Ol’ Marty has reminded me of a surprisingly groovy album from 1997, Pat Boone’s album of big band hard rock covers, In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy.
Now, Boone’s getting to be an old guy. Heck, even Sinatra wasn’t sounding that good by this age. His vocal performances generally rate only adequate to pretty good.
The really interesting stuff comes in the arrangements. They’re not anything particularly amazing, but simply competent straight big band arrangements of familiar rock chestnuts like “Smoke on the Water” and -my favorite- “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” They are not treated as cheap parodies, but as serious arrangements.
This strategy casts the actual songs into whole new lights. Re-casting “Stairway to Heaven” as a waltz may be a relatively simple idea, but it is quite effective. “Smoke on the Water” becomes what, a samba? I found him surprisingly convincing vocally in communicating the hard determination of “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’”.
Pat Boone et al have done a significant service in allowing us to hear these overly familiar songs with new ears. Indeed, I might pick one or two of these recordings actually in preference over the originals, especially “Another Thing”.
A groovy bonus suggestion would be if you could find video of his contemporary appearance on Leno, in which he rode onto stage on a chopper to sing “Smoke on the Water” with a big band fronted by Dweezil Zappa on guitar.