Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale and who else?

You all know the Hendrix version of “Star Spangled Banner”. I just heard Dick Dale’s version of “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. I now feel the need to know every kick-butt totally rawkin’ guitar version of songs I’ve heard done with vocals or an orchestra or whatever.

Please educate me. Feel free to vary the instrumentation a bit, like Duane Eddy and The Art of Noise’s version of “Peter Gunn”, but I need guitars.

Has anybody done a speed-surf version of “Happy Birthday”? Is there a distortion heavy wawa cover of “Greensleeves” I should know about?

Astonish me.

Well, Rainbow did a fantastic song called “Weiss Heim,” if I recall correctly. In it was a great version of…I can’t remember its proper name, but it’s the tune of the Christian song “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” I don’t know if that helps, but it’s a pretty familiar tune done with some nice guitar.

Not what you are asking for, but I once heard Bobby McFerrin do Jimi Hendrix’s version of The Star-Spangled Banner and nearly died. It was nearly note-for-note identical to the Woodstock performance and he did it all in one take, live on SNL.

With. His. Voice.

I had to add that last bit for anyone who doesn’t know Bobby’s style of work.

The Ventures have a bunch of covers right up your alley. Some examples can be found here. Check out their tribute to Jim Croce. They tackle TV themes here and you gotta hear what they do to Christmas music.

nineiron, that would be Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”.

Surfing Mozart by the Mr. T Experience (Everyone’s Entitled to Their Own Opinion)

The Ramones did a version of ‘Happy Birthday’ on the Simpsons once.

Yes, “Ode to Joy” is it. Richie Blackmore does some neat stuff with it. Oh great, now I have to go dig out “Final Vinyl” and listen to it.

The Ramones “Happy Birthday, Dear Burnsie” was great. I had a friend named Burns that we called “Burnsie,” and I was able to put the 15-second or so song on one of those birthday cards that you were able to record on. (Do they still make those?)

I always thought someone should come out with heavy metal versions of

  1. The Chicken Dance. That would rock.
  2. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Except they’d call it, of course, “Eine Kleine Rock-music.”

When Napster was up and running I d/loaded a GREAT rocking instrumental version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Gary Hoey.

I was so impressed I also d/loaded his instrumental version of War’s “Low Rider”.

Are you sure it was Dick Dale who did “Ghost Riders in the Sky”? Back in the Napster days I found a version by The Ventures that was fantastic. (Now that I think about it, I should check my sources. I lost track of how many things I found mis-labeled on Napster.)

And there’s a song you have got to hear. About seven years ago there was a CD with alternative bands doing covers of cartoon theme songs. It has the Jonny Quest theme played by The Reverend Horton Heat, and it’s a minute and forty-one seconds of scorched-earth, ass-kicking brilliance. Do whatever it takes; beg, borrow or steal a copy of that CD.

Mr. Burns:
Have the Rolling Stones killed.

But sir…

Mr. Burns:

Just wanted to note that Rainbow’s “Weiss Heim” is a gorgeous, wonderful song.

I am currently begging, borrowing and stealing everything I can find by the Rev. Horton Heat and any other “psychobilly” artists I can find.

It was Dick Dale. I’m not clear on whether the Del Tones were involved, but it was him on the guitar.

Dave Edmunds did a very showy, nitro-powered guitar version of “Sabre Dance” (the song usually used during plate spinning acts on the old Ed Sullivan show) called “Sabre Dance '94”, naturally, on an album called Plugged In. It might be up your alley.

I find it a handy “mood killer” if the neighbors are too loud while having sex (damn apartment life).

I have that CD and concur. Some of the artists on the album really do a good job of interpreting the songs.

“Me First and the Gimme Gimmes” do punk-ish covers of a ton of stuff (it’s pretty much their whole schtick.) I’ve never heard them cover a song without vocals, but it’s the same idea.

And a band called “The Ghastly Ones” do a surf-guitar version of the theme from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

w/re “Ghost Riders,” yes - Dick Dale did a smoking cover on his 1994 album “Unknown Territory.” But I’m pretty sure the version of “Riders” that prompted the Ventures to cover it was done by the Ramrods in 1961. (“Riders” is the opening track on the Ventures’ 1961 album Another Smash) The Ramrods cracked the top forty with their version, and it’s well worth checking out.

w/re the OP’s “totally rawkin’ guitar version of songs I’ve heard done with vocals or an orchestra” look to Mick Ronson’s amazing interpretation of the old Richard Rodgers show tune “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.” For a song usually associated with the Boston Pops, Ferrante and Teicher, or Mantovani, what Ronson does with it is nothing less than inspired.

Incidentally, the Ventures also covered “Slaughter” back in '65 on The Ventures Knock Me Out, which probably accounts for Ronson doing it in '74.

A sample of which can be found in my first link above.

Don’t laugh, but I remeber on the B-side of ‘Southern Nights’ by Glen Campbell there was his version of ‘The William Tell Overture’

It’s pretty impressive actually, not too many folk realise Glen is a top seesion guitarist.

Check out “the california guitar trio”, they do stormin’, acoustic versions of a lot of “straight” tunes (BTW,all three guys play guitar):
“walk don’t run” , the theme from “the good, the bad and the ugly”, “21st century schizoid man” (with Fripp’s blessing, they were his students once), “toccata and fugue in d minor” and they have done many, many more covers (all are excellent!).