I always really liked the Tygers of Pan Tang cover of "Love Potion No.9".
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-Rebecca Pidgeon "Spanish Harlem"
-Kronos Quartet "Enter Sandman" (Metallica)
-Rage Against the Machine "Pistol Grip Pump" (Volume X)
-Jeff Buckley "Lilac Wine" (Nina Simone)
-Kings X "Manic Depression (Live)"
-Guns 'N Roses "Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
-Caetano Veloso "Cucurrucucu Paloma"
-Catherine Wheel "Wish You Were Here" (Pink Floyd)
-Husker Du "Love is All Around" (Mary Tyler Moore song)
and many others...
bauhaus doing bowie's 'ziggy stardust'
daniel ash doing the beatles' 'daytripper'
bryan ferry doing dylan's 'a hard rains a-gonna fall'
roxy music doing lennon's 'jealous guy'
love and rockets doing pink floyd's (syd barrett's) 'lucifer sam'
luna doing new order/joy division's 'ceremony'
calexico doing love's 'alone again or' (saw 'em do it live - amazing!)
bowie doing the pixies' 'cactus'
i'll post more as i remember 'em
You Really Got Me - Van Halen / The Kinks
The first cover song that I was ever really conscious of when I was first blown away by this album at the tender young age of 14. Although I was unaware that it was a cover at the time, the scorching version of 'Ice Cream Man' was originally done by Chicago bluesman John Brim. VH has done many exceptional covers.
Some great suggestions so far. For instance, didn't realize "Black Magic Woman" was a F.Mac song. And bonehead move on my part getting Mayfield and Gay confused. Your ideas have sparked a couple more ideas:
Warren Zevon doing Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door" on his last album (brings tears to your eyes)
Sara K doing "Brick House"
On the post 9/11 benefit concert some Rzeznik (is that the name?) and Limp Bizkit did an amazing "Wish You Were Here"
Yes, doing S&G's "America"
Of course, there's the punk cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" -- is it the Sex Pistols?
Speaking of "Sweet Jane" by The Velvet Underground, how about the cover of that same tune by the Cowboy Junkies? I doubt that most Cowboy Junkies fans know the provenance of this tune.
Going one step beyond "cover songs" and into the realm of "cover albums" you gotta love George Benson's cover of The Beatles' "Abbey Road." That was back in Benson's jazz days. About two years later, in his album "White Rabbit," Benson did some great covers of "White Rabbit" (originally by Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane) and "California Dreamin'" (originally by John and Michele Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas).
Need help, who did the Jazz version of Freebird?
Heard it on national public radio one day, it was part of a story about a guy that used to travel about yelling "Free Bird" at just the opportune moment during a show. It was killer, imagination, spontaniety, emotional contact, all that stuff, and I never like Jazz.
Another greatest that I can't find was a Grateful Dead bootleg live recording of Buddy Holly's "Good Loving".
Van Morrison's truncated version of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." It helped get me into music back in the 60s and the opening still gives me shivers.
Others of a folky nature:
Lucinda Williams' "Here in California" (Kate Wolf)
Dave Alvin's "Seeds" (Bruce Springsteen)
Iris Dement's "Big City" (Merle Haggard)
Stevie Ray Vaughan definitely trumped Jimi Hendrix (and everyone else that ever recorded it) on "Little Wing", released posthumously on "The Sky is Crying". This is probably my favorite Hendrix tune, and Stevie took it places that Jimi only teased us with. The MFSL version of this album is my single most prized recording!!!!
Bryan Ferry's solo albums contain a lot of covers, especially his earlier albums from the 70's. By contrast his Roxy Music albums are the outlet for most of his original work.
The range of music he covers is quite amazing, for example, Cole Porter, Dylan, Elvis, Joe South, Willie Nelson, Stones, Brian Wilson. As a reinterpretation of an original, I especially like his version of the Beatles' "It's Only Love" from the "Let's Stick Together" album of 1976. "As Time Goes By" is an entire album of covers of classics from 50-60 years ago.
On November 2, 1998, Phish, in the middle of their second set at the E Centre in West Valley City, UT, launched into a cover of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon". They did a really great job with it, covering the entire album in order.
I was just listening to a DAT of it getting ready to convert it to CD. It holds up really well.
Here's some I enjoy:
Tori Amos' versions of: Cohen's "Famous Blue Rain Coat" or Tom Waits "Time" or Bob Geldof's " I Don't Like Mondays"
Mick Jagger & The Chieftans doing "Long Black Veil"
Shawn Colvin's version of Doc Pomus/Presley's "Viva Las Vegas"
Ryan Adams' version of Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues"
And who can forget Metallica covering Thin Lizzy's take on that old Irish tune "Whiskey in the Jar" or Rage Against the Machine's version of Dylan's Maggie's Farm"?
Cowboy Junkies have done covers of many artists, with results I think are better than the original. There was a gime cd included with their most recent release. It's called 'neath your covers" my favorite tracks:
#1) Thunder Road (Springsteen)
#4) Darkness, Darkness (Jesse Colin Young)
#5 Helpless (Niel Young).
There are also some good coveres off of Trinity Sessions.