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Monday, May 9, 2011

Six Extremely Weird Cover Songs, Featuring Bill Shatner, Dolly Parton, and ... Pat Boone?

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Between Miley Cyrus covering Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen

Spirit" and now Ben Folds covering "Sleazy" by (our guilty pleasure du jour)


we felt it was only appropriate this week, that we compile some other unexpected covers. Here are six of the weirdest we can think of.

6. Sonic Youth doing the Carpenters' "Superstar"
So, fine. Kim Gordon and Co. did do a song about Karen

Carpenter and her struggle with

anorexia on Goo. But holy fudge, when the distortion lovers covered this

Carpenters song, it was still left-field, even by their standards. Taking pitch-perfect pop balladry and turning it into sullen, echo-y, whispering darkness was

just ... well, genius actually. Who are we kidding? This song is amazing.

5. Far doing Ginuwine's "Pony"
The Sacramento post-hardcore legends got together and did

this cover for a bit of fun three years after they'd split up. And it was one

of the first indications to the world at large that Far wasn't just a band of

miserable, overly earnest bastards. It was, therefore, rather popular,

despite being incredibly strange. Hearing the usually ultrasensitive Jonah

Matranga inviting us to "get on" his "saddle" and singing about "juices running

down your thigh" just -- well, shucks, puts a big smile on our faces. Emo nerds get down 'n' dirty too! Who knew? 

4. Dolly Parton doing Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"
There's a scene in Wayne's World where Wayne wanders into a

guitar store and begins playing this song, only to be shot down by the clerk,

who points him in the direction of a "NO STAIRWAY" sign.

That's how much of a raging cliché it is to cover this song. But when Dolly

does it? Totally a W.T.F. moment. The woman is a musical goddess (obvs), but

trying to picture her sitting at home with her big country hair and big fluffy pink slippers and big rhinestone-encrusted

stereo, listening to Led Zeppelin IV, makes our brains hurt.

3. Pat Boone doing Metallica's "Enter Sandman"
We warn you before you play this that it is one of the

single worst things your ears will ever be subjected to. Ever. Aside from the

fact that turning a Metallica song into a big band extravaganza is, frankly,

offensive, it's also -- in this case, at least -- absolutely bloody terrifying.

Seriously. Boone sounds so self-assured singing this, it takes on a whole new

level of eerie. It's the musical equivalent of being murdered by a grinning clown

in a sequined jumpsuit.

2. William Shatner doing Elton John's "Rocketman"
William Shatner is prone to doing the unexpected -- like duets

with Henry Rollins

and looking 55 at the age of 80, for example. But his cover of "Rocketman"

isn't just weird, it's did-someone-put-acid-in-my-drink? mind-bending. Most

shocking of all with this particular clip is that Shatner's abomination of a

version is introduced by Bernie Taupin! The man who wrote it! Like this is a

quality rendition! When it's clearly the blatherings of a man who has done

minimal rehearsals and would rather be picking mushrooms up on a hill

somewhere! Actually jaw-dropping. "I'm a rock. It. Man!" Yes, Bill. Yes, you


1. Ben Folds doing Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit"
It's quite remarkable how much cringing can be caused by

taking rap lyrics and presenting them in a different setting. This though, is

the absolute pinnacle. Look! It's a nerdy white guy at a piano, sweetly singing

graphic profanity after graphic, sexist, offensive profanity. And he does it

all with a straight face, thereby making the song both hilarious and

thought-provoking. And also, handily, showing it up for the pile of nonsensical, misogynistic wank that it

is. When the drummer chimes in with the lovely "Bitches can't hang with

the streets" refrain, it makes us want to jump into our computer screens and

high five every single lucky, lucky person in that little room. Sheer brilliance.

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