10 must-see country music covers: The Beatles, Megadeth, more


Historically, the lines between country music and rock ‘n’ roll have blurred, with each institution making the best of the other to create expert musical storytelling that goes beyond the definition of the genre.

Some of rock’s best architects share their appreciation of country music’s “three chords and the truth” by doing what makes the most sense: shredding an unforgettable cover.

Some covers are famous, others controversial and others deeply embedded in the digital tradition; here is an overview of 10 covers of country music.

White stripes: ‘Jolene’

Covering: Dolly parton

Belly rumbling garage rock mingles with renowned country songwriting as the Detroit duo White Stripes take on the Dolly Parton classic. Jack White’s guitar playing haunts as his voice sells listeners every word of anguish shared in Parton’s narration. This offering proved to be a precursor to the country roots that White would eventually explore as a solo artist – notably alongside Loretta Lynn – and record label entrepreneur.

Not in this blanket? Try out the heartbreaking live cut of Miley Cyrus, Parton’s goddaughter. .

The Beatles: “Act naturally”

Covering: Buck Owens

Folk, rockabilly and, yes, country music influenced the Fab Four’s formative years of music. No entry in The Beatles ‘catalog can nod this influence more than the 1965 cover of Buck Owens’ hit, “Act Naturally.” With a soft-spoken Ringo Starr on vocals, the Liverpoolians at the top of the mop put easygoing 1960s rock on the country-tapper. Released in the United States on the B-side during the “Help! At the time, “Act Naturally” completed what would be one of the band’s greatest musical legacies – the single “Yesterday” on the A side.

Not in this blanket? Starr and Owens teamed up in 1989 for a duet version of the 1963 track.

The Staple Singers: “Will the circle be unbroken”

Covering: A Christian hymn first popularized by the Carter family

A song rooted in the tradition of country music reaches new spiritual heights with the timeless soul take of the Staple Singers. Led by the soft vocals and graceful guitar playing of Pops Staples, the family steeped in Nashville musical history gives listeners one of their greatest gifts.

Not in this blanket? Try a modern take on the folk favorite of the Avett brothers.

Elton John: “Stay close to your man”

Covering: Tammy wynette

The generational rock star pianist lends her eerie voice to a 1998 tribute to Tammy Wynette’s steadfast storytelling. John infuses the song with a touching touch, aptly capturing the burgeoning chorus that survived the star who first made him a country music legend.

Not in this blanket? Tina Turner once put her touching touch on the song.

Frank Zappa: “Ring of Fire”

Covering: Johnny cash

Zappa makes money. It’s weird, it’s wild and, yes, it’s completely fun.

What else should we say?

Not in this blanket?Try the 2014 version of British power metal band DragonForce or Johnny Cash’s beloved 1963 cut.

Following:50 Years of “Nashville Skyline”, Bob Dylan’s Record That Transformed Country Music

Lynyrd Skynyrd: ‘Honky Tonk Night Time Man’

Covering: Merle Hagard

Buried deep inside the B-side of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s pivotal album “Street Survivors”, singer Ronnie Van Zant kicked off a track telling the band – and listeners – it’s time for a “bit of Bakersfield” “. The group offers their interpretation of Haggard’s song from 1974, which exudes a freestyle blues guitar and southern rock spirit.

Not in this blanket? Try the original version of Haggard, released as part of the “Merle Haggard Presents His 30th Album” collection.

Megadeth: “These boots”

Covering: Nancy sinatra

Are these boots made for … speed metal? Dave Mustaine and his influential, head-banging renegade group turned country-pop crossover into a full metal assault on the band’s 1985 debut album, “Killing Is My Business … and Business is Good”. Mustaine wrote the song into Megadeth’s story with a pencil, however, erasing his unsafe-for-work debut verse in 2018 for a reissue of “Killing …” which instead featured the song’s original lyrics.

Not in this blanket? Try the Jessica Simpson version, which peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2005.

Eagles: “the road of the seven bridges”

Covering: Steve young

A journey between country music and rock’n’roll is not complete without the Eagles and the “Seven Bridges Road” harmony made famous by the band’s live record in 1980. No, the Eagles did not write this installment. Of road-worn storytelling – that credit goes to American pioneer Steve Young – but the band cemented the song into rock history as the staple opening for marathon gigs in arenas around the world.

Not in this blanket? Try the vocal take of the Home Free country group.

Toots & The Maytals: “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

Covering: John denver

This 1970s reggae rock track takes you from West Virginia to western Jamaica, where the band’s airy sound makes the country roads as familiar as the Appalachian original.

Not in this blanket? Try the Japanese version, released in 1995 by singer Yōko Honna.

Janis Joplin: “Me and Bobby McGee”

Covering: Roger Miller, Kris Kristofferson

“Me & Bobby McGee” was written by Kris Kristofferson and first performed by Roger Miller. Janis Joplin’s folk-rock cover posthumously reached No. 1 on the Billboard Singles Chart in 1971. The real-time dominance of Joplin’s performance became one of the star’s most treasured gifts. to listeners for decades to come.

Not in this blanket? Try rock-favorite Melissa Etheridge’s 1994 take at heart.


Kenneth T. Shippee

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