In recent years, from songs performed by “American Idol” contestants to tracks that have spurred the “Glee” cast’s assault on Billboard’s record books, inventive remakes have regularly infused the Hot 100.
Most notably, the “Glee” ensemble has covered styles from pop and rock to R&B, gospel, dance and show tunes. When the Hot 100 is refreshed Thursday (Oct. 14), the troupe will bow with updates ranging from a ballad take on the Beatles‘ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to a soulful reworking of Simon & Garfunkel‘s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
(Unsolicited advice to Ryan Murphy: with its built-in a capella accents and drama-laden lyrics, wouldn’t Sara Bareilles‘ “King of Anything” be a natural choice for the cast to cover?)
McKinley High’s glee club isn’t the only act this year unveiling remodeled versions of previous hits on Billboard charts. Jerrod Niemann turned Sonia Dada’s obscure 1992 rock single “You Don’t Treat Me No Good” into the Country Songs No. 1 “Lover, Lover”; Prince Royce sent Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” to the top of Tropical Songs; and, Lady Antebellum reached the top 10 on Country Digital Songs with a gentle version of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “Learning to Fly.”
In coming weeks, Santana could reach Adult Pop Songs with a remake of Def Leppard’s “Photograph,” featuring Daughtry; Sheryl Crow could enter Triple A with her rockier imprint on Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Sign Your Name”; and, Williams Riley could motor onto Country Songs with an update of the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane.”
Unexpected covers, however, have long graced Billboard tallies.
Here is a look at 20 such songs over the past 20 years that have returned to Billboard charts in, well, new directions.
“Where the Streets Have No Name/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” Pet Shop Boys, 1991
Pet Shop Boys fused U2’s No. 13 Hot 100 rock classic from 1987 with Frankie Valli’s No. 2 smash from 1967, resulting in a No. 4 peak on Dance/Club Play Songs. Earlier this year, the duo followed a similar recipe, mixing Coldplay’s 2008 Hot 100 No. 1 “Viva La Vida” with its own “Domino Dancing,” a No. 18 hit in 1988.
“Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon,” Urge Overkill, 1994
Six years after UB40 sent a reggae version of Neil Diamond‘s “Red Red Wine” to No. 1 on the Hot 100, the iconic songwriter’s 1967 Hot 100 top 10 received a modern rock makeover and reached No. 11 on Alternative Songs. The track accompanied Quentin Tarantino’s similarly offbeat box office hit “Pulp Fiction.”
“Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Nicki French, 1995
A four-week Hot 100 No. 1 in 1983 for Bonnie Tyler, Australia’s Nicki French carried her dance version of the song to No. 2 in 1995. The “Glee” cast also charted with a cover of the song, which reached No. 16 in May.
“Time After Time,” Inoj, 1998
The title of Cyndi Lauper‘s first No. 1 (two weeks) in 1984 is fitting, considering its repeated visits to Billboard charts. Inoj’s R&B interpretation reached No. 6 in 1998, Lauper and Sarah McLachlan teamed up for an acoustic version in 2006 (No. 14, Adult Contemporary) and Quietdrive’s rock remake reached No. 25 on Pop Songs in 2007.
“Faith,” Limp Bizkit, 1999
As if this angst-filled cover (No. 28, Alternative Songs) of George Michael‘s four-week Hot 100 No. 1, the chart’s top song of 1988, wasn’t surprising enough, Seether similarly amped up “Careless Whisper” last year (No. 4, Rock Songs).
“Last Kiss,” Pearl Jam, 1999
The band’s signature original songs such as “Jeremy” and “Daughter” peaked at Nos. 79 and 97 on the Hot 100, respectively. Pearl Jam‘s biggest success on the survey (No. 2, 199) remains its cover of J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers’ fellow No. 2 pop hit from 1964.
“Sweet Dreams,” Marilyn Manson, 1999
Like Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson mined ’80s pop for rock shock value. The cover of Eurythmics‘ debut 1983 Hot 100 No. 1 marked Manson’s first appearance on a Billboard songs chart, reaching No. 31 on Mainstream Rock in 1996.
“American Pie,” Madonna, 2000
28 years after Don McLean’s musical history lesson spent four weeks atop the Hot 100, Madonna added electro beats to her version from the movie in which she starred with Rupert Everett, “The Next Best Thing.” The remake reached No. 1 on Dance/Club Play Songs and No. 29 on the Hot 100.
“Shine,” Dolly Parton, 2001
Hard-rocking Collective Soul arrived in 1994 with the riff-heavy “Shine,” which topped Mainstream Rock for eight weeks and climbed to No. 11 on the Hot 100. The song was an out of the blue(grass) highlight of Dolly Parton‘s 2001 release “Little Sparrow,” which flew to No. 12 on Country Albums.
“Smooth Criminal,” Alien Ant Farm, 2001
Michael Jackson had featured rock splashes on 1987’s “Bad” on the title cut, “Dirty Diana” and this song, a No. 7 Hot 100 hit for the late King of Pop in 1989. Alien Ant Farm’s post-Y2K makeover of “Smooth Criminal” locked up the top spot on Alternative Songs for four weeks.
Tomorrow: Extreme Makeovers: Billboard Charts Edition, Part 2