Howard, Gary Dell’Abate, and the Stern Show Staff Debate the Best Cover Songs of All Time

“Joe [Cocker’s] version [of “With a Little Help From My Friends”] was fucking mind-blowing,” Howard says

June 25, 2024

From germiest co-worker to most difficult Wack Packer, the Stern Show staff has rarely shied away from debating life’s most hard-hitting subjects. On Tuesday, after a listener phoned in to praise Vanilla Fudge’s rendition of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” Howard revealed the back office had recently debated — and then voted on — the greatest cover of all time.

“They voted for ‘Hurt,’ the Johnny Cash version,” said Howard shortly before admitting he preferred the Nine Inch Nails original.

Howard’s personal favorite cover song, Joe Cocker’s rendition of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” took second place. “Joe’s version was fucking mind-blowing,” Howard said.

Joe Cocker performs at Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 Joe Cocker performs at Woodstock Music Festival in 1969 Photo: Getty Images

Rounding out the staff’s top five was Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn,” and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” which Kevin Costner discussed at length last week during his Stern Show debut.

Shining a light on the so-called Staff Music League’s deliberation process, executive producer Gary Dell’Abate revealed some tunes were downvoted for the wrong reasons. “It stops being about the music and then it becomes ‘I don’t like that person,’ or ‘I hated the movie,’ or ‘I don’t like who that person dated,’” Gary noted.

Staffer Chris Wilding, meanwhile, wasn’t very happy with the final selections. “You should fire most people who work here just based on their musical taste,” he told Howard with a laugh.

You Give us your email Address we'll give you even more howard!

By signing up, I agree to receive newsletters and marketing emails from the Howard Stern Show and accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy