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THE 100 WORST COVER SONGS
PART 3 (#1-#32)

 

PART 1 (#66-100) PART 2 (#34-65) - PART 3 (#1-32)

#32 "I'm A Believer" by Smashmouth

Anything Smashmouth touches turns to crap, as evidenced by this awful Shrek commercial. Incidentally, this is the only band I can think of who's name is what I'd love to do to their lead singer.

#31 "Sweet Child of Mine" by Sheryl Crow
 

There's something to be said when you prefer the lush vocals of...Axl Rose! Granted, this is one of Guns N Roses' weakest hits, but Sheryl cuts whatever balls were left off this song and put them in the garbage disposal. I'm sure there's a tacky Lance Armstrong joke in there somewhere, but I just can't find it. From the search results for this song I've found on YouTube, this appears to have become the official soundtrack for camcorder footage of ugly kids everywhere.


#30 "Satisfaction" by Vanilla Ice

Even if you forget that this is a cover of The Rolling Stones' signature tune, Vanilla Ice dishes out one of the most inept sloppy raps ever recorded. Every other line is "Ya know what I'm sayin" and "Yeahhhhhhh". If someone ever decides to cover Vanilla's "Ninja Rap" the Apocalypse will have truly begun.
 

#29 "True Colors" by Phil Collins

Phil's take on The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" was at least fun to listen to, but this whiny version of the Cyndi Lauper classic is just awful. The techno beat with random bagpipes arrangements is enough to make you want to paint the true colors of your brain on the ceiling after repeated listening.


#28 "Blue Monday" by Orgy

This is one of the first covers of newer '80s songs to hit the scene and it just an uninspired mess. It doesn't help that the video looks like a documentary on pretentiousness. The endless comments from 12 year olds on YouTube praising this as one of the greatest cover songs of all time only cements our decision to include it on the list. retroCRUSH readers really hate it, too:

 

"Orgy clangs and screams their way through New Order's cheapie classic, and they absolutely miss the intensity, the creepiness, the irony, even the sadness." -Matt Casarino

 

"I think the best example is Blue Monday, as it was trashed by the Nu-metal/industrial band Orgy. I heard the original years after hearing this cover and knowing that the original was superior by a long-shot. Ah... youthful ignorance..." -Rob White

 


#27 "Walk This Way" by Girls Aloud/The Sugababes
 

This was a benefit song to fight hunger for the 2007 Comic Relief program. retroCRUSH reader Dave Agnew writes, "Sure, it's for charity but what did anyone do to deserve this abomination? They deserve my money even more if they're being forced to listen to this." It's not sexy, good to listen to, or anything worthwhile.
 

#26 "Unforgettable" by Natalie Cole
 

Recording a duet with your dead father's vocal is a cheap and stupid trick. It's as bad of an idea as making Celine Dion sing with a CGI version of dead Elvis.


#25 "Sittin' On The Dock of the Bay" by Michael Bolton
 

Loyal retroCRUSH reader Matt Casarino writes, "I know I won’t be the only one nominating this, but it has GOT to be the most misguided and horrid cover EVER. The original song is a beautiful, quiet celebration of escapist melancholy. Bolton (AAAA!! I SAID IT!! UNCLEAN!!!) tried to make it…I don’t know, “epic” or something. I don’t usually have a problem with people’s voices, but you know that feeling you get in your spine when you try to erase something after your eraser had fallen out of your pencil so now you’re scraping metal against your desk? Yeah, that’s what his voice does to me. But he could sound like chocolate-covered butter and this cover would still suck."

 

#24 "Bringing On The Heartbreak" by Mariah Carey

If ever Mariah's over singing should have come in handy, it would have been in this Def Leppard tune, which is done with bizarrely hushed vocals as if she recorded it in a closet afraid someone was going to hear her. By the time she does that glass breaking high octave crap, the song's already over. The video is equally puzzling with her showing how depressed she is by rolling around naked and waving to her adoring fans.


#23 "Crimson and Clover" by Joan Jett

I love Jett but this take is just a big mess. At least keeping the gender the same as the original version put an extra hot girl and girl tension in the air. Ultimately, it's just a big mess. Jim McCoy from Earvolution agrees, writing "The haunting, tremolo-laced 1969 original seems like an odd choice for treatment by Joan Jett, until one discovers that the Shondells' keyboard player worked with Joan Jett since the beginning of her solo career. Distorted guitars substitute for the original instrumentation, destroying the very vibe that makes the Tommy James original so appealing."


#22 "My Generation" by Hillary Duff

 

This Disneyfied version is bad right off the bad when she swaps the classic "Hope I die 'fore I get old" line with "Hope I DON'T die 'fore I get old!" That makes one of us. What sort of stress has Hillary had in her life, anyway? The most demanding experience she's gone through to date has been appearing in "Cheaper By The Dozen 2".


#21 "Live and Let Die" by Guns and Roses

The original is a silly pompous masterpiece that only Paul McCartney could have pulled off, but Axl's over the top nails on blackboard voice just makes this song a ridiculous waste of time. He sounds like Wayland Flowers' Madam puppet that was so popular in the '70s and '80s. Only Slash's version of the famous guitar riff makes this even worth listening to.

 

#20 "Locomotion" by Kylie Minogue

The music sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Dead or Alive song, and the arrangement is just awful. At least it made a little bit of sense when Grand Funk Railroad did their goofy cover of it, because it's train themed, but when Kylie sings about "a brand new dance" that's pushing 50 years old, it's just dorky. Not to mention, there's really not much to this dance, except swinging your hips, jumping up, then jumping back. You might as well do a cover of "The Hokey Pokey", while you're at it. And you haven't lived until you've heard the creative dance mix version where Kylie creatively sings, "Do the lo, the lo, the loca loca motion!" repeatedly.

 

#19 "Float On" by Kidz Bop

The whole idea of hell spawn children with dubious singing skills singing adult songs they have no business performing is something that has earned America a permanent circle in pop culture hell. Any of their songs could make the list, but I just chose this one because it was easy to find on YouTube (which is actually rather funny, because someone dubbed over the actual band's live performance). Hearing kids cheerily sing about crashing their car into a cop car" is mind-blowingly bad. The only thing worse are the poor jerks that have to sing the leads in each of these tunes. What a resume builder! Hell, who am I kidding? These things sell so well, they're probably all millionaires.


#18 "Love Song" by 311

retroCRUSH reader (and super cover song recommender) writes, "The least inspired cover ever, courtesy of one of the most overrated bands of the last 10 years." I agree entirely. It's like they're too cool to have any fun with the song. An equally bad version is American Idol's Blake Lewis' take on it, which is just a straight cover of the 311 recording! If you can make it all the way through this song without cutting your wrists, you're a better person than I.


#17 "Under The Bridge" by All Saints

I'll admit the guitar effects in the first 20 seconds are pretty cool, but this Barbie doll cover version takes a song about RHCP front man Anthony Keidis considering suicide, and makes everyone who listens to it want to do the same. These gals hardly look like they're going to be blowing guys for heroin under a bridge. But if they ever do, please let me know.


#16 "Chop Suey!" by Avril Lavigne

Perhaps Avril Lavigne performed this as a joke, but it doesn't make it any less easy to listen to. It's not only one of the worst cover songs, but it's up there with the worst things to listen to, period. It's the musical equivalent of your girlfriend yelling at you on the phone for an hour.


#15 "You Shook Me All Night Long" by Celine Dion

Changing the line to "HIS American thighs" sounds extra funny, as I'm sure as good looking thighs go, American men likely rank somewhere between 80s era Soviet women's shot-putters and those giant summer sausages you buy at Hickory Farms.

 

 

 

Also not to be missed is Celine's cringe-inducing cover "Bad" from her now defunct Vegas show featuring crotch grabbing dance moves and vintage Michael Jackson clothing!


#14 "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton

 

The only thing worse than a world in which all the trees are in a museum and all of paradise gets paved over, is a world where your favorite songs get covered by The Counting Crows. Summer's Eve should buy the rights to use this song in their commercials, because douches are all that come to mind when I hear it.


#13 "Candle In The Wind" by Elton John

 

I loved the original version about Marilyn Monroe, but after Elton wrote a new version for Princess Diana, Keith Richards rightfully made fun of him as that guy who "writes songs for dead blondes". Looks for Elton's stirring tribute to Anna Nicole soon. The lyrics in this new version are just ridiculous with lines like "the stars spell out your name" and "your footsteps will always follow you along England's greenest hills". What does "never fading with the sunset when the rain sets in" really mean, anyway? Sure she was a beloved and influential lad, but she deserved a better remake of this. Though I'll admit, it's at least more tasteful than Warrant's Princess Diana revamp of "Cherry Pie".

 

#12 " 911 Is A Joke" by Duran Duran

Who better to cover a song about the failings of the 911 emergency medical response system for inner city people, than...DURAN DURAN! I'm all for a group doing adventurous covers if they can pull it off, but their version of the Public Enemy classic (which is basically a Flavor Flav solo song, which makes it even more ridiculous for them to sing), is just flat out silly. The song comes from an entire album of covers they did called "Thank You" which is absolute crap from start to finish. The Durans were very good at the fun pop dance stuff they're famous for, but watching them flounder over songs so clearly out of their league like "Take You Higher", "Lay Lady Lady", and the inexplicable choice of Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines" is enough to make you want to actually listen to "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" instead.
 

#11 "I Love Rock and Roll" by Britney Spears

 

Talk about ironic covers. Britney expressing her love for Rock and Roll is akin to Stryper covering Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast". From her lame "is this thing on" intro, to music accompaniment that has all the rock an 80s Casio keyboard can offer, this whole thing is a giant mistake. Does Britney even know what a jukebox is, let alone a dime? Your guess is as good as mine what these guys holding guitars in the video are even doing.
 

#10 "Piece of My Heart" by Faith Hill

 

Great job taking a song by one of the all time kick ass great rock vocalists and turning it into a sugar coated commercial for some new wonder drug. Is Faith Hill really even a country singer? She's pretty much just Amy Grant with a cowboy hat. I'd pay good money to watch Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, and Dolly Parton beat the crap out of her. But I'd pay good money to see them beat up anyway, for that matter. Are you reading this Don King?
 

#9 "Downtown Train" by Rod Stewart

 

How could you take this cool gravelly Tom Waits classic and turn it into this empty piece of crap? I received no less than 30 emails from retroCRUSH readers begging to punish Rod for this sinful cover. I'm sure Waits had said that he would have never even recorded this had he known that Rod was going to wipe his ass with it like this. Hell, you can also throw every single one of Rod Stewarts cover songs in here as well, because they all suck so bad. What the hell happened to that guy? In the '70s and '80s he actually had some pretty good songs, but he turned into the total sell out whore with these bullshit "American Classics" collections that are so schmaltzy they'd put Wayne Newtwon to shame. Rod...take a few years off and just record an album of all original stuff again. Either that, or just be happy with your endless supply of hot young model wives that you won in a bet with the devil.
 

#8 "The Greatest Love of All" by Kevin Rowland

 I couldn't dare put a list of 100 Worst Covers together without consulting Brian Ibbot who has produced more than 330 episodes (and counting) of Coverville, one of the coolest and most popular podcasts on the internet. He recommended Kevin Rowland's (of Dexy's Midnight Runner's fame), absolutely batshit insane and unlistenable take on Whitney Houston's hit "The Greatest Love of All". CLICK HERE to listen to the 101st episode of his podcast which not only plays the song in its entirety, but includes a few other "gems" from other performers as well.

 

#7 "Ring of Fire" by Olivia Newton John

Let me make it clear that I still have a super crush on Olivia Newton-John, and it pains me to speak ill of her, which should tell you her "Ring of Fire" cover must really suck hard for me to put it on this list. I saw this on iTunes years back and I laughed with a "there's no way in hell she actually recorded that." I wish I didn't let my curiosity get the best of me. Hell, how could this angel who brought us, "Magic", "Hopelessly Devoted To You", and even "Xanadu" (I told you I was a forgiving fan) give us this monstrosity? It's a song of pain and loss and agony that she turns into a goddamn square dance. CLICK HERE and judge for yourself.
 

#6 "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by ODB and Macy Gray

The original by Elton John and Kiki Dee is good silly fun, and so is this version, but in a completely different way. What was the point of even recording this? Old Dirty Bastard sounds like a drunken Bill Cosby and Macy like some cracked out witch. This is one of those Shatneresque truly awful covers that's so awful you can't help but love it. But they aren't getting any free passes from retroCRUSH, nonetheless. CLICK HERE and listen to a sample, and just try and keep a straight face.
 

#5 "American Pie" by Madonna

 

retroCRUSH reader Sara Harris writes, "This song is just pure crap and I love Madonna. I've been a fan of hers since I could walk, but this song almost made me ashamed of being her fan. Making a techno dance track cheapens the message of this song all together." This song also struck quite a chord with our readers, with over 40 suggestions to include it on the list. Personally, I hate the original, too, and think it's one of the most overbearing overrated songs ever recorded, but that doesn't make Madonna's version of excusable. Andrew Stephens added, "I don't normally subscribe to the Madonna Sucks school of thought, but her version of American Pie seems to miss the whole point of the original (and sounds terrible). Unless the idea was to deliberately augment the song's theme by proving that modern music is crap compared to the old stuff, in which case kudos to you Madonna." Anyway, Madonna shouldn't be singing a song called "American Pie" unless it's about her vag.
 

#4 "Behind Blue Eyes" by Limp Bizkit

A tremendous outpouring of hatred from our readers for Durst's shitty version of this Who song, and rightfully so.

 

"I was always pretty much uncaring of their band. They had the occasional good rock tune that sounded good in the car or in a bar, but this made me want to sacrifice Fred Durst to my God in ways that would make the Mayans flinch." - Robert Spear

 

"I've already announced my disdain for the bile-fest that is Limp Bizkit, so I should probably leave their attempt at "Behind Blue Eyes" alone. But, dammit, they make it so EASY! Fred Durst is SUCH a brain-dead egomaniac that maybe we should cut him a break for not seeing the irony of the beautiful Who classic - how could this whiny-ass cokehead ever understand a line like "my dreams, they aren't as empty as my conscience seems to be?" But no, Fred earns his stripes by 1) putting his own heavily processed but still sad, thin little voice right out front; 2) trying to create false tension with deeply out-of-place synthy noises; 3) that...bridge. Robot voices? Scratching? Wha? 4) NEW FUCKING LYRICS!!! FUCK YOU YOU WORTHLESS CRATER!!!. Well, at least he left out the REAL bridge...can you imagine this douche trying out the words "if I smile, tell me some bad news/before I laugh and act like a fool?" Ha ha! That'd be funny. You're all right, Fred." -Matt Casarino

 

"Behind Blue Eyes--Limp Bizkit--Not only did they make a horrible version of a great song, the middle sounds like time my sister got a See 'N Say caught in her hair--"The Cow Says Moorrrowrrrowowrrrowooo" - William Kiessling
 

#3 "Stairway to Heaven" by Dolly Parton

Wow! Here's another one that just pains me to include on the list because I think Dolly Parton is one of the most amazing singer/songwriters that's ever lived, but what the hell was she thinking taking on this uncoverable song? Nobody could do this song justice, and her sappy bluegrass arrangement is almost unbearable to listen to. CLICK HERE and listen for yourself.
 

#2 "Every Breath You Take" Puff Daddy

Puff Daddy or whatever you want to call him reveals himself as the biggest dork in music history with this awful reworking of The Police classic to pay tribute to his buddy Notorious B.I.G. The video alone is one of the most ridiculous ever made. What was the point of showing him wipe out on a motorcycle repeatedly? And the new off meter lyrics are sloppy as hell, with such creative elements as rhyming "pray for you" with "pray for you." At least this song give us all hope that we're going to Heaven when we die, because if Biggie's there, you know damn well they'll take just about anyone. You know Diddy's really sad about his friend dying, by looking at the way he's dancing around in a giant golden shower at the end of the song. It's like all of the angels in Heaven are peeing on him.
 

#1 "Layla (Unplugged)" by Eric Clapton

 

Sorry, Eric. You're a guitar god and one of the greatest musicians that's ever walked the earth, but you totally cut the balls off of one the most rocking, beautiful, and anguish filled rock songs with this acoustic cover. It's the equivalent of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page doing a kazoo version of "Stairway to Heaven". When I think of "Layla" I think of Goodfellas. I think of a song to steal George Harrison's wife with. This take reminds me of riding a unicorn across a rainbow bridge while a gentle breeze of cotton candy blows through the air. And every dick with an acoustic guitar and a camcorder has to put their take of the unplugged version of YouTube now as a result!

 

Can a guy cover his own song? That's arguable, but I believe this to be the work of an shape shifter that kidnapped the real Clapton.

 

I'm sorry to leave you with a bad taste in your mouth with this whole thing, so rinse it clean with this gorgeous live version of "Layla" as it's supposed to be played.

 

 

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

 

THANKS FOR THE MENTION IN THE NEW YORK POST!

 

PART 1 (#66-100)PART 2 (#34-65) - PART 3 (#1-32)

 



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