No.3 Guns N’ Roses “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
Guns ‘N’ Roses are no strangers to doing cover tunes. Hell, they released an album of cover tunes with The Spaghetti Incident? to satisfy a record contract obligation, that’s my theory at least. And while there is plenty to chose from on that album, I want to focus on Use Your Illusion II (1991), and the cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”
Yes, I could have also said the cover of “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and Wings, on Use Your Illusion I, but is the GnR version really any better than the original? Not that being better is the point, but they really didn’t do anything different to the song either. So, like Jimi Hendrix’ “All Along the Watchtower,” the GnR version of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is, in my opinion, better than the 1973 Bob Dylan original. It exceeds the original sonically, in arrangement, and it tells the story better, which is a tough pill to swallow considering Dylan’s talent as a storyteller.
No.2 Faith No More “War Pigs”
If there’s a better straight cover of the Black Sabbath (see it all all comes back to Sabbath) classic, “War Pigs,” I’ve yet to hear it. Appearing on Faith No More’s third studio album, and the first with Mike Patton, 1989’s The Real Thing, the track suited perfectly the ebb and flow already established on the album.
For a band that had been recognized as a funk metal and sometimes a hybrid rap metal band, the inclusion of the “War Pigs” cover was significant as it solidified their roots in metal. It can’t be denied, either, that Patton’s vocals hauntingly capture a young Ozzy. As well, Jim Martin’s amazing guitar tone is completely riveting.
No.1 Quiet Riot “Cum on Feel the Noize”
Quiet Riot broke the glam metal scene wide open with their 1983 release, Metal Health. On that breakthrough album was the infectious hit “Cum on Feel the Noize,” a cover of the 1973 Slade track. Quiet Riot’s cover peaked at Number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped the album reach Number 1 — a first for a album.
Despite Quiet Riot vocalist Kevin DuBrow and drummer Frankie Banali’s reluctance to do the song, the cover was made and, much to the chagrin of Slade members, became more successful than the original. It’s a shame too, because the Slade version has a wonderful charm to it and it seems to lean heavily toward early-era punk.
Rock Hard \m/