July 9, 2008
Michael Slezak at the EW PopWatch Blog make the persuasive case that the worst cover song of all time is Jessica Simpson’s butchering of “These Boots are Made For Walkin’.” I’d never heard that, but watching the video, it’s hard not to agree with him.
But the reader comments contributed quite a few country artists into the mix, including Faith Hill’s sunny take on Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” and Dolly Parton’s countrified “Stairway to Heaven”, both of which I happen to like.
Which isn’t to say that country artists are off the hook with me. Possibly the worst cover I’ve ever heard was David Kersh doing Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.” But like Simpson, that’s an easy target. The biggest atrocities are when you match a top-level talent with a classic song, and it’s still a disaster.
Using that standard, I point to Brooks & Dunn’s take on John Waite’s “Missing You.” Ronnie Dunn discards part of the lyric and all of the tension present in the original version, completely going against the denial written in the song when he wails out “I ain’t missing yooooouuuu!!!” Meanwhile, Kix Brooks dutifully recreates the original’s backup vocals like Waite’s still singing lead, resulting in a mess of epic proportions. Yikes.
Enjoy the train wreck that follows, as you ponder today’s question. What do you think is the worst cover song ever?