11 of Our Favorite Miley Cyrus Rock Covers

We rounded up our favorite performances of Miley Cyrus rock covers to show her versatility and appreciation of the genre.

By bonneville on March 16, 2023
Joan Jett, Tommy James, and Miley Cyrus perform on stage
CLEVELAND, OH – APRIL 18: Inductee Joan Jett of Joan Jett and The Black Hearts (L) performs with musicians Tommy James (C) and Miley Cyrus during the 30th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Public Hall on April 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Despite being known for her hit pop songs, Miley Cyrus also knows how to rock out and celebrate the legacy of classic rock. Over the years, she’s performed a number of different covers, adding her own spin to it with her signature raspy, deep, and powerful voice. Rather than simply rehashing old tunes like a jukebox, her style comes through in these covers through her performance and rendition. 

As a popular artist, Miley Cyrus’s rock covers have introduced many fans to classic rock, inviting them to explore legendary artists such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Velvet Underground. Here are some of our favorite rock covers’ of hers she’s performed over the years. 

Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd 

Released in 1975, this song was written as a tribute to Syd Barrett, the former lead singer and songwriter of Pink Floyd, who had left the band due to mental health issues. The lyrics express feelings of loss and absence, reflecting the band’s regret over Barrett’s departure and their longing for his return. 

Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground

Released in 1970 as a part of their album “Loaded,” this song is one of the band’s most enduring and popular songs. “Sweet Jane” is known for its upbeat melody and catchy guitar riffs, as well as its iconic opening line, “Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand.”

The song’s lyrics describe a yearning for a better life and a desire to break free from societal constraints. Cyrus likely chose this song to cover as it paralleled her own journey of trying to break free of expectations put on her as a young Disney star. 

Heart of Glass by Blondie

Released in 1979 as a part of their album “Parallel Lines,” this song is known for its distinctive disco-infused sound and catchy chorus. The lyrics describe the fragility of love and fear of being hurt, and is said to be inspired by a relationship between Debbie Harry and her ex-boyfriend and Blondie guitarist, Chris Stein. 

Rebel Yell by Billy Idol 

“Rebel Yell” was released in 1983 on Idol’s album of the same name. It is an iconic song with lyrics that touch on a wild and rebellious lifestyle that touched the 80s zeitgeist. 

Performed in 2012, this rendition possibly connected Cyrus to Idol, who later collaborated with her on “Night Crawling,” a track on the album “Plastic Hearts.”  

Wildflowers by Tom Petty

This song was released in 1994 as a part of Petty’s solo album of the same name. Wildflowers represent the fleeting nature of existence, and this acoustic melody and heartfelt lyrics are said to be about the loss of a close friend. 

Zombie by The Cranberries

“Zombie” was released in 1994 as a part of the album “No Need to Argue.” Lead singer Dolores O’Riordian’s distinct vocals and haunting melody made this song a long-lasting classic. It is said to be inspired by the conflict O’Riordan experienced growing up during the Troubles, a period of turmoil and political violence in Northern Ireland.

(It’s also one of this writer’s favorite songs of all time.)

Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

A list of Miley Cyrus rock covers wouldn’t be complete without this track by Metallica. Cryus is a big fan of Metallica, and it’s even rumored that she is working on a Metallica covers album.

This song was released in 1992 from their self-titled fifth studio album, also known as “The Black Album.” The song was written by Metallica’s lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, James Hetfield. It is one of their most popular and enduring tracks, with its emotional lyrics and soaring guitar melody.

Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

Released in 2009 from their album “Backspacer,” this rock song, written by lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Eddie Vedder, features raw emotional power. It’s been praised for its beauty and simplicity, making it a popular soundtrack for a romantic occasion. 

Smells Like Teen Sprit by Nirvana 

This song’s title is said to have been inspired by the drummer of Bikini Kill, Tobi Vail, who was dating lead singer Kurt Cobain at the time. According to Songfacts, lead singer of Bikini Kill Kathleen Hanna spray painted “Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit” when they were roaming around Seattle since Vail wore a deodorant called Teen Spirit.

I Love Rock n Roll/ Cherry Bomb/ Bad Reputation by Joan Jett 

Miley Cryus is a huge fan of Joan Jett, and the two have even performed together on a number of different occasions, including a collaboration on her album “Plastic Hearts” for the track “Bad Karma.”  

Jett first rose to fame in the 1970s as the lead singer and guitarist of the all-female rock band The Runaways before embarking on a successful solo career. Jett’s music is characterized by its driving, guitar-heavy sound, and lyrics that often challenge gender norms and traditional rock stereotypes. Jett broke down many barriers for women in the male-dominated world of rock music and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 for her contributions. 

Black Dog by Led Zeppelin 

Released in 1971 as the lead track from their fourth studio album, “IV,” this song references a black dog and a woman who won’t let go, likely as a metaphor for addiction or depression. It is widely regarded as one of Led Zeppelin’s most iconic songs, with its enduring popularity and influence heard in the music of countless artists across genres and generations.

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