Artists Who Have Inspired the Best Covers Bands/Musicians
Vote List
48  items 6,221 votes 639 voters 40,072 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. 46
    Up 26
    Down 66

    Rock music, Britpop, Alternative rock

    open
  2. 8
    Up 187
    Down 124

    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    open
  3. 7
    Up 133
    Down 72

    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

    open
  4. 15
    Up 66
    Down 35

    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

    open
  5. 24
    Up 51
    Down 49

    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

    open
  6. 34
    Up 57
    Down 82

    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    open
  7. 9
    Up 100
    Down 51

    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music

    open
  8. 32
    Up 1
    Down 0

    added by RobinGallego New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Thrash metal, Power metal

    open
  9. 27
    Up 52
    Down 66

    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    open
  10. 48
    Up 9
    Down 49

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

    open
  11. 47
    Up 14
    Down 49

    added by gurleenkaur1310 Country pop, Pop music, Rock music

    open
  12. 16
    Up 145
    Down 116

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    open
  13. 28
    Up 72
    Down 94

    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    open
  14. 2
    Up 224
    Down 128

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    open
  15. 43
    Up 16
    Down 46

    added by Mozo The Pioneers Reggae, Soul music

    open
  16. 23
    Up 93
    Down 100

    Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

    open
  17. 21
    Up 63
    Down 60

    Rock music, Blues, Country blues

    open
  18. 17
    Up 129
    Down 115

    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    open
  19. 18
    Up 105
    Down 104

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk

    open
  20. 14
    Up 73
    Down 38

    Hip hop music, Doo-wop, Pop music

    open
  21. 5
    Up 90
    Down 36

    Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave

    open
  22. 41
    Up 28
    Down 67

    added by seanroycee Thrash metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    open
  23. 30
    Up 65
    Down 90

    Rock music, Grunge, Alternative rock

    open
  24. 37
    Up 33
    Down 62

    Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

    open
  25. 31
    Up 1
    Down 0

    new! & added by RobinGallego Doom metal, Blues-rock, Power metal

    open
  26. 40
    Up 26
    Down 60

    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

    open
  27. 10
    Up 117
    Down 71

    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

    open
  28. 12
    Up 69
    Down 34

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    open
  29. 11
    Up 80
    Down 43

    Pop punk, Rock music, Classic Punk

    open
  30. 42
    Up 16
    Down 46

    added by ConnieStarnes Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music

    open
  31. 36
    Up 30
    Down 57

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

    open
  32. 20
    Up 83
    Down 79

    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    open
  33. 6
    Up 103
    Down 47

    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

    open
  34. 39
    Up 12
    Down 34

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

    open
  35. 13
    Up 108
    Down 70

    Reggae

    open
  36. 38
    Up 31
    Down 61

    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    open
  37. 3
    Up 108
    Down 46

    Music hall, Pop music, Rock music

    open
  38. 25
    Up 39
    Down 41

    added by Clark Benson Chicago blues, Electric blues, Blues

    open
  39. 33
    Up 1
    Down 0

    added by RobinGallego New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Heavy metal, Hard rock

    open
  40. 1
    Up 138
    Down 46

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

    open
  41. 4
    Up 98
    Down 42

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

    open
  42. 22
    Up 91
    Down 97

    Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

    open
  43. 29
    Up 75
    Down 99

    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

    open
  44. 35
    Up 31
    Down 45

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

    open
  45. 19
    Up 57
    Down 49

    Synthpop, New Wave, Electronic music

    open
  46. 26
    Up 76
    Down 96

    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    open
  47. 45
    Up 15
    Down 46

    added by Lons Outsider music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

    open
  48. 44
    Up 21
    Down 55

    added by Pallknowing1 Post-metal, Metal, Progressive metal

    open
  49. 49 +

    Something missing? Add it!

items 1 - 48 of 48

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists