“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:

“Dancing Barefoot” – Patti Smith Group


Man, what a great song. This is a top contender for my favorite Patti Smith song of all-time, mainly because she co-wrote it. “Because the Night” may be her best known song, and while it’s very good … it’s a bit overplayed. I love the sinister groove “Dancing Barefoot” has and is one of the best “night songs” ever recorded. What’s a night song? It’s the kind of song that sounds just about right when you’re hearing it at 1:30 am. Pleasant dreams. From the 1979 album “Wave.” Produced by Todd Rundgren.

“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.

“Max’s Kansas City” – Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys

Here’s the punk version of Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music.”  Wayne (now Jayne) County gives a special shout-out to one of the preeminent underground music clubs of 1960s-1970s NYC, as well as all of the NYC punk icons of the day: Patti Smith, the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, the New York Dolls, Pere Ubu (yes, they’re from Cleveland, but they deserve a shout-out), Lance Loud and the Mumps, Richard Hell, Television, Tuff Darts, etc.  And no, the Backstreet Boys who backed Wayne up are not the barely pubescent, New Millenial bad-facial hair boys who want it THAT way.