At The Drive-In - “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” [from The Smiths’ Hatful Of Hollow; 1984]
Included on the posthumous At The Drive-In compilation This Station Is Non-Operational, the post-hardcore group’s cover is surprisingly restrained. Cedric Bixler-Zavala has a different vocal style than Morrissey, however, and it’s interesting to hear his unique delivery.
Deftones - “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” [from The Smiths’ Hatful Of Hollow; 1984]
Though the Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” might seem like an odd cover choice for Deftones, their moody, dark take on the track is a brilliant reimagining, careful not to stray too far from what makes the original so great.
Muse - “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” [from The Smiths’ Hatful Of Hollow; 1984]
Released as a B-side in 2001, Muse’s cover of “Please, Please, Please…” falls a bit short in arrangement, coming across a lot more Muse than Smiths, but singer Matthew Bellamy’s spot-on Morrissey impression (at his best, and then some) more than compensates.
Who played it better? Muse or Deftones?
H2O - “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” [from The Smiths’ Hatful Of Hollow; 1984]
Part of a 1996 punk and hardcore tribute compilation, The World Still Won’t Listen: A Tribute To The Smiths, H2O’s reworking of “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” takes the most liberties of any cover on the list. Heavier, faster and even lyrically altered, it’s the strength of H2O as a band that helps makes it work.
Radiohead - “The Headmaster Ritual” [from the Smiths’ Meat Is Murder; 1985]
It’s practically sacrilege to deem a cover song better than the original, but Radiohead’s live rendition of “The Headmaster Ritual” is essentially flawless. Renowned for their performance chops, Thom Yorke & co. not only recreate, but breathe new life into the track, making them about the closest thing to the actual Smiths this generation will likely ever get a chance to see.