My Top 3 rock cover songs that surpassed the originals | Inquirer Entertainment
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My Top 3 rock cover songs that surpassed the originals

/ 11:27 PM August 12, 2014

Guitarist Steve Stevens and rocker Billy Idol. AFP file photo

Almost all of us have heard of a memorable rock song that we thought was originally written and performed by the artist we were at the moment listening to. But it often comes as a surprise for us to find out—even years later—that it is, in fact, a cover and not an original composition from the artist.

In my latest installment of “My Top 3” I will be listing down my favorite rock covers that not only surpassed the original but what is more important than this is that the artist covering it effectively “owned” the song in many aspects. Perhaps, it was because he wanted to pay homage to the original artist who had sung it, or he just wanted to release his own version of a classic. What all these three songs listed below have in common is that they made us believe the artists covering the classics were the original singers and composers.


1) “I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts—Let me just say this little known fact first. ‘I Love Rock N Roll” wasn’t originally written and performed by Joan Jett. But this was a cover of a song from a London based band called The Arrows. However, everyone agrees that this cover was a far, far better version than anyone could have ever imagined it would have turned out to be.


Joan Jett’s cover was so popular that it reached the Number 1 spot in the Billboard chart and it stayed there for seven straight weeks. Even though this was just a cover, this effectively launched the solo career of Joan Jett into overdrive. Even to this day, when you hear the guitar chords of “I Love Rock N Roll”, you can think of only one artist singing along to it, and that is none other than the incomparable Joan Jett… and not that horrendous cover of Britney Spears, because that was just plain terrible.

On the other hand, the perfect cover of “I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett easily became a rock anthem and one of the easiest to recognize rock songs ever. No one really should attempt to outdo her cover—it will only be a wasteful exercise in futility—because Joan Jett’s heartfelt version is one of the most celebrated songs in the annals of rock and roll history.


2) “Blue Monday” by Orgy—This brings back fond memories. I can still vividly remember the very first time I saw the music video of “Blue Monday” by Orgy sometime in 1998, and for someone in their early teens back then, as I was, it just blew me away.

Thanks to the other alternative to MTV ASIA, Channel V, was showing this music video on a semi-regular basis, it gave me enough time to record it using the VHS. Yup, you read it right. There was no YouTube yet. Neither were there MP3’s or any of those things we now have that make discovering music much easier.

Now to the late 90’s industrial rock band, Orgy, they were one of those bands that not only sounded cutting-edge at the time but they did look the part also. Why so? During the latter part of the 90’s, many believed, that the way Orgy packaged themselves and dressed up in their music videos was going to be the ideal “look” of bands to come in the near future. And while this did not come to fruition, one thing remains true. To this day, Orgy’s cover of a New Order classic turned out to be better than the original.


It was so convincing for me that, even for a while, I had thought they were the ones who had composed “Blue Monday” and not New Order. The popularity of Orgy’s cover of “Blue Monday” was just further proof that to capture the “magic” of a song was not only a one way deal that could not be duplicated by another act a decade later. Check out this music video on YouTube.


3) “Rebel Yell” by Children of Bodom—While there have been numerous artists over the decades that have covered the biggest hit of 80’s icon Billy Idol, there is only one act for me that not only managed to keep the integrity of the song intact but also inject new life into it.

This is where Children of Bodom, the metal band from Finland, comes in. Their excellent cover of “Rebel Yell” was viewed as a fitting tribute to one of their rock heroes growing up, and the Finnish boys made sure that they would make Billy Idol proud of their efforts. And they sure did.

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Everything from the signature scream of Billy Idol to Steve Stevens’ fantastic guitar work was emulated with precision by the respective members of Children Of Bodom. This is one of the best rock covers ever of a classic 80’s song in my book. Try listening to it.

TAGS: Billy Idol, Children of Bodom, Joan Jett

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