Musical Monday: Cover songs #18

I’m continuing with a series of my favourite cover songs. It’s quite amazing how many artists cover one another’s songs.

When Nirvana took the stage for their legendary MTV Unplugged performance in November 1993, the show’s producers weren’t sure the concert would even happen. The rehearsals were awkward, as frontman Kurt Cobain – suffering from drug withdrawal – battled the higher-ups over the set list’s lack of hits. But something magical happened that night.

Freed from the baggage of their grunge label, Nirvana showcased their more sensitive, reflective side, including a show-stopping cover version of the Meat PuppetsLake of Fire. In its original form, the track is a dopey blues-rock lark. But Nirvana transformed it into a simmering anthem, wringing out the turmoil from lyrics about hellfire and sin.

Where do bad folks go when they die?

Cobain sings over the Puppets’ crawling, bluesy guitar fills and Dave Grohl’s subtly brushed drums. The key is too high for the frontman, so he cracks and squeaks his way through, his yelp threatening to collapse under the strain. It’s a performance of raw magnetism and one of the most striking moments in the band’s discography.

Which version do you prefer? Let me know below.

15 Comments on “Musical Monday: Cover songs #18

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