Ten awesome punk rock covers

Cover songs not to be missed.
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What kinds of music do punk rockers listen to for fun? It isn’t all head-banging and ear-bleeding. Black Flag’s Greg Ginn is a free jazz aficionado. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon has said that Neil Young’s folk-tinged soft-rocker “On the Beach” is her favorite song. Joey Ramone loved the Georgia Satellites while X’s John Doe considers Joni Mitchell’s Blue one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

The point is that punk rockers are as eclectic as the rest of us. I’m sure if you were to dig deep enough, you’d come up with some tattooed, nipple-ringed punk screamer who kicks back with the Partridge Family on a random Sunday morning.

So it should come as no surprise that punk rockers large and small have recorded covers of some of their favorite non-punk tunes, giving them their own special hard-edged treatment. When they do, the results can be pretty extraordinary. Basically, from the moment the Ramones scratched up Chris Montez’s garage classic “Let’s Dance” for inclusion on their self-titled debut, any song has been fair game.  

Ten fantastic punk cover songs

With that in mind, here are ten fairly awesome punk covers of all manner of pop music. Some classic, some obscure – all great fun.

“I Love You, You Big Dummy” – Magazine (1979)

Original – Captain Beefheart (1970)

Don Van Vliet (AKA Captain Beefheart) included virtually every known genre of music in his unique compositions. He often added unknown genres to the mix. “I Love You, You Big Dummy,” a screeching, swampy sweetheart of a love song gets a more traditional rock & roll treatment from Magazine – Howard Devoto’s band after he left the Buzzcocks. But after that traditional pounding drum and guitar intro, Devoto’s vocals drag it back into a punk squall.