This list is built of my favorite covers songs. These aren’t necessarily the best covers ever produced but instead is a combination of MY favorite covers.
Am I Right? Am I Wrong? Only time and you the readers/listeners can determine that. Want to add your own list feel free to email me at email@example.com, hit me up on twitter @tempiwmf, or comment below.
Without further ado here is MY list:
- Hurt – Johnny Cash – Moving, dark, and dramatic. This nine inch nails cover speaks to the life Johnny led and you can hear the pain of those years in his vocals. A moving instrumental only adds to the power of his pain and the glory of his redemption. One of the best covers in the modern era.
- Fuck The Police – Rage Against The Machine Live – A live cover of a protest ballad done by one of the best protest bands of all time (not on Spotify but you can find it here).
- John The Revelator – Dave Matthews, Tim Reynolds, Carlos Santana – A different take on a gospel/religious song. When I hear other versions it makes me mad it’s not this one (not on spotify but you can find it here).
- Shout – Otis Day & The Knights – Wedding favorite & best version of this song (not on spotify but you can find it here).
- Gin & Juice – The Gourds – A bluegrass cover of an all time rap song. Yes Please
- Down With The Sickness – Richard Cheese – An amazing lounge cover of a classic 90’s metal song that was also featured in the movie Dawn Of The Dead.
- Star Spangled Banner – Jimi Hendrix – Made famous at Woodstock this is one of the most memorable covers of the National Anthem. It just beat out Boyz To Men cover from the 96 Atlanta Olympics.
- Feeling Good – Muse – A great cover of a song that has been covered many of times but never as a rock opera.
- Nothing Compares To You – Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – You could easily make a top 25 of just Me First & The Gimme Gimmes but this one always stands out. A punk cover of a classic Prince (RIP) that pays tribute to the original while adding just a bit of edge.
- Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm – As a lover of all things Michael Jackson this song dropped out of the sky like manna from heaven. It was epic upon debut and still holds a place in my heart.
- The Glory Of Love – New Found Glory – Take a classic from the Karate Kid, speed it up a bit, and add punk thrash to it. You’ll have birth this amazing classic and you’ll love it.
- Paranoid Android – Easy Star All Stars – The Easy Star All Stars are known for their cover albums and Radiodread is one of if not their best. Easily could have selected Karma Police (with Citizen Cope), Lucky (with Frankie Paul), or Let Down (with Toots & the Maytals) but this particular song is a beautiful take on an already beautiful creation. 5 Stars
- Boys Of The Summer – The Ataris – This is one of the rare cases where the cover is better than the original. This receives an uptick in speed, energy, and passion.
- Royals – Pentatonix – This is another case where the cover is better than the original. The royals took a song I despised and made me love it. Vocals that dance like falling stars mixed with tones wider than the Grand Canyon make this an amazing reproduction.
- Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright – Discovered on the Shrek soundtrack I was in love from the first moment I heard it. Play it at my wedding, funeral, or just when I need to hear heavenly music.
- The Man Who Sold The World – Nirvana – From their icon unplugged session this David Bowie cover is simply classic for anyone who grew up during the grunge days.
- I Will Always Love You – Whitney Houston – Sometimes a great song needs a greater singer to make it all time. Whitney did this and more to the Sinead O’Conner classic.
- I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Creedence Clearwater Revival – An amazing classic rock cover of an amazing Motown ballad. I gave this 11 minute version the odd over the more famous cover done by Marvin Gaye.
- Blinded By The Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – I could have also added Quinn the Eskimo to this list but Blinded by the light just beat it out. This is a colorful psychedelic cover that makes you imagine acid trips, colorful spinning wheels, and other 70’s fun.
- Killing Them Softly – The Fugees – This classic cover is another case where the cover is better than the original (in my opinion). Lauren Hill’s voice makes this song feel personal, intimate, and happening to the listener.
- All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix – This cover by Jimi Hendrix is one of if not the greatest cover of all time. Amazing guitar riffs, passion filled vocals, and classic lyrics that almost everyone can sing.
- Respect – Aretha Franklin – Many don’t know that this is actually a cover originally done by Otis Redding. This version is more known because it’s better.
- I Fought The Law – The Clash/Green Day – I am a fan of either version and consider them equal even though the Clash’s version is better known. A funny song with many elements of truth.
- Love’s In Need – Blackstreet – A great song by Stevie Wonder is updated with a 90’s sound and the vocal strength of Blackstreet. This one hits you right in the feels.
- Shame – System Of A Down Feat. Wu Tang Clan – This cover is a delightfully dangerous dance of rap and rock. System thrashes while Wu Tang provides some authentic flavor towards this rap classic. Rated R for language it’s rated amazing for performance.
These songs are included largely because I love them and because they act as replacement covers for the songs above that aren’t available on Spotify.
- Sweet Dreams – Marylin Manson – Marylin Manson takes a sweeping 80’s hit and turns it into a dark menacing ballad of intrigue and foreboding. Hard not to appreciate how he changed the song so drastically without destroying it.
- I Will Survive – Cake – A cover of a classic disco hit this one beat out other versions of this song including a spirited version by Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. This version is a loungy rock anthem that benefits from outstanding guitar riffs and swooning vocals.
- Iko Iko – The Belle Sisters – A cover that isn’t too different from the original but different enough to feel special. With a faster pace this gives off a party feel to it which is nicer than the original.
- The Boxer – Mumford & Sons – An easy folksy cover of a Paul Simon classic. Beautiful vocals are mixed with sweep guitar riffs, and bluegrass echoes. It holds true to the original while giving it a unique feel.
- We Can’t Stop – Bastille – This is one of their many amazing covers (No Scrubs, Locked Out Of Heaven, What Would You Do, Rhythm Of The Night, etc). This cover, much like Pentatonix’s cover of Royals (see above), surpasses the original to make a better product. The homage he pays to Miley’s father Billy Ray in the middle of the song only makes this piece that much better (not available on spotify but you can hear it here)
- Anything By Me First & The Gimme Gimmes – This punk cover band is the greatest cover band of all time. Each album they proof it over and over again.
- From The Screen To Your Stereo Pt 1 & 2 – A New Found Glory – A collection of amazing songs from movies and television crafted in a punk style that gets your soul hopping and your feet popping.
- The Entire Discography Of Easy Star All Stars – Reggae covers of such classic albums as Ok Computer (Radiodread), Dark Side of the Moon (Dub Side Of The Moon), Sergeant Pepper (Lonely Heart Dub Band), and Thriller (Thrillah). If you love any of these albums or if you just love to dance you’ll enjoy these.