Musicians Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
12.6k votes 1.1k voters 13.6k views 78 items

List Rules Vote up the covers that definitely outshine the originals.

Everyone loves when a musical artist somehow re-crafts a beloved song with a creative new spin. Covers illustrate the multifaceted nature of music and lyrics. A simple tweak of the melody or alteration of the singing style can create whole new layers of complexity in regards to what a song means - without even changing the lyrics! Sometimes, covers even surpass the originals in terms of popularity and critical acclaim. What are the best cover songs? Help decide below. 

Good cover songs are common, but they don't always outdo the source material. Whether it's old songs covered by new bands or recent hits revamped by contemporary artists, people often show loyalty to original versions. The songs below, however, are an exception. Some of the best cover songs on this list are so universal that most people think that they aren’t covers at all. "Twist and Shout" was not originally recorded by the Beatles and while "Me and Bobby McGee" is heavily associated with the late Janis Joplin, she was not the original writer or recording artist. When artists choose to try their luck with a cover, it can sometimes be a gamble, especially if the band or musician behind the original version is an esteemed figure. However, the below musicians took a risk and it really paid off. 

Which cover songs do you think are better than the originals? Vote up the most impressive songs below! 

list ordered by

1
339 98
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 

 

2
304 82
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Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

3
369 124
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Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

4
302 86
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin

 

5
230 47
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Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

6
207 47
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Original Artist: The Leaves,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

 

7
235 68
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Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

8
225 63
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Me and Bobby McGee

Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin

 

9
251 84
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Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

Cover Artist: Soft Cell

 

10
356 156
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Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

Cover Artist: Johnny Cash

 

11
155 48
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Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett

 

 

12
329 196
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Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

Cover Artist: Whitney Houston

 

13
243 134
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Hallelujah

Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

14
145 61
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Original Artist: The Paragons, Cover Artist: Blondie

15
174 95
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Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

16
17 0
Solitary Man is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Solitary Man

Original Artist:  Neil Diamond

Cover Artist:  Chris Isaak

17
288 203
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses

 

18
121 58
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Original Artist: Jean DuShon,

Cover Artist: Stevie Wonder 

19
153 96
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What a Man

Original Artist: Linda Lyndell, Cover Artist: Salt-n-Pepa 

20
15 0
Can't Get You Out of My Head is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Can't Get You Out of My Head

Original Artist:  Kylie Minogue

Cover Artist:  Catman Cohen

21
25 1
The Sound of Silence is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added The Sound of Silence

Original Artist:  Simon and Garfunkel

Cover Artist:  Disturbed

22
128 84
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I Fought the Law

Original Artist: Sonny Curtis, Cover Artist: The Clash

23
22 1
Fade Into You is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Fade Into You

Original Artist:  Mazzy Star

Cover Artist:  Catman Cohen

24
124 93
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Original Artist: Al Green,

Cover Artist: Talking Heads

 

25
140 111
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Original Artist: Tears for Fears,

Cover Artist: Gary Jules

 

26
149 124
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Original Artist: The Beatles,

Cover Artist: Joe Cocker

 

27
116 89
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: The Black Crowes

 

28
133 116
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Original Artist: David Bowie, Cover Artist: Nirvana

 

29
18 1
Only Love Can Break Your Heart is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Only Love Can Break Your Heart

Original Artist:  Neil Young

Cover Artist:  Lady Antebellum

30
22 2
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Babe I'm Gonna Leave You

Original Artist:   Led Zeppelin

Cover Artist:  Pink

31
151 168
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Original Artist: Roberta Flack,

Cover Artist: The Fugees

 

32
73 75
Not Fade Away is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals

Original Artist: Buddy Holly, Cover Artist: The Rolling Stones

33
120 145
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Original Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cover Artist: Ike and Tina Turner

34
21 6
Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Quee... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added

Original Fleetwood Mac(decent)-Santana(awesome)

35
80 90
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Original Artist: Neil Diamond,

Cover Artist: Urge Overkill

 

36
75 86
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Original Artist: Tom Waits, Cover Artist: Rod Stewart 

37
72 84
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: Adele 

38
17 13
Woodstock is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added

JOni Mitchell's version is good.  Crosby, Stills and Nash's version is great!

39
56 75
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Original Artist: The Zutons,

Cover Artists: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse

 

40
53 75
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Jonathan Lichter added

Original Artist: Michael Jackson, Cover Artist: Alien Ant Farm

41
15 18
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SingerDr.B. added My Way

The english lyrics for this song - My Way - were written by Paul Anka. It was set for the French song - Comme D´habitude - wich was co-composed, and co-written and performed in 1967 by Clude Francois. My Way was a succsess for a variety of performers including Frank Sinatra, Elvispresley - and teh Sex Pistols and many others artists...

The voice of Singer Dr. B... closley resembles that of Frank Sinatra and thus Singer Dr. B... has decided to perform this song as well... (Wikepedia) www.singerdrb.com

42
60 94
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Original Artist: The Bee Gees, Cover Artist: Al Green 

43
41 63
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Original Artist: Judy Collins, Cover Artist: Joni Mitchell

44
7 11
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SingerDr.B. added Algo Estupido

EN: "Algo Estupido" or "Something Stupid", was originally recorded in 1966 by Parks and his wife Gaile Foote, as Carson and Gaile. The song is best known for the 1967 version by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy Sinatra. -

Jucapa fell in love with this special song and used his outstanding voice to give this song a new spin in spanish language. We know you will enjoy this wonderful new version of the old song - ! "

Algo Estupido" cover song was recomposed by Juan Carlos Paniagua Bustamante & Gerhard von Lentner / Background singer Yiya Luna / Recorded by Mihai Traista at RPM Studio Vienna - Wien - Austria EU, mixed & mastered by Arpad Hadnagy in Vienna - Wien - Austria EU - 2018.

45
7 12
Ain't Too Proud to Beg is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Original Tempations Cover The Rolling Stones

46
5 10
Kentucky Woman is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added Kentucky Woman

Original Neil Diamond Cover Deep Purple(They Bring This Song To Life!!!!!!)

47
36 66
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Turn On Your Lovelight

Original Artist: Bobby Bland,

Cover Artist: The Grateful Dead

 

48
1 4
I'm A Man is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added I'm A Man

Spencer Davis Group Version is OK...Chicago version is phenomenal.

49
81 147
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Bob Seger,

Cover Artist: Metallica

 

50
7 15
When the Levee Breaks is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Mace Gill added

Cover artist: Led Zeppelin

 

Original Artist: Memphis Minnie and Kansas City Joe