The best cover songs don’t sound like covers at all.
Some artists manage to completely reinvent the song and make it their own.
We’ve picked what we think are the best cover songs of all time.
Get ready for a few surprises too.
Table of Contents
- 1. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
- 2. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
- 3. “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner
- 4. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
- 5. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor
- 6. “All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix
- 7. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
- 8. “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by The Fugees
- 9. “The Man Who Sold The World” by Nirvana
- 10. “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
- 11. “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
- 12. “Twist And Shout” by The Beatles
- 13. “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson
- 14. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cindy Lauper
- 15. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses
- 16. “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse
- 17. “Jolene” by The White Stripes
- 18. “Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and The Pips, Marvin Gaye
- 19. “With A Little Help Of My Friends” by Joe Cocker
- 20. “Walk This Way” by Run-DMC
- 21. “Feeling Good” by Muse
- 22. “I Shot The Sheriff” by Eric Clapton
- 23. “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett
- 24. “It’s My Life” by No Doubt
- 25. “Take Me to the River” by Talking Heads
- 26. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin
- 27. “Satisfaction” by Devo
- 28. “Hotel California” by Gypsy Kings
- 29. “La Bamba” by Los Lobos
- 30. “I Fought The Law” by The Clash
- 31. “Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica
- 32. “Stand By Me” by Otis Redding
- 33. “Season Of The Witch” by Lou Rawls
- 34. “My Way” by Sid Vicious
- 35. “Life On Mars” by Seu Jorge
- 36. “Sweet Jane” by Cowboy Junkies
- 37. “Renegades Of Funk” by Rage Against The Machine
- 38. “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam
- 39. “Mad World” by Gary Jules
- 40. “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen
- 41. “Woodstock” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
- 42. “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz
- 43. “Superstar” by Sonic Youth
- 44. “Always On My Mind” by Pet Shop Boys
- 45. “Rusty Cage” by Johnny Cash
- 46. “Venus” by Bananarama
- 47. “Changes” by Charles Bradley
- 48. “Slippery People” by The Staple Singers
- 49. “I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Led Zeppelin
- 50. “A Case Of You” by Prince
- 51. “Black Hole Sun” by Brandi Carlile
- 52. “Walkin’ The Dog” by Aerosmith
- 53. “Because The Night” by Bruce Springsteen
- 54. “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley
- 55. “Dazed And Confused” by Led Zeppelin
- 56. “Gloria” by Patti Smith
- 57. “Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
- 58. “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow
- 59. “La Vie En Rose” by Grace Jones
- 60. “Let’s Spend A Night Together” by David Bowie
- 61. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
- 62. “Red Red Wine” by UB40
- 63. “Atlantic City” by The Hold Steady
- 64. “Ring Of Fire” by Wall Of Voodoo
- 65. “Iron Man” by Bad Plus
- 66. “Benny and the Jets” by Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys
- 67. “Sea of Love” by The Honeydrippers
- 68. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Tori Amos
- 69. “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton
- 70. “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy
- 71. “Could It Be Magic” by Take That
- 72. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
- 73. “Dirty Old Town” by The Pogues
- 74. “Skinny Love” by Birdy
- 75. “Across the Universe” by Fiona Apple
- Best Cover Songs – Final Thoughts
1. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
We’re sure that many people aren’t aware that “Hurt” isn’t Johnny Cash’s song.
The thing is, he is a legend, and “Hurt” is one of his signature songs.
The moment you hear that guitar riff and his deep voice, it just fits.
But the song was originally written and recorded by Nine Inch Nails.
Needless to say, Cash turned it into a different song, and made it one of the greatest covers of all time.
2. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin
Did you know that “Respect” was originally released by Otis Redding in 1965?
The song was a hit back then, but it became even more popular after Queen of Soul’s rendition two years later.
In fact, Aretha Franklin turned “Respect” into a feminist anthem.
People will always remember it as a timeless song about female empowerment and Aretha Franklin’s signature song.
After all, she didn’t only cover it; she also rearranged it a bit, and added an iconic passage – R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
3. “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner
It’s sometimes hard to imagine that Tina Turner’s signature song “Proud Mary” is actually a cover.
It’s a universal hit and it was her staple on live performances.
That being said, Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” is arguably one of the most famous cover songs.
The song was originally released by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
But Tina and her then-husband Ike turned it into something else – and their version definitely seems to be more enduring.
4. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston
“I Will Always Love You” is also widely regarded as one of the best covers of all time.
However, the song was a hit even before Whitney’s take on it.
It was recorded by Dolly Parton, and her original version made it to the top of the charts.
Both versions are great in their own way.
But Whitney’s rendition most likely inspired countless singers to make their own version (or to sing it on a talent show.)
5. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor
When you hear the name Sinead O’Connor, the first song that comes to mind is probably “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
It’s a song that turned her into a megastar, even for a short period of time.
But the credit for the original version belongs to Prince.
For some reason, Prince decided not to keep the song for himself.
He recorded it with The Family, a band he assembled, but the song didn’t gain much recognition – all until Sinead’s popular cover.
6. “All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix
If you’re a music buff, you probably know that the original singer of “All Along The Watchtower” is actually Bob Dylan.
Dylan is one of the best songwriters, and his folksy storytelling style is unmatched.
But Dylan himself was impressed by Jimi’s reimagining of this song.
He added his own flavor to it, including his recognizable guitar licks and an overall rock and roll vibe.
“All Along The Watchtower” is undoubtedly one of the top cover songs that breathed new life into the already magnificent original.
7. “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
And the same goes for “Hallelujah” – if you’re musically inclined, you’re familiar with its original artist.
However, Leonard Cohen wasn’t at the peak of his career when he released “Hallelujah.”
In fact, his record label reportedly had no interest in even releasing the track.
Nevertheless, Cohen’s original version is brilliant, but Jeff Buckley’s rendition is regarded as one of the best song covers.
Buckley added a dreamy guitar and his heart-wrenching voice to an already heartbreaking song with masterful lyrics.
8. “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by The Fugees
Roberta Flack released “Killing Me Softly with His Song” in 1973.
That was right around the time when soul and folk music started witnessing more romantic tunes.
But Lauryn Hill added new layers to the song and turned it into the group’s signature song.
By the way, according to SecondHandSongs, there are more than 160 versions of this song.
So, it’s fair to say that it’s a huge hit and one of the most popular cover songs.
9. “The Man Who Sold The World” by Nirvana
Before Nirvana’s rendition in 1993, “The Man Who Sold The World” was simply known as one of the early Bowie songs.
And after Kurt Cobain’s death, many people saw it as prophetic – it was the moment when the song became his.
However, David Bowie ‘revived’ the song in 1995, and it became widely known that he was responsible for the original.
Either way, both versions of “The Man Who Sold The World” are timeless and iconic.
10. “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell
“Tainted Love” is one of the great cover songs that makes you wonder if it’s really a cover.
But the song was originally released by Gloria Jones in 1976.
It was a minor hit when it came out, but Soft Cell turned it into a timeless all-time hit.
There are many other cover versions of “Tainted Love”, but nothing can match Soft Cell’s iconic 80s sound and Marc Almond’s haunting vocals.
11. “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
“Me and Bobby McGee” was written by country artist Kris Krisofferson.
In his version, Bobby McGee was a woman, but Janis Joplin turned the character into a man.
The story follows two people who hitch a ride and sing as they drive through the American South.
Janis’ take on the song certainly became one of the greatest covers of all time.
12. “Twist And Shout” by The Beatles
“Twist And Shout” is one of the most popular Beatles songs.
And it’s a cover.
Although the original Isley Brothers version also proved to be a hit, The Beatles made it even more popular.
Before The Beatles got their start, they made a lot of covers of other songs.
So the fact that “Twist And Shout” isn’t their song doesn’t come as a surprise.
13. “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson
Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” is definitely one of the best covers ever.
Nilsson has even won a Grammy Award for his beautiful rendition of Fred Neil’s track.
The song was originally used as a theme song for the 1969 film ‘Midnight Cowboy.’
And Nilsson’s cover undeniably helped it gain global popularity.
14. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cindy Lauper
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” is one of the classic party songs and a timeless dance hit.
And it’s hard to imagine that Cindy Lauper’s recording isn’t the original.
She turned Robert Hazard’s original into a feminist anthem.
That way, she paved a way for many female artists who wanted to tackle women’s rights in their music.
15. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses
“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is originally Bob Dylan’s song.
He wrote it for the soundtrack of the 1973 film ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.’
And many musicians covered the song over the years, but Guns N’ Roses’ version definitely stands out.
In a way, it feels like the song belongs to the legendary rock band.
16. “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse
We’re sure many people believe “Valerie” was written by Amy Winehouse.
After all, the song is iconic, and everything just fits perfectly.
Amy’s voice, Mark Ronson’s impeccable style, and uplifting melodies…
But this feel-good tune was originally released by The Zutons, an indie rock band formed in 2001 in Liverpool.
17. “Jolene” by The White Stripes
The White Stripes breathed new life to Dolly Parton’s 1973 classic.
“Jolene” is a catchy but melancholic song with the lyrics that depict a woman’s fear that someone will take her man.
Although it’s originally a folksy country tune, The White Stripes adjusted it to their taste.
Besides The White Stripes, Miley Cyrus also did a really nice “Jolene”, but her version sounds similar to the original.
18. “Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and The Pips, Marvin Gaye
“Heard It Through The Grapevine” is a famous Marvin Gaye’s song.
Or it is a catchy 1967 Gladys Knight and The Pips tune.
Well, the truth is, the song was originally written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.
The Miracles were the first to record the song in 1966, but it wasn’t released until August 1968.
At the end of the day, the song itself is great, and all these renditions are cool song covers that we love to listen to.
19. “With A Little Help Of My Friends” by Joe Cocker
“With A Little Help Of My Friends” is taken from The Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” released in 1967.
And Joe Cocker did his take in 1968.
Cocker’s amazing cover version made it to the top of the charts.
And it became an anthem of the Woodstock era.
He released it 4 months before his memorable Woodstock performance.
20. “Walk This Way” by Run-DMC
“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC is one of the coolest cover songs up to date.
The unusual thing is that the hip hop group did it in collaboration with the original creator of the song, Aerosmith.
And the result was this iconic blend of rock and hip hop.
To be more precise, the cover version is described as a touchstone for the new musical subgenre of rap rock.
However, both versions were inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
21. “Feeling Good” by Muse
It’s time for one of the most powerful remakes of popular songs.
Although it became Nina Simone’s signature song, “Feeling Good” was actually written by composers Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse.
And many artists made a cover version, including Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, and George Michael.
But epic rock giants Muse added new layers to the song.
It’s loud, it’s sexy, and it’s powerful.
22. “I Shot The Sheriff” by Eric Clapton
Of course, “I Shot The Sheriff” is a song released by Bob Marley.
As a matter of fact, it’s one of Marley’s best-known songs.
And Eric Clapton decided to give it a try and make his own rendition.
It was a risky move, but it’s Clapton, and he managed to pull it off.
23. “I Love Rock N’ Roll” by Joan Jett
Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N’ Roll” is regarded as one of the best rock songs of all time.
It’s a badass and iconic song, there’s no doubt about it.
But it’s actually a cover song.
“I Love Rock N’ Roll” was originally recorded by the Arrows, an English band from the 70s.
But Joan Jett turned it into a rock classic.
24. “It’s My Life” by No Doubt
“It’s My Life” is one of the greatest hits of the band Talk Talk.
The original version is certainly iconic, but No Doubt transformed it into a smash pop hit.
Gwen Stefani’s take on the song is undeniably bolder and more exciting.
So it all depends on your preferences – both versions are great in their own way.
25. “Take Me to the River” by Talking Heads
After being originally released by Al Green, many artists decided to make a cover of “Take Me To The River.”
But Talking Heads managed to make one of those cool song covers that I want to keep on repeat.
David Byrne’s energy and singing style fits Al Green’s composition perfectly.
26. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Led Zeppelin
This might come as a surprise to some people.
But it’s true, Led Zeppelin didn’t compose “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.”
The song was composed by Anne Bredon who was an American folk singer.
But Jimmy Page and Robert Plant recognized the potential of the song right away, so they included it in their debut studio album.
27. “Satisfaction” by Devo
All right, everyone knows that “Satisfaction” isn’t originally Devo’s song.
But that doesn’t make this cover version less cool.
Next to The Rolling Stones, Devo’s take on this rock hit sounds almost robotic.
Nevertheless, they managed to pull it off and added an interesting and almost mysterious layer to a normally uplifting song.
28. “Hotel California” by Gypsy Kings
“Hotel California” by The Eagles is widely regarded as one of the most iconic rock songs of all time.
And at first, Gypsy Kings’ cover version sounds like they’re going in a calmer yet passionate direction.
However, the song abruptly transforms into classic Gypsy Kings sound.
And it works – it’s arguably one of the most interesting cover songs.
29. “La Bamba” by Los Lobos
“La Bamba” is a traditional folk song.
It was first adapted by Ritchie Valens in 1958.
So the most famous version by Los Lobos is actually a cover.
Los Lobos made it their own song by adding a Mexican flavor to it.
30. “I Fought The Law” by The Clash
I fought the law and the law won!
We know how this verse sounded in your mind – same here.
Most people associate “I Fought The Law” with The Clash.
But the song was actually written by Sonny Curtis of the Crickets and popularized by the Bobby Fuller Four’s cover.
Bobby Fuller’s version was named one of the 500 “Songs that Shaped Rock.”
But for some reason, it feels like this song belongs to the Clash.
Probably because they looked like they were more likely to fight the law.
31. “Whiskey In The Jar” by Metallica
Thin Lizzy released “Whiskey In A Jar” in 1996.
But this isn’t their song either – it’s originally a traditional Irish song.
“Whiskey In A Jar” first gained exposure when The Dubliners started to perform it internationally.
And Metallica added their recognizable hard rock vibe to their popular cover version.
32. “Stand By Me” by Otis Redding
This is one of the popular song remakes that will make you feel warm and cozy right away.
Although Ben E. King’s original version is a romantic classic, Otis Redding did a great job nevertheless.
After all, it’s hard to make a cover of such an iconic song.
But Otis didn’t try to make it better – he just added his own touch, and his passion for this song is hard to miss.
33. “Season Of The Witch” by Lou Rawls
If you’re making a Halloween playlist, this one’s for you.
It’s hard to say which version sounds more Halloweenish.
Both Lou Rawls’ cover and Donovan’s original have something very autumnal in it.
Either way, Lou managed to make one of the top covers that belongs on every Halloween songs list.
34. “My Way” by Sid Vicious
Everyone knows how the original version of “My Way” sounds.
After all, we’re talking about Frank Sinatra, one of the most iconic singers of all time.
Nevertheless, Sid Vicious managed to make a powerful rock version of the song.
And it fits – this is arguably one of the cool covers songs that breathes a whole new life to the original.
35. “Life On Mars” by Seu Jorge
Yes, Bowie’s “Life On Mars” sounds amazing in Portuguese too.
Of course, Seu Jorge’s cover version is a whole different story.
It’s very calm, gentle, and dreamy.
It’s also a part of the movie soundtrack to ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’, Wes Anderson’s 2004 film.
36. “Sweet Jane” by Cowboy Junkies
“Sweet Jane” is a classic by Velvet Underground.
And Cowboy Junkies take on the song is mesmerizing in its own way.
They released it in 1988 as a part of their album “The Trinity Session.”
37. “Renegades Of Funk” by Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine is a band that made a cover or two over the years.
But their “Renegades Of Funk” cover sounds like it could have been born during their own sessions.
It’s politically charged yet catchy, and they just added their raging touch to Afrika Bambaataa’s original.
38. “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam
Honestly, “Last Kiss” doesn’t sound like a Pearl Jam song.
So it comes as no surprise that it’s a cover, originally performed by Frank Wilson And The Cavaliers.
But Pearl Jam added something authentically melancholic to this song, even though it almost sounds like they weren’t trying to do that at all.
Nonetheless, in their version, “Last Kiss” sounds beautifully nostalgic.
39. “Mad World” by Gary Jules
Gary Jules turned “Mad World” by Tears For Fears into a heart-wrenching ballad.
It’s arguably one of the best cover songs of all time.
And it’s easy to forget that the original belongs to the 80s pop group.
By the way, the original also sounds gloomy, but in a different way.
40. “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen
“You Really Got Me” by The Kinks is a catchy, fast-paced rock tune from the 60s.
The song was originally written by Ray Davies for The Kinks, and it was written in a more blues-oriented style,
And Van Halen made it fit into their own definition of rock music.
41. “Woodstock” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
“Woodstock” is taken from Joni Mitchell’s 1970 album “Ladies of the Canyon.”
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young released a cover version the same year.
The song refers to the Woodstock festival, and it tells a story of a music fan on a trek to attend the festival.
And the lyrics were reportedly inspired by what Joni’s then-boyfriend Graham Nash told her about Woodstock.
42. “American Woman” by Lenny Kravitz
“American Woman” sounds like it could easily be Lenny Kravitz’s song.
But it was originally recorded in 1969 by the Canadian band The Guess Who.
The song was a huge success when it came out, but Lenny’s rendition is considered one of the best covers ever.
And we can see why – it’s cool, powerful, and catchy.
43. “Superstar” by Sonic Youth
“Superstar” was written by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett.
And the song got popular after The Carpenters’ take on it in 1971, Sonic Youth’s rendition is arguably the best cover version.
It’s different, of course, but there’s something about their interpretation that adds a fresh interesting layer to the song.
44. “Always On My Mind” by Pet Shop Boys
“Always On My Mind” is definitely one of the world’s favorite cover songs.
It was originally written for Brenda Lee in 1972, but it has witnessed many renditions since then.
One of the most popular covers was recorded by Pet Shop Boys.
In fact, it was their breakout song.
It became the UK’s No. 1 Christmas single and it ruled the charts for four weeks.
45. “Rusty Cage” by Johnny Cash
“Rusty Cage” is taken from Soundgarden’s studio album “Badmotorfinger” released in 1992.
And it’s hard to imagine that someone would do a good job covering Chris Cornell’s song, but Johnny Cash is one of those few people.
He released a cover version in 1996, and that earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
46. “Venus” by Bananarama
“Venus” by Bananarama is one of the most popular songs of the 80s.
But the song was originally released in 1969 by a Dutch rock band Shocking Blue.
“Venus” has been covered dozens of times by many artists.
But Bananarama’s version is arguably the most successful.
47. “Changes” by Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley made a cover of “Changes” by Black Sabbath in 2016.
“Changes” is a popular rock tune, but Bradley turned it into a powerful, soulful ballad.
It’s really one of the most memorable performances of the late singer.
48. “Slippery People” by The Staple Singers
“Slippery People” is originally a Talking Heads song.
So, the original is a funky 80s tune.
But The Staple Singers added their recognizable gospel touch to it.
Even David Byrne is reportedly a fan of the cover.
49. “I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Led Zeppelin
Although it’s easy to miss that fact, “I Can’t Quit You Baby” was originally released by Willie Dixon.
But Led Zeppelin released it on their self-titled debut album and in a way, made it their own.
Either way, this is one of the top covers made by rock legends.
50. “A Case Of You” by Prince
“A Case Of You” is one of Joni Mitchell’s best songs.
She released it on her iconic studio album “Blue.”
But Prince’s cover version is definitely worth listening to as well.
He also performed it in a gentle and sentimental way, but in his own style.
51. “Black Hole Sun” by Brandi Carlile
“Black Hole Sun” is Soundgarden’s signature song.
And American singer Brandi Carlile made a notable cover version.
It was a tribute to Chris Cornell, and it’s a fair one.
Brandi’s impressive vocals and talent definitely added something fresh to this grunge anthem.
52. “Walkin’ The Dog” by Aerosmith
The original version of “Walkin’ The Dog” was released by soul singer Rufus Thomas in 1963.
Many artists did their take on the song, but Aerosmith’s version is by far the most interesting.
It was the last track they recorded for their album.
53. “Because The Night” by Bruce Springsteen
“Because The Night” is Patti Smith’s classic.
And Bruce Springsteen actually co-wrote the song with Patti Smith.
He changed the lyrics a little bit for his version though.
That being said, this is arguably one of the best song covers.
54. “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley
If you’re looking for old cover songs, this one’s for you.
“Blue Suede Shoes” is originally by Carl Perkins.
It’s considered one of the first rockabilly songs.
And Presley’s version is a tribute to Perkins.
Needless to say, he did an amazing job.
55. “Dazed And Confused” by Led Zeppelin
Another Led Zeppelin’s cover song that deserves to be mentioned is “Dazed And Confused.”
The song was originally recorded by Jake Holmes.
In essence, it’s a breakup song, and it was first performed in a folk-rock style.
Dazed and confused for so long it’s not true…
56. “Gloria” by Patti Smith
Patti Smith released a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria” in 1975.
And it’s definitely one of the great cover songs that feels like an original.
Smith’s distinctive vocals and rock and roll energy turned “Gloria” into something else.
57. “Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Higher Ground” is one of the cool cover songs released in 1989.
Many people didn’t think it was a cover back then.
The cover version has the band’s recognizable bassline, after all.
But it’s actually Stevie Wonder’s groovy tune from the 70s.
58. “I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow
“I Want Candy” is a catchy song popularized by Bow Wow Wow in the 80s.
But the song was first released by The Strangeloves.
Well, the cover version definitely sounds more familiar – the English new wave band breathed a new life to the original.
And the song became one of their biggest hits.
59. “La Vie En Rose” by Grace Jones
“La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf is a French classic.
And Grace Jones transformed it into a whole new song.
Her 1977 rendition is arguably one of the best cover songs of all time.
It’s another proof of Grace Jones’ unique energy and talent.
60. “Let’s Spend A Night Together” by David Bowie
“Let’s Spend A Night Together” is a 1967 rock tune by The Rolling Stones.
And David Bowie turned it into something more glam.
Both versions sound great though.
We’re talking about two music legends, after all.
61. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
The moment you hear “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, you’ll be transported into a more peaceful place.
The Hawaiian’s singer’s cover of Judy Garland’s classic is truly amazing.
And it’s just him and his ukulele.
All in all, this is one of the famous covers that might have been unexpected but also like it was simply meant to be.
62. “Red Red Wine” by UB40
“Red Red Wine” is a song by Neil Diamond originally released on his second studio album in 1967.
It’s about drinking red wine to forget your bad fortune in love.
And UB40’s take on the song was a hit when it came out.
They incorporated reggae-style elements into Neil Diamond’s acoustic ballad and created one of the coolest cover songs.
63. “Atlantic City” by The Hold Steady
Released by Bruce Springsteen in 1982, “Atlantic City” is a nostalgic folk rock track.
It tells a story of a a young couple’s romantic escape to the New Jersey seaside resort of Atlantic City.
In 2008, The Hold Steady released their cover versions of the song.
And it was a success – they added a piano and a saxophone, and created a whole new vibe.
64. “Ring Of Fire” by Wall Of Voodoo
“Ring Of Fire” by Wall Of Voodoo is probably one of the most unusual covers.
In short, it’s an industrial punk-rock take on a country classic by Johnny Cash.
And it somehow turned out well.
65. “Iron Man” by Bad Plus
“Iron Man” is Black Sabbath’s Grammy-nominated tune from 1970.
And Bad Plus’ rendition of this popular metal rock track is, well, pretty badass.
They kept the song’s fury vibe, and added a couple of powerful piano parts.
All in all, it’s a good cover for listening and releasing excess energy.
66. “Benny and the Jets” by Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys
“Benny and the Jets” is Elton John’s piano-driven 1973 track.
And this unexpected but popular cover version kept the original atmosphere of the song; to some extent.
They also added something completely different to it, as all good covers entail.
In a way, Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys created a confident stadium-style version of “Benny and the Jets.”
67. “Sea of Love” by The Honeydrippers
Robert Plant’s The Honeydrippers made a wonderful cover of the 50s R&B classic.
“Sea Of Love” was originally released by Phil Philips who never recorded another hit.
But many artists have covered “Sea Of Love” over the years.
Other notable covers include Tom Waits’ and Cat Power’s version.
68. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Tori Amos
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a rock classic.
And Tori Amos’ rendition perhaps isn’t one of the covers that everyone knows, but it surely deserves attention.
She turned a loud rock anthem into a heart-wrenching piano-driven ballad.
And she did it in a very mindful, elegant way.
69. “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton
“Cocaine” is one of Eric Clapton’s best-known songs.
He imagined it as an anti-drug song.
But it was first recorded by an influential American singer and songwriter JJ Cale.
And his version was a number-one hit in New Zealand.
Nevertheless, Clapton’s “Cocaine” will always be remembered as one of the greatest covers of all time.
70. “Songbird” by Eva Cassidy
Eva Cassidy recorded many great cover songs including “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow.”
But “Songbird” definitely stands out.
It’s originally a Fleetwood Mac song.
And Eva Cassidy added even more subtle beauty and sentiment to the song.
71. “Could It Be Magic” by Take That
Robbie Williams’ Take That covered Barry Manilow’s ballad “Could It Be Magic” in 1992.
The song was previously covered by Donna Summer in 1976.
But Take That’s cover somehow sounds more well-rounded.
They even won the Brit Award for the Song Of The Year in 1993.
72. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele
Adele’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” sounds like it’s an original.
She poured her soul into the song, as she does with every song.
And although she’s known for writing personal heartbreaking lyrics, it seems like Bob Dylan’s songwriting fits her perfectly.
This cover was a big hit in 2009.
73. “Dirty Old Town” by The Pogues
“Dirty Old Town” by The Pogues is hands down one of the most famous covers.
Many people associate this song with The Pogues, but the song was originally recorded by The Dubliners.
Both versions have that authentic Irish sound, but The Pogues’ version somehow feels more familiar.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re used to.
74. “Skinny Love” by Birdy
“Skinny Love” was Birdy’s breakout hit in 2011, and many people didn’t know it was a cover.
But indie lovers knew that it was Bon Iver’s tune.
Both versions are amazing in their own way though; it’s simply a genuine, beautiful love song.
The original is dreamy and folksy, and Birdy’s rendition is a melancholic piano-driven ballad.
75. “Across the Universe” by Fiona Apple
For the end of this article, we wanted to include one of the most recent covers.
“Across The Universe” is one of the best Beatles songs, and Fiona Apple did a fantastic job covering it.
It’s not easy to do a remake of a Beatles classic, but the singer’s gentle voice, a contemporary music video, and the song’s timeless charm somehow works brilliantly.
Best Cover Songs – Final Thoughts
There are many more song covers worthy of praise, but it’s time to wrap it up.
We hope we reminded you of some great tunes!
And perhaps you’ve also come across a few unexpected songs.
After all, when it comes to the best covers, it’s easy to forget that they aren’t the original.