Songs Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
17.3k votes 1.6k voters 17k views 87 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
416 113
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

2
378 97
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Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

3
372 99
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin

 

4
437 140
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Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

5
280 59
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Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

6
418 160
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Hallelujah

Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

7
246 57
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Original Artist: The Leaves,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

 

8
425 173
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Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

Cover Artist: Johnny Cash

 

9
266 74
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Me and Bobby McGee

Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin

 

10
265 76
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Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

11
320 145
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Original Artist: The Beatles,

Cover Artist: Joe Cocker

 

12
297 131
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Original Artist: Tears for Fears,

Cover Artist: Gary Jules

 

13
428 233
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Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

Cover Artist: Whitney Houston

 

14
199 62
The Sound of Silence is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
437 247
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses

 

16
159 37
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
246 116
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Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

18
301 192
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Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

Cover Artist: Soft Cell

 

19
98 23
Fade Into You is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Fade Into You

Original Artist:  Mazzy Star

Cover Artist:  Catman Cohen

20
90 25
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
203 140
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Original Artist: The Rolling Stones,

Cover Artist: Sundays

 

22
214 160
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Original Artist: Radiohead,

Cover Artist: Prince

 

23
72 15
Only Love Can Break Your Heart is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
78 23
Solitary Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
MusicOfTheForest added Solitary Man

Original Artist:  Neil Diamond

Cover Artist:  Chris Isaak

25
177 136
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Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett