Actually,,, The Question Was "Which Cover Song Is Better Than The Original?" Not What's The Best Cover Song
A few days ago this tweet garnered a multitude of responses on twitter. Posing quote-tweet response questions like this is a great way to grow your #brand on twitter. I have tried many a time, and will continue to try to get one to go viral....but until then.
Anywho, the question was "What cover song is better than the original?"
But sadly, even the most handsome of thiccc boys sometimes can't follow simple instructions.
I've talked about how much I love cross-genre covers til the cows come home. Panic doing Starboy was awesome. Kings of Leon did a Selena Gomez cover. Post Malone performed All Apologies by Nirvana live. I think they're one of the coolest things in music. When an artist can put a completely different spin on a song. To me it's a great sign of respect, plus as they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. As a music fan it's really cool (I need a better vocab but it's only the perfect word to use here) to get a deeper glance into what the artists you like to listen to .... listen to; if that makes sense? Perfect example I would've never guessed that Rhianna knew about Tame Impala, just because my small brain pictures them in two totally different worlds. Rhianna is an R & B sex God and Tame Impala is a psychedelic rock group from Australia. As someone with a self-proclaimed eclectic taste in music as a fan I really appreciate seeing musicians I admire admiring the works of artists you at first glance may think have nothing in common.
Before I get to the song I believe is the greatest cover of all time (in the sense that it blows the original out of the water) I am going to include some of my favorite covers. Didn't include a lot of classics because everybody gives those songs their shine. Although I am opening with one of the most well known covers of all time. When you start a blog you can do whatever you want, kapeesh?
Beatles: "Twist and Shout"
Original artist: The Isley Brothers
A low key wedding song staple, if you're one of these people who thinks the Beatles aren't good or are overrated you are an idiot. I love this song.
Reel Big Fish: "Take On Me"
Original artist: A-ha
RBF and ska in general were really big when I was in like kindergarten and kind of irrelevant once I was old enjoy to really get into music. They're a band who's catalog I don't know that extensively, but all the songs that I have heard by them I really enjoy, their rendition of the 80's one-hit wonder Take On Me is one of my personal favorites. V different from the original in a brassy way.
Rihanna: "Same Ol' Mistakes"
Original artist: Tame Impala (New Person, Same Old Mistakes)
I love Tame's original but Rhianna's 2016 version of the closing track to Tame Impala's 2015 album Currents "New Person, Same Old Mistakes" puts up a great fight against the original. Sounds really similar but also really different. Both are great. Rhianna making this song earned her sooooo many points in my book. Big for her.
The Killers: "The Bucket"
Original artist: Kings of Leon
The Bucket is the first Kings of Leon song I ever heard. I remember seeing it on MTV2 back in like 2005 when music videos on cable were still a thing. One band I like playing a song by a band that I love. Brandon Flowers does a great job here, and the rest of the band sounds pretty spot on to the KOL version.
Nirvana: "Lake of Fire" and "The Man Who Sold The World"
Original artist: Meat Puppets and David Bowie
I have a love-hate relationship with Nirvana. I used to get so mad that BRU (RIP) would play them what seemed like 5 times an hour, maybe if they mixed in some more current music they would still exist? Regardless, despite my feelings about Nirvana and whether or not they're overrated musically their MTV unplugged performance to me is the standout of any unplugged show. These two covers, along with their original "All Apologies" are the best from that legendary set in late 1993. "Man Who Sold The World" definitely gets more recognition, but I love "Lake of Fire" as well and think it deserves a spot here.
Metallica: Whiskey In The Jar
Original artist: The Dubliners
An Irish folk song that's been played by millions. Used to be really into Metallica when I was younger, and this song was a masterpiece then, and is now. James Hetfield's vocals here are the highlight imo.
Alien Ant Farm: "Smooth Criminal"
Original artist: Michael Jackson
Who would've guessed I'd have back-to-back blogs featuring Alien Ant Farm? God Bless the internet. This song came out when I was in 4th grade and I can vividly remember someone bringing this CD into class and thinking they were so cool for liking it too. The lead singer's hair always stood out to me. 4Also did not know this was a cover until my mom of all people brought that knowledge to my attention. It's AAF's most successful song which I feel like as an artist has to be sort of bittersweet that you're most known for a song that isn't even yours, but I mean the money is still green so whatever. I like this version wayyyyyyyyyyy better than MJ's.
Darius Rucker: "Wagon Wheel"
Original artist: Bob Dylan
This song will always have a special place in my heart as it reminds me of my first 21 summer (2013). Hootie fucking rocks, and I will always, always love this song. Makes me so happy whenever I hear it. I used to get pumped up like a reebok whenever it came on at a bar, and probably still would today.
The Black Keys: "Never Gonna Give You Up"
Original artist: Jerry Butler
Brothers is one of my favorite albums of all time. This is one of the best songs on the album. Maybe the most relatable song ever. Dan Auerbach's range vocally blows my mind. +
Now is where we get serious. Here are IMO three covers that are better than the original. These are my top 3 favorite covers of all time.
Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse: "Valerie"
Original artist: The Zutons
This is one that I didn't even realize was a cover til years later. Who the fuck are the Zutons? IMO Amy Winehouse's best work. (RIP) What a voice she had. She was probably the least surprising member of the 27 club ever but it doesn't make it any less sad. What a talent. This song is just such a fun listen. Unlike the next two songs.
Pearl Jam: "Last Kiss"
Original Artist: Wayne Cochran
This song still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. Eddie Vedder's passion in the lyrics are as people who write at buzzfeed say, everything. That "hold me darling just a little while" is incredible. Loving this song so much caused me to research it a few years back. The original was in a sub-genre called "teen tragedy song". So many kids were trying in the 50's and 60's that that actually became a popular type of music. V fucked up. Some Susie Q shit up in here. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_tragedy_song
Johnny Cash: "Hurt"
Original artist: Nine Inch Nails
Let me ask you something?
In the Hangover 3 when Leslie Chow is performing Hurt at karoke is it the NIN version or Johnny Cash?
It's Johnny Cash.
This is the greatest cover song of all time and it's not even close. Goosebumps and tear city. Maybe the saddest song ever. The pure emotion in the song by Johnny Cash in the video and in the lyrics in his final months still can bring a tear to my eye this day. It's like he knows he's about to go and this song is just recapping his time on earth. Even Trent Reznor himself has gone as far as saying (paraphrasing) this isn't his song anymore, it's Johnny's. If this song doesn't get to you you're more dead than Johnny Cash himself. Hurt by Johnny Cash is without a doubt the greatest cover of all time. No exaggeration a million times better than the NIN original.