Cover Versions of #1s – G4 and Paris Hilton

No, don’t run. Come back! I know that title is enough to scare off any right-minded person, but bear with me. Yes, good cover versions are all fine and dandy. But there’s also pleasure to be had from a bad cover version…

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, by G4 (originally a #1 in 1975, for Queen)

If ever a song was ‘uncoverable’, then that song is probably ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Credit then to pop-opera (Popera?) group G4, for giving it a go, and for proving just how impossible a job it is. It’s not that it’s a shockingly bad record; it simply adds nothing to the original. The vocals reach nothing like the heights (quite literally) of Freddie Mercury, and the music is karaoke backing track at best. They should have gone somewhere different with it – full-on opera treatment, a capella, something… G4 were runners-up in the very first season of the X-Factor in 2004, finishing behind Steve Brookstein, who we will sadly have to deal with in our regular countdown… This was their only UK hit. I remembered it existing, but I had completely forgot that this version actually made #9 in the charts!

‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’, by Paris Hilton (originally a #1 in 1978, for Rod Stewart)

The thought of Paris Hilton covering ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ is almost too obvious to be true. No comedy writer would dare be so unimaginative. But here we are. The final track on her thus far only album ‘Paris’ sees Hilton breathing her way through this pretty faithful cover of Rod Stewart’s polarising 5th #1 single. Since this album came out in 2006, she has drip fed us a string of singles, including 2019’s brilliantly titled ‘B.F.A. (Best Friend’s Ass)’. Of course she has never topped her first single, the… *whisper it very softly* … actually quite brilliant, reggae-tinged, ‘Stars Are Blind’.

The final two covers tomorrow!


8 thoughts on “Cover Versions of #1s – G4 and Paris Hilton

  1. Well i am not going to whisper it – Stars Are Blind is fab! Dont care whose name is on the label:)

    Thanks for reminding me sbout g4 – i allowed those brain cells to quietly pass on many years ago and now that i cant afford to lose any more its stuck in there again! My mate went see G4 but i politely declined an evening of cheese. I once went to see Tonights The Night, the rod stewart musical from the days before ben elton got his upstart crow mojo back. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Come back Rod all is forgiven…

    • I have to admit I went to an X Factor tour concert once upon a time… Not the G4 series. It was the series that featured Chico (he’s the only act I can remember from that night – he had some energy about him!)

  2. Yeah that Paris Hilton is the kind of thing that feels too good to be true.

    If you want more bizarre UK cover hits of “Bohemian Rhapsody”

    There’s also a “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” parody from the Chicago DJ behind the infamous Disco Demolition Night

    • The Braids, which I admit I’d never heard before, Bo Rap kind of works. It’s very mid-90s with its trip-hop beat, but at least they went for something different. The stripped-back piano riff works well, too. And they just skipped the ‘Galileo!’ section, which was probably for the best!

      ‘Do You Think I’m Disco’ is quite funny, and quite a loving parody from a guy who organised mass disco record burnings! While not a cover, the definitive take on ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy’ is still this:

      • I only became aware of the Braids’ cover from Todd in the Shadows using it in his “Return of the Mack” review to point at how the song stood out a lot from what British R&B sounded like in the ‘90s. Just really jarring hearing “Bohemian Rhapsody” in a very quiet style. That disco parody feels like such a great time capsule now of that high disco era. There’s also a funny clip of Tiny Tim doing a comedic performance of the song on the Tonight Show

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