I recently finally made the upgrade to digital cable, and I’m loving the improved sound and picture quality, as well as the on-demand entertainment. One of the neatest things is found deep within the "Free Zone" of the On-Demand menu, where there’s an entire selection of concerts to be enjoyed free of charge.
Tonight I put on a show by The Who at Royal Albert Hall in London back in 2000. It is a good performance (I’m still watching it) and so far all the songs have been good selections and performed well. The show is billed as "The Who and Friends" so they have a few guest singers and guitarists come on to do their thing with The Who, which is usually pretty cool.
Except that Bryan Adams was just on. And they had him sing "Behind Blue Eyes." They launched into the song – one of the Who’s most popular, loved by both the die-hard fans and the more mainstream set – and there was nearly no reaction from the crowd as they realized that this B-list washed-up 80’s rocker was going to attempt to sing one of the most heartfelt and difficult rock ballads you could choose to sing.
A few other artists have attempted this song, with similar discouraging results, most notably and painfully when that knucklehead Fred Durst tried to prove to everyone he could sing by covering it on their 2003 album Results May Vary. Results may vary, huh? Well, I think they just suck…
Anyway, this got me thinking that there needs to be the holy protected list of rock songs that must not be covered by other artists. They can be played live occasionally as a tribute to a band’s influences, and if they are completely reinterpreted, then I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt (but then we get Madonna’s "American Pie" – be afraid). But if you’re gonna just re-sing the song, just shorten the album, OK? Here’s my first nominations for the holy creed of song forbidden to cover:
- "Behind Blue Eyes" – The Who
- "Bohemian Rhapsody" – Queen
- "Dream On" – Aerosmith
- "Welcome to the Jungle" – Guns n’ Roses
- "Stairway To Heaven" and "Black Dog" – Led Zeppelin
- "Let It Be" – The Beatles
- "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Candle In the Wind" – Elton John
- "Piano Man" – Billy Joel
Feel free to add your own songs that you feel should be left well enough alone.