Every band loves a cover version, but few love them as much as Korn. Over the course of their 30-year career, Jonathan Davis and co have tackled everything from the obvious (Metallica, Faith No More) to the unexpected (Beastie Boys, Radiohead) to the utterly WTF (hair metal showponies Poison) – and that’s without the mythical Korn Kovers collection, which is rapidly turning into the Chinese Democracy of covers albums. These are the very best covers the band have turned in. And yes, it does include Posion…
Sepultura – Roots Bloody Roots
Ironic, given Jonathan Davis once referred to Sepulatura’s 1996 album as “a blatant Korn rip-off”. But any bad blood had clearly washed away by the time Seps guitarist Andreas Kisser and singer Derrick Green joined the Bakersfield band onstage at the Monsters Of Rock festival in São Paulo in 2013 for an exhilarating blast through that album’s near-title track. Aw, we love it when people kiss and make up.
Beastie Boys – Sabotage
The Slipknot/Korn double-header of 2015 was an event anyway, but those who turned up to Wembley Arena saw something truly special - Korn teaming up with the ’Knot’s Corey Taylor, Jim Root, Chris Fehn and Sid Wilson for a roaring one-off version of the Beastie Boys’ 1994 classic Sabotage. Now that was a single waiting to happen…
Radiohead – Creep
Korn’s 2006 acoustic MTV Unplugged performance found the band at a strange time in their career, and guest appearances from The Cure’s Robert Smith and Amy Lee of Evanscence couldn’t prevent it from being a little ‘meh’. Still, their take on Radiohead’s angst-rock classic is worth a listen, even if it won't keep Thom Yorke awake at night worrying about the competition.
Poison – Talk Dirty To Me
By the end of the 1990s, nu metal had become as omnipresent as hair metal was a decade earlier. Korn joined the dots between the two at a Family Values tour stop-off at Fairfax, Virginia's Patriot Center on Halloween 1998, running through a version of poodle-haired rockers Poison’s 1986 smash Talk Dirty To Me. They weren’t done there either: Fairfax was treated to versions of Scorpions' Rock You Like A Hurricane, Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It and Motley Crue's Shout At The Devil. Sadly no video exists of it, so you’ll just have to take our word for it.
Queen – We Will Rock You
For all his many attributes – and occasional dalliances with dodgy moustaches – Jonathan Davis is no Freddie Mercury. Still, he gave it his best shot at the Rock Am Ring festival in 2009, when the band stuck imperious Queen crowd-pleaser We Wll Rock You in the middle of Coming Undone. Cue jubilant scenes and an obligatory singalong.
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Deftones – Engine No. 9
The Life Is Peachy era was when Korn really embraced the cover version. As well as the covers of Ice Cube’s Wicked and War’s Lowrider that appeared on the album, the tour saw them throwing in snippets of Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh's hip hop classic La Di Da Di and this tribute to fellow nu metal pioneers Deftones. This video is just a short tease but it's great to hear Jonathan and Head attack the vocals of one of the Sacremento crew’s crunchier numbers.
Filter – Hey Man, Nice Shot
After Filter frontman Robert Patrick showed up to the Family Values 2006 stop in San Bernardino, California, Korn decided to spend a bit of time before their headline slot rehearsing the industrial-metal band’s debut single Hey Man Nice Shot – inevitably resulting in Patrick joining them onstage for a cover.
Slayer – South Of Heaven
A live favourite circa 2000, the band seamlessly transition between Clown and the ominous opening of Slayer’s 1988 benchmark South Of Heaven. This fan-filmed performance is of particular note for featuring Faith No More's Mike Bordin on drums, and Kid Rock having a go at the vocals – though Kid does lose marks as a roadie runs on stage with the lyrics for him.
Pink Floyd – Breathe
Korn first showcase their love of Pink Floyd when the Bakersfield band covered the latter’s 1979 hit Another Brick In The Wall on 2004’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 compilation. However, fans at Italy's 2011 Hydrogen Festival were treated to a snippet of the prog icons’ blissful Dark Side Of The Moon-era cut as a brief respite between Freak On A Leash and Shoots And Ladders.
Black Sheep – U Mean I'm Not
Korn have never hidden their love of hip hop, and during their early tours Jonathan Davis flexed his MC skills on this cover of New York rap duo Black Sheep’s 1991 track U Mean I'm Not. This fan-filmed clip from a 1995 show in Utah has bassist Fieldy adding some tradmark scratchy effects on the bass and Davis doing a damn fine job with the speedy rhymes.