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JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Aerosmith covered edition

Aerosmith covered

One of the greatest American rock bands of all time, Aerosmith raised the bar for hard rockers in the 1970s and shocked the music world with a massive comeback in the late 1980s. More than three years ago, I gave the band the “Ultimate Mixtape” treatment, picking my favorite song from each album released by the group.

Countless artists have offered up their renditions of the Bad Boys of Boston’s greatest hits. In this Ultimate Mixtape, I will attempt to collate some of the greatest and most interesting Aerosmith songs covered by other bands. I’m sticking only to officially released songs, and my personal preference is to avoid live versions. While tribute albums are fair game, only one song per tribute is allowed on this compilation. Further, no artists will be duplicated, and each song will only be represented once. So hit play on the YouTube videos below, click the links to buy some records, and rock out like you’ve never rocked out before!

JT’s Ultimate Mistape: Aerosmith covered edition

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Hollywood Vampires by Hollywood Vampires (2015)

hvamps

Hollywood Vampires
by Hollywood Vampires
UMe, 2015
48 minutes

An amazing lineup, great songs, and spot-on performances make the self-titled Hollywood Vampires record a must-have for hard rock fanatics. Of the fourteen tracks, eleven are cover songs or medleys, and they are fantastic. Alice Cooper is masterful as always as the main vocalist, while Johnny Depp and Tommy Henriksen are perfect on guitars. All of the cover songs pay tribute to friends of Cooper who have passed from this life, such as “My Generation” (The Who), “Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side)” (The Doors), and “Manic Depression” (Jimi Hendrix). The sultry harmonica-driven intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” creeps into the hard rocker that everyone knows and loves. Cooper has been performing a medley of his own “School’s Out” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” for years in concert; it is nice to finally have a studio version of that medley with original Alice Cooper members Neal Smith (drums) and Dennis Dunaway (bass).

The original compositions fit in perfectly with Alice Cooper’s style. “Raise the Dead” would have sounded great on any Alice Cooper album, and “Dead Drunk Friends” has one of the coolest swaggers ever recorded. Other guest stars on the album include Joe Walsh, Orianthi, Kip Winger, Slash, and Paul McCartney. Joe Perry of Aerosmith shows up for four songs, and Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction shares the mic on two tracks. The late Christopher Lee is featured as the narrator on “The Last Vampire,” the first cut on the album.

Hollywood Vampires could be the album of the year.

Check out the Hollywood Vampires’ “Raise The Dead”:

Tracklist: (h/t to Loudwire for providing this information)
1. The Last Vampire
Narration: Sir Christopher Lee
Keyboards and Sound Design: Johnny Depp, Bob Ezrin and Justin Cortelyou
2. Raise the Dead
(Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin, Tommy Henriksen, Alice Cooper, Bob Ezrin, Rob Klonel)
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin
3. My Generation
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Drums: Zak Starkey
Background Vocals: Tommy Henriksen,
4. Whole Lotta Love
Vocals: Brian Johnson, Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Harmonica: Alice Cooper
Drums: Zak Starkey
Bass: Kip Winger
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Backing Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen
5. I Got a Line
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Bass: Kip Winger
Background Vocals: Perry Farrell, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin
6. Five to One/Break on Through
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Robby Krieger, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Farfisa: Charlie Judge
Bass: Bruce Witkin
7. One/Jump Into the Fire
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell
Guitars: Robby Krieger, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Dave Grohl
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Keyboard: Bob Ezrin, Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
8. Come and Get It
Vocals: Paul McCartney, Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp
Piano: Paul McCartney
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Bass: Paul McCartney
Background Vocals: Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Abe Laboriel Jr., Bob Ezrin
9. Jeepster
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen,
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Bob Ezrin
10. Cold Turkey
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen
11. Manic Depression
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Zak Starkey
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Piano: Bob Ezrin
12. Itchycoo Park
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin
13. School’s Out/Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Brian Johnson
Guitar: Slash, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Neal Smith
Bass: Dennis Dunaway
Background Vocals: Kip Winger, Bob Ezrin
14. Dead Drunk Friends
(Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin, Tommy Henriksen, Alice Cooper, Bob Ezrin)
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Piano: Bruce Witkin, Bob Ezrin
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin, Bob Ezrin

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Learn more about Hollywood Vampires.

Purchase Hollywood Vampires by Hollywood Vampires.

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Jimi Hendrix covers edition

Jimi Hendrix covers

Jimi Hendrix is one of the most innovative guitarists of all-time. Much of his music, which seemed otherworldly in the 1960s when first released, still seems futuristic today. It is timeless rock and roll, and his influence will forever be heard on rock radio.

Two of Hendrix’s well-known songs, “All Along the Watchtower” and “Hey Joe,” are actually cover songs. The left-handed axeman put his unmistakable stamp on both of them and the originals are all but forgotten; honestly, when is the last time you heard Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”?

Not only did Hendrix take the music of other people and put his own spin on it, others have paid tribute to the fallen icon by covering his music over the past 45 years. Below are just a few of those covers. In creating this list, I have attempted to avoid “tribute albums,” focusing rather on bands who chose to include a Hendrix song on their own records. I have also limited each artist to only one cover song, so Stevie Ray Vaughan only appears once in the list. Further, each song is only represented once, so “Fire” does not appear 3,752 times.

Of course, none of them measure up to the greatness of Jimi Hendrix, but it is good to see such a diverse collection of artists offering up their versions of both classics and forgotten tracks and keeping the music of Hendrix alive for younger generations to discover.

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: KISS covers edition

KISS COVERS ULTIMATE MIXTAPE

It is truly amazing the scope of KISS’ influence on pop music. Hard rock, bubblegum pop, rap, and country artists all devoured the music of KISS, and many paid tribute to “the hottest band in the world” by covering their songs. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it is even more enjoyable when you can take another group’s song and make it your own. Below are some of the bands that have attempted to channel their inner Demon/Star Child/Spaceman/Cat through their own interpretations of KISS classics. For the purposes of this “Ultimate Mixtape,” I have decided to exclude songs that appear only on multi-band tribute albums devoted entirely to KISS. Also, to prevent a mixtape of twenty different versions of “Detroit Rock City,” each song may only appear once in the list.

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: KISS covers edition

This is a very short list; what songs have I missed? What other versions of the songs above trump my selections?

Still hungry for more KISS covers? Check out these tribute albums:

Offbeat cover songs

Cover songs are a dime a dozen, and most of them can be thrown away pretty easily. Either they are so poorly performed, pale in comparison to the original, or are so faithful to the original to make them unnecessary. But when done well, cover songs can be thrilling. Think about Jimi Hendrix covering Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower.” Completely different arrangement and delivery, making it almost unrecognizable but still unforgettable.

A good recent example is this Krokus song from the new album, Dirty Dynamite. Listen to it carefully…do you recognize it at all?

So who did Krokus cover? Who was the original artist for this song?

That’s the Beatles, folks. They took that classic pop song and turned it into a sticky sweet 1980s ballad, complete with a crying guitar solo. I absolutely love Krokus’ version of this song.

How about Reggie Watts’ version of “Panama”…which is really nothing like the Van Halen song at all, but still pretty interesting.

Have you ever thought, “I wonder what ‘Stairway To Heaven’ would sound like if it had been performed by the Doors instead of Led Zeppelin?” Wonder no more, my friends…

Alex Skolnick, guitarist for metal band Testament, also has a jazz band that covers heavy metal songs. Check out “War Pigs” below:

If jazz isn’t your thing, how about flamenco guitar? Benjamin Woods did an album called Flametal of cover songs, like Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark At The Moon”…

One more for this post, and then we’ll turn it over to the comments section…The Byrds singing “Friday,” a song originally written and recorded but never released by Bob Dylan. The song was made popular a few years ago by Rebecca Black.

So now it’s up to you…tell me some of your favorite offbeat cover songs in the comments, with a YouTube link if you can find one!

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