Next Generation: The Top 10 Covers of Songs by The Who
From David Bowie to Rush, we round up the 10 best covers of songs by the Who.
05. Rush — "The Seeker"
In 2004, Rush honored some of the bands that inspired them by releasing Feedback, an eight-song EP packed with covers of songs by the Yardbirds, Buffalo Springfield and Cream.
The EP also featured a cover of "The Seeker," which was originally released as a single by The Who in 1970.
Although the track doesn't give these three master prog-rockers a chance to "spread out," they put the emphasis on the song's strong, steady beat and high-flying vocals, which are handled rather nicely by Geddy Lee.
04. Sex Pistols — "Substitute"
While this song may seem like an oddball cover for a band that made a short career of toppling rock and roll dinosaurs, frontman Johnny Rotten has never had anything but positive things to say about the musical and personal influence of Pete Townshend. "Every now and then, when you feel down and despondent, a fellow like him can really put a good word in your ear, and it's unfortunate that that side of his character hasn't really come through in the media," he said in a 2012 Guitar World interview. "He's a very important person for us, and let's not for forget that. And he wrote some bloody excellent songs along the way!"
03. Oasis — "My Generation"
If any modern rocker has the die-young persona to pull off Roger Daltrey's lyrics in "My Generation," it would have to be Liam Gallagher. Oasis were as combustible a group of musicians as any in the last two decades, but when they pulled it together, they could put distorted guitars and debauched lyrics together as well as anyone, making them an ideal candidate to take on this Who classic. Four-string enthusiasts may find the bass solo a bit lacking, but one thing's undeniable: Liam means every word.
02. Van Halen — "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Live)
It takes a powerful band to truly do justice to what some consider The Who's greatest song — 1971's "Won't Get Fooled Again" — but the Sammy Hagar-fronted Van Halen take no prisoners. Their live version of the song, which is featured on 1993's Live: Right Here, Right Now, is noteworthy for its spot-on performances by all involved, especially Eddie Van Halen, who covers the iconic keyboard parts on his guitar. The video below shows them rehearsing the tune in a studio, but the energy is there.
01. Pearl Jam — "Love, Reign O'er Me"
Few bands carry on the spirit of the Who quite like Pearl Jam. In 2008, when VH1 assembled a cadre of modern-day rockers to pay tribute to the Who, there was no doubt that Pearl Jam — whose cover of "Baba O'Riley" has been a staple of their live shows since 1992 — would be providing the climax of the evening. As predicted, Eddie Vedder put everything he had into a medley of "Love, Reign O'er Me" and "The Real Me." The former was released in 2007 as part of the soundtrack to the film Reign Over Me, as well as on the band's 2006 fan club Christmas single. According to lore, Vedder would only agree to cover the song after getting Roger Daltrey's blessing.
For more about the Who, including an analysis of their legendary output between 1969 and 1973, plus tabs for "Behind Blue Eyes" (with detailed performance notes), check out the February 2013 issue of Guitar World. It's available now on newsstands and at the Guitar World Online Store.
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