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10 Times Hard Rock Bands Covered Surprisingly Soft Songs

Updated February 14, 2019 8.2k votes 1.6k voters 57.8k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most surprising cover songs.

Behind the feedback and distortion, even the hardest band appreciates a good power ballad or 80s pop hit. Case in point: When Disturbed released their cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence" in 2015, mainstream music audiences were stunned by their arrangement and performance of the 60s hit.

They're not the only ones to take on some unexpected music - other hard rock and metal bands have come up with strange covers of their own. From Metallica to Marilyn Manson, it's not uncommon for heavy bands to wear some of their less obvious influences on their sleeve for a moment and tip their hat to the music they love. 

Here are some of the most surprising cover songs by hard rock bands.


  • 1

    "Sweet Dreams" By Marilyn Manson

    "Sweet Dreams" By Marilyn Mans is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 10 Times Hard Rock Bands Covered Surprisingly Soft Songs
    Photo: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    In 1995, Marilyn Manson released an intense cover of the Eurythmics' hit song "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" and just like that the song was a major hit for a second time. Produced by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, the track went to number 26 on the Billboard chart and the video proved to be an MTV mainstay for some time. 

    Manson most recently performed the song at Coachella with hugely-successful Japanese band X Japan.

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  • 2

    "I'm Your Boogie Man" By Rob Zombie

    "I'm Your Boogie Man&# is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 10 Times Hard Rock Bands Covered Surprisingly Soft Songs
    Photo: Bill Ebbesen / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    Perhaps the most left-field thing Rob Zombie could ever do would be to cover KC & the Sunshine Band. In 1996, for the soundtrack of the film The Crow: City of Angels, Zombie and his band White Zombie took on the funky "I'm Your Boogie Man," maintaining the song's upbeat nature but adding some of their own signature edge and horror movie-like aesthetic. 

    The song was successful upon its release and even earned them a Grammy nomination.

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  • 3

    "Whiskey In The Jar" By Metallica

    "Whiskey In The Jar" By Metall is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 10 Times Hard Rock Bands Covered Surprisingly Soft Songs
    Photo: Kreepin Deth / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    One of Metallica's better known covers, their version of "Whiskey In The Jar," was lifted from another cover version made famous by Thin Lizzy. The band included the cover on their album Garage Inc in tribute to Thin Lizzy - but the Irish hard rock band's version was hardly the first.

    The song, a traditional Irish song made most famous by The Dubliners, has been recorded and performed countless times over countless years.

    "That particular song, they really liked the fact it was Eric Bell [on the track]—kind of an earlier song of [Thin Lizzy’s]. We just tried to do it justice. It was one of the most simple ones on the album, because their heart was in it," Metallica producer Bob Rock told the A.V. Club of the band's nod to Think Lizzy. 

    In a related turn of events, Metallica recently announced that they were producing their own whiskey. It has yet to be announced, however, whether or not said whiskey will be sold in a jar. 

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  • 4

    "Imagine" By A Perfect Circle

    "Imagine" By A Perfect Circle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 10 Times Hard Rock Bands Covered Surprisingly Soft Songs
    Photo: Carlos Montes / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

    To coincide with the 2004 election, legendary band A Perfect Circle released a politically-charged album called eMOTIVe. The collection was conceptualized as a compilation of primarily anti-war cover songs including Elvis Costello's "Peace, Love And Understand" and John Lennon's "Imagine."

    The song is drastically different from the original, presenting the piano part in a minor key as opposed to the major key of the Lennon version. A Perfect Circle added a much darker and bleaker vision - with one review in the Guardian referring to the arrangement as sounding like a "death march."

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