Pop culture oasis RetroCrush has compiled its list of The 100 Worst Cover Songs ever, and quite a few of them are the result of cross-contamination between country music and other genres. I actually like a lot of the following records, but I’ll pass on the RC judgments without adding my own. Here are the country-related entries:
#3 Dolly Parton, “Stairway to Heaven”
Wow! Here’s another one that just pains me to include on the list because I think Dolly Parton is one of the most amazing singer/songwriters that’s ever lived, but what the hell was she thinking taking on this uncoverable song? Nobody could do this song justice, and her sappy bluegrass arrangement is almost unbearable to listen to.
#7 Olivia Newton-John, “Ring of Fire”
Let me make it clear that I still have a super crush on Olivia Newton-John, and it pains me to speak ill of her, which should tell you her “Ring of Fire” cover must really suck hard for me to put it on this list. I saw this on iTunes years back and I laughed with a “there’s no way in hell she actually recorded that.” I wish I didn’t let my curiosity get the best of me. Hell, how could this angel who brought us, “Magic”, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, and even “Xanadu” (I told you I was a forgiving fan) give us this monstrosity? It’s a song of pain and loss and agony that she turns into a goddamn square dance.
#10 Faith Hill, “Piece of My Heart”
Great job taking a song by one of the all time kick ass great rock vocalists and turning it into a sugar coated commercial for some new wonder drug. Is Faith Hill really even a country singer? She’s pretty much just Amy Grant with a cowboy hat.
#54 Conway Twitty, “Slow Hand”
Another one of those “Switch the Gender” cover songs that just doesn’t work out. The Pointer Sisters nailed it right the first time. Why on earth Conway Twitty, of all people, thought he should give this a try is a mystery that still plagues mankind (and my ears).
#72 Dixie Chicks, “Landslide”
Love the girls, but hate hate hate this version of the song. Just a soul free by the numbers walk through it cover. The Smashing Pumpkins did a much better version
#77 Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You”
This is one of those famous covers that most people figure was the original version of the tune. Whitney Houston over sings the hell out of this sweet Dolly Parton tune, and the tacky dame forgot to thank her when she won a Grammy for it.
One tremendous stinker that they left off of this list, perhaps because they’ve never heard it: David Kersh, “Wonderful Tonight.” Good Lord, that one was a train wreck, though Alan Jackson proved it could make a darn good country song when done right.