Musicians Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
6.8k votes 801 voters 10.4k views 53 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! 

239 92
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I Love Rock 'n' Roll Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

196 76
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All Along the Watchtower Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience    

246 111
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Hurt Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails, Cover Artist: Johnny Cash  

167 62
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Twist and Shout Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

167 62
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Respect Original Artist: Otis Redding, Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin  

249 115
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I Will Always Love You Original Artist: Dolly Parton, Cover Artist: Whitney Houston  

115 31
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Georgia on My Mind Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

220 104
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Knockin' on Heaven's Door Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses  

140 52
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Tainted Love Original Artist: Gloria Jones, Cover Artist: Soft Cell  

137 52
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Dazed and Confused Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

104 33
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Hey Joe Original Artist: The Leaves, Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience   

118 43
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Me and Bobby McGee Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin  

84 28
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Mustang Sally Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice,  Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett    

162 91
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Hallelujah Original Artist: Leonard Cohen, Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

The Best Rolling Stone Covers

107 52
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What a Man Original Artist: Linda Lyndell, Cover Artist: Salt-n-Pepa 

92 54
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Nothing Compares 2 U Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

118 78
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Killing Me Softly Original Artist: Roberta Flack, Cover Artist: The Fugees  

60 30
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For Once in My Life Original Artist: Jean DuShon, Cover Artist: Stevie Wonder 

73 45
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Take Me to the River Original Artist: Al Green, Cover Artist: Talking Heads  

85 58
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Mad World Original Artist: Tears for Fears, Cover Artist: Gary Jules  

57 36
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The Tide Is High Original Artist: The Paragons, Cover Artist: Blondie

The All-Time Best Rock Bassists

56 35
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I Fought the Law Original Artist: Sonny Curtis, Cover Artist: The Clash

73 54
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The Man Who Sold the World Original Artist: David Bowie, Cover Artist: Nirvana  

55 38
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Hard To Handle Original Artist: Otis Redding, Cover Artist: The Black Crowes  

40 30
Not Fade Away is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Not Fade Away Original Artist: Buddy Holly, Cover Artist: The Rolling Stones

40 34
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Downtown Train Original Artist: Tom Waits, Cover Artist: Rod Stewart 

76 78
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Proud Mary Original Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cover Artist: Ike and Tina Turner

61 63
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With a Little Help From My Friends Original Artist: The Beatles, Cover Artist: Joe Cocker  

Most Bizarre Christmas Covers And Collabs Ever

41 40
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Make You Feel My Love Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: Adele 

43 43
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Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon Original Artist: Neil Diamond, Cover Artist: Urge Overkill  

34 33
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Valerie Original Artist: The Zutons, Cover Artists: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse  

38 39
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How Can You Mend a Broken Heart Original Artist: The Bee Gees, Cover Artist: Al Green 

1 0
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Jonathan Lichter added Smooth Criminal Original Artist: Michael Jackson, Cover Artist: Alien Ant Farm

1 0
I Woke Up in Love This Morning is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Jonathan Lichter added I Woke Up in Love This Morning Original Artist: The Partridge Family, Cover Artist: Weezer

1 0
Africa is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Jonathan Lichter added Africa Original Artist: Toto, Cover Artist: Weezer

The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders

52 73
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Turn the Page Original Artist: Bob Seger, Cover Artist: Metallica  

60 87
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I Will Survive Original Artist: Gloria Gaynor, Cover Artist: Cake 

38 57
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Hallelujah Original Artist: Leonard Cohen, Cover Artist: Brandi Carlile  

25 45
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Such Great Heights Original Artist: The Postal Service, Cover Artist: Iron & Wine  

18 35
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Both Sides, Now Original Artist: Judy Collins, Cover Artist: Joni Mitchell

18 38
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All You Had To Do Was Stay Original Artist: Taylor Swift, Cover Artist: Ryan Adams 

28 54
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Wild Horses Original Artist: The Rolling Stones, Cover Artist: Sundays  

Famous Bands That Originally Had Horrible Names

13 32
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Angel From Montgomery Original Artist: John Prine, Cover Artist: Dave Matthews Band  

17 40
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Turn On Your Lovelight Original Artist: Bobby Bland, Cover Artist: The Grateful Dead  

34 74
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Creep Original Artist: Radiohead, Cover Artist: Prince  

17 49
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The Needle and the Damage Done Original Artist: Neil Young, Cover Artist: Jewel  

12 41
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Tangled Up in Blue Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: The Indigo Girls  

47 105
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Billie Jean Original Artist: Michael Jackson, Cover Artist: Chris Cornell  

23 62
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Fast Car Original Artist: Tracy Chapman, Cover Artist: Sam Smith 

19 55
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Across the Universe Original Artist: The Beatles, Cover Artist: Fiona Apple