Here's my top five cover versions:
'Whiskey in the Jar' - Metallica
A traditional Irish drinking song taken on by Thin Lizzy back in the early '70s, but completely remolded by Metallica into a meaty beast of a track. And, it's got awesome riffage you can't help but sing along too.
'Hurt' - Johnny Cash
A truly haunting and thought-provoking number by Nine Inch Nails, some say about heroin addiction, some say about suicide. Latterly destroyed in an appalling cover version by Leona Lewis. However, while the original makes for heavy listening, Johnny Cash's take on the track is simply beautiful and he makes it into his own story of a man at the end of his life apologising for his mistakes. If you don't like this you have no heart.
'To Have and to Have Not' - Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards
It's got attitude, it's got swagger and soundwise, it comes with a lot more balls than the original by folk/punk singer Billy Bragg. That's not to say I don't love the original - as a leftie and political song writer, Bragg's lyrics always stand way above the music and always capture the world just how it is.
Check out these prophetic lyrics:
The factories are closing and the army's full,
I don't know what I'm going to do,
But I've come to see in the Land of the Free
There's only a future for a chosen few
'The District Sleeps Alone Tonight' - Frank Turner
The one man acoustic warrior is the maestro of cover versions, effortlessly turning Black Flag's 'Fix Me' and Bad Brain's 'Pay to Cum' from bile-ridden blasts of pure fury into songs that could easily pass for his own. Here, he takes The Postal Service's electronic number, removes the fluff and strips it back down to its bare and beautiful bones. Stunning.
'Immortal' - Clutch
There's making a song you're own, then there's totally re-writing it. Once upon a time, this dirty rock gem was a '70s classic rock, Free-sounding Leslie West (of Mountain) number titled 'Baby I'm Down'. Not only was West ok with it being rewritten both lyrically and musically by Clutch, he helped them do it.
This is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, find out more HERE.