Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.
From 1990’s The Razors Edge, “Thunderstruck” has become one of AC/DC’s best and biggest hits. Their most played video on YouTube (last fall it racked up its billionth view), it has also become a magnet for unusual covers, from babies to Buddhist monks to bagpipes. We thought we’d take a look at the instrumental side of the “Thunderstruck” equation, to go with this week’s Q&A, and pick out the best vocal-free performances. It wasn’t easy, spoiled for choice as we were, but we’ll stand by our top three…
The Luca Stricagnoli cover is good.
The 2CELLOS cover is better.
And the Moyun cover is best.
Luca Stricagnoli – Thunderstruck (AC/DC cover)
“When it comes to crazy guitar skills,” says NME, “Luca Stricagnoli is one of the absolute best.” No argument here. Born and raised in Italy, Stricagnoli’s work on “Thunderstruck” is stunning. Watching his fingers fly is enough to make my hands feel like they’re getting early-onset arthritis.
2CELLOS – Thunderstruck (AC/DC cover)
Two hundred thirty-seven million YouTube viewers can’t be wrong. The Croatian cellist duo of Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser started getting noticed with their covers of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and “Human Nature,” but their version of “Thunderstruck” went through the roof and took them with it. The video perfectly shows how their Vivaldi sound, applied at bow-shredding intensity, could leave an audience… hmmmmm, what would a good word be to describe the way they look…
Moyun – Thunderstruck (AC/DC cover)
Moyun’s version is the newest of these three, and the most remarkable. For one, Moyun keeps their identity a mystery, partially concealing their face behind a mask. For two, Moyun plays “Thunderstruck” on a guzheng, a Chinese zither. This allows for percussion, bent notes, and other surprising touches, all done in a way that, against all odds, turns the song delicate while retaining its power. Moyun based this cover on Stricagnoli’s version: “After playing, I just want to say that Luca’s strong arm and ruthless iron hand are indeed something I can’t easily attempt to emulate… Anyway, I think my left hand is about to break.”