Stripped: The Top Ten Acoustic versions of Rock’s Epics- Part 1
You know a song is pure brilliance when it can be completely transformed or re-arranged into a different format, style or tone and still be just as audibly pleasing. Whether some of these solid rock classics have been moulded in the hands of another artist or redone by the original songwriter – these versions are as compelling, if not better than their initial sound. Over the next two weeks we will reveal the top 10 stripped back numbers in history.
‘Layla’ – Eric Clapton
Slowhand put down his famed Telecaster ‘Black Beauty’ for one of the earlier MTV Unplugged performances in the nineties. Heavily re-arranged yet still keeping that overtly, romantic and passionate resonance that made the song a hit in the seventies, this song is the epitome of a re-work and an easy number one on this list.
‘The Number of The Beast’ – Zwan
Although short lived, alt-rock supergroup Zwan (formed by Billy Corgan in 2000) gave the Iron Maiden metal classic a new lease of life as a soothing folk-acoustic number. Once you get over the initial shock of the contrast between the satanic lyrical content and the smooth timbre of the gentle acoustics and soft vocals, it realises itself as a re-birth of a quality, well-written tune in a re-vamped and more millennium friendly form.
‘The Man Who Sold the World’ – Nirvana
This list could not go without mention of the most famed MTV Unplugged performance of all time. ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, a gem borrowed from David Bowie’s seventies catalogue, Nirvana do it justice with Kurt Cobain’s melancholy performance that the Thin White Duke himself has been quoted that he prefers Nirvana’s version to his own. Just months before Cobain’s death, his expression of emotion through Bowie’s delicate, emotional lyrics are compelling to watch.
‘Hurt’ – Johnny Cash
Alright, not exactly a ‘rock’ song but the original was by rock musician Trent Reznor, and this version is far too powerful to go unmentioned. The diversity between the two artists is paramount, and Cash is haunting in this Nine Inch Nails cover. It’s a raw, sorrowful song, which is believable as an autobiographical account of the life of Johnny Cash, and the accompanying film clip is mind-blowing.
‘Raining Blood’ – Tori Amos
Could there be a cover as diverse and bizarre as this? A brave Tori Amos provides this haunting rendition of the original thrash kings – Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’. The piano itself like a score from an ancient horror film, while her vocals create a feeling of total despair as she feeds us all the blood from her black, black heart. Amos encapsulates the mood, spirit and soul, of Slayer’s epic track with utter perfection. If you can refrain from killing yourself, this song is pure terror, the fun kind.
Tagged Amy Lee, Axl Rose, Billy Corgan, David Bowie, eric clapton, Freak On A Leash, Guns’N’Roses, Hurt, Johnny Cash, Layla, MTV Unplugged, Myles Kennedy, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Raining Blood, Slayer, The Man Who Sold The World, The Max Sessions, The Number of the Beast, Tori Amos, Trent Reznor, Zwan