Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Covers Better Than The Originals

Here’s another playlist that started as a discussion in the Facebook music group that I manage.

Last week’s “live tracks better than their studio cousins” list led to the suggestion of cover songs better than the originals and, well, here we are.

My rules for covers are pretty simple. A good cover teaches us something about the original song that we didn’t know, my favorite example being Garth Brooks’ version of “Hard Luck Woman.” Who knew that KISS recorded a country song? I didn’t, but there it was the entire time.

The next rule is that you have to make it your own, but not simply for the sake of making it your own. If it just sounds like your junked up take on a classic song who cares?

So here are eight covers that meet both criteria:

“Hurt,” Johnny Cash. Original version: Nine Inch Nails.

“Respect,” Aretha Franklin. Original version: Otis Redding.

“Hey Joe,” Jimi Hendrix. Original version: The Leaves.

“Hallelujah,” Jeff Buckley. Original version: Leonard Cohen.

“Ripple,” Jane’s Addiction. Original version: The Grateful Dead.

“Ice Cream Man,” Van Halen. Original version: John Brim.

“Nothing Compares 2 U,” Sinead O’Connor. Original version: Prince.

“Crazy Mary,” Pearl Jam. Original version: Victoria Williams.


There you have it: Eight cover versions superior to their originals. What did I miss? I’m listening.


5 replies »

  1. “Hello Hooray” – Alice Cooper (orig. Judy Collins)
    “Red Red Wine” – UB40 (orig. Neil Diamond)
    “I Want Candy” – Bow Wow Wow (orig. The Strangeloves)
    “Always On My Mind” – Willie Nelson (orig. Gwen McCrae)
    “Only You” – Ringo Starr (orig. The Platters)
    “Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)” – Robert Palmer (orig. Moon Martin)
    “Got My Mind Set on You” – George Harrison (orig. James Ray)
    “Blue Suede Shoes” – Elvis Presley (orig. Carl Perkins)
    “Lotta Love” – Nicolette Larson (orig. Neil Young)
    “Honky Tonk Man” – Dwight Yoakam (orig. Johnny Horton)
    “I’m Free” – The Soup Dragons (orig. The Rolling Stones)
    “Wichita Lineman” – Glen Campbell (orig. Jimmy Webb)
    “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” – Waylon Jennings (orig. Jim Alley)
    “Wild Thing” – The Troggs (orig. The Wild Ones)
    “Black Magic Woman” – Santana (orig. Fleetwood Mac)


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