10.7k voters

Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals

Updated July 14, 2020 157.8k votes 10.7k voters 135.0k views122 items

List RulesVote 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! 

  • All Along the Watchtower1

    Original Artist: Bob Dylan

    Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

  • Respect2

    Original Artist: Otis Redding,

    Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin


  • Hey Joe3

    Original Artist: The Leaves,

    Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 


  • Georgia on My Mind4

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

    More Georgia on My Mind 

    #2 of 39 The Best Ray Charles Songs#43 of 99 The Best Songs with Mind in the Title

  • Dazed and Confused5

    Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

  • I Love Rock 'n' Roll6

    Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

    More I Love Rock 'n' Roll 

    #30 of 161 The Best Songs to Sing at Karaoke#11 of 284 The Best Rock Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • Me and Bobby McGee7

    Me and Bobby McGee

    Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin


  • Twist and Shout8

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

    More Twist and Shout 

    #31 of 182 The Best Beatles Songs#381 of 3,866 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked

  • Tainted Love9

    Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

    Cover Artist: Soft Cell


    More Tainted Love 

    #3 of 142 The Greatest Songs by One-Hit Wonders#6 of 109 The Greatest Songs by '80s One-Hit Wonders

  • Hurt10

    Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

    Cover Artist: Johnny Cash


    More Hurt 

    #4 of 114 The Saddest Country Songs#131 of 176 The Best Classic Country Songs

  • Mustang Sally11

    Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

    Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett



    More Mustang Sally 

    #39 of 215 The Best Songs with a Girl's Name in the Title#1 of 42 The Best Songs About Sallys

  • Nothing Compares 2 U12

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

    More Nothing Compares 2 U 

    #71 of 161 The Best 90s Music Videos#5 of 47 The Saddest Breakup Songs Ever Written

  • I Fought the Law13

    I Fought the Law

    Original Artist: Sonny Curtis, Cover Artist: The Clash

  • Hallelujah14


    Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

    Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

  • Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen15

    Original Fleetwood Mac(decent)-Santana(awesome)

  • When the Levee Breaks16

    Cover artist: Led Zeppelin


    Original Artist: Memphis Minnie and Kansas City Joe

  • The Tide Is High17

    Original Artist: The Paragons, Cover Artist: Blondie

  • With a Little Help From My Friends18

    Original Artist: The Beatles,

    Cover Artist: Joe Cocker


  • Torn19


  • Valerie20

    Original Artist: The Zutons,

    Cover Artists: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse


  • Woodstock21

    JOni Mitchell's version is good.  Crosby, Stills and Nash's version is great!

  • I Will Always Love You22

    Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

    Cover Artist: Whitney Houston


  • Mad World23

    Original Artist: Tears for Fears,

    Cover Artist: Gary Jules


    More Mad World 

    #11 of 36 The Best & Most Memorable Songs From Scary Movies#51 of 98 ALT 98.7's Best Alt Songs Of "All Time"...My Way

  • Knockin' on Heaven's Door24

    Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

    Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses


  • Hard To Handle25

    Original Artist: Otis Redding,

    Cover Artist: The Black Crowes