Music definitely is not what it used to be. Its evolvement has been so expansive that just before you can say ‘Hey’, a year has gone by and with it the style and mood of music as also the evolution of an altogether new genre.
It is in understanding this phenomenon that musicians from different eras who have managed to weather the time have survived in the dog-eats-dog age of competition. colorful chair covers I don’t think even American Idol Adam Lambert would have ever dreamt of being nominated for a Grammy Award in the same category as Elton John & Leon Russell. The latter have managed to crossover with ease eras because they stayed true to their own styles and yet reinventing themselves just a bit so as to also ensure they stay current.
With an aim to specifically see who can stay the truest to their artistry without much compromise, I tried out an experiment.
I started looking out and listening to ‘Cover-Version’ tracks of ‘Popular Songs’. Whilst the newest version may be a cover of already covered songs, the deciding factor thereafter became ‘Cover- version of popular song’. The aim was to see how they could take a popular track which has sunk in deep with its fans and actually tried to better it, whilst also maintaining their own style.
Many established artist have chosen to do cover version in its original version or style. As per research, most claim they liked the song just as it was and didn’t feel it fair or necessary to change it. They’ve always wanted to sing it and so they did. Fair as that may sound, I felt it was clichéd and the finished product was quite Karaoke. As an example of this are 3 artists Rod Stewart, Phil Collins and Jason Donovan (who are actually on my ‘Favorite Artists List’). Much as I would have liked to, none of their cover songs made it to my BEST COVER-SONGS LIST’! (As if they care!!!!!). Ironically each have such a unique and distinct vocal and music style that I thought they would actually bring a new depth to the original song, but that didn’t quite happen.
So, getting started – here is my list of the TOP 50 BEST COVER VERSION SONGS.
To come up with this list, I ensured I actually somehow found and listened to each and every track in complete as also many more who well made to my top 100. I researched where possible the background behind their covering the songs. I already knew most of own original stuff as such it was easy to see how well they stayed true to their own style.
As a reader and a music lover, from the list itself you would be better able to understand where I was coming from when I compiled it. I have purposely listed this from 1-50 rather than 50 counting down to 1, because I would like to recognize the best versions first.
001 U2- Can’t Help Falling In Love (Cover of an ‘Elvis Presley’ classic)
002 Scissors Sister- Comfortably Numb (Cover of the ‘Pink Floyd’ classic)
003 Annie Lennox- Whiter Shade of Pale (Cover of the ‘Procol Harum’ hit)
004 A-Ha- Crying In The Rain (Cover of ‘The Everly Brothers’ hit)
005 Taken By Trees- Sweet Child O’ Mine (Cover of the ‘GUns N’ Roses’ hit)
006 Siobhan Magnus- Paint It Black (Cover of ‘The Rolling Stones’ classic)
007 Erasure- Take A Chance (Cover of the ‘Abba’ hit)
008 Jason Castro- Hallelujah! (Cover of the’Leonard Cohen’ hit)
009 Alient Ant Farm- Smooth Criminal (Cover of the’Michael Jackson’ hit)
010 Chantal Kreviazuk- Leaving On A Jet Place (Cover of the’John Denver’ hit)
011 Paul Anka- Jump (Cover of the ‘Valen Halen’ classic)
012 Gypsy Kings- Hotel California (Cover of ‘The Eagles’ classic)
013 UB40- Can’t Help Falling In Love (Cover of an ‘Elvis Presley’ classic)
014 Atomic Kitten- The Tide Is High (Cover of a ‘Blondie’ hit)
015 Tina Turner- Help! (Cover of ‘The Beatles’ classic)
016 Sinead O’ Connor-Sacrifice (Cover of an ‘Elton John’ hit)
017 Suggs- Cecelia (Cover the ‘Simon & Garfunkel’ classic)
018 Pet Shop Boys- Always On My Mind (Cover of an ‘Elvis Presley’ classic)
019 Whitney Houston- I Will Always Love You (Cover of the ‘Dolly Parton Classic)
020 No Mercy- D’yer Mak’r (Cover of the ‘Led Zeppelin’ hit)
021 Madonna- American Pie (Cover of the Don McLean classic)
022 Susan Boyle- Wild Horses (Cover of ‘The Rolling Stones’ hit)
023 Green Day- Working Class Hero (Cover of the ‘John Lennon’ classic)
024 Roxy Music- Jealous Guy (Cover of the ‘John Lennon’ classic)
025 Faith No More- Easy (Cover of the ‘Lionel Richie’ hit)
026 Pet Shop Boys- I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (Cover of the ‘U2’ hit)
027 Kris Allen- Heartless (Cover of the ‘Kanye West’ hit)
028 Ronan Keating- If Tomorrow Never Comes (Cover of the ‘Garth Brooks’ hit)
029 Erasure- Voulez Vous (Cover of the ‘Abba’ hit)
030 Fine Young Cannibals- Suspicious Minds (Cover of an ‘Elvis Presley’ classic)
031 UB40- I Got U Babe (Cover of ‘Sonny & Cher’ classic)
032 Billy Ocean- Long & Winding Road (Cover of ‘The Beatles’ classic)
033 The Lemonheads- Mrs. Robinson (Cover of the ‘Simon & Garfunkel’ hit)
034 Geri Halliwel- It’s Raining Men (Cover of ‘The Weather Girls’ hit)
035 Garth Brooks- Shameless (Cover of the ‘Billy Joel’ hit)
036 Saigon Kick- Space Oddity (Cover of the ‘David Bowie’ hit)
037 Bangles- Hazy Shade Of Winter (Cover of the ‘Simon & Garfunkel’ hit)
038 Red Hot Chili Peppers- Higher Ground (Cover of the ‘Stevie Wonder’ hit)
039 Gareth Gates- Unchained Melody (Cover of ‘The Righteous Brothers’ classic)
040 Seether- Careless Whispers (Cover of the ‘Wham!’ hit)
041 Bill Medley- Just Like A Woman (Cover of the ‘Bob Dylan’ classic)
042 Metallica- You Really Got Me (Cover of ‘The Kinks’ classic)
043 George Michael- Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Cover of ‘The Temptations’ Motown classic)
044 Aerosmith- Come Together (Cover of ‘The Beatles’ classic)
045 Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah! (Cover of the’Leonard Cohen’ hit)
046 Tom Jones- Kiss (Cover of the ‘Prince & The Revolution’ hit)
047 Mr. Big- Wild World (Cover of the ‘Cat Stevens’ hit)
048 UB40- Red Red Wine (Cover of a ‘Neil Diamond’ song)
049 Limp Bizkit- Behind Blue Eyes (Cover of ‘The Who’ classic)
050 Crystal Bowersox- Me & Bobby McGee (Cover of the ‘Kris Kristofferson’ classic)
Now these 50 may not necessarily in the book of best songs covered. It’s ‘BEST’ status in ‘my books’ is defined on the basis of a popular song covered by another artist who adapted his/her own style and creating his/her own interpretation of the single. With it he/she not only created a beautiful peace of music but also respected and paid tribute to the original artist or the hit artist through his/her own rendition of the song!
Based in India, Sumeer Sudhakar is a music lover from its very core. Brought up in a very musically inclined family, singing and playing the guitar from a very early age, Sumeer has always stayed close to the art form inspite of being unable to actually take it up professionally. He has a large collection of music and himself is a singer, song-writer as also a guitarist. He has won awards for musical performances. Today he pursues this interest in the form of building his knowledge of performing artsist, listening to a very wide range of genres and also critiquing albums.