There’s nothing wrong with covering an older song, but a few artists struggle to put their mark on the song. Most artists fail (think most Beatles covers), and a few artists succeed (Hendrix covering “All Along The Watchtower”). Then, there are those cover songs that are neither good nor bad…just weird. Here are a few of the strangest cover songs we’ve ever encountered.
Sid Vicious – My Way
The first burst of punk rock was about rebelling against the music establishment, but the former Sex Pistol’s first solo single isn’t so much a middle finger to mainstream pop music as much as it is an oddity. Sid begins howling the song in a faux-posh accent, we guess in an attempt to make fun of the song. By the time the tempo changes and the guitar comes in, Sid reveals that he can’t really sing a punk song, either. Still, his sneering bravado elevates the cover from bad to just plain weird.
Sonic Youth – Superstar (by The Carpenters)
The masters of atonal guitar noise…doing Karen Carptenter? What’s really strange about this is how relatively reverent the alt-rock titans are with the song. Even so, they can’t help but infuse their take on the song with a sinister 90’s edge, leaving the listener feeling more unsettled than one normally would be after listening to a Carpenters song.
Dolph Lundgren – A Little Less Conversation
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Lundgren only performed this once while hosting a Swedish singing competition in 2010. The video below has to be seen to be believed. Hell, we’ve seen it, and we’re still convinced it’s some kind of elaborate prank.
The Gourds – Gin & Juice
There isn’t any way that rock and roots covers of rap songs can be anything other than novelties, but it takes a lot of nerve and skill to change a song so drastically. We never imagined hearing the chorus of this song backed with ukeleles.
Lady GaGa – Out on The Weekend
One doesn’t associate Neil Young (especially Harvest) with a diva vocal workout, but Lady GaGa thought otherwise.
Pearl Jam – Last Kiss
More than any other band besides Nirvana, Pearl Jam are the most associated with the angsty, loud bombast of grunge. Exactly what possessed them to turn in this overtly-mellow cover of J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers’ lone hit is an answer only Eddie Vedder knows the answer to. The cover turned out to be their biggest chart hit, so he must have done something right with this.
William Shatner – Rocket Man
Ah, William Shatner’s music career. The comedy gift that just keeps on giving. The man didn’t sing as much as provide dramatic interpretations of songs. We’re still figuring out what’s stranger: Shatner’s unbelievably pretentious dramatic reading of Elton John’s spacey hit, or Bernie Taupin being able to present Shatner’s version with a straight face.