From Miley Cyrus to Art Garfunkel: A Chain of Bad Covers
  • WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013

  • Posted by: Anton Barcelo

Earlier this week, with dead-serious ambition and wearing a black turtleneck, Miley Cyrus covered Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge, the modern world's foremost source of interesting/shitty cover songs.



Our initial reaction upon hearing this was to look into the existence of a circle of bad covers. You see, Lana Del Rey recently recorded a version of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel no.2," the Canadian singer-songwriter's ode to blow jobs, and it was terrible.



But this is where the circle breaks, because Leonard Cohen has so far not recorded any shitty covers. Tracing the circle backwards from where we started, one can find Haim's cover of Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball," also performed at the Live Lounge. But that version was pretty good. So much for our groundbreaking blog topic, the Circle of Bad Covers.



What about a chain of bad covers? Beware, this might not have a happy ending. Beginning again with Miley Cyrus, we can move to Nirvana via Cyrus's embarrassing live version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which she played at a couple of shows during her 2011 South American tour.



Nirvana were known to dig out songs by obscure bands and make them world-famous (who would have heard of The Vaselines, or The Wipers, without Nirvana?) But apart from a couple of one-off live covers, like their mashup between Boston's "More Than a Feeling" and their own "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana's covers were of solid quality.



Back to Miley Cyrus, then. She did do a modern Nashville version of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go." Now we're on to something - Dylan has made tons of bad choices in his career.



Take for example his 1969 version of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer." This is some sloppy work coming out of Dylan. It sounds like he and his band barely practiced the song (and they probably didn't).



With Simon and Garfunkel, this game becomes overwhelming...Not because Simon and Garfunkel did any bad covers (although their live recording of the Everly Brothers song "Bye Bye Love" was a poor choice to include on Bridge Over Troubled Water), but because Art Garfunkel's entire solo career has been focused on covering shitty songs, and doing shitty covers of good songs, alternatively. If we got into this, this post could go on forever, so we will just leave you with Garfunkel's cover of Monty Python's "Bright Side of Life."

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