Top 10 Favourite Cover Songs


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Because some cover songs are actually really good!

10. Feeling Good – Muse
When Muse were due to sing this live on the BBC in 2001 they were asked not to swear. Lead singer Matt Bellamy took offence (mainly because Muse songs don’t really have any swearing anyway) and to prove a point ad libbed a Fuck Fest right in the middle of their performance. Watch it here.

9. Sweet Dreams – Marilyn Manson
I honestly think the strength of this song mainly lays in how good the original is (by The Eurythmics) than Manson’s musical genius, but the dark, rocky sound really suits it. Apparently Manson got the idea for the cover after being on an acid trip and ‘seeing’ himself sing it.

8. Step On – The Happy Mondays
I have had so many good times to this song and yes they mainly involved beer. Hardly anyone (my age) realises it’s a cover anyway but it was originally sung by John Kongos and called He’s Gonna Step On You Again.

7. Hotel California – Gipsy Kings
I honestly, literally cannot hear the intro of this song without also hearing Walter from The Big Lebowski sulkily stating “eight year olds dude”. Not better than the original but a bloody great song in its own right.

6. Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards
Originally by Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, this cover encapsulates what the 80s were really all about. A great party song and so very camp too, I love it.

5. Jealous Guy – Roxy Music
I genuinely prefer this to the original written by John Lennon. In fact I’m sure when I was younger someone actually had to explain to me that John Lennon was the person who wrote and performed it first. Of course it helps that Bryan Ferry is such a cool motherfucker but kudos still to Lennon because the lyrics are genius.

4. Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon – Urge Overkill
Yep, I only know this because of Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction. I like the original by Neil Diamond but the Urge Overkill version is a lot meatier and now when I listen to the Neil Diamond version it doesn’t really sound….meaty enough. I do prefer this cover though their voices are remarkably similar.

3. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Santa Esmeralda
Oh-my-god-another-cover-song-found-in-a-Quentin-Tarantino-movie (Kill Bill Volume 1). It’s almost a cover of a cover because the version most of us know well is the one by The Animals (which is also great) but actually, originally – this was a Nina Simone song. I really love the dramatic feel and the overly long intro is just super.

2. California Dreamin’ – Bobby Womack
Another cover that I prefer to the original. Bobby Womack’s version of California Dreamin’ can only really be described as Sexual Pleasure for the Ears. Apparently it played in the second series of Fargo (haven’t watched it) so like, everyone knows it now. But if you haven’t heard it and only want to click on one link today – make it this one.

1. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
If ever there was a single song in the world guaranteed to get me dancing, every single time – even when I’m tired, nauseous, bored and gagging for a kebab – it’s Tainted Love. BEST COVER SONG EVER.

Honorable mentions:

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart – Al Green (The Bee Gees), Always On my Mind – Pet Shop Boys (Elvis), All Along the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix (Bob Dylan). The Impossible Dream – Andy Williams (from the musical Man of La Mancha), Perfect Day – various artists  (Lou Reed), Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers (Todd Duncan).

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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94 Responses to Top 10 Favourite Cover Songs

  1. I love that Muse live version! LMFAO!!! That was funny. Great song too. I never heard The Communards’ version of Don’t Leave Me This Way. The more popular version over here was a disco version by Thelma Houston. It’s one of the few disco songs I like. I love this version too.
    And of course I love Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon. That whole Pulp Fiction soundtrack is great.
    And of course, I love your #1 pick! You’re speaking my language there!

    • emmakwall says:

      Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Muse have done other funny things when playing live, there’s a clip from Live & Kicking (and old English music show) where they’ve been asked NOT to sing live and Matt Bellamy messes about a lot, playing the piano in a ridiculous way that is obviously not live haha! A bit like when Nirvana did it on Top of the Pops.

      I’ll look up that version by Thelma Houston sounds good! Do you like The Communards version?

      DELIGHTED I’m speaking your language with the no.1 choice! I hoped as much!! 80s music is the best (shame I don’t know many of the lyrics though haha!) 🙂

      • I’ll have to look more into Muse. I’m really liking them! And yes I do like The Communards version as well. It’s a sign that it’s a well written song when so many people cover it and every version is good.
        And you don’t need to know the lyrics to be a true ’80s music lover, which I know you are!

        • emmakwall says:

          That’s VERY true! A sign of a good song I mean 🙂 hope you’re well and had a nice weekend?

          Muse used to be one of my favourite bands! I loved them back int eh late 90s / early 2000s but not as keen anymore. I still rate them!

          Yay! True 80s music lover! 🙂

          • My weekend wasn’t bad. Still have a lot to do.
            I forgot what Muse did. I think I know of at least one of their songs, but can’t remember which one was big over here. I’ll have to check out all of their stuff. I really liked that live performance

            • emmakwall says:

              My favourite albums are their earlier ones, they had more of a straight forward ‘rocky’ sound back then, for three guys they could make one hell of a noise! I’m sure you’d be familiar with some of their stuff.

              I’m glad your weekend wasn’t bad, let’s hope this one is rather good! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. Such a great list Ems! You sent me that cover of California Dreamin ‘ and I love it! I see Kevin has sent you that link to Disturbed’s cover of Land of Confusion. I also love their cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence.
    Hugs💕

  3. Great list! Love you number one!

  4. alexraphael says:

    Entertaining and informative. I had no idea Step On was a cover. Good detective work!

  5. The Vern says:

    Great list Emmy. I love that Santa Esmerelda cover of Don’t let me be misunderstood. .Sweet Dreams is a great Manson cover but I really liked his take on I Put a Spell on You. My list would for sure include The Cardigans(Band who did the song LoveFool) covers of Black Sabbath songs Iron Man and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

    • emmakwall says:

      Oh my god yes! I forgot about that song!!! I put a spell on you, I’m sure they were both on the same album as well? That’s a great track, should do an honorable mention. I used to like The Cardigans, I’ll look up their covers! They sound pretty cool!

      That Santa Esmerelda song is one of my all time favourites, I prefer it to Hotel California.

      Thanks dear, sweet, cool Verny!!!

  6. vinnieh says:

    Tainted Love is a classic.

  7. beetleypete says:

    I’m with you on Soft Cell, Em. Even though I had the Gloria Jones Northern Soul original, way back. Same with Harold Melvin and The Communards, Little Jimmy did the song proud. Manson’s version of Sweet Dreams takes the song down a different path for sure, but is still good.
    I wrote this on my blog, over three years ago.
    https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/cover-versions/
    As ever, Pete. XXX

    • emmakwall says:

      Yay! Hello Pete xxx

      I’m glad we agree (again!) there’s just something about Soft Cell isn’t there, the way it starts, it still gives me shivers. I love 80s music!

      How are you today dear Pete? I’m still working on my idea for you but definitely not forgotten. Thanks for the link 🙂 I will check it out! xxx

      • beetleypete says:

        How about ‘Say hello, wave Goodbye’?
        I love that song to death! Almond’s vocal on that is just amazing.
        I’m pretty chipper in the sunshine today, honey. Thanks for asking. I am writing about films again, with that Curnblog article, and my recent post too. So, that has also cheered me up.
        And because it is a weekday, you are back on the blog, so even more reason to perk up…XXX

  8. Great list……Along the Watchtower and Hotel California would be my favorites! .James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend could be another!

  9. Kevin says:

    One of my favourite covers is Disturbed doing Genesis’ Land of Confusion

    • emmakwall says:

      I don’t think I’ve heard that, I’ll look it up thanks Kevin! Are you into your rock music?

      I work at a youth club part time looking after disabled kids and one of them just got back from Download festival a couple of weeks ago and saw Disturbed!!! They’re one of his favourite bands bless him. He was high as a kite telling me about it, so glad he had a nice time! 🙂

      • Kevin says:

        My tastes in music are eclectic, much like my tastes in everything else. As long as I like the melody, the overall flow of the song, I’ll listen to anything, no matter the genre or language hahaha

        Rock has been a constant though, even though the requirements are the same. I have to like the music and the vocals (even if the lyrics are nonsense), but I tend to like Rock & Roll and Heavy Rock more than Heavy Metal or any of the dozens of rock subgenres hahaha

        I’ll take AC/DC over most bands any day hahaha, but I like my Burt Barcharach, Neil Diamond and Cat Stevens as well!

        • emmakwall says:

          I’m the same 🙂 when it comes to melody I mean. My Spotify is VERY strange lol.

          I must be getting old though because the only music I generally don’t listen to, is anything made….now! Haha.

          I like rock music too, though I never enjoy the actual singing as much as the music, I tend to gravitate towards hip-hop/rock like Rage Against the Machine or Limp Bizkit (for example)

          I LOVE Burt Bacharach 🙂 great selection!

          • Kevin says:

            But I’m guessing your Spotify doesn’t have Chinese or Japanese music 😛

            • emmakwall says:

              Why would you guess that?!

            • emmakwall says:

              I have the Spirited Away soundtrack 🙂 I’m not sure if I have much else. i don’t tend to follow many bands or singers nowadays I just listen to individual songs that I like, that’s what I love so much about Spotify! I still buy the occasional album on CD and I love buying soundtracks in hard copy but apart from that all I need is Spotify, a bluetooth speaker and I’m in seventh heaven 🙂

            • Kevin says:

              Ok two recommendations:

              White Light by Superfly
              Happiness by Ai

              Let me know 🙂

            • emmakwall says:

              Thanks Kevin 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Kevin says:

        This is the cover

  10. mikeladano says:

    Glad you put Watchtower as an honorable mention. Otherwise I’d have to get upset!

    Johnny Cash – any cover, but I Hung My Head is a favorite.

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