Carrie Underwood, the reigning queen of country music, has a surprising secret that not many of her fans might know: she was once a teenage metalhead with a penchant for hair metal bands like Guns N’ Roses. Growing up in a small town in Oklahoma, Underwood’s musical influences were far from the country genre that would later define her career. Instead, she found herself drawn to the gritty vocals of Axl Rose and other hard-hitting rock legends. This love for rock has manifested itself in her numerous rock covers over the years, showcasing her versatility and boundless talent.
“Sweet Child O’ Mine” (Guns N’ Roses)
Carrie Underwood’s dream of performing with Axl Rose became a reality at the 2022 Stagecoach Festival, where she joined the reclusive rock icon on stage. Underwood’s rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” was a showstopper, capturing the essence of the original while adding her own unique flair. Her admiration for Axl Rose was palpable as she belted out the iconic lines, making the performance a memorable moment for both country and rock fans.
“Patience” (Guns N’ Roses)
In 2006, Underwood showcased her willingness to step outside her comfort zone by delivering a soulful cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Patience.” Armed with an acoustic guitar and surrounded by her bandmates, she infused the song with her signature style, bridging the gap between country and rock. This performance highlighted her ability to seamlessly blend genres and connect with diverse audiences.
“I Remember You” (Skid Row)
Channeling the spirit of ’80s hair metal, Underwood tackled Skid Row’s “I Remember You” with a punchy energy that breathed new life into the power ballad. Her 2007 rendition brought a fresh perspective to the song, capturing its essence while adding her distinct vocal prowess. Underwood’s ability to reinvent classic rock tracks while paying homage to the originals is a testament to her musical finesse.
Heart’s “Alone” received the Carrie Underwood treatment during her performances opening for Guns N’ Roses. Her emotive rendition of the power ballad demonstrated her capacity to infuse rock classics with her own brand of passion. By including rock covers in her sets, Underwood cemented her status as a versatile performer with a genuine love for the genre.
“November Rain” (Guns N’ Roses)
Slipping “November Rain” between her own hits, Underwood transformed Guns N’ Roses’ power ballad into a stripped-down masterpiece. With an acoustic guitar in place of Axl Rose’s grand piano, Underwood’s rendition of the Use Your Illusion epic added a touch of elegance while preserving the song’s emotional intensity.
“Home Sweet Home” (Motley Crue)
Underwood’s cover of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” showcased her ability to tap into the song’s raw emotion and deliver it with a convincing snarl. With a powerful vocal performance, she breathed new life into the rock anthem, proving her capacity to connect with audiences across different musical landscapes.
“I Hate Myself for Loving You” (Joan Jett)
Underwood’s performance of Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You” at the 2019 CMA Fest in Nashville was a moment of pure rock joy. Her rendition of the hit song, also known as the Sunday Night Football theme, demonstrated her ability to bring rock’s rebellious spirit to the country stage. Sharing the stage with Joan Jett herself, Underwood bridged generations and united fans with her rock-and-roll prowess.
“Ace of Spades” (Motörhead)
Underwood’s interpretation of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” captured the essence of the hard-charging anthem. With a head-banging performance in Montreal, she embraced the song’s gritty energy and Lemmy Kilmister’s iconic spirit. This cover demonstrated her willingness to dive headfirst into the heart of rock and roll.
“Paradise City” (Guns N’ Roses)
Closing her set with Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City,” Underwood left her mark with a spirited performance at the 2013 CMA Festival. Her snake dance and spirited rendition of the iconic song’s intro showcased her dedication to delivering an electrifying show. Underwood’s commitment to giving her all, even in the face of rock classics, solidified her reputation as a performer who leaves it all on the stage.
“Summer of ’69” (Bryan Adams)
During a concert at the University of Massachusetts, Underwood took on Bryan Adams’ anthem of nostalgia, “Summer of ’69.” With her powerhouse vocals, Underwood added her own twist to the classic rock hit, infusing it with energy and charisma. This performance showcased her ability to interpret rock classics and make them her own.
“Never Tear Us Apart” (INXS)
During a performance at the Sydney Opera House, Underwood paid tribute to INXS with her rendition of “Never Tear Us Apart.” Her powerful vocals combined with soulful swagger paid homage to the Australian rock legends, highlighting her ability to tackle diverse rock styles.
“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (Stevie Nicks)
Teaming up with Keith Urban, Underwood showcased her rock duet skills with a performance of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” originally sung by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. Underwood’s collaboration with Urban added a dynamic layer to her rock covers, proving her ability to complement fellow artists seamlessly.
“Voices Carry” (‘Til Tuesday)
During the Delaware State Fair in 2008, Underwood demonstrated her versatility by taking on ‘Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry.” Her rendition felt like a big-budget remake of an indie film, adding her powerhouse vocals and extended high notes to the chorus. This performance underscored her willingness to explore a variety of rock styles and deliver them with her unique touch.