Music

Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals 

Ann Casano
Updated July 6, 2020 85.7k votes 8.2k voters 104.1k views 125 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
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

2
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin

 

3
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Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

4
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Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

5
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Original Artist: The Leaves,

Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience 

 

6
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Me and Bobby McGee

Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin

 

7
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Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

8
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Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

9
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Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails,

Cover Artist: Johnny Cash

 

10
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Original Artist: Gloria Jones,

Cover Artist: Soft Cell

 

11
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Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

12
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Hallelujah

Original Artist: Leonard Cohen,

Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

13
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I Fought the Law

Original Artist: Sonny Curtis, Cover Artist: The Clash

14
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Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice, 

Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett

 

 

15
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Original Artist: The Paragons, Cover Artist: Blondie

16
Black Magic Woman / Gyps... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Glenn J. Wiener added

Original Fleetwood Mac(decent)-Santana(awesome)

17
Torn is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
iggyc61 added Torn
18
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Original Artist: The Beatles,

Cover Artist: Joe Cocker

 

19
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Original Artist: Dolly Parton,

Cover Artist: Whitney Houston

 

20
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Original Artist: Bob Dylan,

Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses

 

21
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Original Artist: The Zutons,

Cover Artists: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse

 

22
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Original Artist: Otis Redding,

Cover Artist: The Black Crowes

 

23
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Original Artist: Jean DuShon,

Cover Artist: Stevie Wonder 

24
When the Levee Breaks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Mace Gill added

Cover artist: Led Zeppelin

 

Original Artist: Memphis Minnie and Kansas City Joe

25
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What a Man

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