Some cover songs, such as Jimi Hendrix’s take on All Along The Watchtower, are actually an improvement on the original. Others are simply the result of prima donnas of the world overhearing a perfectly great song and making it their duty to turn it into pop. As the self-proclaimed King of Porch Jams here at Grandex, I’m therefore making it my duty to call out the people who stomp all over songs we hold in high regard. This list is entirely subjective, but my Spotify game is pretty strong so you can just go ahead and take them as fact.
5. “Like a Rolling Stone” by Anberlin (originally by Bob Dylan)
This song has been covered by enough artists to make your head spin, but very few will make you seethe with pop-induced anger like this one. A good cover should 1) pay homage to the original, and 2) be fresh enough to stand out. Instead of even attempting to give the song an ounce of originality, this Christian Rock group simply sang it over the same four chords they use for every other track. When you take on the task that is reworking Bob Dylan’s genius, at least do it with some flair. Conforming it to sound like just another song is a real slap in the face to a guy who made himself by standing out.
4. “My Generation” by Hilary Duff (originally by The Who)
Whoever had the brilliant idea to let Hilary Duff perform this classic by The Who was probably taken out back of Disney’s headquarters and beaten to death by the old codgers who made “Fantasia.” Duff, who seems like an all-around likable person, single-handedly managed to inspire hatred for millennials by desecrating a song by Pete and the boys. I’m going to go out on a limb and say baby boomers would be completely willing to admit the big steaming pile of situation they’ve saddled us with if it wasn’t for this song. Thanks a ton, Hil-Duff.
3. “Bad Company” by Five Finger Death Punch (originally by Bad Company)
“So guys, how are we going to improve on a song that set the tone for a legendary group’s entire mythology?”
“I know! Let’s just do it way louder and with a lot more drums.”
That has to be how this conversation went down. The original song, arguably the most famous by its eponymous group, has lasted for ages by combining melancholy verses with rock and roll refrains. Five Finger Death Punch, the favorite band of every guy who doesn’t know how earbuds work, completely whiffs on both counts. The fact that the lead singer sounds like Eddie Vedder with a frog in his throat really doesn’t help matters, either. If there’s one thing we can take from this, it’s that you really shouldn’t try to cover an iconic band’s anthem.
2. “You Shook Me All Night Long” by Celine Dion (originally by AC/DC)
I could write a dissertation on how awful Celine Dion covers are, but I’ll highlight this abortion since it’s a take on one of my favorites. Sure, AC/DC is a group of foreigners who have a thing for cocaine and over-the-top theatrics. That’s really the only thing they have in common with Celine Dion, the untalented Canuck who certainly doesn’t fall into the same category as full nude titty bars. I’ll grant you nonbelievers out there, Brian Johnson isn’t exactly a giant of lead vocals. That doesn’t change the fact that he never looked as foolish on a cocaine bender as Celine does trying to air guitar.
1. “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker (originally by Bob Dylan, popularized by Old Crow Medicine Show)
Why’d you do it to us, Hootie? We had a good thing going, man. You got on stage and recited your vowels over incredibly upbeat music, made fun videos with the SportsCenter crew, and we listened with passive interest while you cashed your checks. It was perfect. Then you decided to try your hand at country music, or at least the sham it has become. When people found out about Wagon Wheel, admittedly the Old Crow Medicine Show version, it was a revolution. People were finally jamming to folksy music that wasn’t Mumford. Life was good. Then you decided to ruin it in a way that set us back to square one. I’ll never forgive you, Hootie, and I hope the Blowfish don’t, either..