[These ten covers were all released as singles. Good idea? Bad? A contribution from Adam Morrison. – AC]
Some of the most interesting cover songs are ones where an artist interprets a track outside of their genre, and it’s often an interesting move to release such cover songs as singles. Here are ten examples, and I hope you can leave more in the comments.
The Lee Hazlewood-penned “These Boots Are Made for Walkin” was a hit for Nancy Sinatra in the mid-60s, and has been covered since by Billy Ray Cyrus, and Jessica Simpson. Then there’s the 1985 cover by Megadeth. Hazlewood himself called the version by the thrash metal legends a “perversion of the original,” which probably hasn’t bothered anybody too much.
The synth-pop title track from Eurythmics’ 1983 album Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) was the duo’s breakthrough single. Marilyn Manson’s creepy 1995 cover was the band’s first big hit.
For White Zombie’s cover of “I’m Your Boogieman,” Rob Zombie might have taken more inspiration from the film Halloween than from the KC and the Sunshine Band original version.
Even the biggest George Michael fans have to admit that the original version of “Faith” suffered from a lack of turntable solos, and a guy screaming, “Get the f**k up!”
Gary Jules cover of “Mad World” for the 2001 film Donnie Darko captures the sadness in the lyrics of the Tears for Fears 1982 song, and then some.
Alien Ant Farm’s 2001 cover of Michael Jackson’s 1988 hit “Smooth Criminal” is more fun than can be easily explained.
“Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot—R.I.P.—came out in 1974, and is a great folk song. The 2000 version by Elwood has a different feel, and is also great.
“Feelin’ Good” was first performed in 1964, and has been covered many, many times since. One cool cover is Muse’s, which came out back in 2001.
The title track from Cameo’s 1986 album Word Up! is some seriously funky fun. Also fun is nu metal lords Korn’s cover version from their 2004 album Greatest Hits, Vol. 1.
“Land of Confusion” was released by Genesis in 1986, and Disturbed gave it the metal treatment in 2006.