Since posting about the intended remake of The Craft, I’ve not been able to get the Letters to Cleo cover for the Cars’ Dangerous Type out of my head. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with cover songs … the majority of them, I truly dislike; but for the few that I like, I like them better than the originals. I have decided to add this song to the list of these few cover songs.
- Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt – it’s Johnny Cash, and he’s singing Nine Inch Nails in a way that makes the listener believe the song might have been written by Trent Reznor for Johnny Cash. This isn’t a knock against NIN … I think it’s just a foregone conclusion when Johnny Cash wants to sing a song you wrote about pain and suffering, that he’s going to make it his.
- Soft Cell’s cover of Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love – a classic cover, and for very good reason!
- The BossHoss’ cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene – this one had to grow on me, as I think Dolly Parton’s voice, especially when she didn’t go all-out, is to this day not easy to top. Also, it was an adjustment to hear the male voices from The BossHoss in this song … but in the end I think the song and the video are good enough that I do prefer them over the original.
- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ cover of AC / DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – this is my all-time favorite cover, hands-down. The funny thing is, I grew up listening to some of their music (as well as AC / DC) and didn’t stumble across this song until much later in life. I generally enjoy AC / DC’s music and was shocked to see a woman taking over the vocals – for this, of all songs! – but all I needed was the first half minute of the song to realize that Joan Jett took this song, made it hers, and improved upon it in ways I guess only she could have done. That she had a superb band backing her up certainly helped; but it was her vocals that really made this cover stand out. It’s not the only song they covered; but in my opinion, even the ever-popular I Love Rock ‘n Roll cover doesn’t come close to this.
- and now, Letters to Cleo’s cover of the Cars’ Dangerous Type.
What are some of your favorite cover songs?