Musicians Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
11.4k votes 1.1k voters 13k views 66 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
326 93
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

 

 

2
354 115
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

3
286 77
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

4
285 80
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin

 

5
218 44
Ranker Video

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

6
241 71
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

Cover Artist: Soft Cell

 

7
227 62
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

8
193 42
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Leaves,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

 

9
214 60
Ranker Video
Me and Bobby McGee

Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin

 

10
342 150
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

Cover Artist: Johnny Cash

 

11
146 43
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett

 

 

12
314 190
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

Cover Artist: Whitney Houston

 

13
139 44
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Paragons, Cover Artist: Blondie

14
228 131
Ranker Video
Hallelujah

Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

15
115 41
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Jean DuShon,

Cover Artist: Stevie Wonder 

16
274 190
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses

 

17
163 92
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

18
146 80
Ranker Video
What a Man

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

19
120 64
Ranker Video
I Fought the Law

Original Artist: Sonny Curtis, Cover Artist: The Clash

20
113 67
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: The Black Crowes

 

21
121 77
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Al Green,

Cover Artist: Talking Heads

 

22
125 97
Ranker Video

Original Artist: David Bowie, Cover Artist: Nirvana

 

23
115 107
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Tears for Fears,

Cover Artist: Gary Jules

 

24
121 118
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Beatles,

Cover Artist: Joe Cocker

 

25
148 157
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Roberta Flack,

Cover Artist: The Fugees

 

26
74 65
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Tom Waits, Cover Artist: Rod Stewart 

27
70 65
Not Fade Away is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals

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

28
79 81
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Neil Diamond,

Cover Artist: Urge Overkill

 

29
70 73
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: Adele 

30
115 138
Ranker Video

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

31
55 61
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Zutons,

Cover Artists: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse

 

32
14 5
Ranker Video
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

33
10 4
Woodstock is listed (or ranked) 33 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!

34
11 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
57 81
Ranker Video

Original Artist: The Bee Gees, Cover Artist: Al Green 

36
47 65
Ranker Video
Jonathan Lichter added

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

37
40 57
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Judy Collins, Cover Artist: Joni Mitchell

38
35 55
Ranker Video
Turn On Your Lovelight

Original Artist: Bobby Bland,

Cover Artist: The Grateful Dead

 

39
7 8
Ranker Video
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.

40
4 4
It's All Too Much is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added It's All Too Much

Original-The Beatles(too noisy and too much sitar) Cover-Journey (pre Steve Perry and a solid rocker that is much shorter than the Beatles version and much better!

41
4 6
Kentucky Woman is listed (or ranked) 41 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!!!!!!)

42
4 6
Youngblood is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added Youngblood

Coasters version is simple but delightful.  Bad Company's version  has a bouncy style and showanship.

43
78 137
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Bob Seger,

Cover Artist: Metallica

 

44
7 12
She's Not There is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added She's Not There

Zombies version is good.  Santana's version is great!

45
5 9
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
15 28
I Woke Up in Love This Morning is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
2 6
Another Saturday Night is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added Another Saturday Night

Sam Cook's version is Ok but bland.  Cat Stevens puts some spirit into the song.

48
0 3
Emotions is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
jb981867 added

49
27 54
Ranker Video
All You Had To Do Was Stay

Original Artist: Taylor Swift, Cover Artist: Ryan Adams 

50
84 160
Ranker Video

Original Artist: Gloria Gaynor, Cover Artist: Cake