Musicians Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals  

Ann Casano
7.1k votes 821 voters 10.6k views 53 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! 

1
244 95
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I Love Rock 'n' Roll Original Artist: The Arrows, Cover Artist: Joan Jett 

2
204 79
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All Along the Watchtower Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience    

3
257 113
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Hurt Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails, Cover Artist: Johnny Cash  

4
175 63
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Twist and Shout Original Artist: The Top Notes, Cover Artist: The Beatles

5
173 63
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Respect Original Artist: Otis Redding, Cover Artist: Aretha Franklin  

6
121 32
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Georgia on My Mind Original Artist: Frankie Trumbauer and Hoagy Carmichael, Cover Artist: Ray Charles

7
253 118
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I Will Always Love You Original Artist: Dolly Parton, Cover Artist: Whitney Houston  

8
147 54
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Tainted Love Original Artist: Gloria Jones, Cover Artist: Soft Cell  

9
144 53
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Dazed and Confused Original Artist: Jake Holmes, Cover Artist: Led Zeppelin

10
225 111
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Knockin' on Heaven's Door Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: Guns N' Roses  

11
111 34
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Hey Joe Original Artist: The Leaves, Cover Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience   

12
123 44
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Me and Bobby McGee Original Artist: Roger Miller, Cover Artist: Janis Joplin  

13
166 94
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Hallelujah Original Artist: Leonard Cohen, Cover Artist: Jeff Buckley

14
85 31
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Mustang Sally Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice,  Cover Artist: Wilson Pickett    

15
109 55
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What a Man Original Artist: Linda Lyndell, Cover Artist: Salt-n-Pepa 

16
94 57
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Nothing Compares 2 U Original Artist: Prince, Cover Artist: Sinéad O'Connor 

17
120 84
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Killing Me Softly Original Artist: Roberta Flack, Cover Artist: The Fugees  

18
62 32
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For Once in My Life Original Artist: Jean DuShon, Cover Artist: Stevie Wonder 

19
75 46
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Take Me to the River Original Artist: Al Green, Cover Artist: Talking Heads  

20
86 61
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Mad World Original Artist: Tears for Fears, Cover Artist: Gary Jules  

21
80 56
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The Man Who Sold the World Original Artist: David Bowie, Cover Artist: Nirvana  

22
61 36
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The Tide Is High Original Artist: The Paragons, Cover Artist: Blondie

23
60 37
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I Fought the Law Original Artist: Sonny Curtis, Cover Artist: The Clash

24
59 40
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Hard To Handle Original Artist: Otis Redding, Cover Artist: The Black Crowes  

25
43 30
Not Fade Away is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Cover Songs That Are Better Than The Originals
Not Fade Away Original Artist: Buddy Holly, Cover Artist: The Rolling Stones

26
42 36
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Downtown Train Original Artist: Tom Waits, Cover Artist: Rod Stewart 

27
66 67
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With a Little Help From My Friends Original Artist: The Beatles, Cover Artist: Joe Cocker  

28
43 41
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Make You Feel My Love Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: Adele 

29
36 34
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Valerie Original Artist: The Zutons, Cover Artists: Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse  

30
76 86
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Proud Mary Original Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cover Artist: Ike and Tina Turner

31
44 47
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Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon Original Artist: Neil Diamond, Cover Artist: Urge Overkill  

32
38 42
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How Can You Mend a Broken Heart Original Artist: The Bee Gees, Cover Artist: Al Green 

33
5 4
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Jonathan Lichter added Smooth Criminal Original Artist: Michael Jackson, Cover Artist: Alien Ant Farm

34
2 2
I Woke Up in Love This Morning is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
54 78
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Turn the Page Original Artist: Bob Seger, Cover Artist: Metallica  

36
65 92
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I Will Survive Original Artist: Gloria Gaynor, Cover Artist: Cake 

37
38 58
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Hallelujah Original Artist: Leonard Cohen, Cover Artist: Brandi Carlile  

38
2 7
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Jonathan Lichter added Africa Original Artist: Toto, Cover Artist: Weezer

39
26 46
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Such Great Heights Original Artist: The Postal Service, Cover Artist: Iron & Wine  

40
19 37
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Both Sides, Now Original Artist: Judy Collins, Cover Artist: Joni Mitchell

41
18 39
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All You Had To Do Was Stay Original Artist: Taylor Swift, Cover Artist: Ryan Adams 

42
13 33
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Angel From Montgomery Original Artist: John Prine, Cover Artist: Dave Matthews Band  

43
29 63
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Wild Horses Original Artist: The Rolling Stones, Cover Artist: Sundays  

44
17 42
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Turn On Your Lovelight Original Artist: Bobby Bland, Cover Artist: The Grateful Dead  

45
35 78
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Creep Original Artist: Radiohead, Cover Artist: Prince  

46
21 60
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Across the Universe Original Artist: The Beatles, Cover Artist: Fiona Apple

47
48 109
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Billie Jean Original Artist: Michael Jackson, Cover Artist: Chris Cornell  

48
17 53
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The Needle and the Damage Done Original Artist: Neil Young, Cover Artist: Jewel  

49
23 67
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Fast Car Original Artist: Tracy Chapman, Cover Artist: Sam Smith 

50
12 45
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Tangled Up in Blue Original Artist: Bob Dylan, Cover Artist: The Indigo Girls