Let us talk of song re-makes and argue which of them was the better.

Ahhh song remakes. Happens all the time. There’s got to be hundreds upon hundreds of song remakes out there. But which one is the best out of any given two (or three, or four, or five)?
Let’s see how many song remakes we can name in here, and then let us further debate over which versions were the better.
“Proud Mary”. Good song. CCR did it well. Ahh, but it was also sung by Tina Turner. I actually like Tina’s version a bit better. :o

“The Locomotion” was sung by many many artists…however the only one I know of being Little Eva, who I think did it best. (Didn’t Grand Funk Railroad do a version? God, what were they thinking? Or am I thinking of a remake they did of “Wild Thing”?)
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” HAS to be sung by Marvin Gaye for me to like it. None of that Martha and the Vandellas for me…
I LOVED “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins, but I was surprised that I actually enjoyed the one by Mariah Carey. Still have to vote for Phil’s though.

However, I don’t always like the original artist as shown by some of the above.

I thought that The Fugees “Killing Me Softly” was better than Roberta Flack’s version.

And Alanis’ new one “Crazy” redone after Seal’s version, I think, sounds better done with a female voice.
:o And I know I may get some hard words over this one, but I liked The Wallflower’s “We Can Be Heroes” better than David Bowie’s original. :o
Go on and name me two (or more) songs made by different artists that you’ve heard and tell me the one you’ve always been partial to.

The Jane’s Addiction version of “Sympathy for the Devil” I think is superior to the original (Rolling Stones) and the cover by Guns-n-Roses (the worst). Perry Farrell adds the right amount of menacing creepiness.

“Dear Prudence” as done by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Just awesome.

I’ve never heard anyone re-do anything by The Cure that was satisfactory. Engine’s adaptation of “Fascination Street” though is far and away the worst. Fortunately they aren’t a well known band; I only know about them because my husband’s former bandmate foisted a CD on us.

I also prefer Metallica’s medley rendition of “Last Caress/Green Hell” to be superior to the (separate) originals by The Misfits.

/prepares for a beating

Alice Cooper just remade The Left Banke’s “Pretty Ballerina” and did an awesome job of it. It’s on the “Dirty Diamonds” album (released Aug '05)

While you gotta give credit to Dylan for the genius of “All Along The Watchtower”, most people seem to prefer the Hendrix version.

Also, you can’t ignore the Dave Mason version and people really seem to get off on the song when the Dave Mattews Band does it live.

Then there’s the version done by Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush that’s an obvious homage to Hendrix. (Hey, I’m being polite here.)

Michael Hedges did the most amazing cover, acoustically, but Pat McGee (Band) does theirs at least semi-acoustically. (AFAIR)

It’s also de riguer for any large group of guitarists jamming together as demonstrated by the finale on Night of the Guitar - Live! (1989, I.R.S. Inc). Guitarists credited are Randy California, Pete Haycock, Steve Howe, Steve Hunter, Robby Kreiger, Alvin Lee, Andy Powell, Ted Turner and Leslie West.

I’ve heard a version by Lenny Kravitz and Eric Clapton together, but don’t know where it came from. Pretty cool, though.

I’ve always been partial to the version by a sixties organ-combo-type band called Affinity. It’s a bitch to find, though.

I’m sure there are others.

The only cover of a Beatles song I have ever liked was The Brothers Johnson’s total reworking of "Come Together’, even if they got some of the words wrong. Killer groove. Not better than the original, but so different and inspired that I couldn’t help but like it.

Everything else, forget it.

It’s bedtime, but I’ll be back later with some more.

Covers that are better than the originals:

“I Fought the Law” by the Clash. The original, by the Bobby Fuller Four (?), was really good, but the Clash (or I suppose Joe Strummer) managed to see what it needed and provide it. A good song became a great song.

“Baker Street” by the Foo Fighters. I liked the original OK, but replacing the flute and sax with guitars did a world of good.

Heh. I have to say that Joe Cocker’s ‘With a Little Help from my Friends’ does it for me so much more than the original.

Actually, I don’t know if Joe Cocker did his own arrangements, but he does a pretty darned good job at covering other people’s tunes. ‘My Baby Wrote Me A Letter’ is another good one.

Dream Theater does a great cover of Elton John’s ‘Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding’. I don’t know which I like more; they’re both pretty stellar.

Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah.” Originally by Leonard Cohen. My god, what different voices singing the same song. John Cale has a passable version also.

While we’re on the subject, Joe Cocker does a helluva “Don’t let me be misunderstood.”

  • Peter Wiggen

Also, I’ve always liked (for some strange reason) Devo’s cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Gotta be a Devo fan though.

Passable??? John Cale is the best ever (well, Idle said we were supposed to argue). I do like the Cohen original though. Although there are a lot of his songs I prefer as remakes. Not because of his singing (he was born with the gift of a golden voice) but because of some of his cheesy arrangments (and do we really need those backup singers?) REM do a great version of First We Take Manhatten.

What else? The Swans do the best ever version of I Can’t Find My Way Home, I don’t care what anyone says. And usually they say, who? never heard of it. But still.

And at times I prefer the David Bowie version of Let’s Spend the Night Together to the orginal. But that really a matter of same Night, different drugs.

Idle Thoughts eats stupid food for breakfast. At least it wasn’t The Cure’s “Young Americans.”
I really really like Jason and the Scorchers’ “Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown.” It’s done in this psychotic country boogie-woogie that is no keeping with the spirit of The Stones, even if the cover takes some liberties.

I also like just about anyone’s cover of a Dylan song. I like DYlan and all; I just like other people’s covers better.

Speaking of The Left Banke, they did a version of “Walk Away Renee” which was previously done by The Four Tops. The Left Banke version wasn’t nearly as good, even though it got the most airplay.

:eek: I didn’t even see this till saoirse pointed it out. But after the stupid food comment, it seems you’ve recieved the drubbing you deserve so I’ll leave you alone.

But I hope you’ve learned something.

Grand Funk Railroad did the song while in the studio recording a new album. As was the case in the 70s, it was important to stay on the charts as much as possible lest ye be forgotten. Their record label was clamoring for anything to release, so they released “The Locomotion”. It went to #1. Kylie Monogue did a horrible version in the 80s.

“Cover King” Cocker also blew Harrison’s “Something” out of the water.

And speaking of Dylan, I prefer Manfred Mann’s “Quinn the Eskimo.”

And you haven’t heard the definitive rendition of “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” till you’ve heard Katja Ebstein’s German version.

I kind of like it when they “punk up” classic songs. For example, I like The Lemonheads version of Simon and Garfunkel’s Mrs. Robinson :o I know…sacrilage.

I just think when an artist goes in the opposite direction of the original, it makes it interesting.

I also like the girl group “punk” version of the Mary Tyler Moore theme that I heard in some movie.

And then there was this episode of The Gilmore Girls where Lane’s band was required to play that dorky song Believe It or Not so they rearranged it to fit their band’s image. I liked it a lot better than the original.

Can’t go past the Postal Service.

I really dig Disturbed’s remake of “Land of Confusion” by Genesis. They add a special angry edge that just completes the song (though I love the Genesis version as well).

And am I the only one who can’t stand the Indigo Girls remake of “Romeo & Juliet” by Dire Straits? The original has so much fantastic subtle musicianship that no amount of emotive belting from the gut can match. I guess I just think they remade it a little too whiny.

I always liked the original “Baker Street.” I thought it was one of the few rock songs that used a saxaphone in a way that made the song better. Of course, I played the saxaphone in grade school, so this was a matter of some concern to me. Still, I have to give it to the Foo Fighters if only because they are out there, every day, fighting foo.

And if we’re going to talk covers of 50s songs, let’s add The Cramps doing “She Said” by Hazil Adkins, and “Goo Goo Muck,” by Ron Cook and the Gaylads.

Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)'s cover of Lennon’s Jealous Guy.

And, speaking of Joe Cocker – the off-the-cuff cover he and Leon Russell do of Dylan’s Girl from the North Country on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen album. (And, no, I’m not tired of dragging that album into every possible music thread – thanks for asking. :wink: )