Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen Nail Top Cover Songs Of All Time

05/27/2011
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This week Gibson counted down their picks for the best cover songs of all time. Today they rolled out the Top 10, here are a couple of excerpts including No 1!

9. "You Really Got Me," Van Halen (The Kinks): Van Halen's cover of this Kinks classic was the first thing that most of the rock world ever heard of VH. The year was 1978 and the song's pairing with "Eruption" on the band's self-titled album of that year was one of the most devastating one-two punches ever delivered by four dudes from Pasadena. Opening with Eddie's legendary "brown sound" (augmented by washes of reverb on the opposite side of the stereo spectrum), the guitar was right in your face, the energy was cranked up to burning point, and David Lee Roth's sassy delivery made fans momentarily forget all about The Kinks' version, much to Dave Davies' later chagrin. The guitar solo has it all: syrupy phaser tones, two-handed tapping, wide bends and a cool toggle-switch stutter effect, all topped off with a killer pick slide. The breakdown after the solo would set the stage for future classics like "Mean Streets" and "Panama," and the closing legato and hint of feedback made you hold your breath just in case there was more coming. Peter Hodgson

1. "All Along the Watchtower," The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Bob Dylan): The ultimate accomplishment for a cover artist is to take a song and, through his own interpretation and arrangement, make it something unique and truly his own. Perhaps no artist has ever done this on the scale of (and with the sizzle of) Jimi Hendrix's fiery take on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." To take on Dylan would be too intimidating a prospect for most artists, but Hendrix grabbed the John Wesley Harding track and ran with it, firing off one of the most melodic yet biting solos of his career along the way. The ultimate testament of Hendrix's greatness came on subsequent Dylan tours when he began to cover Hendrix's version. In a later interview, Dylan said: "It overwhelmed me, really. He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day." Michael Wright

Check out the full list here and strangely Black Magic Woman didn't make the cut more on this story

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