Donielle Flynn

March 1977: Rock singers David Bowie, right, and Iggy Pop in Germany. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Classic rock is my passion. I feel confident in my knowledge of classic rock covers and originals, but I still learn something new every day. When it comes to cover songs, we sometimes forget how much rock n roll has borrowed from others.  Led Zeppelin is known as “the band that never wrote a bad song,” but they didn’t write them all… in fact, sometimes they gave credit, and sometimes it’s questioned as to whether they should have given, but didn’t.

Everyone knows that Rock N Roll would not exist without The Blues.  You are welcome to disagree with that statement, but I would suggest doing some homework first.  Most rock artists will list blues artists as their influencers and many rock songs were originally blues songs. And, of course, you’re always welcome to catch up on your Classic Rock News.

The ’70s glam-rock that was HUGE in the UK, didn’t really make its way across the pond until a decade later. but it was a HUGE influence on our American hairbands of the ’80s.

Here’s a List of Ten Classic Rock Covers that You (maybe) Forgot Were Covers

  • Jet Airliner - Steve Miller

    Did you know this? I found out, literally, today. LOL… I’m not proud, just honest. I was talking to my boss about cover songs and he said, “You know Paul Pena, right?” I had a blank look on my face so he pulled this video up on YouTube. Listen and be amazed.

  • Dazed and Confused - Led Zeppelin

    I was researching cover songs for the Blue Plate Special on the Power Lunch and I saw “Dazed and Confused” which left me dazed and confused.  I thought this song was Led Zeppelin’s for so long… it’s not true.  The song was originally written and performed by Jake Holmes… although to give credit where credit is due. Led Zeppelin heavily borrowed from a lot of songs, but they made everyone their own. The lyrics of “Dazed and Confused” are significantly different along with, obviously, the arrangement, but can hear the bones of the original. 100%


  • "Back Door Man" - The Doors

    So much of Rock N Roll comes from The Blues. “Back Door Man” was written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin’ Wolf in 1960. Willies Dixon also wrote Led Zeppelin’s “You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby.”

  • "Mony Mony" -Billy Idol

    Tommy James & the Shondells originally released “Mony Mony” in 1968, but a for all the ’80s teens, this song belonged to Billy Idol.

  • "I Love Rock & Roll" - Joan Jett

    Alan Merril wrote this song in the ’70s and performed it with The Arrows.  It was actually a rebuttal song to The Rolling Stones’s “It’s Only Rock and Roll.”  About a decade later, Joan Jett wanted to record this song with The Runaways, but they passed on it.  Once she went solo, she recorded it and the rest is history.

  • "China Girl" - David Bowie

    This one is a bit convoluted.  Iggy Pop and David Bowie wrote this song together, but it first appeared on Iggy’s debut album, The Idiot, in 1977.  David Bowie released it in 1983 (prime MTV year).  Bowie’s rendition peaked at #10 in the U.S. and went to #2 in the UK.


  • "Tainted Love" - Soft Cell

    More than one One-Hit Wonder’s song was actually a cover.  “Tainted Love” was written and performed by Gloria Jones and released in 1976.


  • "New York Groove" - Ace Frehley

    The song “New York Groove” was written by Russ Ballard, an English musician and producer.  It was first recorded by the Eglish glam-rock band, Hello in 1975.  Ace Frehley recorded it for his solo album in 1978… Remember when all four KISS members decided to release solo albums…. on the same day?

  • "Cum On Feel The Noize" - Quiet Riot

    UK glam-rock of the ’70s was a HUGE precursor for the ’80s Hairbands in the U.S.  Ironically, Quiet Riot didn’t want to cover this song by Slade (it went to #1 in the UK in 1973).  It was their producer’s idea to cover it.  Quiet Riot lead singer, Kevin DuBrow tried to tank it, but when the band started playing, there was no going back.  The song helped take Quiet Riot’s album, Metal Health, to #1 in 1983.


  • "Smoking in the Boys Room" - Motley Crue

    I was born and raised in Michigan.  I was a teen when I first heard “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” performed by Motley Crue.  I had no idea, for DECADES that Ann Arbor’s Brownville Station had released the song first and that I was listening to a cover done by Motley Crue.

  • BONUS TRACK! "I Just Want to Make Love to You" - Foghat

    I was blown away by the WCSX request lines when Lee called me to request this song.  I said, “Who did the original?”  Lee said, “Etta James.”  My mind was blown.  Etta James is such an OG. Again, you learn something every day!  Thanks for the call and info, Lee!

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