The cover song is an institution of popular music, as musicians take influence from one another- from time to time they will deem it necessary to perform each other’s work in tribute. Whether it is a direct translation or a completely revamped and hardly recognisable adaptation, a cover may only fall into one of two categories- great or terrible.
10. Solitary Man – HIM
Like several of the songs on this list, ‘Solitary Man’ has been covered by a wide variety of musicians and bands over the years. Originally composed by Neil Diamond in the 1960’s, the hit single was released on 7-inch on April 4th 1966. Helsinki based rock band ‘HIM’ released their highly praised cover of the classic as one of two bonus tracks on 2004’s ‘And Love Said No: Greatest Hits 1997-2004’.
9. Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm
Released as the lead single from the Californian bands debut album ‘Anthology’ in 2001, ‘Smooth Criminal’ not only announced Alien Ant Farm to the world but turned the metal community onto the work of Michael Jackson. Originally released by Jackson in October 1988, the song soon became a hit as a result of its progressive and intricate synth and bass patterns- attributes which made it perfect to be covered in such a manner.
8. Whiskey in the Jar – Thin Lizzy
This song began its life several centuries ago as part of the rich tapestry that it is native Irish folklore. Having been interpreted many times since the dawn of recorded music by musicians of all calibres and creeds (well, mostly Celtic Irish), this is the version that sits the most comfortably with me. Though the Dubliners version may stay true to the folk themes upon which the song was crafted and Metallica’s forever be a party classic- Thin Lizzy added the character needed to keep the ditty relevant at the time.
7. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
Originally released by Leonard Cohen in 1984, Hallelujah has been interpreted by many others since- probably due to its unmistakable beauty. Tragic (yet exceptionally gifted) singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley recorded his monumentally famous cover version of the song as part of his one and only completed full length album ‘Grace’, which was released in 1994. To this day Buckley’s version is often mistaken as the original piece, its fame being aided by the covers inclusion on many prestigious top song lists by the likes of Rolling Stone and Time magazine.
6. Down with the Sickness – Richard Cheese
Garnering much notoriety as a result of its inclusion in Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of zombie classic ‘Dawn of the Dead’, this quirky lounge style interpretation of the 2000 original by nu-metal giants Disturbed is packed with backhanded satire and musical mastery in equal measure. Originally released as the lead single on the Chicago band’s debut full length ‘The Sickness’, the song stands to this day as one their most popular. Known for his countless covers of hard rock and metal songs, Richard Cheese released his cover of the song as part of 2002’s ‘Tuxicity’.