While we’ve embraced the best cover songs over the past couple of days here and here, there is always a dark to their light. Sometimes, and artist just doesn’t get it and makes a version of the song so terrible, it becomes a black mark on the very song itself.
So it only seems right to name and shame them, and count down eight of our favourite terrible cover versions and decide which one gets the most splinter filled wooden spoon we can find.
8) Anastacia and Celine Dion – You Shook Me All Night Long
AC/DC are not the most technically amazing band, getting through the musical plains on the back of a fantastic sense of fun and doing the basics of rock harder and louder than anyone else. So of course a cover by Canadian crooner Celine Dion and power ballad maiden was going to be terrible.
Replacing the rough and ready Brian Johnson’s screaming vocal with Dion’s and Anastacia’s is an absolute joke, with the track losing all of its gusto in exchange for a horrible attempt at ‘Girl Power’.
Utterly pointless and utterly rubbish.
7) Girls Aloud and the Sugababes – Walk This Way
While it feels slightly wrong tearing holes in a charity song, this was an utterly terrible cover of a song that ranks within everyone’s guilty pleasures.
The song was always a slice of fun, but if you’re going to try and recreate that little slice of eighties magic, then you might as well try and get an equivalent pair of artists. But a combination of Girls Aloud and the Sugababes? There’s less attitude and bite in a giant warehouse of kittens.
A discordant mess of overlapping vocals and awful rapping, this was a charity record we couldn’t wait to forget about after we’d done our part for Comedy Relief and an awful tribute a genre smashing song.
6) Mel B – Word Up
While Cameo’s original is just a slice of fun that’s been gifted with two great rock covers, this unintentionally hilarious version by the ex-Spice Girl is car-crash listening.
Recorded for the soundtrack for the second Austin Powers film (that towering majesty of cinematic achievement), this was a version that tried to re-capture the funky vibe of the original, but floundered with even that basic a concept.
Mel’s vocals just weren’t up to snuff either, just droning on and on until sweet release kicks in and the song ends after two and half agonising minutes. It’s only this low down the list thanks to its giggle inducing abilities.
5) Hilary Duff – My Generation
The Who were one of the defining bands of the 1960s, so to have one of their most iconic hits covered by Hilary Duff of all people is just inexcusable.
A bonus track on the Japanese version of her album, Hilary took a cry of rebellion, and turned it into insipid cheerleading. Exactly the message that the guys wanted to get across.
While the original has Daltrey’s brilliantly coarse voice ripping through it like a chainsaw, Hilary Duff’s vocal is, well, a Hilary Duff vocal. Lovely woman she might be, but rock god she ain’t.
She even changed the line from ‘I hope I die before I get old’ to ‘I hope I don’t die’. Well done Hilary, you just neutered a song.
4) Attack Attack – I Kissed A Girl
While Katy Perry’s pseudo Sapphic song will probably not make it into the music hall of fame any time soon, its looks like Stairway To Heaven when compared to this terrible version by the Ohio based metal group.
Rock covers of bubblegum songs can be fun, but Attack Attack seem single-mindedly set to simply copy the track exactly, not even bothering to add any of their own style to the song.
Horrifically drowned in auto tune (seriously, you can barely hear a vocal over the pitch correction) and utterly useless musically, it loses all of its fun and poppy style in exchange for nothing else apart from the ability to waste three minutes of your life.
3) Michael Bolton – Yesterday
While Michael Bolton may be many things, subtle is not one of them. So when he tries to take on the touchingly slow paced and quiet Beatles classic, it turns into a horrible mess.
Transforming the introspective chorus into a series of giant power note might have suited Bolton’s singing style, but it does horrific damage to the song itself, feeling more out of place than a Morrissey at a barbeque. His version simply lollops from belted line to odd moments of clarity.
With the giant 1980s drums crashing in halfway through the song, it’s the final nail in the coffin for Bolton’s botched recital of the song.
2) All Saints – Under The Bridge
Under The Bridge is undoubtedly one of the greatest tracks from one of the greatest bands of the last couple of decades. All Saint’s version though is beyond a travesty, its plain insulting.
All Saints weren’t a terrible group by any stretch of the imagination, but trying to pull this song off was as bad a decision as trying to take on a tiger with nothing but a feather duster for protection. The girls just have none of the vocal complexity or clout to be able to pull off the heartfelt lyrics that reflected Red Hot Chilli Peppers lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ battle with drugs.
The changes to the backing track feel horribly ill-advised, as the record scratches sound like desperation on the part of the song’s remixers.
That it went to number one in the UK charts, while the original version never broke into the top ten, is perhaps the greatest affront of all.
1) Miley Cyrus – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Nirvana have made such an impact on the music scene that the number of times they’ve been covered is astronomical. While most aren’t great, some just feel plain wrong. Miley Cyrus doing Smells Like Teen Spirit is the epitome of that.
Always claiming that it was merely a tribute to an artist that had influenced her growing up, Miley grew prone to singing the classic grunge track on her 2011 tour. Of course, this is through her ‘wild’ phase when she’d broken free of the Disney shackles, but it doesn’t matter how much leather you wear Miley, Hannah Montana and Nirvana should never mix.
That this was never officially released is perhaps beneficial for the good of mankind, as the sheer speed of Kurt Cobain spinning in his grave would have opened up a black hole. And no one wants that to happen.
How about you, got any covers that made your skin crawl? Let us know in the comments section.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith
Tagged in All Saints The Who Anastacia Attack Attack The Beatles Celine Dion Red Hot Chilli Peppers Miley Cyrus Girls Aloud Hilary Duff Katy Perry Red Hot Chili Peppers The Sugababes Michael Bolton Sugababes Nirvana AC/DC