Musicians Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
16.7k votes 1.5k voters 16.2k views 83 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
399 110
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

2
360 95
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Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

3
356 98
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin

 

4
425 139
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Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

5
271 57
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Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

6
406 156
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Hallelujah

Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

7
238 56
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Original Artist: The Leaves,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

 

8
411 171
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Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

Cover Artist: Johnny Cash

 

9
259 73
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Me and Bobby McGee

Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin

 

10
256 76
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Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

11
186 47
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
417 224
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Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

Cover Artist: Whitney Houston

 

13
304 144
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Original Artist: The Beatles,

Cover Artist: Joe Cocker

 

14
283 129
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Original Artist: Tears for Fears,

Cover Artist: Gary Jules

 

15
424 238
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses

 

16
148 28
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
238 110
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Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

18
289 188
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Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

Cover Artist: Soft Cell

 

19
93 19
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
89 19
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
200 134
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Original Artist: The Rolling Stones,

Cover Artist: Sundays

 

22
71 11
Only Love Can Break Your Heart is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
204 153
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Original Artist: Radiohead,

Cover Artist: Prince

 

24
74 17
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
173 135
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Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett