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THE 100 WORST COVER SONGS

PART ONE (#66-100)

 

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

 

We've already done our 100 Greatest Cover Songs list, so you knew it was only a matter of time before we paid respects to the flip side of the coin. Some of these covers were sincere attempts to make good songs, others are so inexplicably awful that you don't know what the hell they were thinking. Others are clearly meant to be jokes, but it doesn't make them sound any better, even so. We had polled retroCRUSH readers for nearly 2 months and got lots of great responses, and we give deep thanks to all of those who threw ideas our way.

 

 

#100 "Sgt. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND" by Bill Cosby

This cover from 1968 sounds as crazy as you would expect it to. It certainly has a fun car accident type sound to it that you can't help but stop and gawk at. You can hear it and his "brilliant" take on The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" over at Frank's Vinyl Museum. He's clearly just having a good time and can't possibly think he's a good singer, but it doesn't make it any easier to listen to.

 

 

#99 "AMERICAN PIE" by THE BRADY BUNCH KIDS

I don't buy that the Don McClean original version of this tune is some untouchable classic. Frankly, it's a long, boring, and pretentious song that generally makes we want to shove a soldering iron into my ears whenever it comes on. But there's something just so damn wrong about The Brady Bunch trying to do this song. The song is much better if when Jan and Marcia singing the line "Helter Skelter" you imagine them cutting The Partridge Family to bits and writing "I Think I Love You" on the walls with their blood. Screw you Ruben Kincaid, you knew this was coming! CLICK HERE for a listen.

 

I interviewed The Brady Bunch creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz a few years back and I thought these couple questions about their musical abilities were pretty good.

In the early episodes of there was clearly no idea or direction that any of these kids could dance or sing.  At one point was it decided to start using them in that capacity?

The show just went along, all of them had a certain amount of talent in that direction, except for poor Peter, who had no talent.  Most of the time he just kept quiet.  The odd thing was that the mother (Florence Henderson), who was a talented singer and a Broadway star never got to sing at all.  Well, she sang in that Christmas episode and it was beautiful.  The kids emerged as big stars. 

They even toured, didn't they?

Yes, I went to some of the events where the opened big malls, they were almost crushed when thousands of kids would turn out.  I was amazed at the number of people that turned out. They did several albums.

CLICK HERE to read our entire interview with Mr. Schwartz.

#98 "FUNKYTOWN" by PSEUDO ECHO

 

When I first met my wife to be in 1990, she actually told me one of her favorite bands was Pseudo Echo, which blew my mind because they were pretty much only known for their crappy cover of Lipps, Inc.'s "Funkytown". I even hated their name, which implies that they are a pretend echo. What the hell? Needless to say, I kept mouth shut and let my love of great legs overcome my hatred of this group. Ultimately a very unfunky affair here. The group even released an EP in 1999 that included SIX different remixes of the song, earning them a special place in Hell for all eternity.

#97 "Orange Colored Sky" by Burt Ward

The crazy planets lined up perfectly for this song, which not only features some of the most embarrassingly bad vocals ever captured on a record, but it's produced by freak god Frank Zappa as well. Done as a laugh, Ward took a break as Robin from the '60s Batman TV series to cut this tune. Burt wrote about the experience in his 1995 memoir, "Boy Wonder, My Life In Tights", which you can read here. You can also CLICK HERE to listen to a sample of this monstrosity. Burt wasn't the only Batman actor to record a song, however, as Frank Gorshin put out some equally unlistenable songs himself, like THIS (thanks to Check The Cool Wax Blog).

 

#96 "KASHIMIR" by PUFF DADDY

 

Admittedly it's not a full remake of Kashmir, but Puff Daddy goes beyond his typical uninspired mumblings on top of classic song beats and actually convinced Jimmy Page to play all new guitar on this mess. Fitting that it was on the soundtrack for the American Godzilla remake, cause just like that movie, this just takes something that was really really cool and ends up being hollow and silly.


 

#95 "ROCKIN IN THE FREE WORLD" by Eddie Vedder and Bono

The pretentiousness of this cover is so thick, you could probably actually slice through it if you had something sharp. Even the "live" video is crap, with an artsy black and white cut when Bono takes the stage to let you know he's extra deep. retroCRUSH reader John Goulin points out when he nominated this, "Eddie is off key and Bono just starts making up lyrics and adding in random nonsense half way through the song."

 

#94 "It Ain't Me Babe" by Sebastian Cabot

I first heard this on the classic Golden Throats album years ago, and I still remember it fondly. Sebastian Cabot, best known as the original Mr. French on TV's Family Affair, does a pure dirty old man version of Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" that's unbelievably insane. CLICK HERE to listen to a sample for yourself.


#93 "I Am The Walrus" by Jim Carrey

This was a part of a George Martin produced tribute album that admittedly features some interesting pieces like Sean Connery reciting the lyrics to "In My Life", but Jim Carrey's delivery of "I Am The Walrus" sounds like he's deliberately trying to sound as fucked up and awful as possible.


#92 "SHE BANGS" by WILLIAM HUNG

You have to at least give Hung credit for making the most out of the least. His infamous American Idol audition struck a nerve and resulted in a fully produced version of the same song, 3 albums, and an appearance in a Jack in the Box commercial. That's more than Taylor Hicks can hope for.

 


#91 "Sympathy for the Devil" Natalie Merchant

Released as a B side for the 1996 single, "Jealousy", it's the first time this song has evoked actual sympathy for the Devil, or anyone else that has to listen to it, for that matter. The opening line, "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste" is extra funny when sung by a gawky vegan hippie chick.


#90 "Personal Jesus" by Marilyn Manson

Even Johnny Cash's weak version of this song is still miles better than Marilyn's take which seems to have been recorded only for irony's sake. Overproduced beyond the point of listenability. Jesus himself may have been able to turn water into wine, but he couldn't make this song good even with miraculous powers.

 

#89 "Have You Seen Her?" by MC Hammer

Hammer's own songs suck so much, it's amazing he thought he could actually record a good version of someone else's.


#88 "Twist and Shout" by Mae West

This aural abortion sounds like your grandma had one too many, crashed her car into a karaoke bar, and the cops let her sing before they hauled her back to the home to increase her dementia meds.

 

#87 "If I Had A Hammer" by Leonard Nimoy

How bad do you have to sing to actually make Shatner the second worst Star Trek actor to record an album? If I had a hammer and had the choice to listen to this song 100 times, or smash my face in, I'd be hard pressed to decide. Nimoy certainly isn't ashamed to pursue strange artistic endeavors, as evidenced by some of this alternative erotic photography (not safe for work). Here's an entire website dedicated to the music of Nimoy, as well.


#86 "Satisfaction" by Justine Bateman

The song is from a 1988 film of the same name that also starred a very young Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts. The film was renamed "Girls of Summer" when it was released on TV, in case anyone remembered how shitty it was the first time around. The DVD was also repackaged to feature Julia Roberts more prominently as well. Also of note in the film and soundtrack was Britta Phillips who was the singing voice of the cartoon character Jem.


#85 "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'" by Jessica Simpson

Not a very sexy cover of an incredibly sexy song. Even if she changed the lyrics to "These Jugs Were Made For Suckin'" it'd still be hard to listen to. Thank God for mute buttons.

 

#84 "All By Myself" by Celine Dion

It's too bad Celine didn't sing this song all by herself in the forest, where she wouldn't make any noise. Or would she?


#83 "Mrs. Robinson" by The Lemonheads

Why the hell did these assholes even cover this song, anyway? It's like they're just running through the thing half-heartedly because they don't want to show any enthusiasm, lest they look too dorky to their hipster fans. At least the video has some footage from The Graduate, but otherwise there's absolutely nothing good or inspired about this version.


#82 "Give A Little Bit" by The Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls also go the route of The Lemonheads with this by the numbers "too cool to care" version of the Supertramp classic.

 

#81 "The Final Countdown" by Anonymous Fair Guys

Can't have a list of bad covers without at least giving a nod to this YouTube classic! Rumor has it, you hear this song right before you die, and that there is no afterlife, or God! Just emptiness and this song until the forever of nothingness creeps in. Now enjoy your day!

 

 


#80 "Ballroom Blitz" by Tia Carrere

She's OK to look at, but Tia Carrere is like some 1st round American Idol cast-off with this mess from the Wayne's World soundtrack. The original was crappy enough to bother doing an even worse version.


#79 "Walking In LA" by Traci Lords

You'd think if Traci Lords was going to record a song and make a video, that she'd at least dress up as something sexier than...a man while she's singing it. I feel like I want to curl up in a fetal position and cry after watching this.

 


#78 "You Keep Me Hanging On" by Vanilla Fudge

Ever wondered what The Supremes' classic would sound like if it was sung by a bunch of boring trippy white guys? Wonder no more!


#77 "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston

This is one of those famous covers that most people figure was the original version of the tune. Whitney Houston over sings the hell out of this sweet Dolly Parton tune, and the tacky dame forgot to thank her when she won a Grammy for it.

 

#76 "Proud Mary" by Nashville Country Singers

A retroCRUSH reader tipped me off to this, and I was blown away. This is certainly one of those "so bad it's good" type covers, but it's ill conceived and horrifying to listen to, any way you slice it. Frank's Vinyl Museum has a sample of the tune to listen to, as well as their painful take on "Aquarius" that actually makes Steve Carell's version from the end of The 40 Year Old Virgin sound good. Frank from the site points out, "Incredibly, they don't even sing the phrase "Proud Mary" once throughout the entire song. Among other flubs, these guys "seen a lotta plays in Memphis" and "Humped a lotta grain in New Orleans". I don't know what they were taking in Nashville back in 1969 but I sure want some for my next party."


#75 "Purple Haze" by Winger

Poor Winger never got to live down being on the t-shirt of the wimpy Stuart on the Beavis and Butthead cartoon. Famous for their ode to statutory rape, "Seventeen", Winger's first album also featured a cover of Jimi Hendrix's guitar classic "Purple Haze", which ended up featuring some of the worst guitar ever recorded. CLICK HERE and hear for yourself. Winger covering Hendrix is like Amy Grant covering Slayer.

 


#74 "Heroes" by The Wallflowers

Yet another "gem" from the Godzilla remake soundtrack, Jakob Dylan and his band of hipsters just walk through this thing too cool to have any actual fun with it. It's not like David Bowie's original was some untouchable classic, as it was pretty dull in the first place. The bit of "Heroes" sung by Nicole Kidman and Ewan Macgregor during a medley in Moulin Rouge was a lot more fun.


#73 "Faith" by Limp Bizkit

This song is funny for about 30 seconds until you realize that Fred Durst is actually going to use his crappy vomit singing style for the whole damn song. Andrew Ridgely could have done a better job.

 


#72 "Landslide" by The Dixie Chicks

Love the girls, but hate hate hate this version of the song. Just a soul free by the numbers walk through it cover. The Smashing Pumpkins did a much better version that you can listen to HERE.

 

#71 "Papa Don't Preach" by Kelly Osbourne

The thought of someone actually fathering a child with Kelly Osborne far outweighs the horror of her begging her dad Ozzy to let her keep her baby in this ill-conceived Madonna cover.


#70 "Boys of Summer" by The Ataris

The execution of the song isn't really so bad, and it's rather listenable, but their lyric switch of "I saw a Dead Head sticker on a Cadillac" to a "Black Flag Sticker" is just stupid fucking pandering to look cool. It's hard not to laugh when lead singer Kristopher Roe says, "don't look back you can never look back" when he was only 9 years old when Black Flag broke up. The poser was even too young to have an Atari when he was a kid. GRRRRRR! MY NERD RAGE KNOWS NO BOUNDS!!!

 

#69 "We Will Rock You" by 5ive

 

For starters, I hate 5ive for using a "5" instead of an "F" in the first letter of their band's name. It's pretty 5ucking 5oolish. This cover of the Queen classic may have band members from Queen in it, but once the boy band tough guy "vocals" kick in, you just start praying for a zombie Freddie Mercury to take the stage and eat all of their brains (which admittedly wouldn't be much to snack on).

 

#68 "Rocket Man" by William Shatner

 

Can't have Nimoy on the list without a bit of Shatner! I personally love the hell out of this version, but I love it because it's just so bad. Shat is able to make you think it's all a put on, with just a small bit of doubt that he really really thinks this is awesome.

 

#67 "Come On Eileen" by Save Ferris

This cover is worst than sweat on Olivia Newton John. I'm just not a fan of "Quirky Ska Flavored Cover Played Too Fast Let You Think We Actually Like This Song" approach.

 

 
#66 "Solsbury Hill" by Sarah McLaughlin

Sarah can turn any song into aural narcolepsy. Thankfully this video clip is only 12 seconds long, so you won't fall asleep at your computer.

 

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

 

THANKS FOR THE MENTION IN THE NEW YORK POST!

 



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