15 Unlikely Covers by Classic Rock Artists

THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY JIM SULLIVAN AND PUBLISHED BY BEST CLASSIC BANDS ON JUNE 17, 2018.

When they were young, many now-famous classic rock bands went to their own well of inspiration when they did cover songs. The Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Kinks, the Animals, the Yardbirds—and even Pink Floyd (“I’m a King Bee”)—all mined American blues and R&B sources: Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley, Willie Dixon and more.

It was probably part homage and part hey-we’re-new-at-this-and-just-starting-to-write-our-own-songs.

When they got more successful, more confident, these bands could go outside the cover song comfort zone, and go a little further afield. And that was the prompt for this piece: The 15 unlikeliest or oddball covers from classic rock artists.

15. Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company doing George and Ira Gershwin’s and Dubose Heyward’s “Summertime” Like the Doors’ reach-back to Brecht-Weill (see number 4 below), Joplin goes old-soul deep and bluesy as she rips into this jazz standard from Porgy & Bess, with the classic line, “Your daddy’s rich and your mama’s good looking.” The original context is a black mother singing it to her child, a powerful song of hope for the future.

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