My band have been dabbling with Rocket Man.

Much, MUCH to LaLa‘s disgust.

We all know the song, originally coined by Bernie Taupin and Elton John.

It has been redone several times.

The original:

The Kate Bush version:

The Shatner version:

The Stewie version:

or click here for video

The Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s version:

My opinion is that if a song is well written and performed that it will be imitated. Not necessarily to make it better, but just to have it interpreted in a new way. It means that the song has affected someone in such a way that they want to re-work it in their own way.

I guess it’s why I am happy to be in a cover band, cause while we try to play songs like the original, we also like to try and put our own slant on it. Mostly, we play songs that, for whatever reason were popular, which usually means they’re well written.

What do you think? Should good songs be kept in the past, or re-interpreted for the next generation?

What are your favourite covers?

One of my favourites would have to be Higher Ground, originally (and awesomely) done by Stevie Wonder. It’s a great song, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers version kicks arse as well.

Mrs Robinson (originally written by Simon & Garfunkel), redone by The Lemonheads, is another fav.

Obscure, but another favourite one would be Black Steel by Tricky, which was originally a Public Enemy track.

Mad World was redone by Gary Jules and featured in Donnie Darko. The original by Tears for Fears pales in comparison!

Eddie Vedder’s haunting vocals on Crazy Mary by Victoria Williams make this cover spine-tingling.

Similarly Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters work on Gerry Raffertys’ classic Baker Street is worthy. Top Song.


Sometimes you may not even know it’s a cover.

How about Comfortably Numb by The Scissor Sisters? I didn’t even know it was a cover, but Pink Floyd did the original.

or Tainted Love. Originally by Soft Cell? Nope! Gloria Jones.


Classic covers that have redefined songs?

Bob Dylan’s classic, All Along the Watchtower was redone by Jimi Hendrix which seems like the definitive version. (found Slash playing some Jimi while I was searching too. Wow.)

The Beatles’ version of Twist and Shout feels like it should have been the original, but no, The Top Notes did it first. (although I prefer the Ferris Bueller version of the Beatles version 🙂 )

Heard a good story about I Will Always Love You, made famous by Whitney Houston. Dolly Parton wrote the song and Elvis Presley tried to buy it off her but wouldn’t allow her to keep the rights, so Dolly kept it until she made 6 Million dollars by letting Whitney do her version.


Sometimes covers will destroy a song.

Madonna doing the Don McLean classic, American Pie? Please.

Sheryl Crow attempting the Gunners’ Sweet Child O’ Mine? It hurts my ears. (Ironically I actually like the Luna version)

How about Britney trying to sing I Love Rock n Roll by The Arrows (later made famous by Joan Jett)

Korn doing a version of Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd is pretty painful.

But seriously, is there anything worse than Celine Dion trying (and failing) to emulate AC/DC on You Shook Me All Night Long?


We have been toying with a version of Billie Jean by Michael Jackson in our band as well, and while looking around I found this version done by Chris Cornell. Nice. (David Cook from American Idol ripped off this version too)

We already do the excellent Cake version of I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor.

I could go on forever, but this post is probably long enough.

What’s my favourite cover ever?

Well, here it is. Who can deny that this version of the Otis Redding original has always been fabulous.

Just like Aretha.


About Mick

I've been around a while. I like to wrap myself around the warm security of the interwebs which have consumed me since 1993. I whinge, I rant, I crap on. Enjoy. View all posts by Mick

10 responses to “Preflight.

  • LaLa

    I don’t like anyone covering Elton. They should just leave it be.

  • LaLa

    ok. I just listened to that version by the gimme gimmes and it’s a pile of shit.

    Messy, gross, noisy, tuneless crap.

  • Melly Mel

    One of my fave covers is Tori Amos covering Nirvana’s Teen Spirit.

  • Mick

    Ha! Well, the Drop Bears version is much better 🙂

    Love you too…

    But, really…anyone can cover anyone. It’s open slather!

  • Mick

    Hey Mel. that’s so distinctly Tori! Sounds like she wrote it!

  • Trish

    Reminds me of the time a friend of mine commented on how good Oasis’ version of Wonderwall was…. Bob Downe (Mark Trevorow) had done a a 1960’s-crooner-style version of it that was getting plenty of airplay on Triple-J, and the friend assumed that was the original (and obviously didn’t realise it was Bob).

  • Aurelius

    Mick, I showed you Coverville, didn’t i?

    Oh, and Scissor Sisters should be shot for what they did to Comfortably Numb. Otherwise, I’m with you on a lot of this.

  • TJ

    One of my favourite weirdest (but coolest) covers is Marilyn Manson doing Tainted Love. The filmclip is trippy as all hell.

  • turnonthestars

    Actually, one of my favourite covers is Jason Mraz’s version of Rocket Man.
    He’s awesome and touring in August and I have tickets and no one to go with…. But still, that’s kind of irrelevant to the topic at hand. … his version is excellent value. I laugh at the end of it, but it’s still excellent.

    I’m going to CRY if LaLa does not approve.. evenjustalittle.

    He’s also done a version of Summer Breeze that kicks some serious ass. (it’s the best I could find)

    Otherwise I agree with Higher Ground and Mad World.

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