Popular songs covered in a significally different style.

I quite liked a snippet of and orchestral rendition of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb and it got me thinking. Who else has had their songs covered by artists of a different genre?

I’ve heard Hayseed Dixie doing AC/DC bluegrass style (hilarious!) and Pat Boone’s album, In A Metal Mood (yuck). Mom has an album of Queen’s tracks played by an orchestra (pretty good). What have you heard, and in your opinion, was it a butchering of the original, or worth checking out?

My next door neighbour plays for the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. They do brilliant covers of stuff like Come As You Are by Nirvana entirely on ukuleles. Whilst some of their stuff is very funny, they play it straight and are actually rather funky.

I love this concept. Ukelelies! I’m bookmarking their site and will give them a listen when they load some audio.


Snoop Dogg’s old song “Gin and Juice”: entertaining song.

“Gin and Juice” covered by a bunch of country singers: hilarious song.

Big Daddy’s “Cutting Their Own Groove”:

“Money for Nothing” as “Sixteen Tons”
“Welcome to the Jungle” as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
“Ice Ice Baby” as “Johnny B. Goode”

I somewhere have a reggae version of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, sung in a broad Spanish accent. Not a butchering but not much more than novelty value either.

Oh and the king of doing this to screamingly funny effect in comedian Bill Bailey .

The London Symphony Orchestra recorded an album of Jethro Tull songs. It sounded pretty good.

There’s also Moody Bluegrass

Joe Cocker’s versions of The Letter and Cry Me a River were complete reworkings of the original.

Speaking of Queen, the kleptones (Nope, I am not going to link to it) have a song out called “Bo Rap”. Basically, it consists of clips of just about every remake of “Bohemian Rhapsody” ever made, strung together into a semi coherent whole. They also have other queen related stuff, but it is not so much remakes, as it is sampling.

Weird Al commonly does this with his polkas - check out the polka mix of various alternative songs on his latest Poodle Hat - it’s called something like “Angry White Guy Polka.” It’s great.

There’s also some guy (I forget the name) who covers alternative rock in smarmy lounge singer style. It could be Richard Cheese - I don’t have any of his CDs, but heard a cover on the radio and it’s hysterical.

I’m a big fan of the Stranglers’ punky version of Dionne Warwicke/Bacharach & David’s “Walk On By” with its lengthy “Light My Fire”-style instrumental break. Also the Nice’s Bached-up takes on Dylan songs (“She Belongs to Me,” “Country Pie/Brandenburg Concerto #6”).

Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” covered by:

The Bad Plus - Jazz (but good, soulful, rockin’ jazz!)
Tori Amos - Mellow mystical pop piano
The Moog Cookbook - Zany tongue-in-cheek electronica
Paul Anka - Swing

At the NPR station where I work, I’ve seen a CD of the music of The Ramones performed by a string quartet. The morning guy has used it as fill music on Morning Edition quite a few times.

Devo did the Stones’ Satisfaction in a pretty twisted way.

The Gourds did that wonderful bluegrass cover of “Gin and Juice,” although on file-sharing servers, the song was commonly (erroneously) attributed to Phish or Ween.

Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine do modern pop, rock, and hip-hop songs in the Vegas lounge-singer style, complete with tinkly piano and corny banter.

Less Than Jake remade the entire Grease soundtrack as uptempo ska-punk.

Mr. Blue Sky beat me to it. I’m not generally a fan of 1950s doo-wop, but I love the way Big Daddy transforms later hits into 1950s music. There’s a lot more to their stuff than that one record, but most of it is sadly out of print. My favorite is the Star Wars theme done as a 1950s guitar solo:

There’s alsio Walter/Wendy Carlos’ “Pompous Circumstances”, which makes Elgars Pomp and Circumstance sound like a great many other classical pieces:

Charles Ives did the same thing with his “America Variations” back in 1891:

Back when I was studying piano one of my lessons was such a “take a theme and render it in different styles”.

A while ago, I was in California for a wedding. Whilst driving along some interminable highway in a car with power nothing, I managed to hear the most amazing cover on the radio – Billy Idol’s “White Wedding,” done in a big-band jazz style. It was a duet between a man and a woman, and it kicked ass…and I’ve never been able to track it down since.

David Palmer put out a CD entitled “We Know What We Like,” which was a bunch of early Genesis music arranged for orchestra. Some of the tracks played like Muzak; but some – where they arranged a number of tunes into a medley – really rock.

Practically everything by Me First and The Gimme Gimmes

Damn you, pulykamell! I came here specifically to post about Paul Anka. I guess I’ll just add that entire CD is swing remakes of popular rock songs. It is titled Rock Swings. I like the Blackhole Sun cover, too.

That cover is by a late-'90s swing band called The New Morty Show, the singers are Vice Grip and Connie Champagne, and the album it is from is called Mortyfied! . It’s a great album, which also includes a swing cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman. You can order a ridiculously cheap used copy off Amazon.com’s Marketplace: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000006CQX/qid=1121261213/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_ur_1/103-1918418-1553405?v=glance&s=music&n=507846