For the month of February, we’re doing something special here at Biff Bam Pop! Each week our writers and correspondents have been compiling lists of their favorite things. For my turn, I’ll be talking about my favorite cover songs, but not just any cover songs – these are covers that I think surpass the originals. Meet me after the jump for my list.
There are lots of runner-ups, like “Nothing Compares to You” by Sinead O’Connor and “When U Were Mine” by Mitch Ryder, both written by Prince. I’m also kinda partial to hair band dated version of “Helter Skelter” by Motley Crue, no matter how much like the eighties it smells. I also really dig the quiet covers of “Alison” and “Cruel to Be Kind” by sometime Biff Bam Pop! correspondent Robin Renee, but these below are my five favorites, my favorite covers that are better than the originals.
5. “A Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles – The all-girl retro-pop band from Los Angeles rocked up this Britpop wannabe Simon and Garfunkel tune for the film Less Than Zero. I think it’s definitely an improvement.
4. “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by Was (Not Was) – This is my absolutely favorite version of the song by The Undisputed Truth that’s been covered numerous times by such luminaries as the Temptations, Rare Earth, El Rayo-X, Phil Collins, and George Michael. The rap was by G Love E.
3. “Walk This Way” by Run DMC featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry – The tune originally appeared on Aerosmith‘s Toys in the Attic album in its rock form and was covered by Run DMC a decade later. Lyrics were gotten wrong, rapped, and funked up, to much fanfare and resurrecting Aerosmith’s career as well as giving the rap trio a top ten hit, and inspiring one of the most memorable videos of the eighties.
2. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by DEVO – Decades ago when I saw DEVO on “Saturday Night Live” and they did this song along with their anthem “Jocko Homo,” I was hooked, and it still is the best version of this legendary rock classic by the Rolling Stones I have heard, ever.
1. “Sexual Healing” by Soul Asylum – Since I first heard this 1993 cover of Marvin Gaye‘s R&B classic on the No Alternative album, a charity compilation for AIDS research, I fell in love with it. I never liked the original all that much, but this cover is one of my favorite songs. These white boys bring the funk.