I have one simple criteria for the enjoyment of covers, no matter what genre: Make it your own. For instance, Grace Jones does a banging dance version of Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug" and Anthrax nails a metalled-up version of Joe Jackson's "Got the Time." Janis Joplin and Big Brother crushes Erma Franklin's (though the song was written by Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns) "Piece of My Heart" like nobody else, so much most people think it's their song.
The covers I've chosen for this week are as left-of-center as you can get to the original versions and are thus my top three favorites. First is a lightning fast take on The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" by obscure thrashers, Realm. This could've turned out a sick joke, but it's highly proficient at such velocity and it remains a cult favorite of metalheads worldwide. Afterwards is Devo's hilarious, manic dismantling of The Rolling Stones' hump classic "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," perhaps the greatest cover in rock history. Finally, the Stones themselves get the last say with their incredible honky tonk jiving version of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away." I was never the same as a young boy when I learned it was a cover.
Let 'er rip, not rip off...
Realm - "Eleanor Rigby"
Devo - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
The Rolling Stones - "Not Fade Away"