Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, ‘Wildside’ – Terrible Classic Rock Covers
Not for nothing, but Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch scored a No. 1 single in 1991 on the Billboard Hot 100 (‘Good Vibrations’). For those of you that don’t know, ‘Marky Mark’ was the alias of Mark Wahlberg -- who ended up recasting his career as an actor and, somewhat surprisingly, a really good one at that (see his roles in ‘The Departed’ and ‘The Fighter,’ among others).
His follow-up single, ‘Wildside,’ also did really well on the charts -- it reached No. 10 in the U.S. The tune was actually written by another rapper, MC Spice, but was brought to fame by Marky Mark. It may have reached popularity back in the early ’90s, but it could not avoid being listed as one of UCR’s terrible classic rock covers.
Now, we want to preface this one by saying it’s not a straight, word-for-word cover version of Lou Reed’s haunting 1972 classic, ‘Walk On the Wild Side’ (which performed nearly as well as the updated version; it got all the way up to No. 16). Wahlberg samples the main components of the song -- the thrumming bass-line/melody, the beat, the “doo-doo-doo” chorus, the sax solo, and Reed’s macho end-of-verse “huh”; while rewriting the story part. The tune consists of Annie, Ron, Charles, and Tiffany (the last two of which are true stories), who each meet their fate on ‘the wildside.’ But the stories, when rapped by Wahlberg, sound less than compelling -- and have an almost comical quality to them. Reed’s original, which is basically spoken-word, has a toughness to it -- a depth -- that Marky Mark was just not able to reach.
We guess you can’t argue with the chart performance, though.