The 80s will largely be remembered for bad hair, garish tracksuits and Del Boy falling through a bar in ‘Only Fools And Horses’. But it had its fair share of classic songs which were later given the rock treatment. Who better qualified, then, to pick the best covers from this decade than Gun’s Dante Gizzi, whose own band picked New York City funk mob Cameo’s single ‘Word Up’ and made it into a rock club guaranteed floor filler…
**9. SOUNDGARDEN – Girl U Want **(Devo, 1980) I only really heard this song recently, but it’s really intriguing to me. Devo had their own style altogether. Again, I would love to use Devo’s version of Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, but that would be cheating because it wasn’t an ‘80s song. They have such fantastic and bizarre time signatures though, and the way they capture the melodies on top of those is really something else. Chris Cornell’s voice is something else as well. They were our label mates at A&M back in the day, and we always got to see them performing live. I’ve always been a big fan, especially of the Badmotorfinger album – that was fucking brilliant.
8. TINA TURNER – Addicted To Love (Robert Palmer, 1985) Does this count? I think it rocks anyway. I was thinking about Tina Turner this morning, and how old she must be now. I mean, she must be really old [She’s 75 – Age Ed]. But what a star she was. She was my dad’s favourite. He had the hots for her big time. And her voice is stunning; it’s so fucking mesmerising, and she owns this song so much it could’ve been hers. It’s almost as if it was written for her, even though the Robert Palmer version was absolutely massive in the 80s.
**7. THE FUTUREHEADS – Hounds Of Love **(Kate Bush, 1985) It wasn’t my favourite track off the Hounds of Love album – Cloudbusting was my favourite – but the whole record is unbelievable, and I’ve always been a massive fan of Kate Bush. The Futureheads take on this song is brilliant. It’s really cleverly done, the backing vocals are great, and although the song’s quite indie there’s definitely a grunge appeal to it as well – especially with the choruses. I love the way they reworked the intro too.
6. DISTURBED – Land Of Confusion (Genesis, 1986) What a fantastic song. It was great song originally, and I’ve always been a massive Genesis fan. The Disturbed version doesn’t sway too much from the Genesis version, but it does take it to a whole other level of heaviness. The solo is amazing too. I think the music video for the original was by Spitting Image as well – I remember it from when I was a kid – and I’d have loved to have seen Disturbed do a similar thing. Imagine a David Draiman Spitting Image puppet.
**5. THE ATARIS – Boys Of Summer (Don Henley, 1984) **This is a brilliant song. As a kid I didn’t know much about Don Henley or The Eagles, and I can’t remember what year the original came out, but I remember vividly hearing it on the radio for the first time. Every Friday night, I’d run a bath and listen to the local rock radio station whilst I had a cup of tea, and I’d always tape the shows. From the first time I heard Boys Of Summer it became one of my favourite songs growing up. And I love The Ataris cover. The chords and the riff are really rocking, and they managed to turn a really cool song into an even cooler one.
4. QUIETDRIVE – Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper, 1983) Don’t get me wrong, there’s not much changing in this song – it’s just a lot heavier. And all these songs that I’m choosing were just fucking great songs to begin with. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re talking about, it’s just about great choruses and melodies; that’s what it’s all about. As a band we’ve always been about songs that you can sing along to – that’s our vibe – and growing up, I loved the original. Cyndi Lauper had loads of great songs, and Quietdrive added a lot of great character to this song with their version. They give it a really heavy sound, and the chorus stands out even more than in the original.
**3. NO DOUBT – It’s My Life **(Talk Talk, 1984) This is an amazing cover, partly because I’ve got the hots for Gwen Stefani, but I also think it’s an amazing take on an ‘80s classic. And I probably didn’t like the Talk Talk version of the song when it came out, but when No Doubt covered it, I found a new love for the song. I remember at the time thinking, ‘Wow, what a great track this is.’ So I’d definitely put this one up there in the top 10. I don’t think the chorus in the Talk Talk version stood out as much as it could’ve, but No Doubt really extenuated the guitars and the choruses and I think their version is brilliant. They took it and diversified it, and they did a great job.
2. MARILYN MANSON – Tainted Love (Gloria Jones, 1976) Fair play to the guy, Marilyn Manson is an absolute character, and for him to take a song like that and completely flip it around and make it so angsty and heavy – it’s an unbelievable take on a fucking amazing song. Let’s face it, Soft Cell’s  version made that song what it is, but I absolutely love Manson’s version. I remember when he first came on to the scene; his sound almost reminded me of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. And I looked at him and saw this menacing look behind his eyes that made me think, ‘Oh my god, this guy’s fucking out there.’ But then you see him talking in interviews and he’s so eloquent and nice; just a really down to earth guy. I think that’s absolutely brilliant. What a showman.
1. JOHNNY CASH – Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode, 1990) Truth be told, my favourite of all the Johnny Cash covers is Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. His voice is absolutely heartbreaking on that song. There’s so much depth and character in his voice, and when he sings you can hear all of the heartbreak over the years. What a voice he’s got. He can adapt to anything, and put so much soul and meaning and belief in it. I think that’s an incredible skill, and an incredible talent to have. But whether it’s Hurt or Personal Jesus, he takes these iconic songs and truly makes them his own.
Dante was talking to Matt Stocks. Gun’s new album ‘Frantic’ is out now and the band are currently on tour. For more details, click here.