Apr 192024
metallica funeral for friend love lies bleeding cover

Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin were honored with the Gershwin Prize from the Library of Congress at the beginning of April. As part of the award ceremony, a number of big names performed covers of some of their most classic songs. Metallica might not be the most obvious band to perform at a tribute to Elton, but the progressive nature of his most epic songs, such as the 11 minute “Funeral for a Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding” which opens Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, makes some sense for metal bands.

In fact, this is not the first time a metal band has covered this track. Progressive rock giants Dream Theatre covered it 30 years ago for a live EP. However, Dream Theater’s version is fairly faithful to the original, and the result is just a louder, rockier version until the conclusion, which is a little bit closer to their sound. Metallica didn’t want to just do that; they wanted to perform a Metallica version.

As Metallica showed with their all-covers album Garage Inc., the band have a knack for making a cover their own, specifically due to Hetfield’s inimitable voice. And the same is true for their live version of “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” which cannot help but sound like a Metallica song even if it’s on the lighter side compared to their heaviest work. They shorten things up a bit but if you imagine “Metallica does Elton John” before listening to this, that’s exactly what you get.

And despite entering their 60s, they can still put on a good show. Through the energy of their performance, it’s clear how into the song they are and how much fun they are having performing it for Elton John. Elton himself initially doesn’t seem that into it but by the end they appear to have won him over. (Taupin appears to enjoy it from the get-go.)

It’s a cool moment; a legendary metal band paying tribute to a legendary pop star you might not have thought inspired that metal band. And it’s a reminder that Metallica are still very much Metallica.

Check out our list of The 30 Best Elton John Covers.

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