Friday, October 13, 2023

Top 120 Cover Songs of All Time

Couple things real quick before I jump into this. First is, I usually try to keep these to just one page because I hate click bait garbage, but this has 120 videos, plus 120 other links, and over 20,000 words, so if I put it all on one page it would take a million years to load. The second thing, is I absolutely HATE the song "Hallelujah". I don't know why, it just rubs me wrong. Lot of people will think it should be in the top 10 (or even #1). Honestly I wasn't even going to put it on, but I did since it did belong there, but I can't even evaluate it objectively due to my hatered of the song. So, it is probably a lot lower than it should be. Finally, there are some bands that just cover too many damn songs. Wasn't going to put like 10 different Elvis songs, so I would just pick the best one or in some rare cases 2.

#120: Wild is the Wind - David Bowie

Original by Johnny Mathis

David Bowie's unparalleled ability to reinterpret songs reached its zenith when he covered Johnny Mathis's classic "Wild is the Wind." Bowie's rendition, released on his 1976 album "Station to Station," transformed the tender ballad into a haunting, ethereal masterpiece. His distinctive voice, at once raw and vulnerable, brought new layers of emotion to the song's exploration of love's complexities. The arrangement, marked by lush orchestration and Bowie's experimental sonic touches, added a cosmic dimension, transcending the original's romanticism. Bowie's cover of "Wild is the Wind" stands as a testament to his genius for reinvention, taking a timeless melody and imbuing it with his avant-garde spirit, leaving an indelible mark on the intersection of rock and soul.

#119: I put a Spell on You - Nina Simone

Original by Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Nina Simone's rendition of "I Put a Spell on You," originally by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, is an enchanting journey through the depths of emotion. Released in 1965 as part of her album of the same name, Simone's version transforms Hawkins' raucous blues anthem into a hauntingly soulful ballad. Her deep, resonant voice takes possession of the song, infusing it with a potent mix of sensuality and melancholy. Simone's piano playing, combined with the poignant orchestration, creates a spellbinding atmosphere. Through her nuanced interpretation, she turns the theme of bewitchment into a captivating exploration of love's tumultuous magic. Simone's cover of "I Put a Spell on You" remains a timeless testament to her ability to reinvent songs and make them uniquely her own.

#118: Running Up That Hill - Placebo

Original by Kate Bush

Placebo's cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" is a captivating reimagining that captures the essence of the original while infusing it with a distinct rock edge. Released as a single in 2003, Placebo's version, with Brian Molko's emotive vocals, adds a darker and more intense dimension to the song. The band's grunge-inspired interpretation brings a raw energy to the track, complemented by its powerful guitar riffs and dynamic percussion. While maintaining the core emotion of Bush's lyrics, Placebo's cover injects a sense of urgency and angst, creating a rendition that stands on its own while paying homage to the brilliance of the original. The cover showcases Placebo's ability to transform iconic songs into something entirely new, leaving an indelible mark on this classic track.

#117: Strawberry Letter 23 - The Brothers Johnson

Original by Shuggie Otis

The Brothers Johnson's rendition of Shuggie Otis's "Strawberry Letter 23" is a funk-infused masterpiece that became a defining hit for the duo. Released in 1977 on their album "Right on Time," the cover brilliantly fuses their R&B and funk sensibilities with Otis's psychedelic soul original. With George and Louis Johnson's impeccable musicianship and harmonies, the track becomes a groove-laden, soulful journey. The Brothers Johnson inject a vibrant energy into Otis's dreamy composition, with infectious bass lines, crisp guitar riffs, and smooth vocals that make it uniquely their own. Their version not only pays homage to Otis's artistry but elevates "Strawberry Letter 23" to new heights, turning it into a classic of the funk and R&B genres.

#116: Landslide - Smashing Pumpkins

Original by Fleetwood Mac

The Smashing Pumpkins' cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" is a poignant reimagining that marries the alternative rock sensibilities of the 1990s with the timeless beauty of Stevie Nicks' original composition. Featured on the Pumpkins' 1994 album "Pisces Iscariot," the cover showcases Billy Corgan's emotive vocals and the band's signature wall of sound. While staying true to the delicate folk-rock essence of the original, the Pumpkins infuse their version with a grunge edge, emphasizing rawness and vulnerability. The result is a haunting and introspective interpretation that resonates with a new generation while honoring the grace of Nicks' songwriting. The Smashing Pumpkins' "Landslide" cover stands as a testament to their ability to breathe new life into iconic tracks while maintaining their profound emotional depth.

#115: Killing Moon - Pavement

Original by Echo and The Bunnymen

Pavement's cover of "Killing Moon," originally by Echo & the Bunnymen, transforms the haunting post-punk classic into a lo-fi indie rock gem. Released as a B-side to Pavement's single "Major Leagues" in 1999, the cover retains the atmospheric allure of the original while adding the band's distinctive slacker-rock charm. Stephen Malkmus's nonchalant vocals and the band's characteristic fuzzy guitars give the song a casual, off-kilter feel. Pavement's interpretation doesn't attempt to replicate the grandiosity of Echo & the Bunnymen's version but instead offers a reinterpretation that aligns with their own idiosyncratic style. The cover captures the spirit of the '90s indie scene, demonstrating Pavement's ability to playfully reimagine iconic tracks while maintaining a sense of irreverence and individuality.

#114: Superstar - Sonic Youth

Original by Delaney & Bonnie

Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar," originally by Delaney & Bonnie and popularized by The Carpenters, is a captivating departure from the conventional. Featured on their 1994 album "If I Were a Carpenter," the band strips down the ballad, infusing it with their signature avant-garde noise rock elements. Sonic Youth, pioneers of experimental soundscapes, deconstruct the saccharine pop classic, replacing its smooth contours with dissonant guitar feedback and Kim Gordon's haunting vocals. The result is an atmospheric and haunting rendition that transforms the original's love-stricken narrative into a sonic journey marked by tension and unease. Sonic Youth's cover of "Superstar" stands as a testament to their ability to reshape familiar melodies into avant-garde expressions, creating an entirely new emotional landscape within the realms of alternative rock.

#113: Louie Louie - The Kingsmen

Original by Richard Berry

The Kingsmen's version of "Louie Louie" is a seminal rock and roll cover that left an indelible mark on music history. Originally recorded by Richard Berry in 1957, The Kingsmen's rendition, released in 1963, catapulted the song to iconic status. Marked by its raw energy, the recording exudes a primal, garage-band fervor. The song's ambiguous lyrics, delivered with Jack Ely's distinctive, almost unintelligible vocals, sparked controversy and an FBI investigation into its supposed obscenity. Despite the controversy, "Louie Louie" became an anthem of the 1960s garage rock scene, influencing countless bands and leaving an enduring legacy. The Kingsmen's cover is a testament to the power of simplicity and raw authenticity in rock music, earning its place as a timeless classic.

#112: Dear Prudence - Souxie and The Banshees

Original by The Beatles

Siouxsie and the Banshees' cover of The Beatles' "Dear Prudence" is a mesmerizing reinvention that transforms the psychedelic original into a haunting post-punk masterpiece. Released in 1983 as part of their album "Hyaena," Siouxsie Sioux's ethereal vocals infuse the song with a darker, more mysterious atmosphere. The band's rendition maintains the song's dreamy quality but adds a layer of melancholy and urgency, characteristic of their distinctive sound. The use of atmospheric guitars and Siouxsie's evocative delivery creates a sense of enchantment and emotional depth. This cover stands as a testament to Siouxsie and the Banshees' ability to make a classic song their own while paying homage to the brilliance of The Beatles' composition.

#111: Walk on By - Isaac Hayse

Original by Dionne Warwick

Isaac Hayes' cover of "Walk on By" is a soulful, cinematic rendition that stands as a masterpiece of orchestral soul. Released in 1969 as part of his groundbreaking album "Hot Buttered Soul," Hayes transforms Dionne Warwick's original into an opulent, 12-minute opus. Hayes' rich baritone vocals, paired with intricate arrangements and a symphony of strings, redefine the song's emotional landscape. The cover's elongated, dramatic instrumentation creates a lush soundscape, reflecting the era's embrace of progressive soul. Hayes' "Walk on By" is a sonic journey, marked by sensuality and sophistication, cementing his status as a trailblazer in soul and R&B. This rendition showcases Hayes' ability to reinterpret a familiar tune and imbue it with a distinct and luxurious musical identity.

#110: Easy - Faith No More

Original by Commodores

Faith No More's cover of "Easy," originally by The Commodores, is a brilliant reimagining that defies genre boundaries. Released in 1992 as part of their album "Angel Dust," the cover transforms the smooth R&B original into a melancholic yet whimsical piece. Mike Patton's versatile vocals, ranging from crooning to aggressive, add a layer of complexity to the song. Faith No More's interpretation incorporates elements of alternative rock and funk, showcasing the band's eclectic style. The cover not only pays homage to The Commodores but also serves as a testament to Faith No More's ability to subvert expectations and infuse their unique flair into diverse musical landscapes, creating a memorable and distinct version of "Easy" that remains iconic in its own right.

#109: I found a Reason - Cat Power

Original by The Velvet Underground

Cat Power's cover of "I Found a Reason," originally by The Velvet Underground, is a hauntingly beautiful interpretation that captures the essence of vulnerability and longing. Featured on her 2006 album "The Greatest," Cat Power (Chan Marshall) transforms the Velvet Underground's gentle ballad into a soulful and intimate confession. Marshall's evocative voice, fragile yet powerful, adds a poignant depth to the song's emotional landscape. The arrangement, marked by sparse instrumentation and a subtle orchestral backdrop, enhances the sense of intimacy. Cat Power's cover of "I Found a Reason" is a testament to her ability to channel raw emotion, offering a fresh perspective on a classic while staying true to the song's soulful core. The result is a rendition that resonates with authenticity and leaves a lasting impression on listeners.

#108: Superman - R.E.M.

Original by The Clique

R.E.M.'s cover of "Superman," originally by The Clique, is a jangly and infectious take on the 1969 garage rock hit. Featured on R.E.M.'s 1986 album "Lifes Rich Pageant," their rendition is characterized by Peter Buck's signature guitar arpeggios and Michael Stipe's distinctive vocal delivery. The band infuses the song with their own brand of alternative rock energy, turning it into an anthem that reflects the indie sound of the '80s. R.E.M.'s cover of "Superman" not only pays homage to the original but also showcases their ability to bring new life to a track, making it their own. The cover stands as a testament to the band's influence on the alternative rock scene and their knack for revitalizing hidden gems.

#107: Tears of a Clown - The English Beat

Original by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles

The English Beat's cover of "Tears of a Clown," originally by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, is a ska-infused reimagining that breathes new life into the Motown classic. Released in 1979 as part of their debut album "I Just Can't Stop It," The English Beat injects the song with infectious energy, incorporating their signature blend of ska, punk, and new wave. The rhythmic guitar riffs, upbeat tempo, and Dave Wakeling's charismatic vocals give the track a vibrant and danceable quality. The cover pays homage to the original while infusing it with a fresh, contemporary sound, showcasing The English Beat's ability to bridge musical styles and create a memorable version that remains true to the spirit of the original but with a distinct twist.

#106: Viva Las Vegas - The Dead Kennedys

Original by Elvis Presley

The Dead Kennedys' cover of "Viva Las Vegas," originally by Elvis Presley, is a punk rock reinterpretation that subverts the glitzy, upbeat tone of the original. Released in 1980 as part of their album "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables," the Dead Kennedys inject irreverence and anarchic energy into the iconic Vegas anthem. Jello Biafra's snarling vocals and the band's frenetic instrumentation transform the song into a satirical commentary on excess and commercialism. The cover embodies the punk ethos, taking a classic from the King of Rock 'n' Roll and reshaping it into a rebellious, anti-establishment statement. The Dead Kennedys' "Viva Las Vegas" stands as a testament to their ability to infuse punk attitude into unexpected musical territory while challenging societal norms.

#105: Just Like Heaven - Dinosaur Jr

Original by The Cure

Dinosaur Jr.'s cover of "Just Like Heaven," originally by The Cure, is a grunge-infused rendition that preserves the original's dreamy essence while injecting it with alternative rock vigor. Released in 1989, the cover captures the raw, distorted guitar sound characteristic of Dinosaur Jr.'s style, with J Mascis's vocals adding a touch of vulnerability. The band's approach transforms the song's landscape, replacing the polished sheen of The Cure's version with a wall of noisy, fuzzy guitars. Dinosaur Jr.'s cover of "Just Like Heaven" pays homage to the melodic brilliance of the original while offering a distinct interpretation that resonates with the alternative rock ethos of the late '80s. It stands as a testament to the band's ability to infuse their unique sound into iconic tracks.

#104: Wild Horses - The Sundays

Original by The Rolling Stones

The Sundays' cover of "Wild Horses," originally by The Rolling Stones, is a delicate and ethereal interpretation that showcases Harriet Wheeler's haunting vocals and the band's dreamy indie-pop sensibility. Featured on their 1992 album "Blind," the cover captures the emotional depth of the Stones' classic while infusing it with a gentle, introspective atmosphere. The Sundays' version unfolds with a languid grace, emphasizing the emotional nuances of the lyrics. The subtle instrumentation, coupled with Wheeler's emotive delivery, creates a poignant and timeless rendition. The cover not only pays homage to the rock legends but also stands as a testament to The Sundays' ability to infuse their unique style into a beloved song, making it a mesmerizing and contemplative experience.

#103: Wonderwall - Ryan Adams

Original by Oasis

Ryan Adams' cover of "Wonderwall" by Oasis is a stripped-down, heartfelt rendition that offers a distinct interpretation of the iconic '90s hit. Released as part of Adams' 2003 album "Love Is Hell," his version trades the Britpop energy for a more introspective, acoustic approach. Adams' raspy vocals bring a raw and emotionally charged quality to the lyrics, giving the song a sense of personal reflection. The slower pace and melancholic tone of his cover lend a new depth to the familiar melody, capturing a different emotional hue compared to the original. Adams' take on "Wonderwall" showcases his ability to reimagine a well-known song, infusing it with his own brand of sincerity and vulnerability.

#102: I Will Survive - Cake

Original by Gloria Gaynor

Cake's cover of "I Will Survive," originally by Gloria Gaynor, is a quirky and alternative take on the disco anthem. Released in 1996 on their album "Fashion Nugget," Cake's version combines John McCrea's deadpan vocal delivery with their signature mix of rock, funk, and country elements. The band transforms the empowering disco anthem into a laid-back, groove-laden track with a distinctive brass section. Cake's irreverent approach and unique instrumentation breathe new life into the song, offering a fresh perspective on resilience and survival. Their cover of "I Will Survive" stands as a testament to Cake's ability to infuse humor and individuality into well-known classics while maintaining a sense of homage to the original.

#101: Renegades of Funk - Rage Against The Machine

Original by Afrika Bambaataa

Rage Against the Machine's cover of "Renegades of Funk," originally by Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force, is a powerful fusion of rap-rock and political fervor. Featured on their 2000 album "Renegades," Rage Against the Machine transforms the electro-funk original into a guitar-driven anthem. Tom Morello's distinctive guitar riffs and Zack de la Rocha's intense vocals amplify the rebellious spirit of the song. The cover, with its explosive energy and social commentary, encapsulates Rage Against the Machine's commitment to activism and resistance. By incorporating their signature sound and political edge, the band pays homage to the hip-hop pioneers while making "Renegades of Funk" a rallying cry for social change in the context of their own powerful musical language.

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