13 Of The Best Covers Performed During Lockdown
There have been approximately 12,299 cover versions done during lockdown. We know, because we started counting and that’s as far as we could make it without collapsing in a heap from exhaustion. It’s understandable, mind. Given that the whole world was basically locked down for several months it’s only natural that people turned to their favourite songs for some comfort and respite. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 10-year-old prodigy, a music fan doing what fans do, really quite bored, or one of the countless famous stars stuck in the house like everyone else. Music has been just about the only thing that any of us could consistently depend upon as the world changed for the worse before our eyes on a daily basis.
We’ve whittled down that initial 12,000-plus to the following 13, as we look back at all of the wonderful covers we’ve enjoyed over the past few months. The year 2020 won’t go down as a classic in anyone’s book, of course, but at least we’ll always have these reminders of what happens when the human spirit refuses to be defeated and music shows up for us when we need it most…
Various – All Star (originally by Smash Mouth)
We had to start here really. It feels like it was about three centuries ago now, but back when the magnitude of what we were all dealing with hadn’t even begun to become clear, Hollywood A‑lister Gal Gadot rounded up a bunch of her famous mates to record a well-meaning but schmaltzy and ill-judged cover of the John Lennon classic Imagine. Which inspired some hardcore artists to do something similar with Smash Mouth’s All Star. The results were hilarious…
A.A. Williams – Be Quiet And Drive (originally by Deftones)
From the ridiculous to the oh-so-sublime, courtesy of this sparse and subtly uplifting interpretation of Deftones’ Be Quiet And Drive by A.A. Williams. This was recorded as part of her Songs From Isolation series, where fans put forward their favourite tracks for cover consideration, the results of which are all worth your time and attention. Proof that a great song is a great song, no matter how stripped down.
Post Malone – Lounge Act (originally by Nirvana)
Think what you want about Post’s own material, but the guy does a mean Kurt Cobain tribute and clearly loves him some Nirvana. In late April, joined by blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and a couple of his musician mates, he performed a full 15-song Nirvana set that has helped raise over $7 million and counting for coronavirus relief efforts and even won praise from Courtney Love, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. Not all heroes wear capes. Some come donned in floral frocks and trucker caps.
The Offspring – Here Kitty Kitty (made famous by Tiger King)
Hey, remember when we all went a bit big cat crazy while binging the Netflix docu-drama serial Tiger King: Murder Mayhem And Madness? That feels like forever ago, given how crazy real life has been since, but you have to hand it to The Offspring for this on-the-nose and timely parody cover. It’s pitched just right, which is no mean feat given how the version featured so heavily in the series verged on parody itself. One day we’ll look back on all this and realise just how weird it was to be alive in 2020…
The Struts – Stop (originally by Spice Girls)
We’re giving it up for glam-rock gang The Struts on this one, because who couldn’t use a laugh in the middle of a devastating global pandemic? The Derby quartet recorded this cover of the Spice Girls’ 1997 hit from their various homes, launching their regular Sunday Service streaming series, and treated the task with the appropriate level of seriousness, complete with impressive dance moves, unmade beds and an adorable dog cameo.
The North West Ambulance Service – Times Like These (originally by Foo Fighters)
Here’s another cover that helped warm the heart, courtesy of the men and women who consistently put themselves on the front lines of the fight against the virus, saving lives and protecting the British public as part of the North West Ambulance Service. The multi-talented bunch, inspired by this all-star version, combined their efforts on this cover of the Foo Fighters’ Times Like These and helped raise over £6,000 for charity. Bravo.
Wheatus Fans – Quaranteenage Dirtbag (originally by Wheatus)
Another touching example of the human spirit shining through at times of tremendous difficulty. When Wheatus put out a call for their fans to submit clips of themselves covering the band’s 2000 megahit, they ended up with 106 contributors spanning 16 countries, and the best bits were compiled on this specially renamed version, Quarenteenage Dirtbag. Fun.
Behemoth – A Forest Feat. Niklas Kvarforth (originally by The Cure)
This one is resolutely not fun, heartwarming or touching. In fact, it’s downright nasty, but you’d expect nothing less from Poland’s finest hellraisers reimagining one of The Cure’s most haunting tracks. “We hope this brings some respite for anyone struggling during these strange times on our planet. Stay safe, stay positive, hail Satan!” said Nergal, obviously, announcing the release as part of a four-track summer EP. It was all quite oddly comforting.
Rick Astley – Everlong (originally by Foo Fighters)
You know who’s become something of an unexpected hero over the past few years? Rick-bloody-Astley. The man who in the internet age was once best known as a meme (go on, click it) has since reinvented himself as a bit of a dude, given his obvious sense of humour about himself, as well as some canny cameo appearances alongside Dave Grohl and the Foos gang. Here is he is mid-lockdown doing a fine job running through the band’s never-not-awesome Everlong.
Amy Lee – Cruel Summer (originally by Bananarama)
One of the greatest things about watching your favourite artists reinterpreting their favourite songs is that you get an insight into parts of their musical DNA that might not otherwise be clear from their original material. Nobody would ever have drawn a direct line between Evanescence’s music and ’80s pop trio Bananarama, yet on this stripped down piano-led version that lineage suddenly makes a lot of sense. Released right slap-bang in the middle of what will be remembered as one of the cruelest summers of all, there’s an extra poignancy in Amy Lee’s performance too.
Rivers Cuomo – Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) (originally by Green Day)
This is just all kinds of ‘awww’ inducing, offering a sneak peek into the home life of the often elusive and misunderstood Weezer maestro. Performed as part of his Island In The Zoom series by way of apology for postponing the Hella Mega tour, Rivers enlisted the help of his wife on piano as he plucked the Green Day tune out on a small acoustic guitar and sang along, showing off some fresh lockdown facial fuzz into the bargain. He also did a piano and voice take on Heart-Shaped Box that’s worth checking out – a far cry from the days when Goat Punishment, his old covers band, would bust Nirvana songs out full-distortion-style between Weezer tours.
Robb Flynn – Black (originally by Pearl Jam)
The Machine Head frontman got in on the act during his Acoustic Happy Hour (even though it lasted over two) Facebook Live performance in June, blasting through a heap of old day job favourites and covers by everyone from Nirvana and Slipknot to The Beatles and Pink Floyd. We’ve picked out his performance of Pearl Jam’s Black because of how charmingly loose it is and how much fun he’s having with it, but you could highlight any of them really.
Billie Joe Armstrong – Manic Monday (originally by The Bangles)
By the time you’ve finished reading this sentence the Green Day frontman will probably have uploaded a new cover of something, so busy has he been during lockdown. That’s thanks in part to his No Fun Mondays series where he’s covered all sorts of classic hits by other artists. This pitch-perfect take on the Prince-penned hit, featuring The Bangles’ very own Susanna Hoffs, is one of the best – plus it features bonus dog content, which is always worth a click.
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