Songs That Would Be Pointless to Remake.

Some songs are so ingrained in our psyche that a cover version would not make us forget the original or improve it. Covering them in concert is one thing but remaking them is another. When you compete against a memory…the memory wins.  I know some will disagree but there are songs that in my opinion that are untouchable. That doesn’t mean I want to hear these songs over and over…some are worn out. I’m not saying the cover version would be bad…but it would not replace the original.

These are in no order. There are many more…any suggestions?

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen – I can’t even imagine someone seriously trying to pull this off…
  2. I Am The Walrus – Beatles -This bizarre piece of music would be hard to duplicate.
  3. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin – It’s been tried…even by Pat Boone…Mr Soul Sucker who can take the soul out of a room by simply walking in. Dolly Parton even took a stab at it.
  4. Freebird – Lynyrd Skynryd – I don’t think anyone would want to try.
  5. Won’t Get Fooled Again – How would you match the intensity and power of this recording?
  6. Good Vibrations – Beach Boys – Todd Rundgren remade this and copied it almost exactly…but what was the point? He did a fine job of copying it.
  7. Sympathy for the Devil – Rolling Stones – I don’t see anyone matching the Stones version.
  8. Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen – Bruce layered so many guitars (I’ve read up to 24) to make his own wall of sound…I don’t see this being topped.
  9. Band On The Run – This is basically three songs into one with McCartney’s style
  10. Like A Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan – Maybe the best single ever released. Bob is one of the most covered artists but his voice just stings on this recording and it would be hard to match.

A few more I thought of… American Pie, A Day In The Life, Sounds of Silence

 

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

36 thoughts on “Songs That Would Be Pointless to Remake.”

  1. Nice post. I’d agree with pretty much all of them. The only cover versions I can think of for the songs you listed are the Guns n Roses version of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, which stank the place out, and Oasis’s live version of ‘I Am the Walrus’, which was a B-side of one of their early hits and which wasn’t that terrible…

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  2. I’d agree with those. Got me thinking, I looked back and Frankie Goes to Hollywood did a version of ‘Born to run’ which wasn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, but was somewhat pointless (except perhaps for introducing the song to younger Brits who possibly hadn’t heard of Springsteen). Glad they didn’t do ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

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  3. Yeah, this is why I had difficulty watching movies like Moulin Rouge or Across the Universe, where all they do is recycle classic hits to make them sound new and applicable to the thin plot line. Even satirizing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” seemed more like a gimmick or a spectacle than a homage. They are basically taking what were already brilliant lyrics and adapting them to a new meaning in order for the movie story to work. I think it’s cheap.

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  4. I thought they wouldn’t cover Abba songs and low and behold they did. How can you replicate their unique sound and production?
    Some great examples here. You mentioned Dylan’s voice on Like a Rolling Stone, but the band were massive on that track. Impossible to duplicate or improve upon. Many feel G&R’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door is an improvement on Bob’s Pat Garret version. I’m not touching that Haha. .
    Good Vibrations, Born to Run and Freebird all excellent examples.

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    1. Oh geez NO on the Knocking on Heavens Door… Roses voice on that… no just no.

      ABBA… you can copy but what is the point? Take a listen at some point when you have time to Good Vibrations by Todd Rundgren…he copies it almost perfectly… maybe that was his goal… just to see how close he could come.

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    1. Yes I’ve heard a few good ones of different ones including that one…but the original will probably be the one we remember…but to some maybe not.
      This post looked better in my head than when I saw it.

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      1. At least a small choir. They did it of course out of necessity but it was a cool tribute to Freddie.

        It would be cool live though

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  5. This was a thought-provoking list. In the end, I think the actual list is nearly infinite; because with only a few rare exceptions, no song should ever be remade. The list of successful remakes is short. The Disturbed version of Sound of Silence would be one of the rare successful ones, imo. It takes that kind of extreme reimagining for the remake to be worth doing. And that doesn’t guarantee that it will work.

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    1. You know this post seemed better in my mind than it came out. I was just thinking of it eclipsing the original. I couldn’t word it quite right.
      One of the problems is the very thing we have talked about before. Some of these songs have been played so much that they are ingrained in our mind…no matter how good the cover is…

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      1. It was a good idea for a post. It made people think and discuss. One I’d add to your list would be Bittersweet Symphony. No one should remake that one, even though ironically it is a sort of remake itself.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes they used some of a Stones song…I remember that. That is a good one…someone also mentioned Layla…that would be a good one also.
        You are right I did get get some discussion and that is the whole point…

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      3. They used notes from ‘The Last Time’. That’s almost a whole separate discussion. Layla’s an interesting mention too, since Eric did his own remake of that one, which was pretty cool, I thought.

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      4. It was cool…the slower version..

        .now I remember Klein’s company sued I believe because they used more than they were supposed to…again with Klein.

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      5. After they got permission and the song became successful, Klein bullied them into signing over their rights in the song to his company and the Stones. Now that he’s dead, his son and the Stones have just recently agreed to sign the rights back over to The Verve. It just happend a couple months ago. It took 22 years for them to right the situation, but it’s finally been done. If you listen to the Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s version of The Last Time, you realize that The Verve’s song isn’t as original as you might otherwise think.

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      6. I’m glad they finally got it settled. Maybe his son didn’t inherit his dads tactics. I’m also glad the Stones complied also.
        I remember really liking the song a lot and how different it was at the time.

        Of course it took the guy dying to finish it.

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  6. Excellent list, Max, and I agree with the suggestions/comments also. One I would never like to see remade is “Black” by Pearl Jam. Another is CSNY Suite Judy Blue Eyes. One that needs to never be remade because it needs to be laid to rest is Seasons in the Sun 😉

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    1. I was going to add as a funny remark at the bottom….Seasons in the Sun…we are on the same wavelength…just because it’s so bad.

      The two songs you mentioned I agree with

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