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Friday 5: What 5 Covers of *Beloved Hit Songs* Are Awesome?

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Happy Friday, MetalSucks reader! Welcome to MetalSucks Friday 5, our awesome series that appears every Friday (duh) on MetalSucks (duhh) and involves the quantity of five (duhhh).

Here’s how it works: A list of best/worst/weirdest/whatever five somethings is posted by one of your beloved MetalSucks contributors or by one of our buds (like you?). Then you, our cherished reader, checks it out, has a chuckle, then chimes in with a list of the same. No sweat, just whatever springs to mind, k? (Just like that movie about those losers working at a Chicago record store!) After all, it’s Friday — the day dedicated by the gods to mindless, fun time-wasting. 

Today, let’s talk about the tallest task in music: Not profaning perfection!

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THE FIVE

Revered hit songs give birth to pointless cover versions. What five of them are essential?

THE LISTER

Anso DFMetalSucks senior editor

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“The Real Me” by W.A.S.P.
from The Headless Children (Capitol)
Original artist: The Who

This week we beheld Stone Sour’s new cover of a iconic rock song by a Mount Rushmore-level band. Such an undertaking fosters skepticism like a lumpy six’s modeling portfolio. The task is not impossible, channeling the spirit of a massive hit and delivering your own successful version of it. It’s just a bit rare. The goal is to make it so a listener will be disappointed when encountering the original. Like when classic rock radio lets you down via The Who’s version of “The Real Me.”

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“Radar Love” by White Lion
from Big Game (Atlantic)
Original artist: Golden Earring

We might agree that 50 percent of all cover songs are pointless. Among the half that are worthwhile, there’s the type that innovates and reimagines the original. Think “Get Down Make Love” by Nine Inch Nails. Or maybe its source material is obscure, so this new version is a service to listeners who have never heard it. Think BulletBoys’ “Hang On St. Christopher.” The remaining 10 percent of the good ones just happen to be incredibly awesome, like the original smash was a demo just awaiting the right artists to blow it into outer space. Think “Radar Love” by White Lion. PS How does the band know when to re-enter after that drum solo? I’m zero for 10,000 on that.

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“My Number” by Lillian Axe
from Love + War (MCA)
Original artist: Girl

It’s funny, this sassy take on “My Number” isn’t mindblowing on its own here for today’s F5. But tucked into its position on Lillian Axe’s awesome sophomore album, it’s sweet sweet honey, friend. The seventh song, LA’s “My Number” follows two epics so dramatic that a listener expects the sound of singer Ron Taylor bashing himself with a wine bottle. Then comes this jaunty jam first done by the band that sprouted Phils Collen (Def Leppard) and Lewis (L.A. Guns, nailed Britt Eckland). It aspires to as little as its predecessors do as much. I love the line about sixty-nining all night! Makes a good point.

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“Draw The Line” by Testament
from “Dog Faced Gods” single
Original artist: Aerosmith

Testament’s second recording of an Aerosmith song arrived one album late. It accompanied the second single from Low in 1994, but dreamers can retroactively sneak it onto their own copy of 1992’s The Ritual. Does destiny not scream out for an actual super-heavy Aerosmith jam on an album of virtual super-heavy Aerosmith jams?

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“Can’t Find My Way Home” by House Of Lords
from Sahara (RCA)
original artist: Blind Faith

Are you nagged by a request for a blockbuster cover version? I bet you’ve encountered a big hit whose composition is marred by unbefitting performance. Maybe you’d love a studio (not live) version of, say, “Keep On Lovin’ You.” Gotta love the lyrics, totally worship the tune, but its original vocal … not so much. Or how about “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent, a skyscraper epic recorded by thumb-sized men trapped in a shoe box. At least House Of Lords saved the otherwise-perfect “Can’t Find My Way Home” from Clapton.

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Your turn! Have a great wknd!

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