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Best Rock Cover Songs [VIDEOS]

It’s always a pretty ballsy move when an artist tries to tackle a song by a fellow musician.  It’s even better when they do it so well they knock it out of the park.

One of the Stone Temple Pilots biggest hits is their cover of Led Zeppelins 'Dancing Days'. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

I love it when a band is on stage and will start to play a kick ass song by a fellow artist.  You see it live all the time.  I’ve seen Godsmack jam on Pantera’s ‘Walk’ and lead that into ‘War Pigs’ by Sabbath.  One of the best covers I have seen was when Hank Williams Jr started to play some ZZ Top ‘Shard Dressed Man’.  That was awesome.  An artist from a different genre taking on a classic tune.

Halestorm just recently released an EP with all covers including versions of ‘Bad Romance’ by lady Gaga and a cover of one of my favroite tunes, ‘Slave to the Grind’ by Skidrow.  They aren’t the first to do this.  Bands have been covering tunes for year.  Ozzy released an album of covers a few years ago and Johnny Cash has done covers his whole career.  We even play quite a few covers here on Q103.  Some of these have quickly become some of my favorite tunes.  So what are the best covers?  I think we all have our own so here are my top ten favorite rock cover songs.

10. Seether-Careless Whisper
When I heard that Seether was coming out with a version of ‘Careless Whisper’ by George Michael I was like, are you serious?  Then when I heard it I was like, okay, I can dig this.  They turned it from a pop tune into a totally badass rock song.  Obviously it made an impression to make my top ten list.

9.Kid Rock-Feel Like Makin’ Love
Kid has totally changed his musical style and is really embracing his rock roots. I think the transition really started on his 2003 album when he did a cover of Bad Company’s ‘Feel Like Making Love’. He gave it the old Kid Rock treatment and kicked it up a notch. It’s easily been one of my favorite covers since the minute I heard it.

8.Nirvana-Man Who Sold The World
David Bowie was one of Kurt Cobain’s favorite artists and they covered ‘Man Who Sold The World’ during acoustic performances but the big moment was when they did it on their 1993 MTV unplugged performance. They continued to do the tune live right up until Cobain’s death.

7. Five Finger Death Punch-Bad Company
Loud, aggressive and angry best describes Five Finger Death Punch, a description that fits the name. When we got their new album War is the Answer into the radio station I grabbed a copy and threw it into my CD player. Imagine my surprise to find they had done a cover of ‘Bad Company’ by the band of the same name. It blew my mind. These dudes did such a fantastic job with the song I almost like it better than the original, almost.

6.Dave Matthews Band with Warren Haynes-Cortez The Killer
Dave and the boys have covered this tune a number of times, but the version I am talking about happened at their 2003 concert at Central Park in NYC. Haynes is one of the best guitar players out there right now and you pair that up with a jam band like DMB you get a very cool version of a classic Neil Young song.

5.Social Distortion-Ring of Fire
Social D are punk rock legends. If you have never been to a Social D show you are missing out, especially when they break into their version of Johnny Cashes ‘Ring of Fire’. It’s like the original one but on punk rock steroids.

4.Alien Ant Farm-Smooth Criminal
It takes a whole lot of confidence to cover a Michael Jackson tune, especially one that is already a hit and a fan favorite. Alien Ant Farm decided to do just that in 2001 when they put out ‘Smooth Criminal’. Now as a huge MJ fan, I love this version just as much. Gotta love the music video too. You have a little kid dancing around like MJ and even do that ‘Smooth Criminal’ lean, awesome.

3.Stone Temple Pilots-Dancing Days
So you approach people and say you’re going to cover Led Zeppelin. Sure you are. What’s that you say? Its going to be a big hit? You must be crazy. I’m sure that’s exactly what everyone thought when STP did their version of ‘Dancing Days’ in 1995 on a compilation album done as a tribute to Zeppelin by artists of the time.

2.Johnny Cash-Hurt
Johnny Cash took a song that you would never expect him to cover in a million years and made it better than Trent Reznor and NIN could have ever hoped to. The last song released by Johnny before his death. It’s one of the most powerful songs ever written and Cash’s version is full of pure emotion. I remember actually being moved when I heard this the first time.

1.Jimi Hendrix-All Along The Watchtower
This song was written by the one and only Bob Dylan in 1967. It blew up like crazy when Hendrix covered it on his 1968 album Electric Ladyland. Now it has been covered by many other artists including the Grateful Dead, U2, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison but Jimi’s version is the standard.

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