It's amazing how different a cover song can be from an original. How many popular songs are out there that were first recorded by somebody else? A new interpretation by a different artist can give a song an entirely different feel, make it seem more relevant, or just intensify the vibe it already had, making it one of the best cover songs ever. Sometimes, an updated version of a song can even turn a commercial flop into a chart-topping hit.
From R&B hits re-recorded by '80s rock stars, to rappers riffing on girl groups, to stripped-down country western takes on brooding industrial ballads and a heaping helping of weird, this list features all kinds of songs you didn't know were covers. Sure, you think Hendrix when you hear "Hey Joe," but who was he covering?Read on to find out which song remakes are actually cover songs and vote below for the best songs that you didn't know were actually covers of other artists.
"House of the Rising Sun" is a traditional blues song, and nobody really knows who the original writers or performers were. The earliest recorded version goes back to 1934, recorded by an Appalachian musician who, in turn, claimed he learned it from his grandfather. The most well known take on the track was cut by The Animals in 1964.
One of Jimi Hendrix's most iconic tunes is the creepy and misanthropic "Hey Joe," about a dude who plans to gun down his girlfriend. "Hey Joe" was originally recorded by rock group The Leaves in 1966, and a year later by Hendrix.
Even more iconic than "Hey Joe" is "All Along the Watchtower," recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1968. Now associated almost exclusively with Hendrix, the song was written and recorded the previous year by Bob Dylan.
#8 on The Best Bob Dylan Songs
Aretha Franklin's powerful version of "Respect" is the one that topped the charts, and the one most people remember. But Aretha's version wasn't the original - soul legend Otis Redding recorded it in 1965 with substantially different lyrics.