Since the Earvolution staff put together their list of best cover songs, I thought I might as well get them to list the worst ones. No objective criteria here, but most of these songs either want to make the reviewer turn the dial or cringe when its an otherwise good artist making a mistake. Here goes:
Me (Jeff Davidson):
Zwan - Don't Let Me Down, Beatles.
Of course, most Zwan songs were pretty bad so its no suprise their cover of this great tune didn't cut the mustard either.
Limp Bizkit - Behind Blue Eyes, The Who
I'll be honest - I just don't like Fred Durst. I tried to like him back in the early days, but I just can't and therefore turn the channel anytime this overplayed song comes on.
Sheryl Crow - Sweet Child 'O Mine, GNR
I like Sheryl, but this one just doesn't cut it. As crazy as old Axl is these days, he rocked this tune and Sheryl's sweet voice just doesn't do it justice.
Perhaps the worst in recent history that I have heard is:
Uncle Kracker's cover of "Drift Away."
The original by Dobie Gray, or even the cover by the Doobie Brothers is so much better. Gray's voice is soulful. And Uncle Kracker, well... Every time, I hear the cover on the radio, it gets the automatic channel change from me.
Dancin' in the Streets
Original Artist: Martha and The Vandellas (Released as single, 1964)
Cover Artist: Grateful Dead Terrapin Station (1977)
The original locked up the 40th spot in Rolling Stones' "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." The cover is scorned by both Deadheads and classic rock lovers alike. As one might expect, the Dead managed to play outstanding versions of the song outside the confines of the recording studio. Check out Dick's Picks Volume 3 for a tasty version that features lengthy, focused and hypnotic leads by Garcia during a year in which the band was atop its game.
The First Cut is the Deepest
Original Artist: Cat Stevens New Masters (1967)
Cover Artist: Sheryl Crow One Tree Hill Soundtrack (2005)
Although casual music lovers tend to attribute the song to Rod Stewart based on his 1976 studio recording of the tune, the track was actually penned by Cat Stevens and first recorded by female soul vocalist P.P. Arnold in 1967. (Arnold's album was actually released before Stevens' New Masters.) The website Catstevens.com lists six artists besides Crow who have covered the tune. If only it could have remained at six. Crow takes a well-written, introspective song and successfully turns it into a pop nightmare. Thanks, Sheryl.