They Right the Songs

11. "Chimes of Freedom" by Bruce Springsteen
Roger McGuinn performs a killer live version of Dylan's powerhouse bell ringer. Bruce recorded it. So many people do Dylan better than Dylan.

10. "For What It's Worth" by the Candy Skins
This cool new British band draws heavily on Sixties sounds, and included this Buffalo Springfield cover on its recent debut, Space I'm In. The group also sampled Mick Jagger's "Sympathy for the Devil" scream for this. The Rolling Stones are suing. When the Stones take you to court, you must be doing something right.

9. "Take It to the Limit" by Casselbury-DuPree
They shoot Eagles, don't they?

8. "The Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Butthole Surfers
Donovan once ran into the surf, stoned out of his calabash on the good 'erb, and soon found himself in Atlantis, Texas, doing the mashed potato. Vibrato is one thing, but - oh God, they're drowning!

7. "Cry Me a River" by Aerosmith
Steven Tyler can sing.

6. "Take Me to the River" by Talking Heads
David Byrne can sing.

5. "Little Black Egg" by the Chant
Possibly the greatest guitar-riff hook in the world besides "Day Tripper."

4. "Luka" by the Lemonheads
Suzanne Vega was on the verge of single-handedly regenerating the folk movement - or so the critics said - before she nose-dived with the superficial album that included this tale of a tormented child. She lost her edge, but sold mo' records. The Lemonheads didn't lose their edge, delivering the sympathetic story of the battered boy over fuzzy stun-guitar rips and pounding drums on Lick. Don't know if they were joking, but do know they haven't sold many records.

3. "I Fought the Law" by the Clash
Some might say that the Clash covered a bunch of material within their originals. So what are ya gonna do, throw 'em in jail? The Clash fought the good fight and covered a great tune here.

2. "Seasons in the Sun" by Too Much Joy
Too Much Joy takes covers to extremes, to jail, even. They were arrested, but not convicted, for obscenity when they came to Hollywood and covered 2 Live Crew songs in rock form. Transforming rap to rock was not just an anti-censorship statement, though. The Joy boys also reworked LL Cool J's "That's a Lie" on Son of Sam I Am. Cooler still, they played a little joke on the same album. You might recall that the Clash's first hit was a song called "Train in Vain." But the Clash did not list the song on London Calling. It just sort of shows up as you listen. TMJ did list "Train in Vain" on their album, but the song is not on the record. How could they do anything cooler than that? Cover the Rod McKuen-Jacques Brel smarmfest as if it were a rock song.

1. "One Tin Soldier" by Mad Parade
This mid-Eighties power-punk outfit from Covina, California, was responsible for two supercool covers. "Mother's Little Helper" - the Rolling Stones prophecy of Valium hazes to come - was delivered on speed as the third track on a seven-inch single. For their mini-album, they decided to blister up one of the all-time great songs, the theme from Billy Jack. They weren't the first - Sonny and Cher covered "One Tin Soldier" on their old TV show - but they were the best.

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