The 10 Worst Rock Cover Versions of All Time


Although the term “cover version” may belong to the rock era, the concept is as old as popular music itself. And for as long as popular musicians have covered rock hits, the great results have been matched only by the cacophonous, the calamitous, and the catastrophic.

Here are some of the worst offenders. Please forgive us.


Gal Gadot and her famous friends – Imagine

No list of “worst covers” would be complete without this horribly ill-advised covid-era assault on the John Lennon classic, on which Gal Gadot (aka Wonder Woman) and a bunch of Hollywood folks tell us to “don’t imagine no possessions” and usually commit a capella murders slowly and painfully. Presumably, that sounded better in Gal’s head.

Limp Bizkit – Behind Blue Eyes

When Roger Daltrey sings this with The Who, it’s a thoughtful, cathartic rock ballad. In the hands of Fred Durst, this is not the case. The cover of nu-metal fratboys is so monstrously dishonest that we still don’t know when it seemed like a good idea. If you really like punishment, try watching the official video. Keep on going. We dare you.

Celine Dion and Anastacia – You shook me all night

Oh the horror! To be fair, Celine Dion and Anastacia seem to be having a pretty good time as they make the AC/DC classic sound like two rowdy aunts banging wine at a wedding. Yet someone should dig a very deep hole and bury this damned thing, lest future generations be diverted from the awesome original.

Motley Crue – Anarchy in the UK

Motley Crue had the punk vibe at its peak, but this 1991 Sex Pistols cover was about as punk as Coldplay gets. The thrilling energy of the original is whittled down to a bloated pile of dick measure and hairspray, with Vince Neil bawling’Fuck the ratrace maaaan!‘ like a nerdy old kid. If you’ve ever wondered what Johnny Rotten and co. It would look like it was remade by Steel Panther and Peter Griffin from Family Guy, wonder no more.

Susan Boyle – Wild Horses

There’s a gross misconception – mostly among reality TV executives and people who don’t really “make” music – that “high art” attributes like operatic voices and orchestras automatically render n Any classier song – even a Rolling Stones classic with country roots and a raw, tender charm all the better for being unadorned. “Yeah, fuck all that,” X factor winner Susan Boyle’s team probably said, and so this characterless, classic affair was born.

Black Label Society – A whiter shade of pale

There are plenty of Zakk Wylde fans who adore this piano rendition of Procol Harum’s 60s hit. We do not agree. It’s not that he can’t “do” sensible – the outlaw folk styles of 2016 Book of Shadows II proving he certainly can – but here the Black Label Society has created a turgid, depressing fest of moans from a song that was damn depressing anyway.

Hilary Duff – My Generation

Your jaw will drop. Your toes will curl. You might even cry a little, like it’s the unforgivable, overly sanitized ass of a cover of Who served up by pop starlet Hilary Duff. The worst is when she changes the key lyrics to ‘I hope I don’t die before I’m old.’ We can practically hear Keith Moon climbing out of his grave and running screaming towards his producer’s office with a shovel.

Take that – Smells like teenage spirit

In 1995, when boy bands were still de rigueur – and things like bare, fat chests and ‘curtain’ haircuts weren’t detrimental to their street cred – Earls Court hosted an unlikely impersonation from Nirvana’s groundbreaking hit. Smells like Teen Spirit. Technically, it’s a pretty straight-forward, but galactically unconvincing cover, featuring a topless, ass-wiggling Gary Barlow in shiny pants like he’s spinning an Ibiza crowd. Sorry, Kurt.

Madonna – American Pie

Unlike pop stars who need other people’s songs, Madonna is quite capable of writing (or at least co-writing) her own. This blanket looked like a dubiously tired, squeaky wet fish of a thing. Telling fact, in spite of herself American pie go to No. 1 in several countries, she did not include it on her 2001 The biggest hits album. Stick to Don McLean’s original.

Children Of Bodom – Oops!… I did it again

Ok, so this one is a pop super hit, covered by a heavy band. But it’s such a gigantic dud that it felt right to include it here. In the minds of Finnish metalheads, Britney Spears’ track probably sounded funny to have passed through the Children Of Bodom filter. But while music and comedy can go hand in hand, it’s also easy to go wrong. And it is very bad.


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