WTF: Crazy Cover Versions
We all love cover versions of our favorite rock songs, if only for the fresh perspective the covering artist brings to familiar material. Cover versions are particularly entertaining when they come out of left field – like when an artist jumps genres for material. Remember when Pat Boone covered metal songs? Yeah.
One of our favorites is of course the AOR darlings the Carpenters, covering Klaatu’s “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.” Klaatu was a Canadian prog-rock outfit, and they are perhaps best remembered for a rumor that went out in the 1970s that Klaatu were actually the Beatles recording under a pseudonym. Take one listen to any Klaatu record and you know that’s not true. Nevertheless, they put out “Calling Occupants” in 1976 and the next year popsters Karen and Richard Carpenter covered the song. They had a modest hit out of it, too.
There was a time when TV actors made a few bucks by releasing albums with their cracked covers of Dylan, the Beatles, et. al. William Shatner is perhaps best known for doing that, but we’ve included a lesser known actor today – Sebastian Cabot (a British gent who played butlers and such) – doing a Dylan tune.
Country artists taking rock songs to the barnyard is also a disturbing recurring phenomenon. Here we have the great Willie Nelson doing the Beatles from a 2003 comp. Finnish black metal rockers Children of Bodom have a sense of humor; they do covers all the time, including this one of an Eddie Murphy groaner.
Legitimate rockers like those cover versions too, especially when they can totally make ’em over – hence, Pearl Jam doing the death-rock classic “Last Kiss,” John Cale deconstructing Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel” and Eric Burdon going totally over the top on a Stones cover.
Don’t have much else to say here, it’s just an excuse to share some of these out-of-the-blue covers. Hope you like ’em – if you don’t, you always have the originals!