Top 30 Ska Covers of All-Time

It’s basically a rule that every ska band that’s ever existed needs to have at least one cover song. Whether you like it or not, it’s going to happen, and the song they’re covering is probably from the 80’s. Ever get sick of the shitty generic ones, ie. 90% of them floating around out there? Us too. As a service to the ska community we’ve decided to compile a list of the 30 best ska covers ever.

Let’s get this rolling shall we? Oh an P.S., I take no responsibility for any stupid videos that go along with some of the songs. I only have youtube links because it’s easier to embed them. They’re only really there for listening to anyway, watch at your own risk.

30. The Aquabats – Throw Away The Trash! (originally by Kids of Widney High)

We start off with a fun one. The original is so bad it’s amazing.

29. Goldfinger – Nite Klub (originally by The Specials)

In one of Goldfinger’s few ventures into the true ska landscape, they roll out a winner here. This won’t be the last time we see some Specials on this list…

28. Reel Big Fish w/ Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer – Lyin’ Ass Bitch (originally by Fishbone)

Didn’t expect to see Reel Big Fish on here did you, huh?????? Yeah, you know they’ll be back. Coincidentally, this EP was the only good thing Zolof ever did.

27. Bomb the Music Industry! – Gold Soundz (originally by Pavement)

Usually BtMI! is so awesome that they don’t need to do other people’s songs, but when they do, it’s pretty boss. What’s really awesome is that it gets better than this one…

26. Mu330 – Motorbreath (originally by Metallica)

The first of 5 songs on this list from the Metalliska album…

25. Big D and the Kids Table – Iron Maiden (originally by Iron Maiden)

…and the second. Big D is a great band (although they seem to have fallen off recently) but it just seems like their best songs were written by other bands. Gotta love the Number of the Beast ending.

24. Bomb the Music Industry! – Pike St. – Park Slope (originally by Harvey Danger)

The original is a nice enough song, and props to you if you’ve ever heard it (or any other Harvey Danger song that’s not Flagpole Sitta) but the energy and synth additions push this one over the top. BtMI!, Reel Big Fish, and Five Iron Frenzy have this weird habit of having most of their covers be better than the originals…

23. Madness – One Step Beyond (originally by Prince Buster)

The first of three songs on this list that I’d probably put up a $20 bet that you had no idea it was a cover…

22. Big D and The Kids Table – Wailing Paddle (originally by The Rudiments)

What I really want to know is what your mom is doing in a locker room and what she did to get that asshole to yell at her.

21. Mustard Plug – The Freshmen (originally by Verve Pipe)

What a novel idea, let’s cover songs from the 90’s instead of the 80’s.

20. Streetlight Manifesto – Birds Flying Away (originally by Mason Jennings)

The first of two songs on this list off of the newly released 99 Songs of Revolution. Something tells me that once the series is finished, a few more of their songs are going to creep on to this list. Hopefully we won’t get too many more covers of their own fucking songs.

19. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Simmer Down (originally by Bob Marley)

So many Bosstones songs just missed out on making this list. In my eyes this is the best of the bunch.

18. Five Iron Frenzy – Mama Mia (originally by ABBA)

I wish someone would make a musical based on the works of FiF instead of ABBA.

17. Suburban Legends – Rose Tint My World (from The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

No song found (EDIT: info on how to fins this song below in comments)

It’s really the whole Floor Show medley and it rules. Even with the goofy shit near the end. I mean, goofy shit and Rocky Horror just seem to go together. Do yourself a favor and find this song (by any means necessary *WINK WINK*) and listen to it right now if you haven’t already.

16. The Hippos – There’s Always Something There To Remind Me (originally written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David and performed by a thousand fucking artists)

This song is from way towards the end of The Hippos’ “ska career” as the moved towards a bit of a different sound. This cover combines their old traditional ska sound with their new one and it forms a song that kicks a ridiculous amount of ass.

15. The Pietasters – Same Old Song (originally by The Four Tops)

I would say that I wish that this version of this song was available at the karaoke bar that I frequent but I wouldn’t want to get banned from going there for singing it 15 times a week.

14. The Specials – Enjoy Yourself (originally by Prince Buster)

Told you we’d see The Specials again. Didn’t think that it’d be them doing the covering, did you? Well funny you should say that…

13. Rx Bandits – Grey Matter (originally by Oingo Boingo)

Rx aren’t a ska band anymore (they still rule and you’re just flat out wrong if you say otherwise) but this song is from their still ska-ish era. Also, anytime a ska band covers an Oingo Boingo song, it’s guaranteed to be sweet.

12. The Specials – Message To You Rudy (originally by Dandy Livingstone)

You probably expected another Specials cover after that cliffhanger that got left on #14. If you’re anything like me you probably forget that this is a cover most of the time. Can’t really argue with either version. This one is almost more of a classic than the original.

11. Streetlight Manifesto – Such Great Heights (originally by The Postal Service)


Even despite that, this song is fucking amazing. Fuck you Postal Service, should have just written the lyrics and given it to Tomas Kalnoky so this could be the original.

10. Big D and the Kids Table – Little Bitch (originally by The Specials)

Great song, original is still better though. This makes me want to see The Specials live. Wait, what? They’re going to be touring America? Bullsh…

9. The Porkers – Kickstart My Heart (originally by Mötley Crüe)

Metalliska is a veritable gold mine. The best is still yet to come…

8. Five Iron Frenzy – It’s Not Unusual (originally by Tom Jones)

MORE REVERB! I wonder if Resse Roper is as “gifted” as Dana Carvey thinks Tom Jones is…

7. Reel Big Fish – Take On Me (originally by A-Ha)

Let me take some educated guesses here. A) You were wondering when the hell RBF was going to show up on this list again. B) You thought this song was going to be in the top-3 C) BASEketball is the best movie ever (3rd one is more of a fact)

6. Bomb the Music Industry! – If Assholes Got Awards, I’d Have A Trophy Case (originally by Infamous Jake & The Pinstripe Mafia)

No song found. If you’re smart, you’ll just go to here and download all of their albums (and a bunch of other rad shit as well) FOR FUCKING FREE

There’s a decent chance that you didn’t know this was a cover. There’s a decent chance that you haven’t heard the original. There’s also a decent chance, if you’re not a huge ska nut, you haven’t even heard this song. Thank god we’re here to change this. By the way, Jeff Rosenstock is so awesome he makes Sum-41 cool.

5. Reel Big Fish – New York, New York (originally by Frank Sinatra)

Reel Big Fish owns, Frank Sinatra owns, a cappella owns hard

4. Save Ferris – Come On Eileen (originally by Dexy’s Midnight Runners)

Something about a girl singing this just makes it wierd….ly awesome.

3. Reel Big Fish – Hungry Like The Wolf (originally by Duran Duran)

I’m tired of everyone thinking that Take On Me is the best RBF cover. This is it. This is clearly it. Anyone who disagrees, I’m going to kill them. Well, maybe not kill them….

2. The Pietasters – Big Balls (originally by AC/DC)

Metalliska strikes again, and this one is epic. Enjoy the little surprise at the end. The best part about this song is the guitar being replaced with the horn section during the chorus, much like….

1. Regatta 69 – Talk Dirty To Me (originally by Poison)

Our #1. Not only do we get horns replacing guitar, we get horns replacing guitar for the solo. This shit rules forever.

And that’s it. Oh, you want more? Well since you’ve been so good…


  • Bomb the Music Industry! – Anywhere I Lay My Head (originally by Tom Waits) Okay this song isn’t a very good cover, but it’s an amazing fucking song anyway.
  • The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Detroit Rock City (originally by KISS) Things I love: 1. Songs that mention Detroit that aren’t Don’t Stop Believein’ 2. Songs by The Bosstones 3. Songs not by KISS
  • Streetlight Manifesto – Here’s To Life (originally by Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution) If they can cover a BOTAR song on a Streetlight album, I can list the better one.
  • Mephiskapheles – The Bumble Bee Tuna Song Come on…
  • Whole Wheat Bread – I Don’t Give A Fuck ; Never Scared (originally by Lil’ Jon & The East Side Boyz ; Bone Crusher) Not ska but these are too awesome not to post. They toured with Big D once so I’m going to put on my Mills Lane hat and allow it.
  • Less Than Jake – Your Love (originally by Outfield) Okay, this song kinda sucks, I just wanted to have an excuse to post this version instead.

4 Responses to “Top 30 Ska Covers of All-Time”

  1. The Rose Tint My World cover (and pretty much every out-of-print SL song) is available on the Suburban Legends forum:

  2. No mention of Goldfinger doing Rio? It’s even better than Hungry Like The Wolf…

  3. A Message To You, Rudy was actually originally by Dandy Livingstone.

  4. thanks for the catch, joe. and thanks to evan for that link which will probably end up on the front page bookmarks.

    better than hungry like the wolf, brian? well, i don’t know about all of that but it’s definitely good. goldfinger is hard to qualify because they really fade in and out of traditional ska. i really wanted to put the sublime version of 5446 on here but decided against it because i really don’t consider sublime purely ska but more of an original combination of a few genres. i really see goldfinger as a punk band with a ska influence but i put nite klub on there because it’s a good cover and it’s actually got some horns. if it was top-30 punk and ska covers of all time, nite klub would have probably been taken off and replaced with 99 red balloons.

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