Recently I attended a ska punk festival. As is seemingly the rule for ska bands, many covers were played. This got me thinking about some of my favourite covers by bands that aren't ska bands and I decided to do a top ten. I also decided not to put in cover bands like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes because covers are what they do! This was kind of hard to do and I realise my choices are probably completely different to yours, -I'd be interested to know what everyone else's top ten punk covers are.
Iron Chic - Bonzo Goes To Bitburg (The Ramones)
Many, many, many bands have covered The Ramones. It makes sense as they are the godfathers and are therefore one of the most influential punk bands ever. It's mostly pop punk bands such as Screeching Weasel and The Queers that cover them so it is refreshing to hear a band like Iron Chic, who play a slower and more gruff punk style, cover The Ramones. This is actually my favourite Ramones song so to hear one of my favourite bands cover it and cover it well, it's just the best.
Muncie Girls - Pet Sematary (The Ramones)
Of course there were going to be multiple Ramones songs on this list - it's the Ramones! UK indie pop punk trio Muncie Girls' version of this classic, inspired by a Stephen King novel, is superb. This cover came about after the Muncie Girls performed a set as the Ramones at a special show a couple of years back and this song then eventually got recorded and released on a split with Sandlotkids.
No Use For A Name - Fairytale Of New York (The Pogues/Kirsty MacColl)
This Christmas classic has been covered a few times by punk rockers over the years. Other than No Use For A Name's version, two that come to mind are a version by Chewing On Tinfoil and another by Chuck Ragan and Emily Barker. I've chosen the NUFAN version ahead of those two due to its difference from the more traditional styles of those other two acts. NUFAN have given it a skate punk feel without completely straying away from the charm of the song that makes it such a massive hit.
MXPX - Summer Of 69 (Bryan Adams)
This song always makes me smile for a multitude of reasons. Firstly because the original is my mum's ringtone and it would go off all the time so this song always reminds me of that. Also because this MXPX version was part of the soundtrack to my college summers and that's a period of my life I have very fond memories of. MXPX haven't done a whole lot to change the song, just upped the tempo and added a whole ton of energy to the song, which makes it hard to not get pumped up by it.
The Unseen - Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
I love The Unseen. They are one of few bands that are super screamy but I still adore. This cover from the album State Of Discontent gives the original a real shot in the arm. Mark Unseen's vocals are so harsh and angry it's hard not to get caught up in the song and feel the urge to punch a hole in a wall.
Lagwagon - Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
Lagwagon aren't the first band to ever cover Brown Eyed Girl and almost certainly won't be the last. It's such a joyous sounding song that it's difficult not to smile whenever hearing it live. Now imagine one of your favourite bands playing this at a gig and singing along to it with all of your friends. What a wonderful time that is!
Allister - I Want It That Way (Backstreet Boys)
Things I never expected to do when I started CPRW, no.4235 - Talk about the Backstreet Boys. Allister are my absolute favourite of the early 2000s pop punk scene. I Want It That Way is a song that is surely ingrained in the head of anyone between the ages of 15 to 35 who has had access to hearing in their life. As pop songs go it's got to be one of the most well known songs ever, love it or hate it - you know it. That means that you'll instantly know it and will be singing along whenever you hear it. Smart song choice for a cover.
The Bouncing Souls - Lean On Sheena (Avoid One Thing)
You know you do a cover well when a lot of people, even big fans of your band, don't realise that the song is actually a cover. That's certainly the case for The Bouncing Souls version of Avoid One Thing's Lean On Sheena. The song has become one of the Souls most popular amongst their fans, which is saying something when you consider just how many great songs the Souls have in their arsenal. Not straying too far from the original but giving it The Bouncing Souls treatment, I would argue that this is better than the original.
Hot Water Music - Radio (Alkaline Trio)
The BYO Split Series was great. It featured some of the biggest names in punk rock pairing up for a release and covering each other's songs. One of the releases featured Hot Water Music and Alkaline Trio. What a pairing that is! Radio is one of my all time favourite songs so Hot Water Music were going to have to do something quite special to do it justice. The Gainesville legends don't do too much - they give it a bit of the Hot Water Music guitar treatment and add more dual vocals rather than Matt Skiba's solo outing. The dual vocals give what's already a bit of an epic song and even bigger sound.
Dropkick Murphys - Working (Cock Sparrer)
These bands are a match made in heaven… working class heaven. Legendary UK oi! band Cock Sparrer's anthem Working is about going to work whilst also signing on for benefits. It's about doing what you can to try and get on in life. The Dropkick Murphys have always been about supporting workers rights and have a background in oi! music before the folk and Celtic music took over their sound so it seems completely natural that the band would cover this legendary track.