Every day new music is being created. Whether it be in high production recording studios or someone’s mum’s basement, the world will never be devoid of fresh sound as long as creative people are encouraged to pursue their talents. Yet not everything can start from nothing and many aspiring artists find themselves using the works of others to get their foot in the door of the music business. When stardom has finally been achieved, many of these artists continue to cover others in a gesture of thanks for creating something that inspired their own music. Listed below are some of the best covers performed by bands and artists throughout the years.
The Weight ~ Panic! At the Disco
Even though the original Panic! At the Disco foursome may not have worked out in the long run, the Pretty. Odd era of the band made them perfect to cover the classic rock song ‘The Weight.’ Originally recorded by The Band back in 1968, the song is slow, sweet and filled with biblical references that are felt with Brendon’s soaring vocals. Truthfully, Panic’s rendition was the first time I ever heard the song and was captured by the sheer flawlessness of the performance.
Chelsea Hotel No. 2 ~ Lana Del Rey
The first time I ever heard Lana Del Rey’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’, I found myself overwhelmed with so much emotion I think cried through the entire thing. Although the song may not be hers, Lana’s effortless vocals own it as if the heart-breaking story being told was her own. Never pushing the vocals too hard combined with the sombre plucking of strings embodies the tiredness heartache leaves once the fire has burnt out.
(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight ~ Dommin
In 1986, English rock band Cutting Crew saw their biggest hit in the form of ‘(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight’ reaching number one across the states, Canada and Finland. The swirling, dream like sound created by cellos, keyboard and synths made gothic rock band Dommin perfect for covering this song. Transforming the 80s vibes of the original ‘(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight’ into a heavier rock infused track added another layer to the classic song with Kristofer Dommin’s harrowingly beautiful vocals delivering an entrancing performance.
Simple Man ~ Shinedown
Some bands just beat others to the chase when it comes to song creation and Shinedown’s cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Simple Man’ is one of those examples. The only real difference in the two songs is the era in which they were recorded, each rock band putting their statement sound to the track but both performing with immense emotion that make it difficult to pick a favourite. Shinedown stripped down ‘Simple Man’ to an acoustic set but Brent Smith’s vocals pay homage to the origins of the classic.
Wicked Game ~ Stone Sour
Another example of a classic song being stripped down to an acoustic cover, Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ is completely transformed by rock band Stone Sour. Whilst the original, released in 1989, is a sign of it’s time, the mellow psychedelic sound is not completely lost in this cover. However, Stone Sour have romanticised the song more through the simplicity of only using guitar and Corey Taylor’s vocals.
Beat It ~ Fall Out Boy
Replacing 80s synthesizer tones with electric, shredding guitar, Fall Out Boy’s cover of the 1983 Michael Jackson classic maintains the heart of the original song whilst completely making it their own. ‘Beat It’ was recorded for the King of Pop’s sixth album, Thriller, to have a rock and roll twist so it only makes sense that a band like Fall Out Boy were able to cover it so seamlessly. Along side Patrick Stump’s killer vocals, the cover also treats us to a breath-taking guitar solo that doesn’t hold back.
Blue on Black ~ Five Finger Death Punch
Regarded as the best rock song by multiple medias upon it’s release in 1998, Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s ‘Blue on Black’ is a song that could have been written for Five Finger Death Punch. The heavy rock band’s ability to maintain a balance between classic country rock and hard-hitting rock adds a layer of power the original song only touched upon.
The Sound of Silence ~ Disturbed
Although becoming infamous as a meme in recent years, Simon and Garfunkel’s 1964 ‘The Sound of Silence’ will forever be a hauntingly beautiful song. In 2015, Disturbed took that haunting beauty and added their own by reimagining the track as a soaring, orchestral rock piece that completely transfixes you. The memory of being able to witness the cover of this song live is an experience that will forever remain with me and leave me inadequate to describe the sensations it arises.
By Skye W.Winwood