Category Archives: Hard Rock Cover Songs

Rock and Roll Cover Songs…1955 – 1964: A Journey Back in Time

Rock and Roll Cover Songs - 1955-1964

By Adam Waldman

Hard Rock Daddy was launched in March of 2013 (the month of my dad’s birthday), but the foundation for the site was actually laid long before I became a dad myself.

In my youth, my family would pile into our yellow Cadillac Coupe De Ville on Long Island and head towards New York City to visit my grandmother on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  We didn’t have smartphones or iPods to entertain ourselves.  Hell, we didn’t even have Walkmans yet, so we listened to the music that my dad chose, which was always WCBS-FM (a NYC “Oldies” station).  Listening to another station was not up for debate.  The only debate that took place back then was between my two siblings and me fighting not to have to sit on “the hump” in the middle of the back seat.

For my dad, WCBS-FM was the last bastion of “real music” (which he defined as anything from the mid ‘50s-mid ‘60s).  I vividly remember him telling us that there was no good music made after 1964.  Of course, I didn’t agree, but his passion for “real music” was passed down to me. During the ride home from the city, we usually listened to Don K. Reed’s Doo Wop Shop.  With no other choice but to listen to the music in the car, I developed an appreciation for Doo Wop music.

My dad painted such a vivid picture about life in the ‘50s, and the soundtrack of his youth, that it made me nostalgic for a time period that I never experienced (at least not firsthand).  I felt like his descriptions came to life when I watched the movie Grease, and even more so when I watched my favorite childhood television show, Happy Days.

My dad tragically passed away 15 years ago today, but he left an impression on me that will last a lifetime.  Today, as I mourn his loss, I am also mourning the loss of Garry Marshall, who passed away yesterday at the age of 81.  Like my dad, Marshall also left a lasting impression on me by helping to shape the nostalgic moments of my youth with his television shows (including Happy Days).

To honor my dad, on what is always a somber day reflecting upon what might have been if he wasn’t taken from us before my children were born, I have put together a playlist of songs from his era that were covered by artists of my era.  The YouTube playlist below features both the original and rock and roll cover versions of each song.  Enjoy this nostalgic journey back in time…

{Scroll down to see list of songs}

“Ain’t That A Shame”Cheap Trick (1979) / Fats Domino (1955)

“Summertime Blues”The Who (1979) / Eddie Cochrane (1958)

“Johnny B. Goode”Judas Priest (1988) / Chuck Berry (1958)

“Sea Of Love”The Honeydrippers (1985) / Phil Phillips (1959)

“Dancing In The Streets”Van Halen (1982) / Martha Reeves & The Vandellas (1964)

“(Oh) Pretty Woman”Van Halen (1982) / Roy Orbison (1964)

“Remember (Walking In The Sand)”Aerosmith (1980) / The Shangri-Las (1964)

“The Leader Of The Pack”Twisted Sister (1985) / The Shangri-Las (1964)

 

Sahaj Ticotin Covers Queensryche’s “The Mission”

Sahaj Ticotin - The Mission - Queensryche Cover
The timing of the release of Sahaj Ticotin’s acoustic cover version of “The Mission,” – from Queensryche’s epic masterpiece, Operation Mindcrime – couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, at least when it comes to Hard Rock Daddy.

One of the realizations that we came to when we launched our new weekly feature – the HRD Radio Report – last Tuesday, is the fact that so much great hard rock music doesn’t get the attention that it deserves on Active Rock radio.  Even SiriusXM’s Octane, which isn’t bound by the constraints of commercial radio, has a relatively tight playlist, which is why their recent “Music Discovery Week” was such a refreshing change of pace.

Rather than complain about the lack of available avenues to showcase artists that fly below the radar, Hard Rock Daddy is going on “a mission to change the world” (of hard rock music), and taking it upon ourselves to expose our audience to music that isn’t found on the charts.

Neither Ticotin, nor his band (Ra), are household names, but it certainly isn’t because of a lack of talent. Although they have gotten some radio exposure, for the most part, Ra has inexplicably flown beneath the radar of many hard rock fans.

Covering any Queensryche song takes balls; pulling off an acoustic cover of a lesser-known song, from arguably the greatest concept album of all-time, requires a rare combination of confidence and talent (which Ticotin has).

While many acoustic versions of hard rock songs are merely unplugged, Ticotin nailed “The Mission” with only his voice and two acoustic guitars (the other one played by his studio engineer – Brooke Villanyi).  Considering the fact that Queensryche songs are layered with texture beneath Geoff Tate’s soaring vocals, bringing the song to life in this fashion is more than a little impressive.

Will this amazing cover version of “The Mission” find a place on radio (satellite or otherwise)?  Not likely.  Should it?  Absolutely!

Ra may never get the recognition that they deserve at radio, but they will always have a place on Hard Rock Daddy.  Long before we declared it our “mission” to give bands like Ra more attention, we reviewed “Supermegadubstep” and featured it as the #10 song in the Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013.

If you haven’t yet discovered Ra (and Ticotin), check out “The Mission” and the rest of their catalog to see what you’ve been missing!

Three For Throwback Thursday: JUDAS PRIEST

Three For Throwback Thursday  - Judas Priest

Three For Throwback Thursday featuring:  Judas Priest.  The theme of the week is usually revealed below the last video, however, in celebration of the release of Judas Priest’s 17th studio album, Redeemer Of Souls, Hard Rock Daddy is doing a special Three For Throwback Thursday to honor the 45-year history of one of the most influential heavy metal bands in music history.  In addition to writing numerous classic metal songs, Judas Priest has put their stamp on the cover songs that they have recorded in such a meaningful way, that you forget that they didn’t pen the original versions.  Between 1977 – 1978, Judas Priest recorded three cover songs that ended up becoming fan favorites…

 

 

This week’s “Three for Throwback Thursday” songs:

ARTIST:              Judaas Priest

SONG:                “Diamonds & Rust”

ALBUM:               Sin After Sin

RELEASED:          April 23, 1977

ORIGINAL VERSION:     Joan Baez (1975)

 

 

 

ARTIST:               Judas Priest

SONG:                 “Better By You, Better Than Me”

ALBUM:                Stained Class

RELEASED:           February 10, 1978

ORIGINAL VERSION:     Spooky Tooth (1969)


 

 

 

ARTIST:               Judas Priest

SONG:                 “Green Manalishi (With the Two-Pronged Crown)”

ALBUM:                Hell Bent For Leather

RELEASED:           October 9, 1978

ORIGINAL VERSION:     Fleetwood Mac (1970)

RELATED ARTICLES:

Hard Rock Music Time Machine – 1987: Up Close and Personal with Rob Halford & K.K. Downing

Three For Thursday Archives

Five Finger Death Punch – “House Of The Rising Sun”:  Hard Rock Daddy Video Review

Five-Finger-Death-Punch-House-of-the-Rising-Sun

The mark of a good cover song is one where an artist or band incorporates their unique style into the original version to make the song their own.  The mark of a great cover song is one that makes you forget about the original version altogether.  Five Finger Death Punch’s rendition of “House Of The Rising Sun” falls into the latter category.

Though most music fans believe that the song was written by Eric Burdon & The Animals (because their version is the most well-known), it is actually an old folk song whose origins are unknown.  No disrespect intended to Eric Burdon, but Five Finger Death Punch injected new life into the song and gave it an intensity that simply didn’t exist when The Animals released it in 1964.  Of course, Five Finger Death Punch is no stranger to creating inspired versions of other peoples’ songs (most notably “Bad Company” & “Mama Said Knock You Out”), however, “House Of The Rising Sun” takes their penchant for making covers their own to a whole new level.

As one of the top acts in hard rock today, Five Finger Death Punch marches to the beat of their own drum.

It takes a special kind of bravado to put out two studio albums four months apart during a time when overall record sales have greatly diminished for all artists.  And with the MTV days long since replaced by the instant gratification of YouTube’s on-demand videos, FFDP took a step back in time and created a piece of cinematic artistry for “House Of The Rising Sun” (off of The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 2).

Set in Nevada’s High Desert, the video begins with what looks to be a muscle car version of The Munster’s Koach speeding through the desert like a scene out of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.  The band (cast) members are introduced as the rage-filled “You” (off of The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 1) sets the tone amidst video clips reminiscent of a modern version of Caligula.  The minute or so of “You” feels like a violent storm that passes in the night.  As the band awakens the next morning, there is a calm-after-the-storm feeling as “House Of The Rising Sun” begins.

As they did with “Bad Company,” FFDP altered the lyrics of “House Of The Rising Sun” to make them their own, changing the location of “the house” from New Orleans to Sin City (ostensibly meaning Las Vegas).

The video for the “House Of The Rising Sun” feels so much like a movie with music playing in the background that you tend to forget that its purpose is to promote the song and the album, not a short film.  The video leaves room for interpretation, which makes you hope that the band takes the concept and turns it into a full-length movie in the future.

Few bands are able to leave you wanting more from a video, but Five Finger Death Punch has done so with “House Of The Rising Sun.” Check out the official video below…

Three For Thursday: Great White, Night Ranger, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr

Three For Thursday - Great White, Night Ranger, Jack Starr's Burning Starr

Three For Thursday featuring:  Great White, Night Ranger and Jack Starr’s Burning Starr.  The theme of the week is revealed below the last video.

 

This week’s “Three for Thursday” songs:

ARTIST:               Great White

SONG:                “Substitute”

ALBUM:               Great White

RELEASED:          1984

WEBSITE:            www.GreatWhiteRocks.com

 

 

ARTIST:               Night Ranger

SONG:                 “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”

ALBUM:                Somewhere In California

RELEASED:           June 21, 2011

WEBSITE:             www.NightRanger.com

 

 

ARTIST:               Jack Starr’s Burning Starr

SONG:                 “Fire And Rain”

ALBUM:                No Turning Back

RELEASED:           1986

WEBSITE:             www.BurningStarr.com

This week’s Three For Thursday theme is…

“JACK” OF ALL OBSCURE COVER SONGS – (A Special Dedication)

The key player in each of these bands is named Jack (Jack Russell – Great White, Jack Blades – Night Ranger, Jack Starr – Jack Starr’s Burning Starr).

Each of these songs are cover versions that are not known by the masses…

“Substitute” by Great White is a cover version originally done by The Who.  Great White is known for their cover version of Ian Hunter’s “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” but few people know about the cover of “Substitute” from their self-titled debut album.

Night Ranger is known by even the most casual fan for their song, “Sister Christian.”  In 2011, they released a cover version of the AC/DC classic – “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr is an underrated band that has reunited in recent years; their history goes back to the 80’s.  Their cover of James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” brought the song to an entirely new level.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Three For Thursday Archives

Like A Storm – “Gangster’s Paradise”: Hard Rock Daddy Review

Like A Storm Gangster's Paradise

The worlds of rock and rap have collided in recent years in the form of sub-genres such as rap metal and rapcore.  And though rap artists have sampled rock songs for several decades, rock acts rarely cover rap songs.  In recent weeks, SiriusXM’s Octane has been playing a cover version of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Like A Storm (a trio of brothers hailing from New Zealand).

The Kiwi hard rock act has been a dominant force in recent months on SiriusXM’s Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown with their hit song, “Love The Way You Hate Me.”  The song, from their album Chaos Theory: Part 1, was also included on Hard Rock Daddy’s Top 52 Hard Rock Songs of 2013.

Although hard rock cover versions of rap songs are few and far between, it should come as no surprise that Like A Storm is the band to try something different.  After all, they are likely the only band to ever have a hit hard rock song that features a didgeridoo.

The band has taken a few poetic liberties with the song title (“Gangster’s Paradise”) and some of the lyrics, but other than that, it doesn’t deviate very far from the structure of Coolio’s original for the most part.  It should be noted that Coolio’s version from 1995 is actually an adaptation of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” from 1976.

Like the Stevie Wonder and Coolio interpretations, Like A Storm’s version features a dramatic undertone throughout, however they took it up a notch with an epic crescendo of guttural, tortured growls at the pivotal moment of the song…

“They say I gotta learn, but nobody’s here to teach me…if they can’t understand me, how can they reach me?…I guess they can’t, I guess they won’t…I guess I’m f#@ked, that’s how I know my life is out of luck!”

Whether it is the use of an unusual instrument or the innovative interpretation of a classic rap song, one thing is certain, Like A Storm is a band that is willing to take chances and march to the beat of their own drum.

“Gangster’s Paradise” gets better with each listen.  If and when “Love The Way You Hate Me” falls off of the Big ‘Uns Countdown, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see this song take its place.  Check out the lyric video below…

Halestorm – “Get Lucky” (Daft Punk Cover): Hard Rock Daddy Review

Halestorm ReAniMate 2.0

Few, if any, hard rock bands today can compete with Halestorm when it comes to creating interesting cover versions of other artists’ songs, so it comes as no surprise that the band decided to release ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP.  The six-song EP features cover versions of songs originally recorded by fellow hard rock brethren Judas Priest, AC/DC and Marilyn Manson.  And while the covers of classic Pat Benatar and Fleetwood Mac songs gave Lzzy Hale the opportunity to pay homage to the iconic female singers who came before her, the highlight of ReAniMate 2.0 is the cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”

With “Get Lucky,” Halestorm has taken an electronic dance song with R&B flavor and infused it with heavy riffs, thunderous beats and ballsy vocals.  Cover songs ordinarily have a relatively short shelf life, but every once in a while, an artist puts their stamp on a song and makes it their own.  Halestorm’s version of “Get Lucky” is a standout cover song that promises to have staying power, largely due to Hale’s signature vocals that have made her the preeminent female hard rock singer of this generation.

“Get Lucky” has already been put into regular rotation on SiriusXm’s Octane, and it shouldn’t be long before it takes the Big ‘Uns Countdown by storm.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Halestorm Archives

Hard Rock Cover Songs

Corey Taylor – “London Calling” (The Clash Cover): Hard Rock Daddy Review

Corey Taylor London Calling

It’s no secret that Google is ubiquitous, and probably as powerful as any company in the world.  What is still something of a secret is Google Play’s Uncovered Sessions.  In this series, which currently focuses on The Clash, Corey Taylor does a stripped down version of the punk classic, “London Calling,” further cementing his legacy as one of the most versatile singers in rock today.  It’s hard to think of another singer that could front a 9-piece, mask-wearing metal ensemble (Slipknot), one of the leading hard rock bands of this generation (Stone Sour), and perform acoustic songs as if he were playing to a coffee shop audience, without ever giving the sense that he is out of his element.

Anyone who is a fan of Taylor and The Clash may not be surprised by the song choice.  The guitar introduction to Stone Sour’s hit song, “Do Me A Favor,” off of their most recent release House Of Gold & Bones – Part 2, sounds like it was inspired by “London Calling,” which coincidentally, also happened to be featured on a rare studio double album.

Taylor masterfully captures the spirit of The Clash’s angst over political events while making the song his own, the key element in making a truly great cover version of a song.  If you’re a fan of Stone Sour’s “Through Glass,” you will definitely be a fan of Taylor’s take on “London Calling.”

RELATED ARTICLES:
That Metal Show: Season 12 – Episode 2 (Corey Taylor & Josh Rand)

Stone Sour Archives

Corey Taylor Archives

 

 

Ronnie James Dio & Yngwie Malmsteen – “Dream On”

Ronnie James Dio

Steven Tyler’s vocals on Aerosmith’s classic song “Dream On” are legendary.  Few singers would have the nerve, much less the chops, to recreate “Dream On” in their own style and satisfy fans of the original.  It is equally rare to have a vocal performance that is so memorable that it outshines Yngwie Malmsteen’s signature arpeggio shredding.  Ronnie James Dio is that rare breed of singer.

The iconic vocalist, who passed away on 5/16/10, wrote numerous songs about dreams, so it should come as no surprise that he chose to cover “Dream On.”  His vocals on the song are nothing short of brilliant, but his impressive delivery goes beyond hitting the notes that would challenge most singers.  Dio captures the emotion of the song so passionately that you forget that the lyrics are not about his life.

When a young Steven Tyler sang “dream on, dream until your dreams come true,” the message delivered was one of hope and inspiration.  Sadly, listening to Dio sing “the past is gone, it went by like dusk to dawn” on the anniversary of his passing yesterday, served as a stark reminder that life is short and it goes by faster than most of us care to admit.

Click here for more articles about Ronnie James Dio.

 

Krokus – “Help” (Beatles Cover): Hard Rock Daddy Review

Krokus

Although they are known mostly as an 80’s metal band, Krokus is much more than most people realize.  With a music history that spans nearly 40 years, the band has never gone away, just faded from the limelight when grunge dominated the music scene in the 90’s.  Their new album, Dirty Dynamite, was released in early March, and it a one for the ages.  If you listen to the album in its entirety, you would swear that Bon Scott had risen from the dead, or at the very least, old AC/DC masters had been found in a vault somewhere.

Even though the album sounds like it could be a new AC/DC release, it is actually one of the best Krokus releases since their heyday.  Ironically, the one song that sounds totally unique is a cover version of The Beatles classic, “Help.”

Taking one of the best songs in rock and roll history and turning it into something new and different is a huge risk, but one that has absolutely paid off for the legendary rockers from Switzerland.  Their version of “Help” is gritty, soulful and bluesy like Joe Cocker’s cover version of “With a Little Help From My Friends.”

With Mark Storace’s distinct, emotional vocal delivery, 80’s metal-inspired power chords, bluesy guitar accents and melodic leads by Fernando Von Arb, Krokus has taken a classic song and made it into their own timeless masterpiece.