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Old 12-04-2018, 04:27 AM
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Cover songs that missed the spirit of the originals?

Inspired by the numerous threads we've had about great cover songs, but going the other direction.

What cover song do you think missed the mark the most? I'm not looking for worst versions. But covers that just missed the point.

My contribution is the classic Kiss song Rock N Roll All Night. It's a great song (albeit still overplayed), and it has infectious energy. I'm physically unable to keep my toe from tapping, or my fingers from drumming. It's a great song for what it is.

In the 80s, it got remade by Poison for the "Less than Zero" soundtrack. Little more glam than the original, but still decent. Still rocks, and the energy's diminished, but you can still here it trying to escape.

Fast forward to 1994, and the very same song was covered by Toad the Wet Sprocket.

I'm not calling the TtWS version bad, per se. But it's so vastly different from the original that there's no drive to it. There's no energy. It's completely stripped of all of the power that made the original so great, and the Poison version at least decent.

It's like a neutered version of a rock song. Like finding a Kidz Bop version of "You Oughta Know" or something.

So...any others you can think of?
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Last edited by Chronos; 12-04-2018 at 06:51 AM. Reason: Fixed link codes
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:44 AM
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Not sure how you mangled those links, but I reported it for you.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:49 AM
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Thanks. I should know better than to try to link on tapatalk
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:10 AM
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The most lifeless cover ever recorded was Lenny Kravitz' American Woman. He took the edge right out of that song, and released a piece of sanitized puffery that got him paid. There is no aspect of that song that he didn't shittify.

Last edited by bobot; 12-04-2018 at 06:11 AM. Reason: $
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:43 AM
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Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:53 AM
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Fixed the links. You had round (parentheses), not square [brackets].
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:17 AM
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Madonna's version of American Pie is a dreadful, dreadful trainwreck.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:55 AM
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Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back didn't miss the spirit of the original, but it subverts it completely.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
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Originally Posted by NotherYinzer View Post
Madonna's version of American Pie is a dreadful, dreadful trainwreck.
Same with Nicki French's cover of Total Eclipse of the Heart. And just about any dance club version of just about any song. Technically competent, but artistically soulless.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:21 AM
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And just about any dance club version of just about any song.
The funniest incidence of this was one of the club remixes of I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred, the original of which suddenly ends with the line "I'm too sexy for this song." The remix in question continues the song repeating "I'm too sexy for this song, too sexy for this song...."
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:30 AM
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Several years ago some young putzes call The Ataris did a cover of Don Henley's Boys of Summer. Holy cow, what a void. It sounds like they're playing all the correct notes and beyond that, there's nothing right about it. I don't know what annoys me more; their stupid name or the line "out on the road today I saw a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac". Yeah, like they're old enough (or cool enough)to reminisce about Black Flag.

Mary J. Blige's cover of One makes me want to slap her.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:41 AM
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Just about all of Big Daddy's ouvre completely redefines the songs covered, generally as some sort of doo-wop piece (and often in direct imitation of some 1950s song). But my overall favorite is their re-interpretation of Celine Dion's ethereal My Heart Will go On from the movie Titanic as a bouncy, upbeat Elvis Presley number with backup singers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISujjBWWPcM
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:41 AM
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"I'm A Believer" by Smash Mouth was mentioned in the other thread, and I would respectfully disagree and cite it as an example for this thread.

The original is gritty and earnest. I don't know much about Smash Mouth beyond their hit songs. It strikes me that a common denominator of those hits is they seem to employ quite a bit of ironic sarcasm and maybe it's not a coincidence any feeling I might detect in their cover sounds artificial to me. Their cover sounds emblematic of the overproduction a lot of 21st century popular music features, take the little guitar lick that precedes the first and second verse and notice the difference.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:55 AM
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A group called Rosebud did a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar.." If the mere description isn't enough to curl your toes, the version changed the deeply cynical condemnation of the music business into an upbeat song about becoming a big star.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:26 AM
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Every cover of Memory that sings it like a dirge. It is not a funeral song, it is a reflective song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:21 AM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:24 AM
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While not a cover, as it done by the same artist, Clapton's acoustic version of Layla takes one of the most passionate, achingly beautiful songs in modern music and turns it into some guitar noodling you would do sitting on the back porch after dinner. Tragic.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back didn't miss the spirit of the original, but it subverts it completely.
Great cover!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
A group called Rosebud did a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar.." If the mere description isn't enough to curl your toes, the version changed the deeply cynical condemnation of the music business into an upbeat song about becoming a big star.
In the same spirit, Scissor Sisters cover of Comfortably Numb:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lsCEgcRozY

I love this cover.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:02 AM
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Maybe he captured some of the spirit, but John Cougar Mellencamp's cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night" missed the entire meaning of the line "...and the inside jukebox blows out just like thunder" by singing..."and inside the jukebox...".

Completely ruins it for me.

Last edited by Mixolydian; 12-04-2018 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:05 AM
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The cover by Pearl Jam of "Last Kiss" completely misses the point of the song. It's sung as a sad song, an unhappy point in the life of the boyfriend who crashed the car and killed his new girlfriend. But the original by J. Frank Wilson (& the Cavaliers) was an upbeat song. That almost makes no sense, until you realize that he's not singing it during the period of mourning after she dies, but rather later, when he realizes that now he has something to live for: the ability to go to Heaven in the end and see her again. "She's gone to Heaven, so I gotta be good, so I can see my baby when I leave (uh) this world!"

Oh, and an easy nominee here is the recent cover of "Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. It's a good performance, fun to sing to, but it totally misses the point of the song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:09 AM
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Vanilla Fudge's cover of You Keep Me Hangin' On strays quite a bit from the tone of the Supreme's version.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:09 AM
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Missed the spirit, but in a good way...

Richard Thompson - Oops I Did It Again
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:13 AM
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Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back didn't miss the spirit of the original, but it subverts it completely.
On the other hand, the Glee rip-off of Jonathan Coulton's version completely missed the point of the cover.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:24 AM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
I mean, they only did it because people kept asking them to.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by stillownedbysetters View Post
While not a cover, as it done by the same artist, Clapton's acoustic version of Layla takes one of the most passionate, achingly beautiful songs in modern music and turns it into some guitar noodling you would do sitting on the back porch after dinner. Tragic.
I remember when the acoustic version came there were some people that I thought were my friends said that is was better.

My take is that the guy singing the original wants this woman so bad that it's killing him. The remake is sung by a guy that's had her.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:56 PM
XOldiesJock XOldiesJock is offline
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Back in 1967, one-hit wonder Robert Knight did a song called "Everlasting Love," clocking-in at just under 3 minutes. Good song. A classic. In 1974, Carl Carlton remade the song in a faster tempo - still a good rendition - and did it in a little over 2 1/2 minutes. In 1994, Gloria Estefan, who IMHO was a queen of excess, also did an up-tempo version but stretched it out to over 4 minutes with about 1:30 of pointless riffing, a la "we have a love, we have a love, we have a love, an everlasting love, it's everlasting, yes it's everlasting, ooh our everlasting love..." (This is not quoted verbatim, but you get the idea.) I've always hated it when a singer goes on and on like that, as if they're being paid by the minute, taking a perfectly good, tight pop tune and making it twice as long as it should be.

Her version of "Let It Snow," which gets a lot of play around this time of year, is equally dreadful and pointless. Just sing the damn song and be done with it!
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:08 PM
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..................
My take is that the guy singing the original wants this woman so bad that it's killing him. The remake is sung by a guy that's had her.
You could easily pose the argument that THAT is exactly what happened.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:13 PM
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Bobby Darin's version of "Mack the Knife."

The original (Lotte Lenya, who the song was written for) is dark and dangerous, which fits since it's talking about a stone cold killer. Even in the original German, it's haunting.

Darin jazzes it up and completely ignores the darkness in the lyrics into a cool celebration of a psychopath.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by XOldiesJock View Post
Back in 1967, one-hit wonder Robert Knight did a song called "Everlasting Love," clocking-in at just under 3 minutes. Good song. A classic. In 1974, Carl Carlton remade the song in a faster tempo - still a good rendition - and did it in a little over 2 1/2 minutes. In 1994, Gloria Estefan, who IMHO was a queen of excess, also did an up-tempo version but stretched it out to over 4 minutes with about 1:30 of pointless riffing, a la "we have a love, we have a love, we have a love, an everlasting love, it's everlasting, yes it's everlasting, ooh our everlasting love..." (This is not quoted verbatim, but you get the idea.) I've always hated it when a singer goes on and on like that, as if they're being paid by the minute, taking a perfectly good, tight pop tune and making it twice as long as it should be.

Her version of "Let It Snow," which gets a lot of play around this time of year, is equally dreadful and pointless. Just sing the damn song and be done with it!
you forget it was remade as a duet several times in between in the 80s one version was one of the first videos pre mtv ……...
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:24 PM
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"I'm A Believer" by Smash Mouth was mentioned in the other thread, and I would respectfully disagree and cite it as an example for this thread.

The original is gritty and earnest. I don't know much about Smash Mouth beyond their hit songs. It strikes me that a common denominator of those hits is they seem to employ quite a bit of ironic sarcasm and maybe it's not a coincidence any feeling I might detect in their cover sounds artificial to me. Their cover sounds emblematic of the overproduction a lot of 21st century popular music features, take the little guitar lick that precedes the first and second verse and notice the difference.
The Monkees. You are saying the Monkees did a gritty earnest version.

My vote would be Billy Idol's version of "LA Woman" though apparently that was on purpose. I heard an interview where he was saying how Morrison was so down on L.A. and he wanted to be more positive. Here's an idea: write your own damned song then, you turkey.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:41 PM
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Bobby Darin's version of "Mack the Knife."

The original (Lotte Lenya, who the song was written for) is dark and dangerous, which fits since it's talking about a stone cold killer. Even in the original German, it's haunting.

Darin jazzes it up and completely ignores the darkness in the lyrics into a cool celebration of a psychopath.
That makes it even creepier for me! Probably one of the earlier examples of “lyrics down(beat), song up(beat).”
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:43 PM
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What do I win?
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:47 PM
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You could easily pose the argument that THAT is exactly what happened.

Had her and had done with her. Clapton and Patti Boyd divorced in 1988 and the acoustic version of Layla was recorded in 2004.

Last edited by stillownedbysetters; 12-04-2018 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:48 PM
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Brandy by Scott English.

It could do without the early 70's orchestral and choral distractions, but in essence it's rather spiky, rather powerful and rather good.

Title changed to Mandy by Barry Manilow, and suddenly you have a piece of blanded out pap.

Here's the original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-zhg1BeUkQ

j
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:05 PM
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The cover by Pearl Jam of "Last Kiss" completely misses the point of the song. It's sung as a sad song, an unhappy point in the life of the boyfriend who crashed the car and killed his new girlfriend. But the original by J. Frank Wilson (& the Cavaliers) was an upbeat song. That almost makes no sense, until you realize that he's not singing it during the period of mourning after she dies, but rather later, when he realizes that now he has something to live for: the ability to go to Heaven in the end and see her again. "She's gone to Heaven, so I gotta be good, so I can see my baby when I leave (uh) this world!"

Oh, and an easy nominee here is the recent cover of "Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. It's a good performance, fun to sing to, but it totally misses the point of the song.
Boy oh boy do I disagree with all of this. There is no way a song describing the night of a boyfriend killing his girlfriend in a car accident can be anything but sad. The original version makes absolutely no sense as the peppy 60s beat. Pearl Jam nailed it.

I can't say the same for the subtext or whatever about Disturbed's version of Sound of Silence other than it takes the original's creepy vibe and makes it more powerful.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:07 PM
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Had her and had done with her. Clapton and Patti Boyd divorced in 1988 and the acoustic version of Layla was recorded in 2004.
If wikipedia can be believed, the acoustic version was recorded in 1992.
Which doesn't affect the point that LoneRhino's description is both artistically and factually accurate.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:09 PM
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Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
This was going to be my contribution as well. It's absolutely horrible.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:26 PM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
When I heard about this, I figured that Weezer would totally make fun of the song. But instead they went for a respectful, note-for-note cover. Maybe they really like the original? Who'd a thunk it?....
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:35 PM
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If wikipedia can be believed, the acoustic version was recorded in 1992.
Which doesn't affect the point that LoneRhino's description is both artistically and factually accurate.
Mea culpa if my date was in error, but 100% agreed on Lone Rhino's accuracy.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:40 PM
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The ones that first came to mind have all been mentioned: Madonna's "American Pie," Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman," any cover by Smash Mouth (I was thinking "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" myself), all just suck the soul and charm out of the originals and add nothing in the remake.

Except for one. Maybe I'm a little hard on the song--I don't remember it really showing up much on "bad covers" types of threads or lists-- and I do like Phil Collins, though more for his Genesis work and drumming (though "Calling the Air Tonight" is fantastic). But his version of "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper also fits my definition of a bad cover by sucking the soul and charm of the song and turning it into just an adult contemporary shade of beige.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-04-2018 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:42 PM
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A group called Rosebud did a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar.." If the mere description isn't enough to curl your toes, the version changed the deeply cynical condemnation of the music business into an upbeat song about becoming a big star.
Dar Williams covered Comfortably Numb. I don't want to talk about it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:46 PM
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The original song Every Time You Go Away by Hall and Oates was melancholy and soulful. Paul Young turned it into a zippy, godawful pop song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:02 PM
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Bowie’s John, I’m Only Dancing, released in 1972, is an amazing song, with all the hard rocking, gender-bending beauty of the best early Bowie music.

He remade it in 1974, changing everything but the chorus and making it into a disco track.

Not your best idea, Dave.

Last edited by Maggie the Ocelot; 12-04-2018 at 03:04 PM. Reason: Too many tracks
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
The ones that first came to mind have all been mentioned: Madonna's "American Pie," Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman," any cover by Smash Mouth (I was thinking "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" myself), all just suck the soul and charm out of the originals and add nothing in the remake.

Except for one. Maybe I'm a little hard on the song--I don't remember it really showing up much on "bad covers" types of threads or lists-- and I do like Phil Collins, though more for his Genesis work and drumming (though "Calling the Air Tonight" is fantastic). But his version of "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper also fits my definition of a bad cover by sucking the soul and charm of the song and turning it into just an adult contemporary shade of beige.
Phil's brutalization of the Mindbender's "Groovy Kind of Love" fits the bill. Sucked the life right out of it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:16 PM
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Phil's brutalization of the Mindbender's "Groovy Kind of Love" fits the bill. Sucked the life right out of it.
Ah, yes, I forget about that one. Yeah, he did pretty much the exact same thing to that song, too. Just took all the color and life out of and turned it into shades of beige.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:18 PM
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The cover by Pearl Jam of "Last Kiss" completely misses the point of the song.
I would argue that Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss" misses the point of music and joy and a reason to live.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:19 PM
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The entire Sgt. Pepper sound track from that abortion of a movie.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:23 PM
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When I saw the thread title I thought the impetus would be the terrible Zombie cover that is currently getting played constantly. The original version by the Cranberries is unique, and full of tension and urgency, and iconic. Not to mention is a protest song written by an Irish band about an IRA bombing.

Then in 2018 some ultra bland American radio-metal band called Bad Wolves does the most generic, boring cover imaginable. At least they are giving the proceeds from the song to Dolores O'Riordan's children... but to me it sounds like the most lame cover I've ever heard. I'm reading now that Dolores was actually planning to sing the song with the band before her death, bizarre.

My only complaint about the Weezer/Toto cover, is that they didn't do anything to make it their own. Aside from a little more distortion form the guitars in the chorus, it sounds like an almost identical recording. Shrug.

Last edited by Clawdio; 12-04-2018 at 03:25 PM.
  #49  
Old 12-04-2018, 03:31 PM
Barkis is Willin' Barkis is Willin' is offline
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I'm not aware of it ever being on the radio or even included on an album, but Miley Cyrus covered "Smells Like Teen Spirit." You can find it on youtube. Those words; Miley and Cyrus and Smells Like Teen Spirit all in one sentence just...I don't know...something has gone wrong.
  #50  
Old 12-04-2018, 03:42 PM
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WOOKINPANUB WOOKINPANUB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkis is Willin' View Post
I'm not aware of it ever being on the radio or even included on an album, but Miley Cyrus covered "Smells Like Teen Spirit." You can find it on youtube. Those words; Miley and Cyrus and Smells Like Teen Spirit all in one sentence just...I don't know...something has gone wrong.
I've always thought Miley looks like she smells, so there's that. She has strong pipes but she needs to lose the twang.
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