11 Pop Songs Skillfully Covered by Hard Rock Bands

I was in my office the other day listening to Hellyeah’s version of “I Don’t Care Anymore” and my officemate and I started discussing other great cover songs done by bands you wouldn’t expect, which prompted this list… 11 Pop Songs Skillfully Covered by Hard Rock Bands.

Sound of Silence

Although Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” has also been covered by Nevermore and Bobaflex, the rendition done by Disturbed in 2017 comes to mind as one of the best, and if YouTube views are any indication, the most widely appreciated.


Most people who enjoy Disturbed’s music would not say they were Tears for Fears fans, if they were even born when the original version of “Shout” invaded radio in 1985, but you can’t deny there’s something infectious about this updated version from Disturbed’s 2000 release “The Sickness”.

Land of Confusion

If some might be tempted to criticize Disturbed as unoriginal given their penchant for cover tunes (this is their third mention on this particular blog, after all), we should be equally prone to recognize Genesis and Phil Collins for their source material which seems so effortlessly covered. This Disturbed version of “Land of Confusion” is the first of three Genesis/Phil Collins numbers to make this list.

In the Air Tonight

I was conflicted on which cover version of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” to highlight here, but Nonpoint’s 2004 version was the first I ever heard, and I’m a big fan of lead vocalist Elias Soriano’s voice. For another excellent take on the song, check out In This Moment’s version.

I Don’t Care Anymore

It was 1982 when Phil Collins released the original version of “I Don’t Care Anymore” on his “Hello, I Must Be Going” album. Collins’ rhythmic inclinations dating to his days as Genesis’ drummer resulted in songs like 1981’s “In The Air Tonight” and “I Don’t Care Anymore” the following year — songs which lent themselves readily to makeovers from heavy bands like Hellyeah.

Careless Whisper

Seether’s relatively faithful adaptation of George Michael’s 1984 smash “Careless Whisper” is hard not to sing along to. And as much as we love a good saxophone hook, Shawn Morgan’s decision to give Seether’s version a guitar hook was the right choice.

Word Up

In 2004, Korn included a cover version of Cameo’s “Word Up!” on their “Greatest Hits, Volume 1” CD, with Jonathan Davis saying “We’ve been doing ‘Word Up!’ for years as a sound-check song—not the full version, just messing around with the riff.”


Mushroomhead’s version of Seal’s “Crazy” might be the most unexpected entry on this list, and that’s saying something on a list that has Marilyn Manson covering Eurythmics. It’s sign of a great song when a track translates so easily between genres as it does here — from Seal’s electronic soul to Mushroomhead’s metal.

Baker Street

Foo Fighters released a cover version of Baker Street as the b-side to “My Hero” in 1997 (and in some countries, it was featured on the extended version of “The Colour and the Shape” album) and it’s another example of a classic saxophone hook replaced skillfully by a guitar transposition. The original version of “Baker Street” was released in 1978 by Gerry Rafferty, who until that time had been better known for “Stuck in the Middle with You” which he wrote and recorded with his old band, Stealer’s Wheel.

Sweet Dreams

Marilyn Manson’s 1995 version of The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” was an MTV staple, a completely different take on the synth-laden original, and largely served to announce Manson’s arrival as an artist ready to shock and surprise us. In 2010, Manson’s version of “Sweet Dreams” was named the “scariest video of all time,” by Billboard. Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics has said he likes Manson’s rendition.

Call Me

If someone has to make a cover version of Blondie’s 1980 smash “Call Me,” it might as well be In This Moment. Maria Brink’s voice is perfectly suited for the song, and she’s from the same school of subtly-trashy-but-platinum-blonde divadom as Debbie Harry.

There are so many more examples of pop songs covered by rock bands that I didn’t get to include here, but I’ll try to get to ’em next time. What are your suggestions? Please leave a comment.

Troy Larson is a father, author, and photographer originally from Minot, North Dakota, now residing in Fargo.

27 Of The Best Pop Songs Covered By Rock Bands – Part Two [VIDEOS]

This is Part Two of this massive breakdown of pop-songs-covered-by-rock-bands that I decided to tackle this week.

Some really good covers have been released recently, so I decided to sit down and figure out the best of all time. Now there were some quick rules I had to put in place for myself. First, it had to be a POP song, but I did include hip hop songs too, so that eliminates songs like “The Man Who Sold The World” which Nirvana did a bad ass cover of, but it was a David Bowie songs first. I considered David Bowie a rock artist, so it didn’t count. Also, I put a lot of emphasis on how big the cover was, not necessarily the original. There have been a lot of big songs covered unsuccessfully.

There might be some no-brainers here, but I’m sure you’ll find one or two you’ve never enjoyed before.

Number 19: Weaving The Fate “Rack City”

Original Artist: Tyga

There was a big run on rock bands covering rap songs post 2010. One of the best of the mix was Weaving The Fate taking on Tyga’s hit “Rack City”. When you hear rock bands go lyric for lyric on a rap song, it really makes you realize that the two genres aren’t that far apart in reality.

Number 18: Smashing Pumpkins “Landslide”

Original Artist: Fleetwood Mac

Again, this is a song that has been covered a lot. But no other rock band has done it as well as Billy Corgan and company has. Hell the Pumpkins did it well enough to earn praise from Stevie Nicks herself.

Number 17: Dynamite Hack “Boyz-n-the-Hood”

Original Artist: Eazy-E

Number 16: Dope “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

Original Artist: Dead or Alive

A lot of bands complained about the Napster/Limewire era, but some bands created a lot of success based on it. The band Dope benefited from a case of mistaken identity when users uploaded their cover song as a Marilyn Manson song. Eventually people fixed the name issue, and Dope was able to capitalize on the new-found notoriety.

Number 15: Framing Hanley “Lollipop”

Original Artist: Lil Wayne

Framing Hanely may be calling it quits later this year, but back in 2008 they burst onto the scene with a masterful cover of Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”. The song achieved Gold status, which is actually something that was pretty difficult to do in this era.

Number 14: Korn “Word Up”

Original Artist: Cameo

Korn was doing some weird stuff around 2004, and releasing this cover as part of their Greatest Hits totally counts as weird. This was the first, and only, Korn song to become a ‘pop’ song. It was played by ‘pop’ radio from coast-to-coast that summer.

Number 13: Seether “Careless Whisper”

Original Artist: George Michael

There’s something about rock bands covering songs written by George Michael. For example, Seether’s 2009 version of “Careless Whisper”. The song was released as a bonus track on later versions of their Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces album.

Number 12: Marilyn Manson “Tainted Love”

Original Artist: Gloria Jones and Soft Cell

This cover feels more like a cover of a cover, which is why I included Soft Cell in the ‘original artist’ designation. Manson’s cover is a riff on the 1980s Soft Cell cover of 1960s Gloria Jones original. So Jones released her’s in 1965, Soft Cell released theirs in 1891, and Manson in 2001…so we’re only 5 years away from another killer cover of this one.

Number 11: The Clash “I Fought The Law”

Original Artist: The Crickets

This one’s almost not fair. This song has worked for ‘pop’ artists, country artists, and rock artists. It had already been executed twice by the time The Clash took their swing at it. However, even after artists like Hank Williams, Jr and Green Day have released covers, the benchmark still remains The Clash version.

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Rock bands covering music in a different genre can sometimes be a sensitive subject. You have people that love both genres separately but then there are fans who prefer their music to be a bit blended.

Punk Goes… is a series of compilation albums that feature punk rock artists covering music from different genres and times. Jay-z and Linkin Park’s mash-up album Collision Course made “Encore” and “Numb” sound brilliant together.

YouTube gives many indie screamo artists an outlet to share the songs they’ve covered of hip-hop and pop artists. It’s an acquired taste but we think the results are kind of cool and we can’t help but giggle at how the some of the lyrics sound this way. Here are 12 of some of the best hip-hop and pop song covers.

Goodnight Nurse – “Milkshake” Kelis’ Grammy-nominated 2003 hit song still translates as sexy by Goodnight Nurse.

Throwdown – “Baby Got Back” Sir-Mix-a-Lot’s number one single from 1992 receives an awesome hardcore twist.

The Devil Wears Prada – “Still Fly” The Big Tymers gets their stuntastic single from their Hood Rich album covered by Devil Wears Prada on the Punk Goes Crunk compilation album.

The Pen and The Pendulum – “No Hands” Waka Flocka, Roscoe Dash and Wale’s stripper anthem gets a screamo cover by The Pen and The Pendulum.

Amyst – “Rolling in the Deep” Adele’s single “Rolling in the Deep” has sold over 5 million copies in the US alone. It has also been the longest running number one single of 2011. With so many different remixes of the hit song, what’s not to love about the heavy metal version?

A Day to Remember – “Since You Been Gone” Although Kelly Clarkson made it to the Billboard Hot 100 with this 2005 song, we feel that this song was meant for A Day to Remember. This version is way more passionate.

Artist Vs Poet – “Super Bass” Any guy that can sing and rap a Nikki Minaj song makes us smile.

My Gay Uncle – “Back That Thang Up” This sounds amazing and the band’s name is hilarious. We bet the rocker Lil Wayne would love to do his verse with the band these days.

I Set my Friends on Fire – “Crank Dat” This screamo cover of one of Souljah Boy first single and 2007’s most popular dance crazes is intense. Sounds great but imagine how the lead singers throat felt afterwards.

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To Kill the King – “Birthday Sex” Jermih’s radio smash is covered in a hardcore way. Can you imagine how many boobs would come out if this version of the song were done at a live show?

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April’s Fall – “Whatever You Like” T.I. was stepping out his own genre of rap by singing on this sexy song. It was T.I.’s first number one single and the rock version sounds just as amazing.

Of Mice and Men – “Poker Face” The cover of Lady Gaga’s song entails screaming and an auto-tuned bridge that sounds better than the original.

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10 songs to help you beat the heat

WASHINGTON — It’s so hot that we decided to come up with some of the top songs to help you beat the heat this week. By the way, don’t sweat the numbers because the songs are listed in no particular order.

10. So, you already knew “It’s Getting Hot in Herre” by Nelly had to be on the list. What’s more HOT than this song?

9. We have to throw it back this heat wave and put some Kool and the Gang in the mix with it’s “Too Hot.”

8. “Summer in the City (1966)” by The Lovin’ Spoonful takes us back to a better time — so naturally we had to give this hit a place on the list.

7. Remember this one? “Summertime” by Dj Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince are giving us 90s vibes and a taste of that L.A. sunshine.

6. If the heat is too much to deal with you may want to turn up the volume and put on “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice.

5. In all seriousness, this is the last throwback. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers couldn’t be left off the list — because it makes everything better, including this heat.

4. Obviously those Caribbean vibes had to be on the list and what better way to do so than with “Temperature” by Sean Paul.

3. “Drop it like it’s hot” made the cut for obvious reasons. But there will be no dropping it like it’s hot because it’s entirely too hot for all of that.

2. When you’re feeling “Hot, Hot, Hot” be sure to put on the song by Buster Poindexter cause it will definitely get you in that summertime mood, just in case the heat wasn’t enough.

1. Because Kiss said it best. It’s “Hotter than Hell” today and we are here for it.

What other songs do you think are a must when it comes to this heat? Send them our way to [email protected] or tweet us @wusa9 or @ariellebuchmann.

As the days get longer, a strange phenomenon occurs. Everything you do becomes soundtracked by one seemingly omnipresent melody, one incessant beat. You might pride yourself on not knowing what it is, but it will prevail regardless. This is the song of the summer.

In 2013 it was the relentless funk of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. In 2003 Beyoncé was inescapably Crazy in Love with Jay-Z; and 1999 rang with Lou Bega’s shopping list of lovers, Mambo No 5. Last year, in the UK at least, it was a three-way tie between Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa’s One Kiss, Drake’s God’s Plan and George Ezra’s Shotgun. Those three songs went on to become the three biggest sellers of the year and, in Ezra’s case at least, led to lucrative festival headline bookings this summer.

In the UK, the biggest music sales period traditionally used to be the run-up to Christmas, both for albums (as gifts) and singles (in the race for Christmas No 1). But as we purchase less music directly and swing behind streaming, the summer, stretching from as early as April to late September, is much more lucrative. “It’s genuinely difficult now to have a ‘new’ Christmas hit: the playlist-heavy patterns of streaming mean the classics are played heavily,” says Stuart Dredge, editor at music-industry publication Music Ally. “Who’d go up against Mariah?”

In broadcasting, too, the summer is considered a more exciting time of the year for music. “For us at Radio 1, it’s always felt that summer songs were more important than Christmas songs,” says Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s head of music, Chris Price. “I think that’s because young people own the summer.” School and university ends, it’s festival season and time for holidays. The summer months have an intensity that the rest of the year lacks, and any record that can sum up that elusive feeling is destined for a permanent place in listeners’ hearts.

Watch the video for Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2012 sumer hit Cal Me Maybe.

So what can prospective summertime songwriters do to optimise their chances of a hit as the mercury rises? An aura of end-of-term excitement is a good start. “I’m constantly trying to capture summer feelings,” explains Carly Rae Jepsen, she of the 18m-selling Call Me Maybe (song of the summer 2012). “I’ll be like: ‘The chorus needs to lift so it’s like you’ve got the wind in your hair and you’re on a rollercoaster and running to the top of the mountain!’ and they’re like, ‘OK …’”

Yet a summer tune need not be as light and hooky as Call Me Maybe. Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy couldn’t be moodier yet it feels as though it could seep into the long shadows of muggy evenings. “The key ingredient is a massive, simple chorus, easy to jump to in a field somewhere,” says Beats 1 host Matt Wilkinson. “But it doesn’t always have to be Good Vibrations or the most obvious summery song. It can be a dark song.”

With the global appetite for Latin music from reggaeton to salsa seeming insatiable, its rhythms are more of an asset than ever. This year, Sech’s Otro Trago and Lunay’s Soltera are set to be the songs of 2019’s summer in Latin America; and because we Brits associate Latin culture with sunshine, it’s the optimum time for them to cross over here, too.

Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records, produced Cardi B’s 2018 summer hit I Like It. He spent seven months considering the “incredible danceable, rhythmic party nature of Latin music” to make something summer-perfect, built around a sample from Pete Rodriguez’s I Like It Like That, pulled from his 750,000-strong record collection. I Like It seems even more precision engineered for summertime success than most such hits, featuring not only Cardi B, whose popularity and goodwill was peaking, but also Bad Bunny and J Balvin, two of Latin pop’s biggest stars. “Making one of those summertime anthems was certainly an aspiration,” Kallman says. “Thinking that this could be one of those records that’s played and heard in every car driving down the block, every block party, every backyard barbecue, every schoolyard, as well as being a nightclub anthem.”

Watch the video for Cardi B’s 2018 summer hit I Like It Like That.

In 2016 another Latin hit, Luis Fonsi’s unstoppable Despacito, became huge on its own considerable merits in the Americas, but earned its British success off its Spanish-language exoticism; listening to it felt like going on a summer holiday of the mind. Such records are doubly potent if you throw in a novelty element, such as Las Ketchup’s The Ketchup Song (Aserejé) and Los Del Rio’s immortal Macarena, both of which sparked global dance crazes in 2002 and 1995 respectively. This year, Daddy Yankee’s Con Calma, which interpolates Canadian rapper Snow’s 1992 track Informer, seems to tick this particular box.

“The songs that typically stand out as potential songs of the summer often have a novelty factor,” says Jon Klein, who works on pop playlists at Apple Music. “But not necessarily in a bad way. The novelty is that they’re unique sounding and seemingly emerge out of nowhere.”

Timing is everything. Ezra’s Shotgun was intended to be the lead single from his 2018 album Staying at Tamara’s, but his record company deliberately held it back in order to hit as summer began, when that “underneath the hot sun” lyric might make sense, even under unpredictable British skies. “We were originally looking at the single coming out in January,” says Ferdy Unger-Hamilton, Ezra’s A&R, “and I was like: ‘There’s no way that we’re doing that.’ We got a great note from Ed Sheeran going: ‘Bloody hell, why is that record not out now?’” In the end, the song was pushed to radio and TV in May when it was already a fan favourite. It spent 12 weeks in the top 3 and is still in the UK top 50. “There’s no evil, twisted marketing engineering,” says Unger-Hamilton. “We didn’t buy a campaign with a suntan lotion company or anything. It was the right artist on the right campaign at the right time.”

Ezra is an established artist with a legion of listeners ready to lap up his folk-pop gap-year tales; if you are a newer artist, it might pay to unleash your bid for summer ubiquity a bit earlier. “We’re constantly planning,” says Price of Radio 1 and 1Xtra’s music policy. “We’ll work maybe three to six months out.”

For streaming playlist success, it also helps to give listeners a longer lead time. “If it’s a new artist or an emerging sound, it can take months to reach the summit,” Klein confirms. Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, a song that most commentators agree has the potential to be this summer’s definitive song, was first released in December. It found its feet by hopping on savvy hashtags on the Gen-Z video app TikTok, tapped into not one but two current trends (country and trap), and really caught on in the UK after Billy Ray Cyrus appeared on a remix to growl about Fendi sports bras. “That’ll be the song of festivals this year,” Wilkinson reckons. “At campsites, people will start singing it at 6am.”

Could a changing pop landscape undermine the definitive song of the summer, though? With streaming and social media levelling the landscape, we are likely to have more years like 2018, where no one song dominates. This fragmenting of our collective cultural experience prompted Rolling Stone to declare that the song of the summer no longer exists, replaced instead by a playlist’s worth of tracks favoured by different demographics.

This is partly because radio cannot necessarily make or break a song in the way it could 20 years ago. The process has become much more fragmented and having your song added to the right streaming playlist can be just as important. “Before, I think you could engineer it: right artist, right song, right support, right timing, everything,” say Zane Lowe, global creative director at Apple Music. “Now, with streaming, there are no guarantees. Even the biggest artists can come back now with a song that on paper, and when you hear it, you think is a complete no brainer. But then it’s like: ‘Why is it sitting at No 6 on the chart?’”

The final ingredient, then, is some kind of alchemy. “We really didn’t know!” says Jepsen of her global megasmash. And despite the months of hard labour that went into Cardi’s I Like It, Kallman could never be sure it would land. “I just felt like we had something special and magical,” he says. “You can never predict what is going to ultimately happen.”

So what will be the song – or rather the songs – of summer this year? Behind the scenes, they will have been honed and prepared like so many beach bodies, but it will take far more than that, some ineffable magic, to truly make them shine.

Song of the summer 2019: the contenders

Meduza – Piece of Your Heart (feat Goodboys)

By pairing one melody nicked from another previous summer smash by David Guetta with a chorus designed to be chanted in cheap swimwear, this deep house roller is 2019’s poolside anthem of choice.

Blinkie – Little Love (feat Grace Tither)

Every summer needs a totally generic, HD-polished piano house track to soundtrack the more carefree montages in Love Island, and this is 2019’s, hoisted aloft by a piercingly catchy chorus. See also: Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora’s Ritual.

India Jordan – DNT STP MY LV

Destined to instil complete pandemonium at all summer festivals is this high-tempo dance track built around a Todd Edwards-style cut-up vocal sample; pure UV radiation in music.

Luca Hänni – She Got Me

With its reggaeton beat and Major Lazer-style sirens, Switzerland’s Eurovision entry already invites tequila shots with strangers – and its “dirty dancing!” chorus will ensure the year’s most ill-advised holiday romances.

Lizzo – Truth Hurts

Juice was the big single, but this track from the Minneapolis rapper is slow-burning its way onto everyone’s summer playlists thanks to its constant punchlines and catchy chorus kiss-off.

G-Eazy – West Coast (feat Blueface)

It’s a toss-up between this, DaBaby’s Suge and YG’s Go Loko for the slow, low-riding rap track to play out of your car to pretend you’re rolling through LA while negotiating a sofa-warehouse car park.

Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You

The summer smash of 1998 has been depressingly absent from streaming services and YouTube, but it will finally arrive on 28 June to enthral a new generation with its Chaka Khan-sampling genius.

Dalex – Pa Mí (Remix feat Rafa Pabön, Khea, Sech, Feid, Cazzu & Lenny Tavárez)

Well, it won’t do a Despacito, but this is the warm-evening Latin hit of the year, with an extremely sensual top line; taken from the album Climaxxx, whose title tells you exactly what it is designed for.

Steve Lacy – Playground

The way the slap bass and jangling guitars combine in the opening 20 seconds of this song are the most summery thing imaginable, and Lacy’s falsetto vocal continues to keep the clouds at bay.

Miley Cyrus – Party Up the Street (feat Swae Lee & Mike WiLL Made-It)

Time was that a Miley Cyrus song called Party Up the Street would have namechecked molly and featured LMFAO, but this slowly pulsating track is admirably restrained – you can feel the heat rising as if from evening tarmac. Ben Beaumont-Thomas

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