10 Modern Covers of Songs From the Sixties and Seventies

Updated on August 20, 2019
Sherry Hewins profile image

I grew up in the "classic rock" era, but I love music of every genre. I love sharing my old favorites while still discovering new artists.

Old Songs Given New Life

This is a collection of songs from the sixties and seventies that have been covered by more current bands. Some of them are quite faithful to the original, while others put a whole new spin on the song.

I would be surprised if anyone loved all of these, but I hope everyone can find something they like here. In any case, I love that these songs are being introduced to a new audience who might not ever have heard them otherwise.

Contents (Songs Are in Random Order)

  1. "Simple Man"–Shinedown
  2. "The Sounds of Silence"–Disturbed
  3. "Landslide"–Smashing Pumpkins
  4. "Mississippi Queen"–Zakk Wylde
  5. "The Chain"–Harry Styles
  6. "Fame"–The Killers
  7. "As Tears go By"—Avenged Sevenfold
  8. "Can't You See"–Black Stone Cherry
  9. "Rocky Mountain Way"–Godsmack
  10. "Wish You Were Here"–Avenged Sevenfold

1. "Simple Man" – Shinedown

"Simple Man" was on Lynyrd Skynyrd's debut album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) released in 1973. It is is one of their most popular songs.

This cover by rock band Shinedown is on the 2004 deluxe edition of their album Leave a Whisper, it has an acoustic version and a rock version.

Shinedown dedicated their cover to their friend, guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered on-stage earlier that year.

2. "The Sounds of Silence" – Disturbed

“The Sounds of Silence" was written by Paul Simon. The song was recorded in March 1964 for inclusion on Simon and Garfunkle's debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

A cover version of "The Sound of Silence" was released by the heavy metal band Disturbed on December 7, 2015. Their cover hit number one on the Billboard Hard Rock Digital Songs and Mainstream Rock charts. It is their highest-charting song. It topped out at number 42 on the Hot 100.

Paul Simon endorsed the cover. On April 1, he sent an email praising the band's performance on the late-night TV show, Conan saying the performance was “powerful. “

I agree with Paul Simon, this version is powerful. While is is pretty faithful to the melody of the original song, it is, well, disturbing. I suppose that is appropriate.

I like how I can hear the lyrics so distinctly in this rendition. Also, the post apocalyptic images in the video are very moving.

3. "Landslide" – Smashing Pumpkins

"Landslide" was written by Stevie Nicks and performed by Fleetwood Mac. It was first featured on the band's self-titled 1975 album Fleetwood Mac.

The Smashing Pumpkins are an alternative rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1988, they are still going strong today. This cover was a huge hit for them. It got enthusiastic approval from Stevie Nicks. The song was include on their 1994 album Pisces Iscariot.

4. "Mississippi Queen" – Zakk Wylde

"Mississippi Queen" was written and performed by the American rock band Mountain. It was on their 1970 debut album Climbing!

There is a well-known story about the inclusion of the cowbell in the distinctive introduction to the song. Legend has it that when the group was recording "Mississippi Queen," Drummer, Corky Laing got frustrated with doing numerous takes of the so he started using the cowbell to count off the song. Bassist and Producer, Felix Pappalardi liked it so much he left it in the mix.

Guitarist Leslie West disputed that story. Why did they use the cowbell? He says, “The cowbell was always in there because we had to start the fuckin' song!”

Zakk Wylde's is the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and here he is playing an acoustic set with his band Black Label Society. He played it on on PBS's Front and Center on September 23, 2013. His old band leader, Ozzy Osborne, included the song on his album Undercover in 2005.

5. "The Chain" – Harry Styles

"The Chain" was released on Fleetwood Mac's critically acclaimed 1977 album Rumours. It is the only song from the album with a songwriting credit to all five band members.

Harry Styles is best known as a member of the boy-band One Direction. The band broke up and Styles signed with Columbia Records as a solo artist in 2016.

Not being a One Direction fan, I was not really familiar with Harry Styles. I was surprised at his soulful voice, and that I love this rendition of “The Chain.”

Here he appears on the radio show BBC Radio1 Live Lounge in 2017. He also played it during his live tour that same year.

6. "Fame" – The Killers

"Fame" recorded by David Bowie was initially released in 1975. The song was written by Bowie, Carlos Alomar and John Lennon. It was Bowie's first number 1 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It is one of the four Bowie songs included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The Killers are a rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada. They visited BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge on Sept. 13 to play a three-song set that included this cover of David Bowie’s “Fame.”

7. "As Tears go By" – Avenged Sevenfold

"As Tears Go By" was written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Marianne Faithfull released it as a single in 1964. The Rolling Stones released their own version on the album December's Children (And Everybody's) late in 1965.

Avenged Sevenfold included the song on the expanded version of their album The Stage.

Avenged Sevenfold is a heavy metal band from Huntington Beach, California. The band was formed in 1999. They are known for their diverse rock sound and dramatic imagery in album covers and merchandise.

The band originally released their seventh studio album The Stage on October 28, 2016, but they continued to add new songs to the album every few months. They see the album as a living piece of art. "As Tears Go By" was added on September 7, 2017.

8. "Wish You Were Here" – Avenged Sevenfold

"Wish You Were Here" made it's first appearance on Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here. David Gilmour and Roger Waters wrote the music, and Gilmour sang the lead vocal.

The Stage is the seventh studio album by heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold. Released on the 28th of October, 2016. On December 22nd 2017, Avenged Sevenfold released The Stage Deluxe Edition. It includes 6 cover songs, including “Wish You Were Here.”

9. "Can't You See" – Black Stone Cherry

"Can't You See" was written by Toy Caldwell of The Marshall Tucker Band. Musically, it is a cross between country rock and Southern rock. The song was included on their 1973 debut album, The Marshall Tucker Band. It was released as the album's first single. The original recording is noted for Jerry Eubanks' flute introduction and ending.

Black Stone Cherry is a rock band, formed in 2001 in Edmonton, Kentucky. They covered "Can't You See" on their third album, Between the Devil & The Deep Blue Sea, released on May 27, 2011.

10. "Rocky Mountain Way" – Godsmack

"Rocky Mountain Way" was originally released on the 1973 album, The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, by Joe Walsh and his band Barnstorm. Band members Walsh, Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli, and Joe Vitale are all credited with the writing.

Godsmack is a rock band from Lawrence, Massachusetts, formed in 1995. "Rocky Mountain Way" is included as a bonus track on their 2012 album Live & Inspired.

I hope you can appreciate some of these new takes on old songs. I'm sure not every one of them will resonate with every person. Still, I'm happy to see these great songs being passed along to the next generation.

What do you think? Which ones did you like and which ones did you hate?

© 2019 Sherry Hewins


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