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Top 10 Worst Cover Songs

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Nathan Sharp Some songs should just not be touched. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Cover Songs. For this list, we're looking at covers that absolutely butchered the original song and are often considered terrible renditions in their own right. Special thanks to our user amexguy13 for submitting the idea on our Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Worst Cover Songs


Some songs should just not be touched. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Cover Songs.
For this list, we're looking at covers that absolutely butchered the original song and are often considered terrible renditions in their own right. We're only including official releases, so live songs like Kanye West's “Bohemian Rhapsody” cover will not be eligible.

#10: “American Pie” by Madonna (2000)
Originally by Don McLean (1971)


This eight minute classic from Don McLean, with many famous references to old musicians like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, was woefully condensed into a four minute dance-pop song from superstar Madonna. The original had the perfect blend of soothing acoustic guitar, emotional vocals, and that sing-along factor that just made it a fun tune. Madonna’s version had none of those things. At least we can take comfort in one thing: we were spared the four extra minutes of torture that she decided to forego.

#9: "Walk This Way" by Macy Gray (2004)
Originally by Aerosmith (1975)


Nasally R&B singer Macy Gray is probably not the first person you would think of to do an Aerosmith cover, and after listening to this song, you'll realize that there's a very good reason for that. The song replaces the heavy hitting guitars with some weird techno noises that sound straight out of a cheesy porno, while Steven Tyler's harsh vocals are replaced by Gray's squeaky high-pitched singing. Gray's vocal style does not make a good match for this song, which turns the rock classic into an R&B mess.

#8: "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Jessica Simpson (2005)
Originally by Nancy Sinatra


Right around 2005, as fans were preparing for the “Dukes of Hazard” movie, Jessica Simpson was soaking in her fifteen minutes of fame, and it unfortunately included this abysmal cover of a Nancy Sinatra classic. "Cover" is a loose term though, as Simpson basically changed everything about it, including its lyrics and musical arrangements, even incorporating banjos to make it sound more country, which is never a good idea. Not only that, but her poppy, seductive singing doesn't even compare to Sinatra's classic, empowering voice.

#7: "Comfortably Numb" by Scissor Sisters (2004)
Originally by Pink Floyd (1980)


This is a rock classic, so of course groups are going to cover it, but the song definitely doesn't belong in the disco genre. While we have to commend the group for their original approach, the song and the techno style make an awful pairing, and the lyrics lose all of their meaning when played with electronics rather than soulful guitars. The atmosphere and emotion of the song are lost, and replaced by loud techno babble, turning the song into something you would hear at a coked-up disco club in the 70s.

#6: "Our Lips Are Sealed" by Hilary and Haylie Duff (2004)
Originally by The Go-Go’s (1981)


The Duff sisters team up to ruin yet another song, as if Hilary's rendition of "My Generation" didn't make your ears bleed enough. While The Go-Go's version was raw, complete with a funky bass melody and authentic vocals, the Duff version is simple overproduced pop, similar to anything you'd hear on Top 40 radio. The guitar throughout tries to retain some of the original's power, but the Duff's over-produced vocals simply make this song sound like something you'd hear on the Disney channel.

#5 "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by The Flaming Lips feat. Miley Cyrus and Moby (2014)
Originally by The Beatles (1967)


The first rule of covering The Beatles, don't cover The Beatles. The second rule of covering The Beatles, if you are going to do it, don't have Miley Cyrus and Moby do the vocals! This cover of the iconic song tries to be “artistic,” but is simply loud noise that is unbearable to listen to. They probably still believe that the song is about LSD despite constant denial, and they set out to make a song that must only sound good when under the influence of some powerful stuff. Even then, it's questionable.

#4: "Crush on You" by Aaron Carter (1997)
Originally by The Jets (1986)


"Crush on You" was a successful single from The Jets released in 1986, which reached #3 in the United States. This unfortunately drew the attention of then 10 year old Aaron Carter (or rather, his manager's attention) who included a cover of it on his debut album. It retains the silly '80s sound of the original, but it also features Carter's really boyish and young-sounding vocals, which sound far too awkward, and actually a little creepy.

#3: "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Ashley Tisdale (2008)
Originally by Rick Astley (1987)


The internet sensation that became popular due to rickrolling, and while the original seems like an essential song of the '80s, we couldn’t forget about this song faster. While the original song certainly wasn't winning any major awards, it had its own charm about it, mostly due to Astley's deep voice and innocent lyrics. Instead, this version is filled with annoying electronic effects, weird echoing vocal sounds, and clearly obvious autotune. We're not sure who gave this version the final stamp of approval, but they should no longer be in the music business.

#2: "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by William Shatner (1968)
Originally by The Beatles (1967)


Remember our first rule of covering The Beatles? Captain Kirk himself released a truly bizarre album in the late '60s covering famous songs and reciting poetry in an overly-dramatic spoken word form. Many know his infamous "Rocket Man" cover of the same type, but his version of The Beatles' classic is truly bewildering, and fails at even remotely being artistic. We're not sure what he was on when he thought of doing this, but then again, it was the '60s, so it could have been anything.

Before we hurt your ears with our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

"True Faith" by George Michael (2011)
Originally by New Order (1987)

"Pure Imagination" by Maroon 5 (2004)
Originally by Gene Wilder (1971)

"Happiness is a Warm Gun" by U2 (1997)
Originally by The Beatles (1968)

"Twist and Shout" by Salt-n-Pepa (1988)
Originally by The Top Notes (1961)

#1: "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by Britney Spears (2000)
Originally by The Rolling Stones (1965)


Arguably The Rolling Stones' most popular song, it has drawn the attention of many an artist throughout the years, but none as bad as Britney Spears. Absolutely no one asked for this, and it's as bad as everyone thinks, as Spears whines her way (slowly) throughout the song in her signature whiny voice, so far detached from Richards' iconic roughness that we can't help but feel embarrassed for her. Spears should simply stay away from classic rock, as her cover of "I Love Rock 'n Roll" didn't garner too many fans, either.

Do you agree with our list? What cover song do you find to be terrible? For more ear-pleasing top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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