The 8 best covers performed by My Chemical Romance
A lot of people have covered My Chemical Romance songs. Artists ranging from Asking Alexandria to twenty one pilots to Macy Gray have put their own spin on classic MCR tracks, not to mention the Glee version of Sing. But the New Jersey idols have also recorded their own share of cover versions.
There are plenty of songs that they’ve only played live, including the likes of Neat Neat Neat by The Damned, Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mötley Crüe’s Home Sweet Home and Rihanna’s Umbrella. You can find shaky YouTube footage of all those and more, but here we’re only considering the covers that were actually recorded and released.
Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You
My Chem recorded this Christmas classic for radio station KROQ’s charity album Christmas Kevin And Bean’s Christmastime In The 909, alongside the likes of Pennywise performing Merry Christmas and Jimmy Eat World tackling If You Were Born Today. Vocalist Gerard Way goes from diva croon to festive snarl as the band rock out behind him. There’s also a mash-up called Welcome To The Christmas Parade doing the rounds, which combines the cover with MCR’s own biggest anthem and is well worth checking out.
Bob Dylan – Desolation Row
This is perhaps their most well-known cover as it featured in the 2009 Watchmen soundtrack and was also released as a single, complete with a suitably riotous video. “Watchmen is not only the greatest comic ever written, it’s a really important work of fiction,” Gerard told the Guardian. “More so than any record, it was the first thing that really made me say to myself, ‘This is what I want to do.’” He said that they reimagined Bob Dylan’s original to reflect the comic and film’s alternate 1980s setting. “I wanted the music to feel like how youth culture might feel at the time, so we approached it like an ’80s new wave song,” he explained.
Misfits – Astro Zombies
MCR always had a touch of horror-punk about them, so when they were asked to contribute to the Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland soundtrack – featuring then-current punky bands covering punk and hardcore classics – their choice of fellow New Jersey-ites Misfits seemed obvious. They take a great stab at the apocalyptic sci-fi/horror classic as well, with a suitably raw and ramshackle approach.
Blur – Song 2
My Chemical Romance definitely had a thing for Britpop, and nearly went for Blur’s arch-rivals for their first appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. “We wanted to do an Oasis song but the Foo Fighters had already recorded it,” Ray Toro is cited as saying in Tom Bryant’s biography The True Lives Of My Chemical Romance. Instead they went with the Blur anthem that Gerard and Mikey had loved growing up. All together now: ‘Woohoo!’
Pulp – Common People
The band returned to the Live Lounge in 2011, where they opted to cover what was ostensibly the most British of Britpop anthems. It was, though, another track that was special to the Way brothers and one they could relate to from across the Atlantic. “This is a song that, growing up in New Jersey, was very important to me and Mikey,” Gerard told presenter Fearne Cotton. “It was very relevant to us, being from a place that you felt like you could never get out of, that you were never going to escape… I remember pushing carts at a supermarket, listening to this song on headphones on a little cassette player and just wondering if I was ever going to get the hell out of New Jersey.”
Queen And David Bowie – Under Pressure
The original was a collaboration, so it made sense that the cover version should also feature a team-up – in this case between MCR and their good mates The Used. The song was recorded as a benefit, with all funds going to help victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami via Music For Relief – a programme founded by Linkin Park. It was originally only available as a digital download but later resurfaced as a bonus track on the re-release of The Used’s second album In Love And Death.
The Carpenters – Superstar
Can we count this? It was never an official release, but in 2016 Gerard shared an old cover of the Carpenters’ Superstar, which was captured while the band were working on The Black Parade album. In a series of tweets he explained: “This specific recording was from the day I sang Cancer for the album. This track was a warm up, as I used to warm up to The Carpenters. It brings back a lot of memories. And in context of us making the album it’s kind of intense, when you think about how hard [The Black Parade] was to make.”
Simon & Garfunkel – Hazy Shade Of Winter
Okay, we admit, we’re definitely pushing it now. This cover wasn’t actually by My Chemical Romance, but when it came out at the start of 2019, it did look like the closest we were going to get for the foreseeable future. Gerard had teamed up with former bandmate Ray Toro, as well as live MCR drummer Jarrod Alexander, to record the song for the Netflix adaptation of his comic book series The Umbrella Academy. Their revved-up version owed more to The Bangles’ ’80s version than Simon & Garfunkel’s acoustic original. Gerard and Ray also recorded a faithful cover of The Turtles’ Happy Together for the series, but this one is particularly brilliant, so no apologies for its inclusion here.
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