“Hey Joe” – Wilson Pickett


Apologies to Jimi Hendrix, but the Wicked Pickett’s cover of “Hey Joe” is probably the best cover of this garage-punk war horse ever recorded.

The 2nd best version? Probably Jimi’s though Patti Smith’s version gives me the chills. I guess there’s only one way to settle this … below are the Jimi and Patti versions. You tell me which is better.

Jimi Hendrix:

Patti Smith:

“Piss Factory” – Patti Smith

This is the B-side of Smith’s amazing “Hey Joe” cover / debut single.  Yes, if you’ve heard this, your first reaction is likely “This was a B-side ?!?!?”  One of the most brutal and despairing looks of blue-collar life ever.  And having worked on an assembly line, Smith knew and lived this s–t!

“Hey Joe” – Patti Smith

One of the best covers of all time.  This was Smith’s debut single and almost 40 years later, is still a stunner.  Smith reimagines “Hey Joe” as a song about Patty Hearst and her band gradually ratchets up the tension as the song progresses.  Driven by piano and some of the absolute sickest and most intense electric guitar ever recorded, the song explodes into a frenzy of sex, violence, and revolution.  It’s so mind-blowingly intense, it’s easy to see why some critics were actually disappointed by her (damn good) debut album “Horses” which came out a year later.