Songs that Never Needed Cover Versions

by on March 7th, 2015
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Rolling Stone is running an online poll to find the worst cover song of all time. While it will be interesting to see the final votes from the magazine’s readers, there’s ultimately a lot of personal preference involved–some people might hate Jimmy Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower,” while others might think it’s brilliant.

However, there are certain cover songs that aren’t just bad because they’ve been poorly recorded; they’re bad because there was absolutely no reason to cover them in the first place. Here are a few examples.

Madonna – American Pie -
Don McLean’s epic rock ballad addresses his own experience with the “day the music died,” when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash. The real beauty of the song is McClean’s poetic sensibilities, and a good performance doesn’t make it any better or worse. It’s filled with imagery and complex metaphors, not to mention a few awesome melodies.

There was no reason for Madonna or anyone else to attempt a cover version, and as the song was already a pop masterpiece, giving it an extra layer of pop chords an instrumentation did nothing to add (or really, take away) from the original tune. While she could have done much worse–the synths are pretty cool–it’s still pretty pointless.

Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes -
Trying to out-rock The Who is pretty stupid, and while “Behind Blue Eyes” wasn’t their heaviest song, it’s pretty untouchable as far as potential cover tunes go. “Behind Blue Eyes” is melodic, beautiful, and at certain parts, it’s tough as nails. Limp Bizkit didn’t approach the song with anything new, but in their defense, any attempt to really deviate from the format of the original would be stupid. Then again, if you’re not going to do anything different–just wimpier–what’s the point?

Britney Spears – Satisfaction -
Actually, there is a good cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” Otis Redding handled the song quite nicely, but Britney’s error was trying to take the rock and roll out of the tune.

It needs anger and disenfranchisement, or at least raw energy, and when the Stones’ original fury is taken out of “Satisfaction,” it just sounds vapid and silly. To be perfectly honest, it sounds like a Kidz Bop version, which is perplexing, as the entire point of the song is to rail against the same type of toothless commercialism that Britney Spears lives and breathes.

There never needs to be a pop version of what might be the greatest rock song of all time, and any attempt to make a pop cover version will yield unsatisfying (get it?) results.

Do you think any cover songs were completely unnecessary? Share them below.

Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.


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