This week Leona Lewis kicked up a right old stink by announcing her intention to cover the Nine Inch Nails classic ‘Hurt’. Johnny Cash is widely acknowledged to have made the song his own on his 2002 covers album, and we can safely assume that it’s his version Leona will be bringing her toothy lung busting presence to. All the signs, literally everything I know about music, and every fibre of my being knows its going to suck worse than a rapping footballer.But Leona’s not alone in titting up someone else’s masterpiece. Pops history is littered with misguided, stupid and just plain greedy cash ins, and here we count down 10 of the worst.
10. Old Dirty Bastard – SuSuSudio
This bizarre Phil Collins cover comes from the Urban Renewal album, a record that had the genius notion of getting contemporary stars of RnB to reinterpret a number of Phil ‘classics.’ Collins himself was completely nonplussed by the whole affair, although happily let the royalties roll on in. To be fair to ODB his version is probably one of the best on an album that had Brandy and Ray J murdering Another Day In Paradise, and Brian McKnight twatting his way through In The Air Tonight. Still, there’s no escaping the fact that no one, least of all ODB, has the slightest clue what on earth he’s going on about in the song. Listen to it now. What the hell is it? Really, what ?
9. Nouvelle Vague – Love Will Tear Us Apart
So, I’ve got this flippin great idea: We take one of pop music’s acknowledged masterpieces and we totally gut it. Suck out it’s awkward chilly heart, its driving euphoric melancholy and it’s singers throbbing, atonal suicide vocal. Then we take its lifeless shell and we stuff it limpid with the soul of a travel insurance advert. Then we let it play on rotation in every shitty bar trying for ‘effortless cool’ forevermore. You'll notice comments have been disabled on the youtube video. Make of that what you will.
8. William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
This has long been the bench mark for woeful covers. Why William decided to recorded the Beatles peon to LSD as a spoken word poem- as rendered by a man recently emerged from a coma- is anyones guess. To be honest I think Shat is merely trying to up the lysergic elements of the Beatles original, and fair’s fair, he does make a fucking weird version. Just not one anyone would ever want to hear.
7. Bruce Willis – Under The Boardwalk
While we’re on the subject of actors recording sketchy renditions, this stinker from knuckle head is made far, far more uncomfortable by the fact the Temptations endorse it. Who knows what paroxysms of shame ran through their bodies as they backed Bruce on this insipid & humiliating ‘live’ rendition. One can only assume that either 1)the taxman had come a-calling or 2) Bruce had photos of them playing soggy biscuit over David Ruffin’s corpse. Either we, way the listening public lost.
6. Duran Duran – 911 Is A Joke
No Duran Duran: This cover is a joke.
5. Florence & The Machine- You’ve got the love
OK, controversial I know. You all love it, it was number one forever, and it was in a million adverts and blah blah blah. Let’s get real. This is a horrible piece of music. Ignoring the fact that Florence snottily corrects the grammer of the original (You to You’ve FYI) --- of course it’s a lovely track darling, but honestly, can you not just learn the correct form--- there’s no escaping that Florence’s version is a repulsive, self indulgent turd. The Source’s rendition was origami-like in its complex simplicity-- a keyboard, a drum machine and a vocal of pure intense beauty. Listening to Florence, on the other hand, is like being slapped round the ears by a sodden bellowing gingerhog. Crap.
4. Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah
You know you’re in trouble when even the singer hates their own cover. Alexandra Burke commented that Leonard Cohen’s heartbreaking number ‘did nothing for her’. Well, nothing that is, except propel her to number one. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted Burke! Because after this sack of shit you’re career was over!
3. Britney Spears – Satisfaction
I hate to get down on Britney. She’s a nutty legend in a sea of bland, I mean would Rihanna flip out, shave her head and release un-photoshopped images of her groaning body? Hell no. But Britney, Britney just don’t give a damn. Maybe that’s why she could rustle up this gruesomely tepid version of the Stones Satisfaction. When Mick Jagger sings it, the song struts with a predator’s lust. Britney however, sounds like she lost the number of the local takeaway down the back of the sofa, and is just getting an eensy bit ticked off.
2. Miley Cirus – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Words fail me.
Miley would have definitely made it to number one had I not come across this little beauty: So straight in at number one as one of the most grotesque covers I, you or anyone else has ever heard, we have (drum roll purleeeeaaase....)
1. The Bobs – Psycho Killer
4 horrifying kid botherers perform a glee club rendition of Psycho Killer. Like being stuck in an eternal round of Nevermind The Buzzcocks, it really is worse to actually hear this oral travesty than it is to read about. The guy taking David Byrne’s part sounds like he’s having a ring burningly uncomfortable shit for the whole 4 minutes of the song. Shame on each and every member of the audience who clap at the end. You’ll burn for it.
So there you go. 10 horrors. If only that was the end. Remember folks, whilst the monster known as Simon Cowell exists things can only get worse.