Favorite Cover Songs

Here are a few of my favorite song covers:

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” Sixpence None the Richer cover of a Crowded House song
“Angel of the Morning” Juice Newton cover of a Merrillee Rush song
“Stay” Newfound Glory cover of a Lisa Loeb song (though Lisa Loeb is featured in the cover as well)
“Crash Into Me” Stevie Nicks cover of a Dave Matthews Band song

Anyone else want to contribute some?

I like the Bangles’ version of “Hazy Shade of Winter” better than Simon & Garfunkle’s.

I like Joan Jett’s version of “I Love Rock & Roll” better than the Arrows’. (Most people aren’t even aware that it is a cover.)

I like Jimi Hendrick’s version of “Watchtower” better than Bob Dylan’s.

I like Laura Branigan’s version of “Power of Love” better than either Jennifer Rush’s or Celine Dion’s.

I’ve posted it before and I’ll post it again
Wilson Pickett owns Hey Jude

Arlo Guithrie’s City of New Orleans

Lol Coxhill’s cover of “I Am the Walrus.

(You said “favorite,” not “best.”)

Anything by Richard Cheese, but what he does is not so much “covers” as they are satire.

Ivy - Be My Baby

Dwight Yoakum - Purple Rain
Prince wrote a pretty good bluegrass song!

I actually hate the original but I love what Devo did to I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.

Everything But the Girl - Alison
Not that different from Elvis Costello’s original, but I like Tracy Thorn’s voice better than his.

Faith No More - War Pigs
Jim Martin is one of my favorite guitar players ever.

This is a real toss-up, because they’re both so special, I’ll just have to go with both of them:

Killdozer putting their own twist on the old standard I’m Not Lisa and then lends a hand to Niel Diamond’s I Am I Said

I like Joe Cocker’s “With a little help from my friends” better than the Beatles.

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound covering Wilco’s I Am Trying To Break Your Heart is one of the few covers I consider better than the original.

The Dirtbombs twist on Stevie Wonder’s Living For the city is pretty amazing as well.

Reigning Sound covering Stormy Weather? Yes please!

I heard the Sunday’s cover of Wild Horses well before the Rolling Stones (Thanks to BtVS). After hearing both, I’m sticking with the cover.

Boomtown Rats’ I don’t like Mondays was covered by Tori Amos to great effect. I also prefer her version of Angie.

Vanessa Carlton’s version of Paint it Black is much more listenable than the Stones’ original.

Hmmm, I guess I like the Rolling Stones, just sung by someone else.

This is absolutely true! It’s got Muscle Shoals horns and Duane Allman - ‘nuff said!

And, of course, Aretha Franklin owns “Respect.”

Even Trent Reznor says that Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt is the definitive one.

This is undoubtedly going to sound really ridiculous to a lot of people, but:

Remember Showbiz Pizza? It was a pizza chain with animatronic animals, but unlike Chuck-E-Cheese, the quality of the animatronic shows was much higher, and was intended to entertain adults and teenagers as well as children, so the animal band - called the Rock-Afire Explosion - primarily “played” covers of popular songs. The voices and music were recorded by a crew of professional musicians who had serious chops, and the best singer of them all was a guy named Duke Chauppetta, who did the voice of “Dook LaRue”, the animatronic dog drummer of the group.

He and the rest of the Rock-Afire Explosion recorded covers of Light My Fire and Paul McCartney’s My Love which, I swear to God, I prefer to the originals.

Although I like other songs by the Doors, I never cared for LMF. I thought it was a tedious, meandering drag of a song. This cover of it turns it into a punchy, upbeat pop number with just enough of a hard edge to give it a garage-band sound, and the vocals build very gradually in intensity, climaxing in the final chorus which Duke belts out with genuine power and passion that Jim Morrison, frankly, couldn’t have pulled off himself.

As for My Love…just…damn.

Neko Case has a couple of good ones on her Middle Cyclone album. A cover of Sparks’ “Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth”, and a cover of Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me”.

Hindu Love Gods (Warren Zevon and a couple of the guys from REM) do a nice cover of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”.

Old 97s cover of Marty Robbins’ “El Paso”.

I really can’t tell which I like better, the original version of “Crystal” off of Buckingham Nicks or the cover version on the 1975 Fleetwood Mack album.

Most people didn’t know that half the British Invasion hits were covers of American r&b and that half the American hits were covers of folk songs and some vice versa. None of those songs penetrated the mainstream radio stations that were the only way most teens ever heard rock.

Some favorites.

“Do Wah Diddy Diddy” by Manfred Mann covering The Exciters
“Tobacco Road” by Nashville Teens covering J. J. Loudermilk
“Go Now!” by Moody Blues covering Bessie Smith
“Pride of Man” by Quicksilver Messenger Service covering Hamilton Camp
“Get Together” by The Youngbloods covering The Kingston Trio
“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Blood, Sweat, and Tears covering Brenda Holloway
“You Keep Me Hanging On” by Vanilla Fudge covering The Supremes

What the Fudge did there is a transformation worthy of Hendrix’s “Watchtower.”

Heart’s cover of Black Dog.

Voice of the Beehive covering the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You”
George Harrison covering Dylan’s “If Not For You”

I don’t, but I like Cocker’s version of “The Letter” better than the Box Tops’.

I thought Manfred Mann’s version of “Blinded By the Light” always wins this contest.

I’d like to add The Offspring’s version of “Next to You.”

A few of my favorite covers:

“Mutineer,” Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires (orig. Warren Zevon)
“I’m Not in Love,” Tori Amos (orig. 10CC)
“Der Kommissar,” After the Fire (orig. Falco)
“Piece of My Heart,” Big Brother & the Holding Company (Janis Joplin) (orig. Erma Franklin)
“Everybody Knows,” Concrete Blonde (orig. Leonard Cohen)
“Hallelujah,” Jeff Buckley (orig. Leonard Cohen)
“When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky,” Lucius (orig. Bob Dylan)
“Satisfaction,” Otis Redding (orig. Rolling Stones)

Other favorite covers most people don’t recognize as covers:

“Tainted Love,” Soft Cell (orig. Gloria Jones)
“Killing Me Softly With His Song,” Roberta Flack (orig. Lori Lieberman)
“One Step Beyond,” Madness (orig. Prince Buster)
“Everybody’s Talkin’,” Nilsson (orig. Fred Neil)
“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” the Temptations (orig. The Undisputed Truth)