Musicians Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
15.6k votes 1.4k voters 15.3k 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
371 107
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 

 

2
331 92
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Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

3
333 96
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin

 

4
395 134
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Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

5
250 54
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Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

6
370 146
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Hallelujah

Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

7
223 53
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Original Artist: The Leaves,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

 

8
389 163
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Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

Cover Artist: Johnny Cash

 

9
243 68
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Me and Bobby McGee

Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin

 

10
244 73
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Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

11
158 24
The Sound of Silence is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
131 15
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
397 214
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Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

Cover Artist: Whitney Houston

 

14
400 224
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses

 

15
259 120
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Original Artist: Tears for Fears,

Cover Artist: Gary Jules

 

16
268 140
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Original Artist: The Beatles,

Cover Artist: Joe Cocker

 

17
83 9
Fade Into You is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Fade Into You

Original Artist:  Mazzy Star

Cover Artist:  Catman Cohen

18
205 103
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Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

19
268 172
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Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

Cover Artist: Soft Cell

 

20
77 11
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
56 6
Only Love Can Break Your Heart is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
174 126
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Original Artist: The Rolling Stones,

Cover Artist: Sundays

 

23
60 11
Solitary Man is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Solitary Man

Original Artist:  Neil Diamond

Cover Artist:  Chris Isaak

24
175 140
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Original Artist: Radiohead,

Cover Artist: Prince

 

25
163 128
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Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett