlight On...
posted by carsonb at 10:13 PM on October 20, 2005

Toots & The Maytals - "Take Me Home Country Roads" (reggae)
Pavement - "5-4=Unity" (essentially an indie rock version of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five")
John Coltrane - "My Favourite Things" (trippy polyrhyth-driven jazz)
Jag Panzer - "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (Iron Maiden-esque metal)
The Butthole Surfers - "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" (acid rock instrumental)
Coal - "Ace of Spades" (torch song noir cover of Motorhead's original)
posted by arto at 10:16 PM on October 20, 2005

now that i think of it, also

A Night Like This by Smashing Pumpkins (originally The Cure)
Just Like Heaven by Goldfinger (The Cure certainly is popular for covers)
Sweet Child Of Mine by Sheryl Crow (which makes me cringe)
posted by geeky at 10:26 PM on October 20, 2005

NoMeansNo does a great a capella version of the Dead Kennedys Look Forward to Death.
posted by dobbs at 10:38 PM on October 20, 2005

Any Dread Zeppelin - Dread Kennedys were mentioned already. :)
Type O Negative's cover of "Summer Breeze"
posted by wzcx at 10:44 PM on October 20, 2005

I always liked Joy Division's cover of "Sister Ray", and the Sisters of Mercy did a number of... interesting... covers live back in the day. "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)", "Jolene", and "Gimme Shelter" (which they released as a b-side) come to mind.

Oh, and lest I forget: The Beast that is the Priest did a fine cover of "Green Mandalishi".
posted by Captain_Tenille at 10:52 PM on October 20, 2005

And somehow I did forget Priest's "Diamonds and Rust".
posted by Captain_Tenille at 10:54 PM on October 20, 2005

Thanks for the Don Ho pointer.

Honest to God, there's a Wikipedia article for....

Today I accidentally discovered Firefox's "ctl-shift-a" (do it when in a text box).
posted by neuron at 11:06 PM on October 20, 2005

Orgy covered "Blue Monday" by New Order a few years ago and had some radio play, but it's not as good as the original. What is good is the cover by the Norwegian band Flunk, feauturing acoustic guitar and a singer who sounds like Bjork.

Also good if you can find it is the cover of "Rock the Casbah" by the Solar Twins, for a bit of a techno twist on the Clash song.
posted by kyleg at 11:38 PM on October 20, 2005

Sympathy for the Devil by Big Mess Orchestra. It's sort of a gay cabaret cover.
posted by stavrogin at 12:29 AM on October 21, 2005

Ben Folds Five covering She Don't Use Jelly by the Flaming Lips.

Now that it's such a popular tune, I think Jeff Buckley's or John Cale's covers of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah don't seem so shocking, but there's such a huge difference between them and the original that it really does seem genre-bending.
posted by weston at 1:26 AM on October 21, 2005

There's a recent CD called Cosmosonica, released in the UK (at least) and compiled by Tom Middleton of Global Communication that is full of odd covers along these lines. Some good ones on there include a lounge jazz cover of White Lines, an electro cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, a fantastic reggae version of Song 2 by Blur etc.
posted by bifter at 1:54 AM on October 21, 2005

How about an a cappella version of Britney Spears' Toxic, by a band called Purple Haze.
posted by mumble at 2:01 AM on October 21, 2005

Apoptygma Berzerk does a great cover of Metallica's "One"

Someone already mentioned Johnny Cash, but they didn't mention his cover of Tom Petty's "I won't back down" where Tom sings back up.
posted by Apoch at 3:22 AM on October 21, 2005

The Pietasters cover "Same Old Song."

Goldfinger covers "99 Red Balloons."

They Might Be Giants cover(s) "The Sun is a Mass of Incandescent Gas" and "Istanbul Was Constantinople."

The Animaniacs covered Tom Lehrer's scientific elements song.

Joe Strummer covered "Redemption Song."

There's an a cappella group at George Washington University that sings emo / punk songs. Emocappella.

Less Than Jake cover "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

The Bruce Lee Band covers the Gilligan's Island theme song.

The Checkered Cabs covered "You Can't Hurry Love" (and if you find that anywhere, please let me know).
posted by Alt F4 at 3:34 AM on October 21, 2005

I'm pleased to see no mention of Avril Lavigne's cover of SOAD's Chop Suey.. good $LORD, that was almost as bad but yet in the same vein as Fred Durst doing Behind Blue Eyes.

However, I'm displeased to see no mention of the ultimate Finnish cover-polka "humppa" music, mostly done by Eläkeläiset. Needs to be heard to be understood, and even then..
posted by kcm at 4:17 AM on October 21, 2005

Yo La Tengo's take on Sun Ra's 'Nuclear War' would certainly qualify.
Also, Arab Strap had a couple of off-kilter covers on their Shy Retirer EP: AC/DC's 'You Shook Me All Night Long' and Van Helen's 'Why Can't This Be Love?'.
posted by anagrama at 5:48 AM on October 21, 2005

Coil's cover of Tainted Love must be heard to be believed. And of course, the massively overplayed Soft Cell early 80s take was a cover, too. More from that general era:

"Viva Las Vegas" by the Dead Kennedys (Elvis).
"Take Me to the River" by the Talking Heads (Al Green).
"I Want You Back" by Graham Parker (Jackson 5).

The movie Repo Man at one point has a really campy Spanish-language version of "Devil with a Blue Dress On" playing in the background. Artist? Dunno.
posted by gimonca at 5:56 AM on October 21, 2005

A friend of mine made a two-disk mix of nothing but covers of Dolly Parton's "Jolene", everything from slow indie to death metal.
posted by notsnot at 5:57 AM on October 21, 2005

I have a cd of differnt takes on Stairway to Heaven and its very diverse. Everything from the London Symphoney Orchestra to The Doors, to reggee versions, to a very moving version by Dave Matthews as an intro to All Along the Watchtower, which just blows my mind.
posted by wheelieman at 6:06 AM on October 21, 2005

los lobos doing hotel california (from the big lebowski soundtrack).
clem snide does a heart-rending version of christina aguilera's beautiful on this EP.
posted by carsonb at 6:22 AM on October 21, 2005

!!!'s latest EP was covers of two good songs: Take Ecstasy With Me (Magnetic Fields) and Get Up (Nate Dogg).
posted by carsonb at 6:31 AM on October 21, 2005

the flaming lips cover Kylie Minogue's Can't Get You Out Of My Head at a snail's pace on their Fight Test EP. IIRC, there's another cover on the promo-only Yoshimi Wins! EP, if you can find it (good luck!).
posted by carsonb at 6:38 AM on October 21, 2005

Lyle Lovett did a terrific cover of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" for movie "The Crying Game." Brilliant use of that song.
posted by booth at 7:51 AM on October 21, 2005

Er, I read that as "gender-bending cover songs," then did only a quick scan of the comments. Sorry.

But how's this? Dar Williams and Ani Difranco doing "Comfortably Numb" on Dar's latest album.
posted by booth at 8:10 AM on October 21, 2005

Kiri Te Kanawa once blew the doors off "Louie Louie", and I've been looking for a copy ever since.
posted by Vidiot at 8:31 AM on October 21, 2005

I found a complete-looking list of everyone who's covered "Bridge over Troubled Water." Somewhere, I have a live tape of The Coolies' version.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:41 AM on October 21, 2005

Come As You Are by Caetano Veloso
posted by GregW at 8:53 AM on October 21, 2005

los lobos doing hotel california (from the big lebowski soundtrack)

That's the Gipsy Kings, actually.
posted by kindall at 9:08 AM on October 21, 2005

I might also suggest the Gregorian Chant version of "In The Air Tonight." It's just what you think it is.
posted by kindall at 9:15 AM on October 21, 2005

Dinosaur, Jr. did the Cure's "Just Like Heaven"
Fennesz did a virtually unrecognizable version of the Beach Boys' "Endless Summer"
Senor Coconut did an entire album of latin-flavored Kraftwerk covers
Rebekah Del Rio did a chilling version of Roy Orbison's "Crying"
Stereo Total did Salt'n'Pepa's "Push It"
Big Black did Cheap Trick's "He's a Whore", as well as Kraftwerk's "Model"
The Clash did Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves"
This Mortal Coil did Big Star's "Kanga-roo" and "Holocaust"
Einsturzende Neubauten did the Grateful Dead's "Morning Dew" and Lee Hazelwood's "Sand"
Laibach did the Beatles' entire "Let it Be" album and do seven different versions of the Stone's "Sympathy for the Devil" (mentioned above)
John Zorn did a bunch of Ennio Morricone tunes on "The Big Gundown"
Judas Priest covers Fleetwood Mac's "The Green Manaleshi"
Michael Mayer did a dancy version of Sade's "Love is Stronger than Pride"
Ciccone Youth cover Madonna's "Burnin' Up" and "Into the Groove", as well as Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love"
Scissor Sisters recently did Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"
posted by hellbient at 9:16 AM on October 21, 2005

Check out the Stubbs the Zombie soundtrack.
posted by yerfatma at 9:58 AM on October 21, 2005

husker du did a cover of eight miles high.
posted by fishfucker at 10:23 AM on October 21, 2005

Ooh, I'm going to the special hell for this, but: Mandy Moore's girl-pop cover of XTC's "Dear God". Not just genre-busting but also brain-rupturing and faith-in-mankind-shaking.
posted by nicwolff at 11:48 AM on October 21, 2005

Browse around The Covers Project for a while and you're sure to find something interesting...
posted by freakscout at 12:14 PM on October 21, 2005

"You're So Vain," by hairmetal band Faster Pussycat is (intentionally) hilarious and ain't too bad sonically either. There's also an album of Metal ABBA covers out there somewhere.
posted by jonmc at 1:08 PM on October 21, 2005

Oh yeah, that reminds, me Pat Boone did a whole album of metal covers called "In a Metal Mood". It's not unlike the Richard Cheese stuff. And speaking of "You're So Vain", John Oswald does an awesome Plunderphonic of it which combines the Faster Pussycat and Carlie Simon versions.
posted by hellbient at 2:07 PM on October 21, 2005

'Kiri Te Kanawa once blew the doors off "Louie Louie"'

You're joking... right?
posted by litlnemo at 2:31 PM on October 21, 2005

Frasier Chorus did a mellow pop version of "Anarchy in the UK".
posted by theperfectcrime at 4:31 PM on October 21, 2005

Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm
posted by i love cheese at 4:43 PM on October 21, 2005

Travis does a cover of Britney Spears' "Hit me Baby One more Time" that's actually rather good.

I didn't see it mentioned, so I'll also add Pulp's "Common People" by Ben Folds and William Shatner.
posted by Windigo at 11:24 AM on October 22, 2005

"Like a Virgin"--Lords of the New Church
"Like a Virgin"--Teenage Fanclub
posted by theperfectcrime at 11:26 AM on October 22, 2005

Prince's "Raspberry Berret" covered by the Derailers as a Bakersfield Sound C&W tune
posted by nightengine at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2005

Followup: I said Einstuerzende Neubauten did a cover of Grateful Dead's "Morning Dew", but upon further research it's actually an old folk song by Bonnie Dobson. I've since learned that Devo covered it as well.
Which reminds me that Devo also covered "Working in a Coal Mine".
posted by hellbient at 1:08 PM on October 26, 2005

Love and Rockets did a version of The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion".
posted by hellbient at 3:32 PM on October 28, 2005

One of my fave strange-cover albums is the Elektra 40th anniversary collection, Rubaiyat. It's got all sorts of interesting stuff,

The Cure - Hello I Love You
Tracy Chapman - House of the Rising Sun

Is also the original source of the Gypsy Kings' Hotel California cover mentioned above...
posted by nomisxid at 5:21 PM on December 5, 2005

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