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).

About emmakwall

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

  1. Wendell says:

    Cool list. Some really good covers. Not so sure about the Marilyn Manson version, though. That certainly gives the song a different tone. Some of my faves…

    Killing Me Softly – The Fugees (Roberta Flack)
    Respect – Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
    Smooth Criminal – Alien Ant Farm (Michael Jackson)
    Faith – Limp Bizkit (George Michael)
    I Feel For You – Chaka Khan (Prince)

    • emmakwall says:

      Some great choices there Wendell! I thought about all of those bar the Chaka Khan song which I’m not familiar with. I still I think I should Alien Ant Farm as an honorable mention, they did such a great job with Smooth Criminal! I don’t love the Limp Bizkit cover of Faith but it is very unique haha (I’m actually a fan of Limp Bizkit as well!!) and Respect is an absolute classic 🙂

      Yes the Marilyn Manson cover is very dark isn’t it!

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  3. Jordan Dodd says:

    Tho Hendrix should be at no. 1!!! 😛

  4. Jordan Dodd says:

    I hadn’t heard any of these covers but I liked the songs! 🙂

  5. filmsCine says:

    Seriously cool list! Couldn’t agree more with the Urge Overkill track!

  6. its a split vote for me Tainted Love and Step on

  7. Jay says:

    Yes, some cover songs are. In fact, I like it when someone takes a song I know, or even one I love, and makes me appreciate it in a new way. Gives it new life. Really great list!

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Jay! And yes that’s a great point, it can give it a new lease of life. Do you ever listen to any Radio 1 Live Lounge where people cover other peoples songs?

  8. Zoë says:

    I really love a good cover. I am a firm believer in Manson covering music – it is consistently good. Great list!

    • emmakwall says:

      Someone mentioned his cover of I Put a Spell On You which is also incredible!! I may add that as an honorable mention. Even his Tainted Love wasn’t bad. His covers are definitely his best songs lol.

      Thanks Zoe! Hope you and your hubby doing well and have a great weekend x

      • Zoë says:

        Oh man, Manson’s covers! He’s done so many that I love! You Spin Me Right Round, You’re So Vain, Personal Jesus, Working Class Hero, Five to One, The KKK Took My Baby Away, to name but a few.

        Okay, okay, I will stop. I listen to a crap ton of Manson.

        • emmakwall says:

          I can’t believe how many covers he’s done!! I had no idea he did You Spin Me Right Round. And I completely forgot about Personal Jesus!! I absolutely LOVE Depeche Mode’s version.

          You’re So Vain sounds hilarious, I can’t believe he covered that!! I need to look that up on Spotify right NOW! 🙂 thanks Zoe!

          • Zoë says:

            Anytime lady, I hope you enjoy them 😛 Yep – he’s covered so many songs! That You’re So Vain gets stuck in your head, so do be warned hahaha. Let me know how it goes!

  9. MIB says:

    Totally agree on the Communards – the dual vocals and the huge rousing finale makes it a hugely fun version over the pedestrian originals! 🙂

    As it happens, my second fave song of all time is a cover – The Four Tops version of Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter”! 😛

    Also Deep Purple’s version of “Hush” is better than Joe South’s original, KISS’s cover of “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You” I prefer over Argent’s and Cream’s version of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads!” !! 😉

    • emmakwall says:

      I LOVE The Four Tops! I actually saw them live a few years ago supporting The Temptations. The Drifters and The Three Degrees were also there, it was so cool! Obviously some of the original members had been replaced with sons or nephews but the essence was the same, my favourite song is Sugar Pie Honey Bunch!

      Well there you go, you learn something new every day, I never knew that Kiss song was a cover! And I really like it, so I’ll add it honorable mentions 😀

      I’m going to look up Hush and Crossroads 🙂 thanks for your great comment!

      • MIB says:

        I don’t mind the Temptations either, prefer their Dennis Edwards era stuff like “Cloud Nine” and “Ball of Confusion”! 😛

        The Argent original of “God Gave…” is good but the lyrics are a bit hippyish so Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons re-wrote some of them for their version to make them more rock ‘n’ roll. Here’s Argent:

        😀

        • emmakwall says:

          Yeah me too 🙂 Psychedelic Shack is my favourite album, which is around the same time as Ball of Confusion, Cloud 9 etc. Thanks for the link!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • emmakwall says:

          P.S I love the bit in Kiss’ cover where Gene Simmons shouts “rock and roll!” at the end in a really loud voice lol.

    • emmakwall says:

      P.S yay Communards!!

  10. Great list, Emma! I have so much to say in response to this post. First off, I’m envious at how many followers you have, and how many “like” your posts. You obviously have a lot of fans and post things others want to read. At any rate, I especially like a few that you listed – “Feeling Good”, “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. Bobby Womack’s “California Dreamin” is really great too, but for me, the Mamas & the Papas’ original can’t be beat for it’s simplicity and incredibly beautiful harmonies (it’s my #3 all-time favorite song). I was not aware that “Tainted Love” was a cover, nor “All Along the Watchtower.” A few of my personal favorites are CCR’s “I Put a Spell On You,” Pet Shop Boys’ “Always On My Mind,” and Disturbed’s “Sound of Silence.” Also like their cover of “Land of Confusion” that Kevin noted, and like Ryan Adams’ cover of “Bad Blood” better than the original by Taylor Swift. And finally, one of the greatest covers of all-time is Marvin Gaye’s version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” (original was by Gladys Knight & the Pips).

    • emmakwall says:

      Oh you! That’s very kind of you to say. I am lucky to have support on here from good friends. I look at other people’s blogs and think exactly the same thing so I suppose it’s all relative. I just make sure I comment other people and try to make an effort with everyone (though it’s so hard keeping up!), but that’s all you can do really.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Means a lot coming from an eclectic music lover 🙂 I’d call myself rather eclectic too.

      I’m glad you specifically like those three songs, great choices! I do like the Mamas and the Papas too but I prefer Womack’s version. What are your no.2 and no.1 songs? I’d find it so hard to choose!!! It can depend on your mood I suppose too!

      I Put a Spell On You seems a popular choice, I will add it to Honorable Mentions, I love the Pet Shop Boys version of Always On My Mind too! It was in the honorable mentions, a pretty much perfect pop song!

      Disturbed’s Sound of Silence seems quite popular too, I’m not too familiar with it but Kevin sent me a link so I’ll be sure to listen to it soon!

      I did toy with adding Marvin Gaye’s Heard it Through the Grapevine but as much as it IS a great song it’s not one of my personal favourites and unless you draw the line somewhere…we’d be here all day! Hee hee 🙂 but super, super choice!

      • Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Emma – and thanks for following me on Twitter! Like you, I also try to read, like and comment on the posts of other bloggers that I follow, but, as you say, it’s hard keeping up with them all.

        Music tastes are so very subjective, and each of us responds to songs quite differently, so it’s natural that some songs we feel very passionate about only bring ambivalence or outright dislike for others. My top two all-time favorite songs are “Stairway to Heaven” and the extended version of the Doors’ “Light My Fire” (which also has a pretty decent and completely different cover).

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