Monday, October 25, 2010

100 of the Best Cover Songs of All Time - Part 1 of 5

Welcome to Part 1 of our selections for some of the Best Cover Songs of All Time. Turn on the radio, or walk into any bar / club / coffee shop in town and you are sure to hear a musician covering a song by another artist. This list collects some of the best ones out there. As an added bonus, there's a playlist at the bottom of the page that compiles the cover version and original - back to back - so that you can compare / contrast the uniqueness between the two. There's a link for the subsequent parts at the bottom. If you'd like to share some of your favorites, please do so in the comments section.

Faith No More - I Started a Joke
Album: Who Cares a Lot? Greatest Hits (1998)
The original: Bee Gees - Idea (1968)

Johnny Cash - Hurt
Album: American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
The original: Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral (1994)

Sinead O'Connor - Nothing Compares 2 U
Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990)
The original: Written by Prince (1985); collected on The Hits 1 (1993)

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
Album: Mother's Milk (1989)
The original: Stevie Wonder - Innervisions (1973)

Michael Andrews & Gary Jules - Mad World
Album: Donnie Darko Soundtrack (2001)
The original: Tears For Fears - The Hurting (1983)

Bauhaus - Ziggy Stardust
Album: Released as a single (1982); Compiled on Crackle (1998)
The original: David Bowie - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

Jane's Addiction - Ripple 
Album: Deadicated: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead (1991)
The original: Grateful Dead - American Beauty (1970)

Gram Parsons w/ Emmylou Harris - Love Hurts
Album: Grievous Angel (1974)
The original: Written by F&B Bryant. First recorded by The Everly Brothers (1960)

Judy Collins - Both Sides Now
Album: Wildflowers (1967)
The original: Though Judy Collins released her version first, it was written by Joni Mitchell - later appearing on Clouds (1969)

Elliott Smith - Thirteen
Album: New Moon (2007)
The original: Big Star - #1 Record (1972)

The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man
Album: Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)
The original: Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

Jimi Hendrix - All Along the Watchtower
Album: Electric Ladyland (1968)
The original: Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding (1967)

This Mortal Coil - Song to the Siren
Album: It'll End In Tears (1984)
The original: Tim Buckley - Starsailor (1970)

Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane
Album: The Trinity Session (1988)
The original: The Velvet Underground - Loaded (1970)

David Bowie - See Emily Play
Album: Pin Ups (1973)
The original: Pink Floyd. Released as a single in 1967; compiled on Echoes (2001)

Mark Kozelek - If You Want Blood
Album: Best version on The Finally LP (2008); alternate version on What's Next to the Moon (2001)
The original: AC/DC - Highway to Hell (1979)

Willie Nelson - Always on My Mind
Album: Always on My Mind (1982)
The original: Written by a trio of songwriters - Mark James (writer of Elvis Presley's 'Suspicious Minds'), Wayne Carson (writer of 'The Letter' as made famous by The Box Tops) and Johnny Christopher; first recorded & released as single by Brenda Lee (1972)

Social Distortion - Ring of Fire
Album: Social Distortion (1990)
The original: Written by June Carter; first recording was by June's sister, Anita (1963).  Johnny Cash's version was released shortly after

Ryan Adams - Wonderwall
Album: Love is Hell, pt. 1 EP (2003)
The original: Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)

Joey Ramone - What a Wonderful World
Album: Don't Worry About Me (2002)
The original: Written by producer Bob Theile under the name George Douglas; first recorded and released as single by Louis Armstrong (1967)

If you're a vinyl enthusiast, check out our feature on the Spin Clean Vinyl Record Cleaning Machine (click image below)

Follow us on Facebook / Twitter / Youtube


  1. This was tough! I have many honorable mentions. Perhaps for part 2...

    1. How soon is now – Love Spit Love
    2. Sweet Dreams – Marilyn Manson
    3. Running Up That Hill – Placebo
    4. Time Killer – And One
    5. Stripped – Rammstein
    6. Fade To Grey – Trans To The Sun
    7. Wish You Were Here – Catherine Wheel
    8. Like A Virgin – Lords of The New Church
    9. War - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
    10. Blue Monday – Flunk
    11. Blue Monday – Orgy
    12. Sinking – The Shroud
    13. Summer Breeze – Type O Negative
    14. Send Me An Angel – Zeromancer
    15. Ball Of Confusion – Love & Rockets
    16. Some Velvet Morning – Slowdive
    17. Always On My Mind – Pet Shop Boys
    18. Solsbury Hill – Erasure
    19. Do You Think I’m Sexy – Revolting Cocks
    20. Funtime – Peter Murphy

  2. cool. there are many great versions of 'always on my mind.' i really like that pet shop boys version. :)

  3. betty (makes you want to play the drums)