I've mentioned before that I dig covers, but I usually try to avoid novelty covers that play the original material for yuks. Tori Amos covering Slayer. Celtic Frost covering "Mexican Radio". Everyone covering Miley Cyrus. Such covers inspire laughter at first, then irritation, and then depression. Richard Cheese still exists. Music is terrible.

But occasionally, someone will record or perform a novelty cover that is so truly odious that I cannot turn away. Iron Maiden's classic "Run to the Hills" has endured a lot of awful cover versions over the years, but I defy you to name one that outstrips "Michael MacDonald"'s rendition — which is streaming below — for sheer horribleness. You may be familiar with this Grammy Award-winning yacht rocker's work as the singer of the Doobie Brothers, or through his collaborations with Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan. "He" (really an imitator, one hopes) performs here with The Guilty Pleasures, a Vegas casino house band. Some observations regarding the performance follow:

—These guys are clearly going for comedy here; the band credits MacDonald as "the writer of every song for every artist since 1978" at the end of the video. This fact does nothing to allay my horror.

—Are the Guilty Pleasures even playing the original song's chord progression? The bizarre juxtaposition of the arrangement and the lyrics makes it hard to tell.

—The audience clearly has no idea what the hell is going on.

—There are not one, but two unused saxophones onstage.

—These guys take the whole 'yacht rock' thing seriously; there's a lifesaver-bedecked ship's tiller onstage, and the drummer's got one of those nautical hats. I'm pretty sure that "MacDonald" is wearing Sperry Top-Siders, too.

—The guitarist manages some semi-credible shredding at the end of his solo, which somehow makes the whole ordeal even worse.

Witness as "Michael MacDonald" cruelly desecrates all that which you hold dear below.

— Doug Moore



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