Nirvana — “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)
Definitive cover version: Patti Smith (2007)
While we’re on guys who committed suicide only to have the next generation plunder their angst, how about Kurt Cobain? If this collection of terrible “Smells Like Teen Spirit” covers isn’t enough to convince you that the song needs to be retired for its own protection, then we don’t know what is. Of course, rules don’t apply to Patti Smith, who recorded a twangy, meditative version that includes some lyrics she wrote. This is instructive: If you’re going to re-appropriate a song that criticizes groupthink, it’s probably wise to add something of your own to it.