Are you ready for more cover song greatness? You aren’t? Well, that’s too bad, because it’s Monday and that means we’re rolling out the next song in the countdown whether you want to hear it or not! Welcome back to Evil Squirrel’s Nest’s Top 30 Cover Songs of All Time! Button up your worst flannel shirt, dig out those combat boots, and let’s take a peek at what selection Scratchy and the Sponks have got in store for us from the Redo Jukebox this week!
#27. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Paul Anka
As the most totally tubular of all decades was winding down in the late 80’s, the music and radio industry was on the verge of major change. The Top 40 pop format that had dominated the airwaves for the past three decades, and was inclusive of pretty much every genre of music that sprouted up during that time, was about to have the plug pulled on it by the trend towards stations having more specialized radio formats.
The rise of the Seattle sound in the early 90’s was the final nail in the coffin of radio as I had grown up to know it… and the song that launched the grunge movement in 1991 was undoubtedly Nirvana’s classic anthem “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It’s consistently rated as one of the most iconic and historic songs that ever came out of a heroin needle. It is also extremely, extremely overrated…
I was extremely tickled when I began hearing cover versions of this high energy grunge hit that sounded absolutely nothing like what Kurt Cobain intended. Tori Amos’ interpretation was the first one I discovered, and I thought it couldn’t be topped for standing this overballyhooed Nirvana ditty on end. Boy was I wrong….
In September 2010, my baseball travels took me to Pittsburgh, where one of the songs that was played during batting practice at PNC Park caught my ear for its familiar lyrics… but oh so unfamiliar music! That was definitely Nirvana’s words, but most certainly not their style! it sounded so….. 1940’s!
I had to find out who did this ultra cool, retro retro version of the Nirvana classic… and lo and behold, it was none other than 60’s singing sensation Paul Anka!
Talk about standing the whole cover song idea on its head! Imagine, a musician old enough to be the father of the original artists showing up the youngsters!
In 2005, Anka released an album titled “Rock Swings,” where he and his big band covered a number of popular songs from the 80’s and 90’s in swing jazz style. Check out this list of tracks that got Ankaed…
- “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
- “Jump” – Van Halen
- “Everybody Hurts” – REM
- “Wonderwall” – Oasis
- “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
- “It’s My Life” – Bon Jovi
- “It’s a Sin” – Pet Shop Boys
- “True” – Spandau Ballet
- “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
- “Hello” – Lionel Ritchie
- “Eyes Without a Face” – Billy Idol
- “Lovecats” – The Cure
- “The Way You Make Me Feel” – Michael Jackson (Apparently Bubbles the chimp has asked that this song not be put on YouTube for everyone to enjoy.. but I’m sure it’s totally awesome.)
- “Tears in Heaven” – Eric Clapton
I think I can promise you that this will be the only swing song to end up in the countdown. I doubt very seriously I’d even like it were it not for how hilarious it is to hear a song that was rebelling against the current sound get redone in a truly classic way. We’ll get back to covers that truly rock….. next Monday!