20 Best Cover Versions

It’s easy to scoff at a cover version, but let’s hold off with the music snobbery just one second as some are worth praise. Some are even better than the original. Here’s a run down of my personal 20 favourite cover versions, in descending order. I’ve put the original recording artist in brackets. Spotify playlist at the end as always.

20. The Loco-motion by Kylie Minogue (Little Eva)

19. Dear Prudence by Siouxsie and the Banshees (The Beatles)

18. California Dreamin’ by the Carpenters (Mamas & the Papas)

17. When You Were Mine by Cyndi Lauper (Prince)

16. Brass in Pocket by Suede (The Pretenders)

15. Umbrella by Manic Street Preachers (Rhianna)

14. Piece of My Heart by Janis Joplin (Erma Franklin)

13. Live and Let Die by Guns N’ Roses (Paul McCartney and Wings)

12. Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles (Simon & Garfunkel)

11. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Tori Amos (Nirvana)

And the Top Ten….

10. I Heard it Through the Grapevine by the Slits (Marvin Gaye)

9. It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork (Betty Hutton)

8. Mad World by Gary Jules & Michael Andrews (Tears for Fears)

7. Valerie by Mark Ronson feat Amy Winehouse (The Zutons)

6. Tainted Love by Soft Cell (Gloria Jones)

Top Five…

5. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen)

4. Hurt by Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)

3. They Won’t Go When I Go by George Michael (Stevie Wonder)

2. Respect by Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding) If you only watch one of these music videos, then please make it this one. Aretha is the QUEEN!

1.Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor (Prince)

So, which one of these is your favourites? And which cover version do you love that doesn’t feature in my top 20? Don’t forget to come back on Friday for my weekly music series. This Friday it’s going to be music from 1986.

50 comments

  1. Midlife Smarts · 22 Days Ago

    What a list!! My Top 5 would be almost identical. Johnny Cash Hurt video is amazing and of course, Aretha is THE queen. Thanx.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great List! Johnny Cash, Amy Winehouse, and Sinead. Oh how I love them. I also love the remakes that Dick Brave and the Backbeats have done. My favs by them are “Just the Way You Are” and “American Idiot”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rachaelstray · 22 Days Ago

    Fantastic list. The Jeff Buckley Hallelujah version is one of my favourite songs!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Em Linthorpe · 22 Days Ago

    Yep, top list here again. A few I haven’t heard so looking forward to giving them a listen on the old Spotify later. Cheers!

    Related aside: When I was about 14 I, for some forgotten reason, was the owner of a David Essex album, all cover versions. 12 prime examples of him murdering pop and rock tunes. (I just Googled it, it was called Cover Shot). Go and listen to some of them whenever you feel glum. Instant hilarity guaranteed ☺☺😂

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

      Hahaha. So this coupled with your penchant for Jeremy Clarkson, I am really starting to get the measure of you haha

      Like

      • Em Linthorpe · 22 Days Ago

        I’m slowly leaking out all of my awkward teenage quirks, aren’t I? Hmm. I have plenty more to come, fear not! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

        I can’t wait! I had a teenage crush on Ringo Starr if that helps?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Em Linthorpe · 22 Days Ago

        Oh blimey, yeah that counts, amazing! Was it a crush on 60s Ringo or 90s Ringo?

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

        I took him any which way he came. I even paid stupid amounts of money to see him perform live when I was 16. I also fancied Boris Becker. I have really weird taste in men. I don’t have a leg stand on really haha.

        Like

      • Em Linthorpe · 22 Days Ago

        Oh that’s cool, I get you. I had see it mini crushes too, I like to think of it as the adolescent brain and hormones stretching out and getting comfortable. I accompanied quite a few friends to weird and wonderful places just because they had a crush on the person there: be it local radio roadshows, the cinema or a Sean Hughes show in Newcastle. Funny guy but my mate was OBSESSED.

        I can see Boris a little bit though. ☺

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

        Haha bless Boris. Oh my God, I had so many friends in love with Sean Hughes. I never got it.

        Like

  5. angelanoelauthor · 22 Days Ago

    The Bangles version of Hazy Shade of Winter is awesome. Honestly, I didn’t know it was a cover! Shame on me. Now, to judge which is better I’ll have to listen to both side by side. I’ll do that this evening and let you know my verdict!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

      Haha do! I love that Bangles track. I think I prefer to Simon & Garfunkel’s, but ssshhh don’t tell anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • angelanoelauthor · 20 Days Ago

        So I went back and listened to the Simon & Garfunkel version. And I find that I still like the Bangles one better—but I also had a very serious thing for the Bangles. I am listening to them right now, Walk Like an Egyptian even got my son dancing. And generally dancing is not allowed (don’t ask. I’m not sure why Jack has this rule.) Anyway–thought I’d check back to provide the results of my scientific study.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley · 19 Days Ago

        Thank you so much for reporting back. I’m glad you also prefer the Bangles version. I also had a very serious thing for the Bangles. They were my role models as a teenager and I finally got to see them live in my late 20s when they came to the U.K. They did not disappoint & the teenager still in me was in complete awe x

        Liked by 1 person

      • angelanoelauthor · 19 Days Ago

        Oh man, that sounds awesome!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Phil Taylor · 22 Days Ago

    All great choices! Well done. This must have taken a lot of time and research on your part!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

      About half of them were in my head already, but I did have to think long & hard/do research for the rest. Cheers Phil.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Traci York · 22 Days Ago

    If I made my own list, it would look very much like yours! Funny thing – when I first heard NiN singing Hurt, I was like, “OMG, what a mess they made out of Johnny’s song” – LOL!

    Some of my faves not on your list –

    Disturbed, Sound of Silence
    Jonathan Coulton, Baby Got Back
    Ninja Sex Party, Everybody Wants To Rule The World

    I know there are a few more, but haven’t had enough coffee yet to coax them out of my brain… *grin*

    Stellar choices, as always – now I’m off to listen on Spotify! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. josypheen · 22 Days Ago

    Fantastic list!

    Have you ever found post modern jukebox on you tube? I looove so many of their cover versions. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

      No I haven’t, but I’m going to check it out. Cheers Josy x

      Liked by 1 person

      • josypheen · 22 Days Ago

        There are soooo many songs. I can listen to their crazy covers for hours. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

        Excellent!

        Like

  9. sarahsouthwest · 22 Days Ago

    The Johnny Cash version of Hurt makes me ugly cry every time. I admit to a sneaky fondness for the Tom Jones version of Kiss. I like a cover version. A song should be open to reinterpretation – it should be a living thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

      Oh I know what you mean, Hurt really “gets” to you. In fact 4 of those top 5 songs easily reduce me to tears. Ha yes, Tom Jones’s cover of Kiss is a lot of fun.

      Like

  10. music2commute2 · 22 Days Ago

    Great list but I just can’t warm to Sineads version. Although written by Prince it was originally released by The Family and that version is the best as far as I am concerned. Luther Vandross A House Is Not A Home is a stormer, as is Handbags and Gladrags by The Stereophonics. Anna (Go to Him) and Baby, It’s You by The Beatles are definitely up there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 22 Days Ago

      It’s Sinead’s vocals that I love. Also, I’m not a fan of the backing vocals on the Family version. You’re right, I should’ve put that The Family did the original version, even though they were completely masterminded by Prince. Similar to you with Sinead, I couldn’t warm to the Stereophonics version of Handbags as I love the Rod Stewart version so much. Good call with the Beatles. They weren’t bad at covers, were they?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. forgottenmeadows · 22 Days Ago

    Wonderful list!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Now you are talking my talk girl 🙂 Respect …….. Tainted Love ……… Heard it through the Grapevine. My knees are have gone all weak!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I FORGOT, Janis Joplin and Sinead O’Connor. Okay, I am off to relax and listen to some tunes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. mydangblog · 22 Days Ago

    Excellent list, although my favourite Siouxsie and the Banshees cover is The Passenger (Iggy Pop)!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Judy E Martin · 21 Days Ago

    What a fabulous list. Sinead O’Connor is my number one too. I love ‘Dear Prudence’ as well,
    What about O L’Amour by Erasure? Dollar did the original, remember them? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 21 Days Ago

      I do remember and I love both versions. It’d be hard to pick which I preferred I think. I’ll always love the Sinead version of Nothing. Cheers Judy.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. MindOverMeta · 20 Days Ago

    Mad World – I remember when the cover came out near to Christmas and how lots of people moaned at how bleak it was. I loved it! I’d not heard the original before, but when I did I didn’t like what was going on for my ears!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebeasley · 20 Days Ago

      Yes and I remember it was released when all kinds of bleak shit started going down around the world and thought it was a rather fitting Xmas No.1.

      Liked by 1 person

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