At a recent show in Gothenburg, Sweden, English pop superstars Coldplay led the crowd in a rousing rendition of the Backstreet Boys’ 1997 hit, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” Played during the last quarter of their set, between an acoustic version of “In my Place” and the track “Humankind” from their most recent album, lead singer Chris Martin begins by playing around on the piano to arrive at the iconic melody line.
‘The Best Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.
2020 marks a number of twenty-year anniversaries in music, but perhaps nothing as much as the extremely turn-of-the-millenium phenomenon of the boy band. At the start of the year, NSYNC set a first-week sales record with No Strings Attached. At the end of it, Backstreet Boys set their own sales record with Black & Blue. No one before or since sold CDs like boy bands sold CDs. Even the year’s other huge artists seemed defined in reaction to boy bands; Eminem dissed boy bands in seemingly half of his songs, while Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst was constantly starting feuds with them. It was that kind of year.
Because boy bands had their detractors. Boy oh boy, did they have their detractors. I was a 13-year old in 2000, and I remember the arguments dominating middle school hallways. But whether you were a fanatic or a skeptic, it’s hard to argue that, stripped of the love-it-or-hate-it presentation, the songs were rock solid (melodically, if not always lyrically). I imagine every one of us has gotten some of these stuck in our head – even if we didn’t want them there.
So rather than picking just one artist, we decided to pay tribute to the entire genre. We didn’t limit it to songs from the year 2000, but we did limit it to the phenomenon that 2000 represents. Though you can make a fair argument that The Beatles and Jackson 5 were boy bands, including groups like that would render this list pretty meaningless. Every artist here fits a pretty strict definition of a boy band, even if they came just before the genre’s cultural peak (New Edition) or after it (One Direction).
So everybody, rock your body with the 25 best boy band covers ever.
– Ray Padgett
The list starts on Page 2.
Charli XCX, know for her inescapable but infectious vocals on Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” released her debut album, True Romance, just over a month ago. While supporting this release, the singer covered Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way,” in homage to the ambitious pop music she has been making.
For their latest single, ZZ Top draw on an unlikely inspiration: Houston rapper DJ DMD, who had a minor local hit in 1999 with “25 Lighters (ft. Lil’ Keke & Fat Pat).” The bearded trio have renamed it “I Gotsta Get Paid,” and fuzz-riffed it out with a classic chicks and hot rods video.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
Even though the site you’re currently reading focuses solely on cover music, we seldom turn our attention to actual cover acts. Today, though, we’re going to spotlight one that’s risen to a level of notoriety much higher than most of their bar-dwelling brethren — Steel Panther, the most rockin’ band in the land. This four-piece group, comprised of lead vocalist Michael Starr, guitarist Satchel, bassist Lexxi Foxxx and drummer Stix Zadinia (get it?!) expertly merge tremendous musical chops and keen comic sensibilities to both pay tribute to ’80s hair metal icons and lay bare all the ridiculousness inherent to the genre. Through a regular Monday residency on LA’s Sunset Strip, Panther (formerly Metal Skool, Metal Shop and Danger Kitty) has built an impressive following out of their celebratory shows. In fact, the group’s been embraced by LA’s indie comedy community just as much as the world of rock music; in a hilarious episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast, they joke with Human Giant and Children’s Hospital star Rob Huebel that he’s the fifth member of their band, and Sarah Silverman has appeared in their music video for “Death to All but Metal.”
This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.
This week’s song selection goes from gentle folkie (Bon Iver) to metal legends (Judas Priest) and back again (Damien Rice). It also digs up a chestnut from super obscure punk band the Mission 120 and a “classic” from the somewhat less-obscure Backstreet Boys. Download ‘em all below.