Artists Who Have Inspired the Best Covers Bands/Musicians
Vote List
3  reranks 4,489 votes 551 voters 38,095 views by  more info

Artists Who Have Inspired the Best Covers

List Criteria: No obscure musicians.

Artists who have inspired the best covers include legendary musicians and bands like The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, but this list also includes some lesser known singer-songwriters who's songs have become iconic -- all thanks to someone's brilliant cover of one of their tunes. A good example of this: Tom Waits, whose catalog is stunning, but who might be better known (to mainstream audiences) through cover songs (like Rod Stewart's "Downtown Train"). This list includes a lot of major artists who have inspired phenomenal covers by others in the industry. I've added several videos of these cover songs, where possible. This is a VoteRanked list, meaning the Ranker community sets the bar by voting for favorites. Be sure to cast your vote, and add any artists that you think inspired the best covers.

Occasionally, a cover song will eclipse the original version by a brilliant singer-songwriter in chart popularity. Examples of this include Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By the Light" (covered by Manfred Mann), Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine" (covered by UB40), David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" (covered by Nirvana) and Prince's "Nothing Compares to U" (covered by Sinead O'Connor). This doesn't always mean the cover version is better - just that it's more well-known and associated with the cover artist, instead of the original writer.

Great cover songs pay tribute to the original artists who inspired the music, though covers don't always sound like the originals: The song's melody and/or arrangement might be vastly different, like the Lemonhead's punked-out version of Simon & Garfunkel's classic song "Mrs. Robinson" or Chris Cornell's remarkable version of Michael Jackson's iconic song "Billie Jean."

Enjoy this list of incredible artists who have inspired the best covers throughout music history, and be sure to a) vote and b) add anyone I've left off.
  • 3 ReRanks
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
  1. 23
    Up 56
    Down 48

    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    open report item
  2. 25
    Up 37
    Down 34

    Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

    open report item
  3. 28
    Up 43
    Down 42

    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    open report item
  4. 15
    Up 71
    Down 52

    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    open report item
  5. 22
    Up 65
    Down 55

    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

    open report item
  6. 43
    Up 10
    Down 34

    new! & added by gurleenkaur1310 Country pop, Pop music, Rock music

    open report item
  7. 3
    Up 144
    Down 66

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    open report item
  8. 39
    Up 26
    Down 44

    Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock

    open report item
  9. 44
    Up 8
    Down 34

    added by Clark Benson Rock music, Alternative country, Indie rock Exhibit A

    open report item
  10. 26
    Up 45
    Down 43

    Rock music, Blues, Country blues

    open report item
  11. 5
    Up 124
    Down 68

    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    open report item
  12. 33
    Up 30
    Down 34

    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

    open report item
  13. 10
    Up 89
    Down 59

    Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

    open report item
  14. 18
    Up 66
    Down 52

    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    open report item
  15. 45
    Up 8
    Down 35

    added by Lons Outsider music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

    open report item
  16. 35
    Up 26
    Down 35

    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

    open report item
  17. 12
    Up 81
    Down 58

    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

    open report item
  18. 16
    Up 72
    Down 54

    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    open report item
  19. 42
    Up 10
    Down 30

    added by Mozo The Pioneers Reggae, Soul music

    open report item
  20. 7
    Up 68
    Down 32

    Music hall, Pop music, Rock music

    open report item
  21. 31
    Up 34
    Down 37

    Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

    open report item
  22. 21
    Up 74
    Down 63

    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

    open report item
  23. 30
    Up 25
    Down 25

    added by Clark Benson Chicago blues, Electric blues, Blues

    open report item
  24. 20
    Up 45
    Down 33

    Pop punk, Rock music, Classic Punk

    open report item
  25. 2
    Up 177
    Down 74

    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    open report item
  26. 41
    Up 16
    Down 39

    added by Pallknowing1 Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

    open report item
  27. 38
    Up 27
    Down 43

    added by seanroycee Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    open report item
  28. 17
    Up 46
    Down 30

    Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave

    open report item
  29. 40
    Up 7
    Down 16

    added by biker terry Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music american, blues, roots rock, rock

    open report item
  30. 34
    Up 30
    Down 39

    Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

    open report item
  31. 11
    Up 79
    Down 53

    Reggae

    open report item
  32. 14
    Up 54
    Down 35

    added by Clark Benson Noise rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

    open report item
  33. 6
    Up 103
    Down 58

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    open report item
  34. 13
    Up 59
    Down 39

    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

    open report item
  35. 9
    Up 87
    Down 54

    Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

    open report item
  36. 1
    Up 209
    Down 77

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    open report item
  37. 19
    Up 57
    Down 44

    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

    open report item
  38. 29
    Up 32
    Down 31

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    open report item
  39. 4
    Up 85
    Down 39

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

    open report item
  40. 8
    Up 98
    Down 57

    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

    open report item
  41. 36
    Up 16
    Down 22

    added by ConnieStarnes Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

    open report item
  42. 37
    Up 21
    Down 31

    added by Clark Benson Americana, Swamp pop, Tulsa Sound "After Midnight", "Cocaine", "They Call Me The Breeze", among ...

    open report item
  43. 27
    Up 30
    Down 27

    added by AllyStevensPike Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco pop music

    open report item
  44. 32
    Up 30
    Down 34

    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    open report item
  45. 24
    Up 33
    Down 27

    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

    open report item
  46. 46 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 45 of 45

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists