One of my favorite musical debates has always been Who Did It Better. You can have hours of entertainment debating Guns N Roses vs Wings because no-one can ever really be right. Covering a song is a delicate balance – copy the original too much and it seems pointless, do something too different and you’re ‘ruining it’. Sometimes though a band will get it so right that you’ll never listen to the original again. One such version is the cover of The Sound of Silence Disturbed released recently and it inspired me to put together a mix tape of cover versions that I think completely surpassed the originals. I hope you enjoy it!
Nirvana – Man Who Sold The World
Original : David Bowie
Look I love Bowie but even I can admit that Kurt Cobain’s world weary vocals turn this song from a good song into something truly amazing. Fun Fact: apparently Bowie hated people asking him why he covered a Nirvana song.
Frente – Bizarre Love Triangle
Original : New World Order
I’ll admit to not realising this was a cover until very recently because Frente’s stripped down acoustic version seems to fit the lyrics and subject matter so well. Angie Hart’s vocals turned a typical keyboard-y dance song into something beautiful and ethereal.
Disturbed – The Sound of Silence
Original : Simon & Garfunkel
I feel this one might be controversial, while I love the Simon and Garfunkel version, it is has a fairly typical folky ballad vibe to it. Disturbed have arranged this beautifully and it’s a song that you’d never expect them to sing given their usual heavy fare. Draiman’s voice adds a certain yearning roughness that the original lacks and given the world we are all living in, maybe a call for empathy is pretty timely. Even Paul Simon himself gives this version the big thumbs up.
Ben Folds & William Shatner – Common People
Something about Shatner’s delivery really appeals to me here – he starts off like he can’t quite believe what is reading and finishes off so furiously angry at this silly little rich girl. When you add in Folds frenetic guitar the result is somewhere between a dramatic reading and a pretty damn fantastic rock song.
Johnny Cash – Hurt
Original : Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash don’t seem to go together, so I think it was a suprise for most people when The Man In Black chose to cover this song for his final album. But I for one am so so glad he did. He owns this song, no contest.
For these and a few other favourites, check out the Spotify playlist below.
Is there any covers I missed that you adore? Or did I get some of these terribly terribly wrong? Let’s have a debate in the comments!