Top 10 Worst Who Covers

rogerdaltreybanerInto each life a little rain must fall, and so, another worst-of list. These songs may cause aural pain, yes, but most of them are worth a laugh or two, too, and we could all use a few more laughs these days. Please enjoy them in all their wonderful awfulness, and let me know if there are any egregious Who covers I missed.


10. Hillary Duff – My Generation (2004)

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This one needs a disclaimer. Honestly, I almost put it on the list of best Who covers. I know what you’re saying, Rich, it’s Hillary Duff, not Taylor Swift. But I love the way she actually updates the song for her own generation, replacing pugnacious Sixties anger with disaffected 21st century sass, while still keeping the energy level suitably high and genuine. And really, aren’t “hope I don’t die before I get old” better words to live by? On the other hand I also understand the reflexive nausea this track causes in a lot of Who fans, so here it is.


9. The New Seekers – Pinball Wizard/See Me Feel Me (1973)

Ah, the blissfully oblivious early Seventies, when smiling, clean-cut hippies gathered hand-in-hand in grassy meadows to sing about world harmony and sugary carbonated drinks.


8. Joan Jett – Call Me Lightning (1980)

You would have thought the producer could have found a key she was comfortable singing in, because this obviously wasn’t one of them.


7. The Pudding – Magic Bus (1967)

There’s a story to this one. Pete Townshend wrote this song around the same time as “My Generation”, but his bandmates weren’t crazy about it and it was shelved. In April 1967 the obscure English band The Pudding released this version which failed to chart anywhere. It’s really not that bad, but compared to the beefed-up version The Who finally recorded and released in 1968, it sounds pretty lame.


6. Modern Mome Quartet – Happy Jack (Petit Jacques) (1967)

Sometimes foreign language covers can be delightfully charming, but not so much in this case. It’s one of the stronger arguments for Brexit.


5. Stafford Brothers – Baba O’Riley (Wasted) (2010)

This one was all the rage on the dance floors a few years back. Talk about your teenage wasteland. T.S. Eliot would have been fascinated: “His vanity required no response / And makes a welcome of indifference”.


4. Within Temptation – Behind Blue Eyes (2012)

This should have any music lover doubled over in discomfort. To make things worse they only do half the song, skipping the essential “When my fist clenches…” part. I think that’s lazy and disrespectful. Who covers half a song?


3. Laura Branigan – Squeeze Box (1983)

The soul-free pop diva flushes every drop of humanity out of this version, turning it into a dismal little number about accordions and only accordions.


2. Great White – Substitute (1984)

If this came out today I’d be in total agreement with Gene Simmons and Courtney Love that Rock is dead.


1. Frankie Randall – I Can See For Miles (1968)

I hate to single out a guy like Frankie Randall, who ended up having a relatively successful career, but this is outstandingly bad. Randall sang the theme song for the TV show Flipper, starred in the 1965 cult classic Wild On The Beach, befriended Sinatra, and eventually became a Vegas casino executive. But he was in way over his head recording a Who song, and he knew it. His “oh yeah” after the first verse comes across more like “oy vey”, and he’s not even Jewish.
Photo credit: By Davidwbaker (Photo taken by self at concert) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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