Queens of the Stone Age’s Best Classic Rock Cover Songs
Queens of the Stone Age have a reputation as one of the world’s premier stoner-rock bands. If your breakthrough song is called ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer,’ and it consists entirely of “nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol / Cocaine!” repeated for almost three minutes straight, that sorta thing happens. But as our list of Queens of the Stone’s Best Classic Rock Cover Songs proves, they’re way more varied than that constricting label allows.
The Kinks released the original version of “Ev’rybody’s Gonna Be Happy” (note the slight altering of titles) as their sixth single in 1965. It was their first song to not crack the Top 10 in the U.K. (it didn’t even chart in the U.S.). It’s a mostly forgettable song, and not one of Ray Davies‘ best, but Queens of the Stone Age tear through it with ’60’s-style garage-rock glee. It comes from Japanese and limited-edition U.K. versions of 2002’s ‘Songs for the Deaf’ album.
If you gotta cover ’60s Bob Dylan (and everyone does), might as well make it something other than the usual ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ — right? Queens of the Stone Age tackle ‘Outlaw Blues’ (a song originally found on 1965’s classic ‘Bringing It All Back Home’) with fuzzy guitars, ragtag rhythm and way-distorted vocals. Queens of the Stone Age covered it for 2012’s four-disc ‘Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.’
Queens of the Stone Age add muscular crunch to their cover of ZZ Top’s ‘Precious and Grace,’ originally from 1973’s ‘Tres Hombres.’ And quite a bit of it comes from Top’s Billy Gibbons, who provides guitar and vocals on QOTSA’s cover. Gibbons also shows up on ‘Burn the Witch,’ a song from Queens of the Stone Age’s 2005 album ‘Lullabies to Paralyze.’ Their cover of ‘Precious and Grace’ is a bonus track on some special editions of the album.
QOTSA frontman Josh Homme slows down Billy Idol’s 1982 hit to a slinking dirge, upping the menace factor. The guitars buzz more on Queens of the Stone Age’s cover (from the B-side to 2007’s ‘Make It Wit Chu,’ ‘Era Vulgaris” third single), but Homme sings it like he’s going to a funeral, not a wedding. Which is probably the point.
‘Who’ll Be the Next in Line’
Josh Homme must love the Kinks (look elsewhere on this of Queens of the Stone Age’s Best Classic Rock Cover Songs for ‘Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy’). For QOTSA’s take on the band’s 1965 song ‘Who’ll Be the Next in Line’ (which was the Kinks’ original B-side to that other song), Homme sticks pretty close to Ray Davies’ version. The Queens cover comes from their 2004 EP ‘Stone Age Complication.’