Top "covers"

Not talking about album artwork. I'm talking about when one artist records a song previously recorded by another artist. The second artist gives the song his or her own special style and often it turns out better (or more popular) than the original. To keep this manageable, let's limit it to pop/rock (jazz and classical have too many songs that are recorded by many, many performers) and, in keeping with the "top 40" nature of the topic, let's limit it to the last 40 years or so. Here's my list to get the juices flowing:

1. Jimi Hendrix version of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"
2. The Who version of Eddie Cochrane's "Summertime Blues"
3. The Beatles version of the Isley Brothers'"Twist and Shout" (though I believe the IB version may have been a cover, too)
4. Patricia Barber version of Doors' "Light My Fire"
5. The Eagles version of Tom Waits' "Ol' '55"
6. Diana Krall version of Joni Mitchell's "Case of You"
7. CSN&Y version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock"
8. The Sundays version Rolling Stone's "Wild Horses"
9. The Corrs version of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" (from their "Unplugged" CD)
10. Many songs by Eva Cassidy, but especially Marvin Gaye's "People Get Ready" (at least I think the original was MG)

I'm looking forward to reading/hearing others' ideas!
I always really liked the Tygers of Pan Tang cover of "Love Potion No.9".
-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...
The Clash 'I Fought The Law' (Bobby Fuller)
Aretha Franklin 'Respect' (Otis Redding)
Mott The Hoople 'Sweet Jane' (Velvet Underground)
The Byrds "My Back Pages' (Dylan)
Santana "Black Magic Woman' (Fleetwood Mac)
Dawgfish People Get Ready was Curtis Mayfield.

Boa2 has made me wet my pants laughing with Gun's And Roses....sorry mate.

To keep it positive.

It's All Over Now Baby Blue by Them (Van The Man on vocals)
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

the jesus and mary chain doing brian wilson's 'surfin usa' - top notch cover!
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?
Johnny Cash singing "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden is also
a great cover.
Peter Green from Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac LOL or Fleetwood Mac wrote the song but I dont know if they recorded it.
Since you mentioned the man in black, I must add Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" by Trent Reznor/NIN and might as well add the HIM cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" from 'Razorblade Romance'.
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).
Pat Boone's salsa-tinged reading of Stairway to Heaven off of the "In A Metal Mood" album.
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)
Wall of Voodoo's Ring of Fire
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.
Hey! Let's not forget Dread Zeppelin and their covers of Zep tunes.

Reggae, Elvis and Zeppelin all rolled into one.

F'in hilarious!


Paul :-)
Jose Feliciano's "Light My Fire"
Devo "The Words Get Stuck In My Throat"
Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Constipation Blues"
Emerson Lake & Palmer "Pictures At An Exhibition"
Beatles "Louie In The Dirt With Marbles"
first three that come to mind:

"Ride Like the Wind" by Saxon (yikes, but it rocks!)
"Come Together" by Trouble (awesome groove)
"Winchester Cathedral" by Perry + Kingsley (moog pioneers)
I did not see anyone mention Joe Cocker he is a master of covers "With a little help from his friends "
Lazarus28, speaking of Bowie, the Nirvana [Unplugged] cover of "The Man Who Sold the World" is a great one. Funny, some of my younger friends don't even realize that the Bowie version exits. And I agree that the Bauhaus version of "Ziggy Stardust" is a hoot!
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.
Neil Young's Helpless must attract good covers. Try Nick Cave's. I also like Neil's live performance with The Band from The Last Waltz.
Tom Waits doing Red Sovine's "Phantom 309".
Of course, All along the Watchtower(which was written by Jimi, but Bobby's hand did the actual writing.) Even Dylan said it.
The Bands version of All Along the W is powerful, ripping and on the map.
Also, Los lobos version of The Dead's -Bertha.