Mar 182018

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

anarchy in the uk covers

With the release of over 70 SecondHandSongs-verified versions of the Sex Pistols’ debut single since 1976 (and many more informal covers), “Anarchy In The U.K.” takes the punk prize for being their most-covered song. The harsh rallying cry for Britain’s disaffected youth has generated over 10 million views on one YouTube post alone. As noted in our track-by-track covers review of Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols, “Anarchy” kicked-off a cultural phenomenon and has garnered accolades from establishment icons like Rolling Stone magazine and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which, at the time, the band would have stood systematically against.

The original appeared as a single nearly a year before it was featured on the band’s one and only studio album. It opens with the crashing of guitars, drums and John Lydon’s shout of “Rrrright! Now!” followed by laughter. The sonic assault breaks for a fake belch before Lydon resumes his screeching diatribe that includes a laundry list of politically themed abbreviations (IRA, UDA, MPLA) and the recently-discontinued British music newsweekly NME.

Music writer Tim Sommer in The Observer had this to say in a great article about the song on its 40th anniversary:

But for a staggering, shattering few moments, “Anarchy in the U.K.” and the Sex Pistols shocked the world as no other artist ever has or ever will. We can never recreate that moment, the instant when a rock band from the wrong side of the socio-economic spectrum made a loud noise and shouted “Match!” while sitting on a pile of dynamite, but here’s hoping it can happen again.

We’ve rounded up a variety of styles of the iconic track worth sharing. John Lydon marked his final live performance as Johnny Rotten with the question, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” It’s safe to say that none of these covers will leave you feeling that way!

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Jul 092010

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song. Catch up on past installments here.

Joy Division released “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a single in April 1980. One spring evening a month later, singer Ian Curtis phoned his wife, listened to some Iggy Pop, then hung himself in his kitchen. Needless to say, this lent a song with lines like “Do you cry out in your sleep / All my failings exposed / There’s a taste in my mouth / As desperation takes hold” a certain gravitas.

As such, it avoids the novelty mutli-genre crossovers that so many ‘80s hits accumulate. That’s not to say it can’t be sung with a wink though. When conjoined twins Evelyn Evelyn cover it, the phrase “tear us apart” takes on a very literal meaning. Tuvan throat singers Yat-Kha offer an even weirder version. The singing initially strikes you as the most godawful thing ever, but once you get used to it, you’ll notice the flowing guitar work and surprisingly tender delivery.
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