The 10 best rock covers of songs from 1980–1990 by Gun's Dante Gizzi
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The 80s will largely be remembered for bad hair, garish tracksuits and Del Boy falling through a bar in 'Only Fools And Horses'. But it had its fair share of classic songs which were later given the rock treatment. Who better qualified, then, to pick the best covers from this decade than Gun's Dante Gizzi, whose own band picked New York City funk mob Cameo's single 'Word Up' and made it into a rock club guaranteed floor filler...
10. GUN – Word Up (Cameo, 1986)
Let’s start off with our cover. Why not, hey? Word Up was initially going to be a B-side off the second album Gallus. The record company said we needed a cover, and we’d been jamming Word Up live at a few shows. We thought it might be quite good to just go in the studio and have a laugh with it, just enjoy it, and that was around the time Metallica had just released The Black Album. That kind of influenced our cover, because as much as we loved the Cameo song we thought well why don’t we do it in the vein of Metallica. So we went down to the studio and we did it in six hours. That’s the thing when you record cover songs, you go into the studio and it’s off the cuff and not really thought out. You just do it. So we recorded it and we presented it to the label and they said, 'No chance is this going to be a B-side. This is going to go on the next album.' And then it became the first single off the Swagger album – the rest as they say is history. We ended up getting an MTV Award for it as well, and Pamela Anderson was at the award ceremony. About six months later she did that movie Barb Wire, and our version of the song plays in this dream sequence of the film where she’s riding along in a saddle. It was bizarre!
**9. SOUNDGARDEN – Girl U Want **(Devo, 1980)
I only really heard this song recently, but it’s really intriguing to me. Devo had their own style altogether. Again, I would love to use Devo’s version of Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, but that would be cheating because it wasn’t an '80s song. They have such fantastic and bizarre time signatures though, and the way they capture the melodies on top of those is really something else. Chris Cornell’s voice is something else as well. They were our label mates at A&M back in the day, and we always got to see them performing live. I’ve always been a big fan, especially of the Badmotorfinger album – that was fucking brilliant.
8. TINA TURNER – Addicted To Love (Robert Palmer, 1985)
Does this count? I think it rocks anyway. I was thinking about Tina Turner this morning, and how old she must be now. I mean, she must be really old [She's 75 – Age Ed]. But what a star she was. She was my dad’s favourite. He had the hots for her big time. And her voice is stunning; it’s so fucking mesmerising, and she owns this song so much it could’ve been hers. It’s almost as if it was written for her, even though the Robert Palmer version was absolutely massive in the 80s.
**7. THE FUTUREHEADS – Hounds Of Love **(Kate Bush, 1985)
It wasn’t my favourite track off the Hounds of Love album – Cloudbusting was my favourite – but the whole record is unbelievable, and I’ve always been a massive fan of Kate Bush. The Futureheads take on this song is brilliant. It’s really cleverly done, the backing vocals are great, and although the song’s quite indie there’s definitely a grunge appeal to it as well – especially with the choruses. I love the way they reworked the intro too.
6. DISTURBED – Land Of Confusion (Genesis, 1986)
What a fantastic song. It was great song originally, and I’ve always been a massive Genesis fan. The Disturbed version doesn’t sway too much from the Genesis version, but it does take it to a whole other level of heaviness. The solo is amazing too. I think the music video for the original was by Spitting Image as well – I remember it from when I was a kid – and I’d have loved to have seen Disturbed do a similar thing. Imagine a David Draiman Spitting Image puppet.