top 10 punk covers that were better than the originals – part 2

part one of top 10 punk covers is here

6. Baby I Love You – The Ramones

When The Ramones could go no further with the 1-2-3-4 thing Joey phoned Phil Spector and made the End Of The Century album. Wrongly maligned by the purists, it was a rare second coming of a band who were paying homage to the fifties classic sound that was part of their schtick. Hated at the time, especially by Johnny and Dee Dee according to this youtube clip, Baby I Love You sounds fantastic now and memories of confused couples at Ramones gigs at the time who came to hear this hit before being barraged by the pure enrgy of the unit will last forever.

 

7. The Clash – Police And Thieves

In one fell swoop the Clash united punk and reggae and started the punky reggae party. Superbly rudimentary the song’s stripped reggae down to its bare bones and never lost site of the punkiness of the 1977 backdrop and taught a generation of spotty oiks the possibilities of punk.

 

8. Viva Las Vegas – The Dead Kennedys

With his helium voice cranked to the max, Jello Biafra took the Doc Pomus classic- best know for mid period Elvis’s sweltering version and ramped it up with a speedball guitar assault. the DK’s version sounded like the fastest thing in the world at the time and still sounds like a razor-blade decades later.

 

9. Paranoid – The Dickies

Losing the dark menace of the Black Sabbath original, the Dickies added a ridiculous amount of goofy speed to the song and out Ramoned the Ramones.

 

10. Satisfaction (I Can’t Get Me No) – Devo

Dressed in boiler suits and talking about potatoes, Devo were playing the wackoid card whilst slyly slipping in a hippie revenge counter culture politic. This is how to do a cover- virtually gut the song and then rewrite it. Devo pateented the word quirk and took it to it’s logical extreme on this migging of the Rolling Stones classic.

 

11 Dear Prudence – Souxsie and the Banshees

As ever we go past ten in the list but we cannot ignore the iconic Siouxsie’s dark and spectral take on John Lennon’s paean to MiaFarrow’s earnest sister meditating for hours in Rishikesh in India in 1968 when the Fabs flew out to meet the Maharishi and learn some TM. The Banshees made the song sound like something else entirely and cloaked it with a swirling gothic mysticism

 

12. You’re Ready Now – Slaughter & The Dogs

Slaughter And The Dogs are the Manchester punk mob who get written out the history of things far too much depsite being a key influence on the Smiths, Stone Roses and the Cult acknowledge the key northern Soul roots to the city’s music and crank Frankie Valli’s 1966 hit througha fnatatsic yob rock riot.

 

part one of top 10 punk covers is here

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38 comments on “top 10 punk covers that were better than the originals – part 2”

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  1. Good call, though I can’t say I’m a fan of 1. I reckon Social Distortion’s Pretty in Pink should be up there in place of it.

  2. Can’t believe that Snuff’s version of I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany didn’t make this list. An absolute barnstormer of a track.

  3. I’m surprised at the lack of Shockabilly in the list. In fact, you might say I’m shocked – surely Kramer’s wrecking ball approach to covers deserves at least a mention? Try Shockabilly’s Day Tripper for example – as I once read in a review somewere, it’s like the sound of things falling apart and being put back together again

  4. Excellent article. Can’t argue with any of those.

  5. facebook_dhanoka

    Glad to see The Ramones mentioned … but “Baby I Love You?” Man, you missed the boat. What about “California Sun” or “Do You Wanna Dance” or “Let’s Dance?”

  6. “Like a Virgin” by Lords of the New Church,” “Hey Joe” by Mink DeVille, “Tell Me” by The Dead Boys

  7. BRAND NEW CADILLAC!

  8. facebook_david.witt.313

    The Clash could own this category by themselves – my nomination would be Pressure Drop.

  9. How can you leave off Thunder’s version of Pipeline.

  10. twitter_mokumhammer

    What about ‘I fought the law’ by Bobby fuller Four?
    & “Brand New Cadillac,” from the Vince Taylor & The Playboys (Vince is the inspiration for Ziggy Stardust btw) or ‘Police on My Back’ by The Equals (written & sung by Eddie Grant…..but you knew that) You could do a top 10 of Clash songs that are covers & ALL are better than the originals!

  11. & ‘helter skelter’ is a far better cover than ‘dear prudence’ – by the Banshees…..

  12. I Think We’re Alone Now is a Tommy James & The Shondells song. Fuck Tiffany. The best cover of alltime is Mull Of Kintyre by The Optimists. Hands down!

  13. There seems to be a blurring of what punk is…. some things in the list and in the comments are very much not relevent. I hear Blondie and Television and Iggy referred to as punk regularly. It is an insult to what punk should be. Where will it end?

  14. If Dear Prudence is punk I’m a banana!

  15. Define punk for us then Dave, lay down your rules. I’m all ears for this one!

  16. Very good list, tho’ the Ramones look like they’re sleepwalking. My nominations: Nomeansno’s Beat on the Brat (much scarier than the Ramones’ jokey version) and The Hanson Brother’s cover of the Kink’s Victoria (they earned it).

  17. …oh, and of course, The Raincoats’ Lola!!!

  18. “Lexicon Devil” (Germs cover) by Melvins

  19. How about Help (Beatles) and Looking at You (MC5) by The Damned

  20. Good article, great YT vidz.
    I agree with 11 of those, Dear Prudence wasn’t punk enough for my tastes… sorry
    =:)

  21. What about WAR by D.O.A original Edwin Starr

  22. The Clash’s “Police & Thieves”, better than Junior Murvin’s original??!!! :-0
    Hellfire, it’s butchery by any other name!

  23. Remember the LP ‘We Do ‘Em Our Way’? Featured quite a few of these and some other great versions too. ‘She’s Not There’ and ‘Paranoid’ would be favorites I think.

  24. Siouxsie & The Banshees – Helter Skelter

  25. Snuff – Do Nothing (Specials), Banshees – Helter Skelter (Beatles), Rezillos – Head Kicked In (Fleetwood Mac), but we all pray that SLF won’t play Johnnycake Wass love it goes on and on and on.

  26. John A Fotheringham

    I have a Music For Pleasure compilation album bought for £1.99 in Woolworths in the mid 80’s with about half this listing. It’s a brilliant little album, and whoever put it together at the label clearly knew their stuff? The cover was a ‘punk’ Mona Lisa :-)

  27. John A Fotheringham

    The album I was referring to was, of course, the same ‘We did ’em our way’ mentioned by Shaun above

  28. River deep mountain high by the Saints

  29. andrew skelton

    I always find anti nowhere leagues version of streets of London adds something to the original….not sure what…but something

  30. Livestock Jihad play Old Friend better than Rancid by a country mile

  31. My top 5
    1, The Stranglers – Walk on By
    2, Anti-Nowhere League – Streets of London
    3, UK Subs – She’s Not There
    4, The Clash – I Fought The Law
    5, The Sex Pistols – My Way

  32. I agree with some of them – Devo’s ‘Satisfaction’ was a huge improvement on the original and Sid’s ‘My Way’ was a master stroke, exposing the original for the overblown atrocity that it always was. But though I like all three bands who covered them, ‘Police and Thieves’, ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ and ‘Dear Prudence’ weren’t a patch on the originals, the latter two being particularly poor.

  33. Them Pistols jams “(I’m not your) Stepping Stone”, “No Fun” and even “Road Runner” were kinda groundbreaking covers cos they delivered raw power and bile; mostly due to Jones great guitar sound and Rotten deranged vocal. I also rather like SLF’s cover of the Specials Doesn’t Make it Alright…Agree with most of the list

  34. Brianwallington

    All good covers. Some great covers. Better than the originals? Naaa.

  35. 500 miles/Down By Law……Wild One/Teenage Head…….Tweeter and the Monkey Man/The Headstones

  36. Cool list. I also like The Sex Pistols cover of the Monkees’ (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone.

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