Marilyn Manson may be the God of Fuck, but he's also the king of covers. In fact, some of his biggest hits have been cover songs. Manson's cover of Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) was his band's first legitimate hit and his rendition of Soft Cell's Tainted Love debuted at number 5 in the UK Singles Chart.
After this initial spate of covers in his early career, Manson has now returned to his tried and tested formula with his most recent releases: Cry Little Sister, God's Gonna Cut You Down and The Doors (opens in new tab) The End – which was swiftly removed from public circulation shortly after its release.
Manson has undeniably cracked the formula for a perfect cover track: he’s got a unique sound and a personal brand which offers the ideal platform for compelling adaptations.
With so many exclusive covers awaiting discovery in the hidden recesses of his back catalogue there are few artists in the scene who can rival him for quantity or quality. Over the course of the last 25 years, Manson fans have collectively logged a total of 62 covers. This begs the question: how did we all manage to miss so many?
The trick is knowing where to look. Manson doesn’t typically include cover tracks on his albums, preferring to release them as B-sides, bonus material, or motion picture soundtracks. He’s also notorious for using external material during live performances as introductions or mid-song breakdowns.
1. Down in the Park (Gary Numan)
This track is a B-side which can be found nestled on Lunchbox, the second single from Manson’s ground-breaking debut album, Portrait of an American Family.
2. Stigmata (Ministry)
In 2017, Manson teamed up with Tyler Bates (musician, producer and composer) to cover Ministry’s 1988 single, Stigmata, as part of the soundtrack for David Leitch’s film Atomic Blonde.
2. What Goes Around... Comes Around (Justin Timberlake)
After agreeing to appear on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, Manson realised he hadn’t prepared the required cover song for his showcase spot.
He and guitarist, Tim Skold, quickly cobbled together an acoustic version of Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around…Comes Around.
Although the original radio recording is missing from the BBC’s Live Lounge archives, fan videos of the cover track can be found on YouTube.
3. Highway To Hell (AC/DC)
4. Golden Years (David Bowie)
It’s no secret that Manson is a fan of David Bowie. In 1998, he chose to cover Bowie’s track, Golden Years, as part of the motion picture soundtrack for Dead Man on Campus. The track is considered a rarity from the Mechanical Animals era — a period which is stylistically inspired by Bowie.
5. You're So Vain (Carly Simon)
Here’s a rare sight — a Manson cover, included as part of an album. You’re so Vain was released as a bonus track on the 2012 album, Born Villain. The track features Manson’s long-time friend, Johnny Depp, who plays both drums and guitar in the original recording.
6. I Put A Spell On You (Screamin' Jay Hawkins)
This was among the first batch of covers Manson released. For some unknown reason, it hasn’t enjoyed the same mainstream success as its Smells Like Children album fellows, Sweet Dreams and Rock ‘N’ Roll N***er. This cover would later be brought back as part of the soundtrack for David Lynch’s 1997 film, Lost Highway.
7. Helter Skelter (The Beatles)
This isn’t strictly a ‘pure’ Manson cover but a collaboration with long-time frenemy, Rob Zombie. Although Manson has previously lost two band members to Zombie (John 5 and Ginger Fish) the two remain civil and joined forces to release this 2018 cover single. The two have even publicly asked fans which cover they should collaborate on next.
9. Suicide Is Painless (M*A*S*H)
Another bleak banger. Manson covered the M*A*S*H theme tune for the Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 soundtrack in 2000. It’s considered a rarity from the Holy Wood album era — a time period notable for the number of covers released as B-sides.
10. Mind Of A Lunatic (Geto Boys)
You can find this cover track hidden away as an international B-side on the 2003 single, This is The New Sh*t. The track is performed as an eerie monologue over acoustic guitar and is a distinct departure from the up-tempo style of the original.
11. Eye (Smashing Pumpkins)
Manson and bassist/guitarist Twiggy Ramirez joined Smashing Pumpkins on stage in 1997 for an acoustic rendition of their song Eye — a track that was originally recorded to feature on the soundtrack for David Lynch’s film, Lost Highway.
12. Surrender (Cheap Trick)
In December 2000, Manson appeared on MTV for a live rendition of Cheap Trick’s 1978 single, Surrender, as part of the music channel’s New Year’s Eve celebration. He punctuated the performance by offering to give singer Mandy Moore a gynaecological exam…