Cover songs that are better than the originals.


There is an active thread about terrible cover songs so I thought I'd start one about cover songs that are better than or have completely eclipsed the originals. I'll start:

Randy Newman wrote Momma Told Me Not to Come for Eric Burdon who recored it with the Animals and Newman recorded it too. I have the Newman version and like it but Three Dog Night really seem to capture the mood of the song best in my opinion.
n80
Eva Cassidy... Over the Rainbow.
The Rolling Stones’ cover of Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain”
"Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone," was written and sung by Bill Withers, produced by Booker T. Jones with Donald "Duck" Dunn on bass, Al Jackson Jr. on drums and Stephen Stills on guitar. 
A really fine song but the recent version by Buddy Guy and Tracy Chapman tops it, in my opinion.
Jerry Lee Lewis (of all people) does a cover of Over the Rainbow, which is not as good as Garland, and is obviously more masculine, but I like it.

https://youtu.be/XEu28N2TINo

I do like the Eva Cassidy version. But, I still like Garland's best.
Since we’re discussing American icons like Over the Rainbow, I’ll throw in this "cover" of Moon River. This is actually the "demo" recording with Mancini playing the piano and Mercer singing.

I have it on an Oxford American Southern Music CD Sampler.

To me it blows all the others away.

https://youtu.be/MKnZ174_kWk
Quicksilver Messenger Service's cover of Bo Didley's "Who Do You Love" - recorded live at the Fillmore West!

The Beatles: "Rock & Roll Music" (Chuck Berry original of course).

Dave Edmunds: "I Hear You Knocking" (Smiley Lewis original); "Born To Be With You" (The Chordettes original); "Singing The Blues" (Marty Robbins original); "Almost Saturday Night" (John Fogerty original); a bunch more. Edmunds is my favorite song re-interpreter.

Elvis Presley: "Hound Dog" (Big Mama Thornton original).

The Byrds: "My Back Pages" (Bob Dylan original); "Mr. Tambourine Man" (ditto).

The Bobby Fuller Four: "I Fought The Law" (The Crickets original); "Love's Made A Fool Of You" (ditto).

The Guess Who: "Shakin' All Over" (Johnnie Kidd & The Pirates original).

.....to be continued!.....

Jenny Lewis "Handle With Care" (maybe not better but great effort)
Annie Lennox "Strange Fruit"
Patricia Barber "A Taste of Honey"
The Cowboy Junkies "Betty Lonely"
Eels "Oh Well"
The Meters "Wichita Lineman" (maybe not better but a damn good effort)
Robert Plant/Alison Krauss "Nothin’"
Ryan Adams "Down in a Hole"
Joan Taylor Shaw "War Pigs"
Aretha Franklin "Respect"
Eric Clapton "I Shot the Sheriff"
Kapt Kopter & the FabulousTwirly Birds "Day Tripper"
Lucinda Williams "It’s a Long Way to the Top"
The Remains "I’m a Man" "All Day and All of the Night" "Like a Rolling Stone"
Richard Thompson "Oops!, I Did it Again"
Van Halen "Pretty Woman" (a good effort)
Ides Of March "Wooden Ships"

BTW, there is a thread from a while back similar to this...….

like @bdp24, to be continued...….





Santana & Patricia Barber "Black Magic Woman"
Van Halen "Dancing in the Street"
John Mayall Blues Breakers "What I'd Say"
Janis Joplin "Me and Bobby McGee"
Gregg Allman "These Days"
John Mayer "Bold As Love"
Mudcrutch "Lover of the Bayou"
Allman Brothers "She Has Funny Cars"
Joe Cocker "Feelin' Alright"

more to come.....





FZ -- Stairway To Heaven cover
The Residents -- Jail House Rock 
Mnozil Brass -- My Way cover
Nilsson - Without You, Everybody's Talking
Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee
The Band - I Shall Be Released
The Byrds - Turn Turn Turn 
Ha! slaw’s Richard Thompson cover of "Oops!...I Did It Again" is genius! Fun topic. And djones51’s The Band’s "I Shall Be Released" is one I wish I had made (maybe I did in the similar thread?). Richard Manuel’s falsetto vocal is really special. For another great version of his Janis Joplin's "Me And Bobby McGee", give a listen to Gordon Lightfoot's recording. ARC's Bill Johnson really liked the recorded sound quality of the album it's on (If You Could Read My Mind) too. 
Talking Heads. Take me to the River. Jimi Hendrix. All Along the Watchtower.
@bdp24 ,

I was hoping someone would get a kick out of  "Oops!..." 
+1 Talking Heads - Take me to the River
Alison Krauss/Viktor Krauss - Big Log
Amy Winehouse - Valerie
Pink - Me and Bobby McGee
Travis - Baby One More Time (yet another Brittany Spears song)

As far as Stairway to Heaven, it hard to believe that a cover could be better than the original, but Heart's version comes close.

@tls49 ,
A band called Shell does an excellent cover of Stairway, so does Rodrigues Y Gabriela"

Your mention of Travis has me playing Fran Healy right now!
Johnny Cash - Hurt
Ricki Lee Jones - I'll Be Seeing You
Walk Off the Earth - Someone Like You
Sonic Youth - Superstar, The Carpenters
The Carpenters, Calling Occupants (of Interplanetary Craft), Klaatu

Does Jimi Hendrix "Hey Joe" qualify? I've never been able to ensure, though, that I've heard the actual original by Billy Roberts(?).  
Gary Clark, Jr.'s cover of Hendrix's Third Stone from the Sun.

If you like blues based rock, a little R&B, occasional heavy guitars all mixed together you should check Clark out. He's the real deal.
slaw, you know it's funny how when "Oops" is taken out of Britney's hands and put in Richard's, you can hear how good a song it actually is.
For me Shout by Otis Day and the Knights (Lloyd Williams) is one of the greatest covers of all time. The original Isley Brothers version is really good. Our local oldies station plays it all the time. But the Animal House version just adds so much to it that I have a hard time hearing it any other way.

I'll admit, the Animal House version has all the associated coolness of the movie associated with it including the impeccable placement of the song within the movie. 
Cream - Crossroads
Aerosmith - Train Kept A Rolling
Voivod - Astronomy Domine
Zep - You Shook Me
Jeff Buckley - Halleluja
Tiamat - Sympathy For The Devil 
 
Wild Thing, of course everybody knows The Troggs, but I was fortunate to live up in Chicago in the '70s where they played the much lesser known but better cover by Fancy.

Son Of A Preacher Man covered by Joss Stone is better than the original too, in my opinion.
Over the Rainbow

Israel Kamakawiwoʻole  (RIP)

https://youtu.be/V1bFr2SWP1I
Little Wing - Stevie Ray Vaughn
Live and let die - Guns N' Roses
+1 on Hurt by Jonny Cash
+1 for SRV I was going to post that myself. Truly a great rendition. 
Dave Matthews (Live in Central Park)--All along the Watch Tower

Ricki Lee Jones-- Rebel Rebel (although my wife disagrees with me)

Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)-- Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Jimi was on the right track, but SRV made it what it is.

+1 on Johnny Cash/Hurt

Frank Zappa / Whippin’ Post
Eva Cassidy / Fields of Gold
SRV / Voodoo Chile
Earth Wind & Fire / Gotta get you into my Life
and my favorite...
Roberta Flack / Bridge Over Troubled Water

Do find the last one and check it out. Perfection (at least to me). 



Donnie Hathaway’s  cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”
Johnny Cash’s cover of Trent Rezniks “Hurt”

Cowboy Junkies cover of Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” comes damn close.

Wet Wet Wet’s cover of the Troggs “Love Is All Around”...just kidding! It’s rubbish...
Ale'a- Baby Can I Hold You (original by Tracy Chapman)

https://youtu.be/Wt1-_Mx-2WI

The Band- Atlantic City (original by Bruce Springsteen)

https://youtu.be/I0eZwpHtcK4
anything by bryan ferry
or that matter,, any cover of bob dylan songs
Lloyd Cole: "Chelsea Hotel"
Poco: "Magnolia"
Rosanne Cash: "River"
Translator: "Today"
Bryan Ferry: "All Tomorrow's Parties"
Mott the Hoople: "Sweet Jane"
The Primitives: "I'll Be Your Mirror"
Allison Krause: "Can't Find My Way Home"
Jeffrey Gaines: "Win"
Three Dog Night: "Eli's Coming"
Linda Ronstadt: "Party Girl"
The Jam: "David Watts"
Buffalo Tom: "Going Underground"
Led Zeppelin — “Dazed and Confused” (Jake Holmes)
The Fugees — “Killing Me Softly With His Song” (Charles Fox/Norman Gimbel/Lori Lieberman)
Patti Smith — “Because the Night (Bruce Springsteen)
Nirvana — “The Man Who Sold the World” (David Bowie)


Ryan Adams' version of Taylor Swift's album 1989. Was it a goof?  Was it an actual tribute? I don't know. I've never heard the TS versions of these songs (except "Shake It Off") ---but I can't imagine I'd like them as much as I like this album by Ryan Adams.
I love Eva Cassidy

I prefer her _Songbird_ to Christine McVie’s

But my favorite _Over the Rainbow_ is by Impellitteri

https://youtu.be/fsebbb_xTtQ
Siouxie and the Banshees / The Passenger AND Trust in Me (from The Jungle Book, Disney movie. You know, with Kaa the Snake...)
David Bowie / See Emily Play
Frankie Goes to Hollywood / Born to Run
I have to agree with blueranger. Jimi's cover of All Along the Watchtower is one of the all-time great covers.
Brownssville Station. "Sweet Jane". Awesome take on a classic song. More energy and drive. Its overlooked because it was from a one hit wonder group.
Gram Parsons' original recording of his "A Song For You" (on his debut album GP) is real fine, but the cover by The Continental Drifters is much, much better. The Drifters were a 1990's L.A. supergroup with members from The Bangles, The db's, The Cowsills, The Dream Syndicate, and a great drummer named Carlo Nuccio (who played on Tori Amos' first album). They made one album in L.A., hosted Tuesday nights at Raji's on Hollywood Blvd., then moved to New Orleans where they recorded two more albums. A great group.
Thanks Tomcy6. That solo gives me goosebumps everytime. According to the insert of his best of CD. He heard it and said I have to record it. He went into the studio and didn't what on his bass player. He had the inspiration and creativity in that window of time and he nailed it! He had to what to release it.
Obviously, (but maybe not) the greatest cover was Jimi Hendrix- "All Along the Watchtower".
Twist And Shout
Beatles
One of the last songs the late GREAT Stan Rogers recorded was Mary McCaslin's "Going Down the Road". I'd guess that most people aren't familiar with him. Listen to this song. It's amazing. Stan could take a song that I never cared for the first time around and turn it into gold. I felt his loss like many felt when John Lennon died. Enjoy. Joe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpis0Q3VBFg
Mott the Hoople's cover of "All the Young Dudes" is better than the original by David Bowie
George Thorogood's cover of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" is better than the original by Muddy Waters.
Van Halen's cover of "You really Got Me" is marginally better than the original by the Kinks
The one the only late great Ms.Laura Nryo .Was a great song writer and performer.Wedding Bell Blues-5th.Dimenson ,Stoney End -Barbara Streisand,And When I Die-Blood,Sweat and Tears ,Eli Coming-Three Dog Night ,Stoned Soul Picnic -5th Dimension ,its Gonna take a Miracle -Royalettes -Dennis Williams ,Save the Country-5th Dimension .All I can say is Wow.She recorded released all the songs on her own.
limomangus, Laura was such a great writer. I actually prefer her original performances of her songs to those of others.
Really?  No mention of Joe Cocker turning “A Little Help From My Friends” over under sideways down and then inside out at Woodstock?  Sheesh!  Hard to believe it’s the same song and it continues to give me goosebumps every time I listen to it. Absolutely OWNED it. 

So far as “Respect” by Otis Redding goes I’ll give the nod to Aretha but both versions are damn fine in every...respect.  Aretha pretty much OWNED it as well but when ya listen to Otis - anything by him - you can’t help but...well, same goes for Aretha.  Truly incredible artists.  

Fun thread...
Anyone recall the great cover letter of the live version of the 59th Street Bridge Song ( Feelin Groovy) by Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper?