Who’s a weirdo now? Two decades after Radiohead’s classic ode to feeling unwanted gave creeps something to sing about, the anthem continues to inspire new interpretations—including a cover by former Broadway star Carrie Manolakos, which went viral after Gawker promised readers it would make their “ears orgasm.”
While pop icons from Prince to Weezer to Kelly Clarkson have tackled the song recently, some of the most haunting renditions have come from little-known artists like Manolakos. We’ve gathered seven of our favorites here.
It’s fitting that “Creep” would be perpetually reimagined, by the way, since even the original was, in some sense, a cover: the 1992 song grew out of The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe,” released in 1974.
Manolakos, best known for playing Sophie Sheridan in Mamma Mia!, wowed an audience at Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village earlier this month when she performed the Radiohead classic at the release party of her debut album, Echo. Thanks to a flattering Gawker post, which called her rendition “upsettingly good,” it quickly went viral. So long, show tunes.
After Daniel Mustard performed his cover on the New York-based Opie & Anthony radio show in December 2009, the street musician—then a homeless addict—became an overnight Internet phenomenon. Shortly after, he scored a record deal and got clean. Mustard’s raspy voice is reminiscent of Tom Waits at times.
Ingrid Michaelson brought her indie vocals to the song in this soulful ukelele version, which Paste magazine dubbed its No. 1 favorite Radiohead cover. Michaelson has done interpretations of everyone from Bon Iver to Britney Spears, but this one was so good it inspired one YouTube commenter to write: “When the Bible refers to a choir of angels, it really means a song in which Ingrid has recorded all the voice parts herself.”
Scala & Kolacny Brothers Belgian Girls Choir
Scala & Kolacny’s eerie choral version of “Creep” was a poignant choice for The Social Network movie trailer, sending a clear message about the film's take on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The cover was heard more than 250 million times in theaters alone.
Street Corner Symphony
All great songs deserve the a cappella treatment. Here, the Nashville-based, all-male group Street Corner Symphony brings a minimalist rendition of "Creep" to the second season of NBC’s The Sing-Off, which judge Ben Folds praised as “awesome” and Nicole Scherzinger said might even be better than the original. The group finished second in the season’s overall contest.
Alt-country rocker Brandi Carlile, best known for her hit song “The Story,” belts out her interpretation in venues across the country. Accompanied by her electric guitar, she lends the tune a raw, rock vibe.
This acoustic version by Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders, is a powerful early tribute. It’s included on the DVD for the group’s 1995 live album The Isle of View, which featured special guests the Duke Quartet and Damon Albarn of Blur.