Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
For a song so often described as primal, raw, and primitive, the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is surprisingly adaptable and open to interpretation. That’s apparent in the incredible 86+ cover versions it’s spawned since the band originally released it as their debut single in the unsuspecting Summer of ’69.
The guitar riff is widely regarded as the crux of it. That dirty, menacing, and God-forsaken thing that emerges like a badass out of a storm of feedback, with its three Ron Asheton chords dramatically and relentlessly progressing the good work of the Kinks, the Sonics, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience in terms of sheer distortion. It’s at #37 in NME‘s 50 Greatest Riffs Of All Time. It’s one of Dig!‘s 20 Licks That Changed The Course Of Rock Music. And it’s one of the Top 10 Best Punk Rock Guitar Riffs Of All Time, according to WatchMojo: “a one-eyed monster that basically serves as the song’s entire framework.” Yet, for all that, there are many artists out there who’ve made the song work without it.