I found out this week that Mission of Burma released an I-tunes exclusive live EP. Live material isn’t usually that exciting, but the cool thing about it is that it includes their cover of “Youth of America” by the Wipers. You may recall me talking about how much ass this kicked the last time I saw Burma, so needless to say I bought a copy. It also got me thinking of other great cover songs, so I decided to list out a few of my favorites.
The Clash, “Police on my Back”: Many people don’t realize it’s a cover but this song was originally done by a band call the Equals in the late 60s. While the Sandinista triple album has some spotty stuff on it, this song is a pitch perfect punk rock anthem.
New Bomb Turks, “Mr. Suit”: The first New Bomb Turks album is full of catchy and speedy songs, so you’d expect their cover of Wire’s “Mr. Suit” would be at least as fast as the original. But no, the Turks sucker punch your expectations and slow it down and the results are glorious.
The Avengers, “Paint It Black”: Penelope Houston’s vocal urgency makes this Stones’ tune a winner.
firehose, “Slack Motherfucker”: I like this version much better than the Superchunk original.
Penetration, “Free Money”: It took guts to cover this Patti Smith song only a couple of years after its release. Penetration easily could have embarrassed itself, but Pauline Murray has a great voice and she more than pulled it off.
Dropkick Murphys, “You’re a Rebel”: I don’t know if they ever recorded this, but when I saw them a few years ago they did a spirited cover of this Iron Cross classic.
Newtown Neurotics, “Blitzkrieg Bop”: There have been countless covers of this Ramones’ song. What I like about this one is that the Neurotics turned it into a protest song about nuclear weapons. Now that’s 80s punk rock for you.
Naked Raygun, “Suspect Device”: Naked Raygun always had a bit of Stiff Little Fingers in their sound, so this nod to them makes perfect sense. Great on record and live.
The Saints, “River Deep, Mountain High”: You wouldn’t expect an Ike and Tina Turner song to make a great punk tune, but the Saints version of it is amazing. It makes me want to jump and pogo every time I hear it.