One of the worst is that fucking Sound of Silence cover Disturbed did. Completely destroyed the intent and melancholia of the original and turned it into another whiny, angsty, nu-metal fagfest. Can't understand why it got the acclimation it did.
Best? Gotta mention the obligatory Hurt by Johnny Cash to get it out of the way. A few others I thought were really good were Metallica's cover of Turn the Page, Bob Dylan's cover of Mr. Tambourine Man, Iron Maiden's cover of Cross-Eyed Mary, and Pearl Jam's cover of Last Kiss.
Manfred Manns Earth Band could have had a much greater career had they just dedicated themselves as a Bruce Springsteen cover band. Everyone knows "Blinded by the Light" but "Spirits in the Night" is far better and is just a straight up banger of a fucking song.
Yet another great Springsteen cover by Manfred Mann that's better than the original:
And since I got beaten to posting that godawful Gene Simmons cover, here's the title track to the album it's from:
I'm considering it a cover because it's actually a weird 90s rock-sounding song he apparently bought from a Norwegian band called Shirley's Temple and just dicked around with the lyrics.
If you think it sounds dumb and juvenile and like maybe English wasn't the writer's first language, that's why.
Here's the notes from the video:
This is a song by the Norwegian band Shirley's Temple, written by guitarist/vocalist Frank Tostrup, which Gene purchased for use on his solo.
The song was originally released as the title-track of the band's September 2002 EP on Capitol/EMI and would also become the title of Gene's album. The band were inspired by KISS and have recorded a cover of "God Of Thunder" for a Norwegian KISS tribute due in 2004 while the rest of their future seems undecided.
Gene would make minor lyrical changes to the song changing "But you got a personality / Just like a bucket of pee" in the first verse to "But you've got a personality (yeah) / Just like a bucket full of pee." In the chorus "Dumb as a sheep... Asshole" would be changed to: "You look like a sheep (ba-baah)... Asshole."
The second verse would be changed from "You've really got no shame / You disrespect my name / Does lying make you feel alright? / Then tell me, how do you sleep at night?" to "You know you've got no shame / And you've got such a stupid name / And one day you'll finally shut your trap / 'Cause you are the cream of the crap."
Additionally, a third verse would be omitted completely: "Your humor value reaks / I'll bet your self-esteem is weak / One day you'll get it in your life / 'Cause you're the cream of the crap." Shirley's Temple provide the backing music for Gene's recording, so it is possible that he simply recorded his vocals over an instrumental track.
Now check out the far superior original:
Yeah. Gene seems to have just bought the demo track and sung over it.
Vincent Gallos cover of Moon River is absolutely fantastic. The guitar has so much goddamned soul to it. It's a shame it's not on any of his albums to my knowledge and he's an absolute autist when it comes to copyright so you can't even easily find it outside of one link on Bandcamp and it's live.