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The Ultimate List of the Top 25 Times Metal Bands Covered Pop Songs

Guess what band this is and you'll be guessing our No. 1 favorite metal cover song! Photo courtesy of
Guess what band this is and you’ll be guessing our No. 1 favorite metal cover song! Photo courtesy of

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Everybody loves a great melody. Some of us just can’t get enough of that sweet, addictive chorus hook found in the most timeless songs of the popular music canon… so we cover them. And then there are the metal heads. You’d think if there was one musical subculture out there that would avoid the bright colors of the pop music limelight at all costs, it would be them. But as it turns out, they may be some of pop music’s most devout translators!

It actually makes a bit of sense when you dig deeper. The various shades of black that make up the world of metal  from nu-metal to hard rock, to hair metal, to rap rock, and Scandinavian doom — tend to eschew aesthetic and musical boundaries of all sorts. What better way to show your aversion to being stereotyped and predictable, then to hit your audiences with the last possible song they’d expect you’d ever play? And the one thing all of these bands have in common is that instinctual desire to turn something candy-coated and bright into a dark, sludgy soup of primordial despair, any chance they get!

With that, here’s my list of the top 25 greatest metal covers of pop songs ever recorded.

Before we get to this list, though, have you checked out Soundfly’s podcast “Themes and Variation” yet? It’s a ton of fun, and I bring it up because in Episode 5, we spend literally the entire hour talking about what makes a great cover song, why some are more epic and transformational than others, and host Carter Lee gets on a soapbox. Listen here.

25. Static-X — “Speedway” (Elvis)

24. Saliva — “Message of Love” (The Pretenders)

23. Nonpoint — “Evil Ways” (Santana)

22. Vision Divine — “Take on Me” (A-ha)

21. Ugly Kid Joe — “Cat’s in the Cradle” (Harry Chapin)

20. Limp Bizkit — “Faith” (George Michael)

19. HIM — “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak)

18. Realm — “Eleanor Rigby” (Beatles)

17. Ensiferum — “Bomboleo” (Gypsy Kings)

16. Machine Head — “Message in a Bottle” (The Police)

+ Read more on Flypaper: “A Primer on Tool’s Use of Drop B Tuning”

15. Tantric — “The Chain” (Fleetwood Mac)

14. Chaos Divine — “Africa” (Toto)

13. Rammstein — “Stripped” (Depeche Mode)

12. Framing Hanley — “Lollipop” (Lil Wayne)

11. Megadeth — “These Boots” (Nancy Sinatra)

10. Deftones — “No Ordinary Love” (Sade)

9. Marylin Manson — “Sweet Dreams” (The Eurythmics)

8. Judas Priest — “Diamonds and Rust” (Joan Baez)

7. Sevendust — “Inner City Blues” (Marvin Gaye)

6. Nevermore — “The Sound of Silence” (Simon & Garfunkel)

5. Within the Ruins — “Carry on My Wayward Son” (Kansas)

4. A Perfect Circle — “Imagine” (John Lennon)

3. Alien Ant Farm — “Smooth Criminal” (Michael Jackson)

2. Guns ‘n’ Roses — “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (Bob Dylan)

1. Children of Bodom — “Oops I Did It Again!” (Britney Spears)


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Jeremy Young

Jeremy is a Montreal-based musician, sound artist and improviser who loves giving advice to emerging artists on how to make their tours more effective. He writes, records and performs electroacoustic "concrète" music for tape, oscillators and amplified objects and surfaces, as well as solo guitar. He has performed and released material throughout Europe and the UK, Asia, the US and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.