10 Times Hard Rock Bands Covered Surprisingly Soft Songs

Voting Rules
Vote 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.


  • "Sweet Dreams" By Marilyn Manson
    Photo: Andreas Lawen, Fotandi / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
    1,225 VOTES

    "Sweet Dreams" By Marilyn Manson

    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.

    1,225 votes
  • "I'm Your Boogie Man" By Rob Zombie
    Photo: Bill Ebbesen / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
    659 VOTES

    "I'm Your Boogie Man" By Rob Zombie

    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.

    659 votes
  • "The Sound Of Silence" By Disturbed
    Photo: Samantha L. Quigly / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1,482 VOTES

    "The Sound Of Silence" By Disturbed

    Disturbed is best known for their intense hard rock hit "Down with the Sickness" but emerged in 2015 with an unexpected cover of a folk music classic - Simon & Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence."

    Singer David Draiman said in an interview with NPR that he'd been wanting to sing something as soft as "Silence" for years, and it was their drummer who suggested covering the iconic piece of music. Paul Simon, the songwriter, ultimately endorsed the song after it became a massive hit and a viral sensation.

    "Really powerful performance on Conan the other day. First time I’d seen you do it live. Nice. Thanks," Simon wrote in an email to Draiman.

    1,482 votes
  • "Whiskey In The Jar" By Metallica
    Photo: Kreepin Deth / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
    932 VOTES

    "Whiskey In The Jar" By Metallica

    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. 

    932 votes
  • "Imagine" By A Perfect Circle
    Photo: Carlos Montes / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0
    620 VOTES

    "Imagine" By A Perfect Circle

    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."

    620 votes
  • "Zombie" By Bad Wolves
    Photo: Bad Wolves / Amazon / Fair Use
    935 VOTES

    "Zombie" By Bad Wolves

    In January of 2018, Dolores O'Riordan, singer of The Cranberries, traveled to London to record vocals for a cover of her iconic hit "Zombie." The band covering the song, Bad Wolves, were reportedly elated that O'Riordan not only endorsed the song but wanted to contribute to their updated version. The day she was due in the studio, however, O'Riordan was found dead in her hotel room.

    The band soldiered on with their cover, releasing it to critical acclaim the following month and donated proceeds to the singer's family. 

    "It was the greatest honor to know she liked our version and wanted to sing on it," singer Tommy Vext said in a statement. "We’re deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Dolores and by the fact that she’s leaving behind three children so we are donating the proceeds from the song to her kids."

    935 votes