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Warning: the following post contains some NSFW lyrics and some smooth, swingin’ sounds.
As much as I hate to admit it, the hard-rockin’ hair bands and punk rock slamdancers are aging, and their audiences are aging with them. Headbanging is causing some neck spasms, and the mosh pit passes aren’t nearly as desirable as the balcony seats, but we still love those hard-grinding music memories.
Fair enough, I know the feeling. So why don’t we pull up a stool and bring it down a bit with some melodic and a little bit (but not too much) more mellow covers of heavy metal, punk and hard rock hits in lounge jazz form, starting with classic grunge from a classic voice.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” from Paul Anka
In 2004 the legendary Paul Anka released his Rock Swings CD featuring covers of 80s and 90s rock hits from bands like Soundgarden, Oasis, and of course, Nirvana:
“Holy Diver” from Pat Boone
As great as Anka is, let’s not forget Pat Boone tackled this same concept in the 1990s, with his album In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy in which he took on Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, and the Dio metal anthem, “Holy Diver.” Metal fans lost Ronnie James Dio to cancer back in 2010, but Pat Boone is still doin’ his thing today at age 86.
Here’s to you Ronnie, and rock on Mr. Boone:
“Closer” from Robyn Adele Anderson
When I first heard about the amazing multi-era covers from the group Postmodern Jukebox, it was a “Thrift Shop” cover featuring Robyn Adele Anderson, who has provided vocals for many of their covers. She has also more recently done several covers on her own where she can be a little more uncensored, including a sultry string-driven version of a favorite Nine Inch Nails sexy headbanger:
“Down with the Sickness” from Richard Cheese
If you haven’t heard of Richard Cheese and his Lounge Against the Machine, you’re missing out. His original lounge tunes and covers are the epitome of Vegas strange. The lyrical clarity in his Disturbed cover makes the descent into violent derangement just a little more tuneful…but still creepy:
“Institutionalized” from Black Velvet Flag
Before Richard Cheese, there was a New York-based trio that lounged up some of the best of the Alex Cox “Repo Man” era punk rock tunes of the 80s, but seemed to disappeared as fast as they showed up on the scene (there’s even a documentary about them). Oh Black Velvet Flag, you were way ahead of your time. I hope you at least got your matching outfits to jam out to this Suicidal Tendencies hit:
Seems like Bill Murray’s lounge singer was more of a prophet than a parody, and that’s just fine by me.
Here we are now! Entertain us!!!…but please, Mr. Bartender, make sure that martini is so dry it has tumbleweeds.