Vanilla Ice, ‘Satisfaction’ – Terrible Classic Rock Covers
Which do you think upsets the Rolling Stones more: how bad Vanilla Ice’s cover of one of their greatest songs was, or all the money they lost by not letting him cover ‘Satisfaction’ the first time he asked?
Before you think we’re blindly attacking an entire genre, let’s be clear that there are many examples of rap artists sampling or reinterpreting classic rock songs to produce new, exciting works that make you appreciate the originals even more.
However, this reductive piece of crap is not one of them. Over the laziest possible hip-hop appropriation of Keith Richards‘ famous guitar riff, Ice rhymes “fly” with, uh, “fly” and trades Mick Jagger‘s sharp social commentary for a whiny lament about the skeezy girl who made Ice take his hands off her ass. Even after he says “please”!
Still, you gotta figure this particular terrible classic rock cover never posed any sort of threat to the Stones’ daily life. After all, they travel by private plane, eat in the most exclusive restaurants, stay at the best hotels — it’s unlikely they ever had to listen to even 10 seconds of this nonsense.
But where they did get hurt, according to the Jan. 10, 1991, issue of Rolling Stone, is when ‘Satisfaction”s publishing-rights owner Alan Klein refused to allow Ice’s version of the song to be included on his 1990 debut album, ‘To the Extreme.’ Thanks largely to another brazen and uncreative sample — Queen and David Bowie‘s ‘Under Pressure‘ on the mega-hit ‘Ice Ice Baby‘ — the album sold more than 10 million copies.
‘Satisfaction’ instead ended up as a studio bonus track and the second single from Ice’s 1991 ‘Extremely Live’ concert set. But by then the party was over. The live album barely hit the Top 30, and the single went nowhere on the charts. “Mick is gonna be out a couple of hundred grand,” joked SBK label owner Charles Koppleman, “and I know he’s gonna be furious!”
Watch the Rolling Stones Play ‘Satisfaction’