Take Cover

Newsgroup post, March 4, 2005:

So I’m messin’ around with iTunes, which I downloaded ages ago but have yet to actually buy anything from, and I start poking through the Yardbirds’ catalog, and play a sample from “Train Kept a’Rollin’.”

The Aerosmith cover is way better.

Which got me thinking about how often a cover version is better than the original. Not that often, certainly — most covers suck — but when it happens it can be pretty cool.

Aerosmith’s version of “Train Kept a’Rollin’ kicks ass, for example. Or consider Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” which is vastly superior to the original.

And then there are the covers that are so different that you can’t really compare them, like the Cardigans’ version of the Black Sabbath song “Iron Man.”

But there are borderline cases, too. Is Pat Benatar’s cover of “Wuthering Heights” as good as the Kate Bush original? What about the remixed Bush version?

6 thoughts on “Take Cover

  1. Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” is better, I think, than the original. The less said of Brittany Spears’ version the better.

    1. Who did that originally? I’ve forgotten. (I could google, I suppose.)

      Incidentally, there are several Leonard Cohen songs where there are covers better than the originals.

  2. And then there’s the strange case of Bob Dylan, where nearly every cover of his songs is better than what he recorded.

    1. I dunno — a lot are better, agreed (especially by the Byrds), but I’ve heard a few really bad Dylan covers. I’d go with “most,” rather than “nearly every.”

  3. Was listening to it in the car today and I like Meat Loaf’s “Promised Land” better than Chuck Berry’s, though I don’t think I’d go so far as to say that it’s better.

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