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  #1  
Old 07-25-2019, 03:02 PM
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Cover Versions Of Songs That Are Much Better...


I am inspired to post this after seeing Mariah Carey's cover to I Still Believe. Believe it or not, I only later found out it was Brenda K. Starr who originally came out with the song. Mariah Carey was apparently a back up singer to Brenda K. Starr (something I also found out, when the song came out). It turns out Carey really liked the song. And the rest is history.

Anyways, I think Carey does a much better version of it. She belts it out, with passion and conviction. Starr just sings it monotone IMHO. This isn't the first time this has happened, BTW. I like Kelly Clarkson's My Grown Up Christmas List over Amy Grant's version, ironically for much the same reasons.

Do any of the rest of you have any similar experiences with cover versions? Feel free to mention. And feel free to post links to Youtube if you want.

BTW, I could have sworn someone asked this exact same question. But I wasn't sure. I did a Cafe Society forum search for 'Cover'. And nothing came up. I even thoroughly search the page with my computer (Ctrl+F) just to make sure. And nothing. So it must be alright then.

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Old 07-25-2019, 03:25 PM
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Most Dylan covers are better.

Blinded By The Light by Manfred Mann is far better than the original.
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:31 PM
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I'll take The Beatles' "Twist and Shout" over the Isley Brothers' any day. Maybe I'm prejudiced in favor of the Fab Four, as always, but something about both the orchestration and John's vocals seem to have so much more oomph. (John apparently really hurt his throat doing that song!)
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:32 PM
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I know we've done this before. But here I am again. This time I'll nominate Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Texas Flood" (live versions, o'course) over the original.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:55 PM
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I know we've done this before. But here I am again. This time I'll nominate Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Texas Flood" (live versions, o'course) over the original.
I don't care if we get Cover Wars threads every second day, I'll be following avidly.

I like Ann Pebble's original version of I Can't Stand The Rain (she wrote it) better than Tina Turner's but Graham Central Station's version rules them all.
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:41 PM
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I like the Fiona Apple version of Across the Universe better than the original by The Beatles.

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Blinded By The Light by Manfred Mann is far better than the original.
The 'douche' version? Pistols or swords, sir?
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:24 PM
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I like the Fiona Apple version of Across the Universe better than the original by The Beatles....
I don't think that link went where you thought it did.

Someone mentioned Dylan. Probably the best cover song ever is Jimi's version of "All Along the Watchtower."

The Byrds version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" is also better than the original.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:08 PM
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I don't think that link went where you thought it did.

Someone mentioned Dylan. Probably the best cover song ever is Jimi's version of "All Along the Watchtower."

The Byrds version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" is also better than the original.
Oops, thanks. The Fiona Apple version Across the Universe, if anyone cares.
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:14 PM
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Oops, thanks. The Fiona Apple version Across the Universe, if anyone cares.
I really liked it, although I wouldn't call it better than the original, especially the original without Phil Spector's over-production. Here's the "naked" version:

https://youtu.be/NLddD6Xf-8g
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Old 07-27-2019, 05:38 AM
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Someone mentioned Dylan. Probably the best cover song ever is Jimi's version of "All Along the Watchtower."
Absolutely.
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The Byrds version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" is also better than the original.
Nope. Sorry.

The Byrds' version was all over the radio when I was eleven years old. Loved it. Then a year or two later, I heard Dylan's original version for the first time, and it totally blew me away. And this was at an age when I was still listening to mostly bubblegum/teenybopper stuff, but I knew right away that Dylan's version totally outclassed the Byrds.
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Old 07-26-2019, 06:54 AM
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...Blinded By The Light by Manfred Mann is far better than the original.
I agree with all the American Woman outrage, but we should also be jumping all over this remark.

Not just better, but "Far better"??. I'm wondering if Gato is even referring to the Springsteen version.


mmm
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:41 PM
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I like Sadé but I prefer the Deftones version of "No Ordinary Love"; while it's mostly faithful to the original, the menacing undertone is much more pronounced in the Deftones' version that I feel is more appropriate to the song than Sadé's very smooth original.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:18 PM
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Lenny Kravitz' American Woman. Took a mediocre muddy rock song, and cleaned and shined it into a great song.

The Club Nouveau cover of Lean On Me. The originally just seemed draggy to me.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:55 PM
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Lenny Kravitz' American Woman. Took a mediocre muddy rock song, and cleaned and shined it into a great song.

....
OK, now I've heard everything. Lenny Kravitz removed all of the soul and conviction of that song, and turned what was a searing guitar lead into a ho-hum piece of pop.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:03 PM
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OK, now I've heard everything. Lenny Kravitz removed all of the soul and conviction of that song, and turned what was a searing guitar lead into a ho-hum piece of pop.
Thank you for saying this. I was choking back the hatred I had for Kravitz specifically due to that song.
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:49 PM
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Lenny Kravitz' American Woman. Took a mediocre muddy rock song, and cleaned and shined it into a great song.
Not gonna read the rest of the thread before I respond to this, but abso-fucking-lutely not. That is an awful, awful cover.
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:55 PM
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Not gonna read the rest of the thread before I respond to this, but abso-fucking-lutely not. That is an awful, awful cover.
I agree 100%. The Guess Who's version is great; Lenny Kravitz' is mediocre at best.

The best remake ever: Grand Funk's "The Loco-Motion."
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:11 PM
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I prefer Boyz II Men's version of "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" compared to the original by G.C. Cameron.

Also I'll take the Black Crowes' version of "Hard to Handle" over Otis Redding's.

And Billy Idol's "Mony, Mony" over Tommy James and the Shondells'.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:19 PM
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Anything by Tears for Fears. I like their songs, but they sing them all wrong.

Last edited by echoreply; 07-25-2019 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:22 PM
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Faith No More's version of War Pigs is far better than Sabbath's in my book.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:53 PM
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Metallica's Whiskey In The Jar over all the previous iterations of the folk song including the Thin Lizzy version most people mention.

Johnny Cash's Hurt gets a win with a very narrow margin over Nine Inch Nails' original.

Last edited by Omniscient; 07-25-2019 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:51 PM
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Truly awesome


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Johnny Cash's Hurt gets a win with a very narrow margin over Nine Inch Nails' original.
Yes, Cash does a fantastic re-interpretation of the original (and it was not long before he passed away.)
Also the accompanying video won awards.

Trent Reznor, who wrote the song said " It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning – different, but every bit as pure."
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:21 PM
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I like Erasure's version of "Take A Chance On Me" better than the original ABBA version. Even though I like ABBA a lot.

My favorite version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is the Credence version. I'm not sure who gets credit for the "original" version, but it wasn't CCR.

And I vastly prefer Tom Jones' version of "Kiss" to the original Prince version. I can't stand Prince.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:28 PM
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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts' version of "I Love Rock and Roll" is better than the Arrows.

Cindi Lauper's version of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" is better than Robert Hazard's.

I don't know if they are better Works of Art, but I like Laura Brannigan's version of "Self Control" better than Raf's, and I like the Bangles' version of "Hazy Shade of Winter" better than Simon & Garfunkle's.

An interesting YouTube video: Top 10 Songs You Didn't Know Were Covers
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I like Erasure's version of "Take A Chance On Me" better than the original ABBA version. Even though I like ABBA a lot.

My favorite version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is the Credence version. I'm not sure who gets credit for the "original" version, but it wasn't CCR.

And I vastly prefer Tom Jones' version of "Kiss" to the original Prince version. I can't stand Prince.
It's a toss up with me between Gladys and CCR's version of Heard It Through The Grapvine. Marvin Gaye's version edges out them both.

Wait. . . waitaminit!!!!! You don't like Prince? Oh man, you and me cannot be friends.

Quick edit to add that Marvin Gaye has the original version.

Last edited by Biggirl; 07-25-2019 at 05:37 PM.
  #26  
Old 07-28-2019, 11:35 PM
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I like Erasure's version of "Take A Chance On Me" better than the original ABBA version. Even though I like ABBA a lot.

My favorite version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is the Credence version. I'm not sure who gets credit for the "original" version, but it wasn't CCR.

And I vastly prefer Tom Jones' version of "Kiss" to the original Prince version. I can't stand Prince.
Probably the best cover of Abba's "Take a Chance On Me" is the much, much healthier-sounding Sockeye version.

I'll take Gladys's or Marvin's version of "...Grapevine".

Yes, Tom's version of "Kiss" kicks total power balls/ass over Prince's.
By boatloads.


Also: Joe Cocker's The Letter kicks total power balls/ass over The Box Tops version.

For "Money", I'll take The Flying Lizards over The Beatles any day.

Never was a fan of Kiss's "Beth", so yeah the Ed Hall* version is better.

*One of the greatest trios to come out of Texas.
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Old 07-28-2019, 11:58 PM
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I saw a concert by Postmodern Jukebox a few weeks ago. They do covers of modern songs in old swing and jazz styles. They do a great show; if there was any drawback it's that I didn't recognize enough of the original songs to know how much they had changed them.

But I did start checking out their online work. They're all good, but if I had to pick one it's Timber. The original is by Pitbull and Kesha, but it works as '50s doo-wop.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:49 PM
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My favorite version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is the Credence version. I'm not sure who gets credit for the "original" version, but it wasn't CCR.
Strictly speaking, Gladys Knight and the Pips had the first version, then the Miracles (minus Smokey Robinson), then Marvin Gaye, and finally CCR.

There isn't really a "bad" version of the song, though I personally prefer Gladys' version with the Pips doing their famous backup.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:37 PM
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Springsteen's Born to Run, by Frankie Goes to Hollywood

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Old 07-25-2019, 06:13 PM
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The masters of covers songs - The Dickies!

Their covers kill the originals!

Knights in White Satin
Eve of Destruction
Paranoid
Silent Night
Sounds of Silence
The Banana Splits theme song
Communication Breakdown
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:45 PM
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The masters of covers songs - The Dickies!

Their covers kill the originals!

Knights in White Satin
Eve of Destruction
Paranoid
Silent Night
Sounds of Silence
The Banana Splits theme song
Communication Breakdown
See also: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

youtube link
  #32  
Old 07-25-2019, 07:00 PM
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99 Red Balloons--7 Seconds
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:27 PM
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The Ataris The Boys Of Summer
  #34  
Old 07-25-2019, 07:45 PM
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My pre-pubescent heart beat wildly for The Bee Gees and How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, I mean they wrote the thing. But you gotta admit Al Greene takes this song to a whole 'nuther' level
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:52 PM
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My pre-pubescent heart beat wildly for The Bee Gees and How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, I mean they wrote the thing. But you gotta admit Al Greene takes this song to a whole 'nuther' level
Green and Lyle Lovett recorded a fantastic version of Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away, too.

On the flip side, I prefer Talking Heads' cover of Green's Take Me to the River.
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Old 07-25-2019, 09:09 PM
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Funny thing; five hours ago I told my summer school class "When I'm king, it'll be illegal to do a cover of a song unless it's 1) Different.... and 2) Better." This thread is proof it can be done.

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Green and Lyle Lovett recorded a fantastic version of Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away, too.
That was from an album pairing R&B and Country artists. Every song's amazing... like "Rainy Night in Georgia" done by Sam Moore and Conway Twitty, or "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" with Vince Gill's crystal-clear tenor paired with Gladys Knight.
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:41 PM
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Funny thing; five hours ago I told my summer school class "When I'm king, it'll be illegal to do a cover of a song unless it's 1) Different.... and 2) Better." This thread is proof it can be done.

That was from an album pairing R&B and Country artists. Every song's amazing... like "Rainy Night in Georgia" done by Sam Moore and Conway Twitty, or "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" with Vince Gill's crystal-clear tenor paired with Gladys Knight.
You're not kidding - there are some great cuts (and great players!) on that album. Thanks for pointing it out!
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:00 PM
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Funny thing; five hours ago I told my summer school class "When I'm king, it'll be illegal to do a cover of a song unless it's 1) Different.... and 2) Better." This thread is proof it can be done.
Yes, a cover that is not different or better is just karaoke.

On that sentiment, it was suggested to me that covering David Bowie is incredibly difficult. They almost always come out as just lesser imitations. The only cover of his stuff that I could think of which is worthwhile is Chris Hadfield doing Space Oddity from the ISS. I don't think it's musically better, but is still satisfying.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:35 AM
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On that sentiment, it was suggested to me that covering David Bowie is incredibly difficult. They almost always come out as just lesser imitations. The only cover of his stuff that I could think of which is worthwhile is Chris Hadfield doing Space Oddity from the ISS. I don't think it's musically better, but is still satisfying.
I think that Seu Jorge's Bowie covers recorded for The Life Aquatic soundtrack are stunningly beautiful. Here is a video of him on KEXP (one of my favorite Youtube channels for live music):

https://youtu.be/TpQ5R3ftRGI?t=217

He plays three Bowie songs and I believe they are all amazing. Amazing guitar playing and his voice is fantastic.
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:51 PM
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Shinedown did a cover of Lnynrd Skynrd Simple man. While I've always liked the original, this cover blows that one away.
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:56 PM
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Emma Franklin originated the song, but Janis actually reached down a pulled out a part of her soul for this song.

Last edited by Biggirl; 07-25-2019 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:06 PM
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In the mid 90s the R and B group Blackstreet had a song called No Diggity.

About 15 or so years later, a group named Chet Faker did a cover that completely transformed the song while managing to keep the style of the original.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:17 PM
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In the mid 90s the R and B group Blackstreet had a song called No Diggity.

About 15 or so years later, a group named Chet Faker did a cover that completely transformed the song while managing to keep the style of the original.
I didn't know there was a Muzak version of No Diggity. They managed to strip everything out of that song that made it great. An accomplishment, I guess.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:20 PM
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I didn't know there was a Muzak version of No Diggity. They managed to strip everything out of that song that made it great. An accomplishment, I guess.
Ok then.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:26 PM
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As far as being an improvement on the original, my top vote goes to Milky Chance and their cover of Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off".

https://youtu.be/rL_r4v4ROpo
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:30 PM
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Feist - Inside and Out The Bee-Gees original is pretty bad.
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Old 07-25-2019, 08:58 PM
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Alien Ant Farm's rendition of Smooth Criminal is way more fun than Michael Jackson's.

In the movie Julia, Naked (a sweet little movie with a very misleading name) Ethan Hawke does a cover of Waterloo Sunset that is tons better than the Kink's original or any of the other covers I've heard.
  #48  
Old 07-25-2019, 10:11 PM
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Martha and the Vandellas' version of, "Heat Wave," is great, but Linda Ronstadt knocks it out of the park and into orbit. She actually makes me want to dance and NOBODY needs to see that.
  #49  
Old 07-25-2019, 10:38 PM
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Elvis's covers of Blue Suede Shoes, originally by Carl Perkins, and Hound Dog, by Big Mama Thornton, are certainly the best known versions, though I'm not sure they're "better."

Last edited by Colibri; 07-25-2019 at 10:39 PM.
  #50  
Old 07-25-2019, 10:39 PM
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The Cowboy Junkie's version of 'Sweet Jane' is better than the Velvet Underground's version.
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