What's the worst song cover of all time?

Jessicasimpson_lTotal Guitar magazine recently named Celine Dion and Anastacia’s rendition of AC/CD’s "You Shook Me All Night Long" (from 2002’s Divas Las Vegas concert on VH1) as the worst song cover of all time. (Thanks to Popeater for the heads up.) As a rabid Anastacia fan who still can’t understand the American songbird’s lack of success in her home country — the uninitiated should go directly to "Paid My Dues" without passing ‘Go’ or collecting $200 — I had no choice but to write a blog item in her defense.

My pick for the world’s worst cover would have to be Jessica Simpson’s "These Boots Are Made for Walkin’" (embedded after the jump). Bad enough that the Newlyweds star commits attempted sexy against Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 classic using a wheeze/speak that’s about as erotic as an asthma attack, but she also treats the song’s saucy lyrics with all the care of a dock worker gutting a freshly caught tuna. Thus, genius turns of phrase such as "You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin’" and "I just found me a brand new box of matches" get replaced with bland references to Simpson’s role in the related big-screen remake of TV’s Dukes of Hazzard. Add an unfortunate "rap" interlude, the sullying of legend Willie Nelson’s good name, and a video that pairs one of my favorite old-school female-empowerment anthems with footage of Simpson writhing suggestively against a suds-soaked motor vehicle, and, well, clearly I’ve done my duty of expunging the offending title from Anastacia’s record.

Then again, perhaps you all have your own nominees for the all-time worst cover. List your choice in the comments section below, and because I like to be a little evil (especially on Mondays), I must insist that you limit yourself to one song, and one song only. Ready, set, reveal!

Comments (271 total) Add your comment
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  • Allison

    I will stick with your Jessica Simpson but instead insist that her rendition of “Take My Breath Away” was far worse than “These Boots..”
    She took a classic 80s song that is still a staple at high school dances and screeched it to death. Not only do I hate her version, I can barely listen to Berlin’s version without thoughts of her creeping in my head.

  • Emily

    The most painful and cringeworthy remake I have ever heard has to be “Sweet Child of Mine” by Sheryl Crow. Aaaccckkk! What was she thinking?

  • Amy

    The first song that comes to mind is The Jonas Brothers version of Aha’s Take On Me. I only heard it because they “sang” it on Dancing with the Stars, otherwise I might have been spared the total annihilation of an iconic 80s song by those super sappy tween brother nightmares.

  • Ceballos

    Slezak, you make a strong case, but I actually agree with Allison…I absolutely hate Simpson’s version of “Take my Breath away”!
    However, my pick would be Madonna’s version of “American Pie”…just brutal.

  • Jennifer

    Another vote for Jessica Simpson, but it’s for the way she shrieked her way through Robbie Williams’ “Angels.” That was a travesty.

  • Sam

    You give such a perfect example of the worst song cover that I’m momentarily unable to think of anything else that comes close. JS’s version leaves nothing to the imagination, while NS’s version, tame by comparison, is still sexy. Ah, Jess, over the top as usual.

  • Jennifer

    Oh, and Celine Dion’s version of “I Drove All Night.” I know, let’s take ALL of the longing and emotion out of the song and just make it an experiment about how long and high a single note can be dragged out. Over and over. Oh, and to truly kill the original sentiment, let’s record it for a car commerical. Vomit.

  • Em

    Let’s not disregard the horrifying screeh of Michael Bolton covering practically every song ever written.

  • jes

    Weird! Just as I’m reading this story…AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” is on the radio.

  • Sarah

    Easily, without a doubt, the horrid version of Hearts “Alone” that Celine Dion took upon herself to “remake”. What was once a charged, seductive ballad is now a sappy, sticky love song. She definitely doesn’t have the right type of voice to handle a rock song.

  • Winona

    Since somebody already mentioned Madonna’s “American Pie”, I’ll throw my vote to Everclear’s “Brown Eyed Girl”.

  • carole

    Faith Hill’s version of ‘Take another piece of my heart’ – janis joplin would vomit.

  • dan jones

    I don’t care how many people already said it…. Madonna’s American Pie is so awful it should be a war crime.

  • Carla

    For me the worst song cover is Courtney Love and Hole doing “Gold Dust Woman.” Stevie Nicks should never have let that happen!

  • Anonymous

    What about Dolly Parton’s Stairway to Heaven? UGH!!!!

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