You may have noticed by this time that I love lists! Here be the best remakes in Rock 'N' Roll history:
1) “You Really Got Me”—VAN HALEN (1978) V.H. took this venerable Kinks song--already a Rock classic--and shot it into the Stratosphere. Best cover version of any song on earth in this hemisphere!
2) “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”—ELTON JOHN (1974) I actually grew to know Elton’s somewhat reggae-fied version before I ever even heard The Beatles’ original, and I have to say I prefer EJ’s more atmospheric rendition over the Fab Four‘s. John Lennon played on it too, so it obviously had his stamp of approval. It’s sure a damn sight better than William Shatner’s version…
3) “All Along The Watchtower”—JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE (1968) This was Jimi’s finest hour on vinyl, featuring a timeless guitar solo. Also, isn’t it amazing how much better Bob Dylan’s songs sound when SOMEONE ELSE performs them?
4) “Proud Mary”—IKE & TINA TURNER (1971) Damn right they NEVER EVER did nothin’ nice and easy--Ike certainly didn’t, anyway! This was one of the rare occasions when the Grammy Awards got one right, and this one buries C.C.R.'s original version, which is pretty tepid in comparison.
5) “Louie, Louie”—PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS (1965) True, this song has been recorded eleventy-million times, but never quite so rambunctiously as Da Raidas did on the live side of their debut Columbia LP Here They Come!, complete with a blistering guitar solo by the extremely underrated Drake Levin. Screw The Kingsmen--this is the definitive “Louie x2”!
6) “Summertime Blues”—THE WHO (1970) The Who took Eddie Cochran’s 1959 classic, electrified it, and made it their own concert staple throughout their career.
7) “Jim Dandy”--BLACK OAK ARKANSAS (1973) B.O.A.’s version of the 1956 LaVern Baker tune was their only Top 40 hit, and rips the original to shreds.
8) “Move It On Over”—GEORGE THOROGOOD & THE DESTROYERS (1978) Lonesome George is renowned for doing cover versions, and this one is my favorite. Hank Sr. would be proud…
9) “Never Can Say Goodbye”—THE COMMUNARDS (1985) This remake of Gloria Gaynor’s disco-fied remake of the Jackson Five’s most underrated song would even get my sorry ass out on any dance floor!
10) “Oh Pretty Woman”—VAN HALEN (1982) V.H.’s second-best cover song, featuring Diamond Dave in top form.
11) “Rock And Roll Music”—THE BEATLES (1963) This is the DEFINITIVE version of Chuck Berry’s classic, sung with great gusto by John Lennon. It blows the doors off the Beach Boys’ lame 1976 version, too.
12) “Taxman”—BLACK OAK ARKANSAS (1975) B.O.A.’s Jim “Dandy” Mangrum makes an even more convincing Taxman than George Harrison when he growls “Let me tell you how it will be…”
13) “Don’t Be Cruel”—CHEAP TRICK (1988) Cheap Trick does Elvis proud! Thank you--thank you verrrrry much!
14) “You’re Sixteen”—RINGO STARR (1973) Ringo’s album Ringo was most definitely his finest hour during his solo career, featuring “Oh My My” and “Photograph”, plus this classic remake of Johnny Burnette’s 1960 hit. Paul McCartney and the late Harry Nilsson play the kazoo solos in the middle eight--impress your friends with that piece of trivia!
15) “Louie, Louie”—MOTORHEAD (1978) The ONLY version of this song where I can actually understand the lyrics, by Motorhead, of all groups…go figure! Second-best version of "Louie, x2" ever.
16) “The Loco-Motion”—GRAND FUNK RAILROAD (1974) Screw the critics--these guys were good! G.F.R.’s version of Little Eva’s classic is now a staple of most bar bands.
17) “I’ll Make You Happy”—DIVINYLS (1983) Sadly, hardly anyone’s ever heard this one since no one knew of Divinyls until they started touching themselves in 1991, but this remake of a minor hit by Australia’s Easybeats can rock anybody’s house.
18) “Shakin’ All Over”—THE WHO (1970) Originally done by British legends Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, “Shakin’” has been copied several times, but never quite as feverishly as The ‘Orrible ‘Oo did on Live At Leeds. Pete Townshend isn’t really known for his lead guitar work, but he was on fire that night.
19) “Dixie”—BLACK OAK ARKANSAS (1974) Granny on “The Beverly Hillbillies” would have loved this remake of her favorite song!
20) “Hey Little Boy”—DIVINYLS (1988) Divinyls strike again with a re-genderfied version of Syndicate of Sound’s 1966 hit “Hey Little Girl”
21) “Higher Ground”—RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS (1989) Stevie Wonder’s funky classic gets even funkier with Flea’s bass playing.
22) “Rockin’ At Midnight”--THE HONEYDRIPPERS (1985) Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant croons this update of 1949 hit by Roy Brown, blowing away the remake Elvis tried to make.
23) “Dear Dad”—DAVE EDMUNDS (1982) There have been a zillion Chuck Berry covers. Dave Edmunds and George Thorogood account for maybe a third of them, and this one is pretty dandy. All about a guy asking his pappy for a Cadillac to replace his P.O.S. car, and you gotta love the punchline at the end, “Sincerely, your beloved son, Henry Jr. Ford.”
24) "Twist And Shout"—THE BEATLES (1963) Gotta give it up to John Lennon for somehow winging this one in just one take. He already had a cold, and his voice was shot to hell after recording all day long to complete The Beatles' first album.
25) “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”—DEVO (1978) Almost unrecognizable remake of the Stones’ classic, but somehow, it still worked! Are we not men, indeed!
HONORABLE MENTION: "(You're) Having My Baby"—THE HALLELUJAH TABERNACLE CHOIR (1978) Okay, this one's fictional, courtesy of "WKRP In Cincinnati"'s Dr. Johnny Fever, but can you just imagine?