Cover songs worth a listen

In response to the “unholy grail” thread, I was wondering…

What covers have you found that you really do enjoy? I’m looking for covers where the cover artist has done something interesting with the original and made it worth listening to in its own right. Examples off the top of my head:

The Candy Skins’ cover of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield has a sample from the opening of “Sympathy for the Devil” running through it. Sounds goofy in description, but it really works to hear Mick in the background throughout.

The Cowboy Junkies’ cover of “Sweet Jane” adds lyrics that Lou Reed never wrote and changes some that he did, changing the mood of the song completely. But I really like it.

The Sundays’ cover of “Wild Horses” isn’t all that radical of a departure from what the Stones did, but having a beautiful female voice singing it certainly changes the feel for me.

So what other covers are out there that I should listen to?

Eva Cassidy’s version of Time After Time.

I forgot to post my favorite warped but wonderful cover, which is Vanessa Mae’s cover of “Hocus Pocus” by Focus – performed, of course, on the violin. :smiley:

There’s a band called Shine Down which does an excellent cover of Lynnard Skynnard’s Simple Man. In fact, I heard it on the radio and had to come here to get the song identified.

Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from my Friends,” “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” “Cry Me a River,” and “The Letter” are all great.

The Bonzo Dog Band’s version of “Monster Mash” is much better than the original.

Bernadette Peters’s version of “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” completely changes to song around in a superb way.

Lyle Lovett does a surprisingly great version of “Stand By Your Man.”

Two live covers you can find on your local file-sharing services are John Mayer doing an excellent acoustic cover of The Police’s “Message In a Bottle,” and Jason Mraz doing a live cover of “The Rainbow Connection.”

And since they’re both live, and not ripped from major studio releases, I think I’m well within my rights to encourage you to download these immediately.

Two of the creepiest songs I’ve ever heard are John Cale’s “Heartbreak Hotel” and the White Stripe’s “Death Letter” (originally by Son House).

I hate hate hate hate hate classical versions of pop and rock songs, but the Kronos Quartet doing “Purple Haze” is a must-listen. Similarly, I hate Garth Brooks and I hate Kiss, but I adore Brooks’ cover of “Hard Luck Woman”.

The Pet Shop Boys covering “Always on My Mind” and doing a medley of “Where the Streets Have no Name” and “Can’t take My Eyes Off You”.

Perhaps the best Stones cover I’ve heard, next to the Sundays’ “Wild Horses”, is Buckwheat Zydeco’s “Beast of Burden”. And the best Beatles cover may be Aretha’s “Lady Madonna”, though her “Eleanor Rigby” isn’t bad as well.

Even though I hate the original, I like Fountains of Wayne’s cover of “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. And Dynamite Hack did a cover of N.W.A.'s “Boyz in the Hood” with singing, rather than rapping, which is pretty good. Although it’s more of a novelty song, IMO, than it is an example of a great cover song.

I’ll have to “me too” Cowboy Junkies’ “Sweet Jane”. That’s a great song.

Tori Amos “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (B-Side on the Crucify EP)
Her and a piano with intelligible lyrics

Duran Duran “Thank You” (Led Zepplin cover from the album of the same name)
I remember I heard something about the original band stating that this was the best cover of the track yet and I prefer it to Tori’s Version. (Unfortunately I don’t have a cite for the “I heard …” bit)

I like Anthony Stewart Head’s cover of the Beatles’ “We Can Work it Out” (Music for Elevators) Turn the song into a much more melancholy tune. It is worth a listen at any rate.

t.A.T.u.‘s version of The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” (200 km/h …) (G,D&R)

Beth Orton’s cover of “Wild World” by Cat Stevens is far superior to that of Skye Sweetnam ::spit:: but probably because I like Beth better.

Urge Overkill’s version of “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon” far outstrips Neil Diamond’s efforts.

Sarah McLachlan’s version of “Blue” (Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff) works for me more than the Joni Mitchell original.

That’s about it from the top of my head…
Oh yeah and The Sunday’s “Wild Horses” is my favourite version.


man i LOVE a good cover.

Killdozer - take the money and run
Foo Fighters - Baker Street
The Misfits - Monster Mash
Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Lights Out
Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust
System of a Down - The Metro
Ben Folds Five - She don’t use jelly
Tori AMos - I Don’t Like Mondays
Cake - I will survive
Faith No More - Easy
The Fugees - Killing me softly
Jane’s Addiction - Sympathy for the Devil
Letters to Cleo - I want you to want me
Living End - 10:15 on a saturday night
Goldfinger - Just like heaven
Molotov - Rap Soy Y Bohemia (Bohemian Rhapsody rapped in spanish)
Morrissey - cosmic dancer
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds- Black Betty
so many many many more

I need to have another all covers show on my radio show.

**Elvis Costello ** - *Like a Prayer * (yes, the Madonna song)…btw, anyone know what this is on?
**John Mayer ** - Wonderwall
**Los Fabuloso Cadillacs ** - *Revolution Rock * (in Spanish)

I also have to vote for the Foo Fighters. Their versions of *Darling Nikki * and *Baker Street * are both great.

Holly Cole does a great version of “I can see Clearly Now”

Nina Persson - The Bluest Eyes in Texas
Cake- Sad Songs and Waltzes

Metallica’s Whiskey in the Jar.

Manson’s Sweet Dreams.

My ten favorite covers would have to be:

The Stooges-“Louie Louie”, from the Metallic KO album

The Lazy Cowgirls cover of the 13th Floor Elevators “You’re Gonna Miss Me”

The Cynics cover of the same band’s She Lives In A Time Of Her Own

Minor Threat’s “Stepping Stone”

The Hellacopters cover of “Get Ready” (The Temptations?)

Siouxsie and the Banshees’ version of Dylans “Wheels On Fire”

The Sex Pistols cover of “Wha’ca Gonna Do About it?”

The Mc5’s version of Van Morrisons “I Can Only Give You Everything”

Electric Frankenstiens cover of The Tubes’ “I Was A Punk Before You Were A Punk”

…and the all time greatest cover of all time, Social Distortions awesome version of “Ring Of Fire”

I like Elbow’s version of Independent Woman - especially when it is performed by Northern English kittens.

I like The Pogues version best.

Devo’s cover of “Satisfaction” is better than the original.

Anything by Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine rules.

Speaking of Devo I like their rendition of “Secret Agent Man”.

Jackie DeShannon - "The Weight"

The Rotary Connection (an extremely unconventional group from the late 1960’s) did a great many cover versions that were … different shall we say ?
Their best (IMHO) was “Soul Man”. (The harpsichord accompaniment really cinches that song).

Perhaps everybody’s #1 all-time favorite cover version has to be
Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of Dylan’s “All Alnog The Watchtower”.

And speaking of Dylan, the Turtles did a powerful version of “It Ain’t Me Babe”.

Richard Thompson actually made Oops I Did It Again listenable.