top 200 commentsshow 500

[–]airlew 965 points966 points  (27 children)

The Carpenters version of "Close to You" is WAY better than the original by Richard Chamberlain.

[–]run_at_it_shouting 13.8k points13.8k points  (428 children)

All along the watchtower, Hendrix

[–]NickyDeeM 3432 points3433 points  (206 children)

Even Dylan said the song belonged to Hendrix after he heard it.

[–]troelsbjerre 1989 points1990 points  (53 children)

Isn't that the misquote of Dylan saying that "Hendrix made the song his own", which carries a different meaning.

[–]MaintenanceNo1504 992 points993 points  (123 children)

Same with Dolly Parton to Whitney Houston for I will always love you

[–]procrast1natrix 1172 points1173 points  (80 children)

Agreed, but after only knowing Whitney's version for a long time, Dolly's is very sweet, and the backstory is special.

As a young singer, after seven years of working with Porter Wagoner, she had decided she needed to grow professionally and set out on her own. She wanted to leave on good terms and therefore wrote him this love song about separation. Give it a listen with those details in mind. In the 70's, in Nashville, finding a way to be an independent businesswoman who doesn't burn bridges.

Elvis wanted to cover it, but wanted half the publishing rights to the song, and Dolly didn't want to give up the rights to her work, so he never did.

She wrote it the same day she wrote Jolene.

[–]DanS1993 540 points541 points  (48 children)

Yeah isn’t there a quote from dolly about her sometimes regretting turning down elvis until Whitney’s version came out and earned her enough royalties to buy Graceland

[–]mjacksongt 472 points473 points  (30 children)


I said, "I'm really sorry," and I cried all night. I mean, it was like the worst thing. You know, it's like, "Oh, my God ... Elvis Presley." And other people were saying, "You're nuts. It's Elvis Presley. I mean, hell, I'd give him all of it." I said, "I can't do that. Something in my heart says, 'Don't do that.'" And I just didn't do it, and they just didn't do it. But I always wondered what it would sound like. I know he'd kill it. Don't you? He would have killed it. But anyway, so he didn't. Then when Whitney [Houston's version] came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland. (laughs)

[–]Thanmandrathor[🍰] 263 points264 points  (27 children)

I’m glad she said no to that. I’m glad it became worth her while later, but it’s kind of gross that she was being pressured to sign over half the rights to someone who didn’t create the song, even if it was Elvis.

[–]FILTER_OUT_T_D 215 points216 points  (0 children)

Dolly has said she loves Whitney’s version, and has millions of reasons why, which I always thought was clever.

[–]EatSleepJeep 15 points16 points  (4 children)

There's three versions of this song: Dylan's, Hendrix's, and Dave Matthews'.

So now when people cover it you can tell which version they're covering.

[–]flibbidygibbit 2001 points2002 points  (50 children)

I love rock and roll by Joan Jett vs the original by The Arrows

[–]steenerwally 427 points428 points  (18 children)

Have you heard her version of crimson and clover? Omg. So so good. Joan Jett kills it

[–]ItsADarkRide 28 points29 points  (1 child)

I have not. I've got to check that out. On one of their earliest dates, my dad asked the band that was playing there to play "Crimson and Clover" and dedicate it to my mom. Because at that point, he didn't know yet that she absolutely hated the song.

[–]Stachemaster86 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Yes! Also, Do you wanna touch me? That was a Gary Glitter song.

[–]IDK_FY2 5088 points5089 points  (132 children)

Bang Bang my baby shot me down by Nancy Sinatra is way better than the original from Cher

[–]darkagl1 1083 points1084 points  (42 children)

Didn't even know cher had a version much less the original.

[–]devilsephiroth 14 points15 points  (0 children)

And from the same era, most people don't even realize that Santana cover of Black magic woman is the cover and not the original.

It's a Fleetwood Mac original

[–]Doyoueverjustlikeugh 1853 points1854 points  (46 children)

Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers

[–]ubeor 488 points489 points  (7 children)

Yes! The Righteous Brothers took a good little love song, and performed it in the key of sex.

[–]fromamericasarmpit 5777 points5778 points  (198 children)

The Animals cover of "House of the rising sun" and

They might be Giants cover of "Istanbul (not Constantinople)"

[–]thematicwater 845 points846 points  (18 children)

That's nobody's business but the Turks!

[–]Recluse1729 490 points491 points  (17 children)

I will always have a soft spot for the Instanbul cover. I heard it on Tiny Toons when I was little and was then able answer a jeopardy question about New York’s previous name when my parents and cousins were playing Jeopardy for the Nintendo. Will never forget their faces.


[–]Zealousideal-One-818 16 points17 points  (1 child)

Particle man particle man, particle man fights triangle man. They have a fight, triangle wins, triangle man.

[–]6thBornSOB 102 points103 points  (4 children)

They Might be Giants and Tiny Tunes were fucking MAGIC!

[–]Gavindasing 382 points383 points  (22 children)

House of the rising sun is an old folk song, it’s not really a cover; they made the arrangement.

[–]MauiWowieOwie 170 points171 points  (22 children)

Just saw TMBG two weeks ago and good god it might have been the best concert of my life. When they performed Instanbul (they played the entirety of Flood) everyone lost their minds.

[–]spindledcarrots 256 points257 points  (8 children)

Now I have to listen to Istanbul (not Constantinople) any time either name comes up it gets stuck in my head!

[–]humidsputh 5187 points5188 points  (187 children)

Man of Constant Sorrow by the Soggy Bottom Boys. From O Brother Where Art Thou

[–]Thisoneissfwihope 1177 points1178 points  (45 children)

The soggy bottom boys are just Union Station, IIRC. Dan Tyminski did George Clooney’s vocals at least.

[–]Flashy_Ship5839 599 points600 points  (24 children)

Clooney’s mouth is always at least partially obscured when his character sings, presumably to make it smoother to dub someone else singing over it. Microphone in the studio and beard on stage.

[–]Caledon_Hockley 458 points459 points  (49 children)

They ain’t even ol’ timey.

[–]AltonBParker 266 points267 points  (45 children)

He's a suitor.

[–]Blackdalf 201 points202 points  (9 children)

I’m the pater familias!

[–]bruzdnconfuzd 120 points121 points  (3 children)

I wasn’t hit by no goddamn train!

[–]MercutioMan 76 points77 points  (0 children)

Lots of respectable people have been hit by a train.

[–]Erok2112 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Just a grease spot on the L&N.

[–]SuzeFrost 312 points313 points  (18 children)

He's bonafide!

[–]evilkorn 189 points190 points  (15 children)

He dun r u n n o f t.

[–]Suitable-Lake-2550 82 points83 points  (13 children)

A Dapper Dan man...

[–]EvenCaramel 79 points80 points  (7 children)

Well ain’t this town just a geographical oddity?

[–]comradenu 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Gopher, Everett?

[–]Helen_of_TroyMcClure 81 points82 points  (7 children)

Damnit! I wasn't hit by no train!

[–]Journeyman42 159 points160 points  (4 children)

whispers loudly


[–]ContraCanadensis 113 points114 points  (1 child)


[–]Journeyman42 22 points23 points  (0 children)


[–]barto5 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Lots of respectable folks been hit by trains.

[–]Thejerseyjon609 16 points17 points  (6 children)

I am the pater familias

[–]spinbutton 20 points21 points  (5 children)

I'm a Dapper Dan man!

[–]martyface 22 points23 points  (3 children)

I don’t want FOP goddammit!

[–]pickoneformepls 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Ain’t this place a geographical oddity! Two weeks from everywhere!

[–]Ph0Mai 18 points19 points  (0 children)

We’ll ain’t this place the geographic oddity, 2 weeks from everywhere

[–]akanefive 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Well ain't this place a geographical oddity! Two weeks from everywhere!

[–]hstormsteph 485 points486 points  (24 children)


[–]Flashy_Ship5839 392 points393 points  (10 children)

Hot damn! It’s the Soggy Bottom Boys!

[–]DudimusPrime 174 points175 points  (6 children)

Them boys is miscegenated!

[–]myburdentobear 76 points77 points  (2 children)

Nepotism! Rascalism!

[–]Caledon_Hockley 53 points54 points  (1 child)


[–]knightopusdei 14 points15 points  (0 children)

YEEEEHAWWWWW!!!! ...... snaps suspenders, hikes up his pants, throws his straw hat away and starts dancing around like an idiot

[–]core_al 14 points15 points  (0 children)

The color guard is colored!

[–]candygram4mongo 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Is you is or is you ain't my constituency?

[–]AlsoKnownAsRukh 39 points40 points  (0 children)

Damn! We're in a tight spot!

[–]DrJuliusOrange 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Mrs. Hogwallop up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T

[–]betboi 3988 points3989 points  (144 children)

Tainted love by soft cell

[–]puzhalsta 3826 points3827 points  (162 children)

Torn by Natalie Imbruglia

[–]whitetornado2k 856 points857 points  (30 children)

Wow. I’ve loved this song since it came for like 25 years and never knew it was a cover.

[–]Anotherhoomin 404 points405 points  (26 children)

Bowling for soup - 1985

[–]drsausages88 99 points100 points  (5 children)

I thought this was originally by bowling for soup

[–]derMannohneNamen 99 points100 points  (3 children)

I did too. But apparently it was originally written and recorded by SR-71

[–]BumblebeeCAPX 32 points33 points  (0 children)

It’s kind of complicated. Apparently the instrumentation and chorus isn’t bowling for soups, but a lot of the lyrics were wrote or re written by the lead singer of bfs

[–]LTAD_2108 399 points400 points  (36 children)

Harry Nilsson’s version of Without You. Originally recorded by Badfinger, who I believe were one of the first bands to sign with Apple Records

[–]NovaKay 1137 points1138 points  (77 children)

The Pogues - And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

[–]Noname_Maddox 129 points130 points  (35 children)

My man!

A lot of people don’t get the pogues or Shane Magowan. They think it’s all drunken paddywackery.

But Shane grew up listening to Irish folk and sings like a traditional pub folk singer. Slightly flat or sharp and bring yourself into tune.

He makes the songs character, he sings as, sound interesting and authentic. Like this one or fairytale of New York.

When someone’s covers Shane’s songs they never sound right as it sounds too polished and clean.

[–]StaggeringWinslow 68 points69 points  (10 children)

A pair of brown eyes is the song I want played at my funeral, if I ever die.

And it's... well it's not a particularly good song, really, objectively. It's a bit of a mess, and the vocals are slightly jarring and tuneless, and it's oddly uncomfortable to listen to, and its structure is basic, and it's musically unremarkable. But there's something so fucking honest about it. I dunno how else to put it.

Also I think certain songs stick with us because of the circumstances under which we encountered them. I encountered this song when I was struggling with alcoholism, in love with a girl with brown eyes, and surrounded by death. I did that classic thing of listening to it multiple times each day, but I never got sick of it, not even to this day. I'm pretty sure my friends got sick of it though!

By the way Shane MacGowan is still alive

[–]Noname_Maddox 14 points15 points  (1 child)

This is my favourite Pogues song. And those imperfections are what made the Pogues authentic and unique. It’s all raw and honest.

I got really really homesick travelling in Europe, I was away a few months and was getting a tour through Croatia and had this song and a few Saw Doctors songs on and it settled me a bit. I think just hadn’t heard my own accent in a long time or something.

My interruption at the time of this song was narrated by a WW1 Vet about his lost love.

I know it’s got a few interruptions and maybe two narrators.

Funny the Philomena mentioned is a family friend which I didn’t know for a good while

[–]RealBowsHaveRecurves 13 points14 points  (1 child)

God I love the Pogues. I saw them in a reunion tour in 2006

[–]udaeus_echion 40 points41 points  (1 child)

Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes is probably the biggest improvement over the original because of how awful the original is.

[–]Mr_Morrison87 6419 points6420 points  (89 children)

Johnny B. Good - Chuck Berry

The original version is performed by Marty McFly in 1955 at The Enchantment under the The Sea Dance!

[–]CampariOW 3131 points3132 points  (36 children)

It was actually performed by Calvin Klein.

[–]Electric-Banana 606 points607 points  (25 children)

It depends on what country/language you watched it in. In France he was Pierre Cardin, and in Italy he was Levi Strauss.

[–]kl0 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Whoa! This is a much more interesting response than the answers to the OP. I’ve seen that movie so many times and had no idea!

Funny enough, I was inexplicably watching Demolition Man on the web a few days ago. It’s a pretty dumb movie, but if you’ve seen it then you may know that “Taco Bell was the only restaurant to survive the franchise wars”. So Taco Bell is basically this 5 star restaurant in their dystopian-esque future.

In any event, I guess the copy I was watching was European as they replaced all of the Taco Bell dialogue and logos with Pizza Hut.

Made sense to me since I know Taco Bell hasn’t survived outside of the US, but I had no idea they’d done that.

[–]DifficultChoice2022 240 points241 points  (6 children)

Never would’ve been discovered if not for Chuck’s cousin Marvin

[–]ohmytodd 90 points91 points  (0 children)

Marvin Barry. Shame about his hand. It was never the same.

[–]Prestigious_Elk9231 15 points16 points  (0 children)


[–]dfwcouple43sum 135 points136 points  (1 child)

Wait, that was Marty McFly? He looked just like Clint Eastwood from 70 years prior.

I wonder if they’re related

[–]chappersyo 14 points15 points  (0 children)

They weren’t ready for it then, but their kids loved it.

[–]Asl687 35 points36 points  (4 children)

Arctic monkeys did a cover of girls aloud love machine..amazing cover!

[–]godofhorizons 3263 points3264 points  (133 children)

Holding out for a hero by Jennifer Saunders

[–]Facade04 1380 points1381 points  (34 children)

"C minor, put it in C minor"

[–]nm2506 649 points650 points  (24 children)

Is that the one from Shrek? That one was fire

[–]Turbomattk 210 points211 points  (18 children)

*Short Circuit 2

[–]MrWhocares123456 120 points121 points  (10 children)

Johnny 5 is ALIVE!!!

[–]kirinmay 92 points93 points  (0 children)

Los locos kick your ass. Los locos kick your face. Los locos kick your balls INTO OUTER SPACE!

[–]StoplightLoosejaw 38 points39 points  (0 children)


[–]TheRynoceros 38 points39 points  (4 children)

Hey, laser lips; Your mama was a snowblower.

[–]kpDzYhUCVnUJZrdEJRni 14 points15 points  (1 child)

Speaking of Shrek covers, I also prefer Smash Mouth’s version of “I’m a Believer”

[–]TwinkAnnihilator 199 points200 points  (2 children)

Holding Out for a Hero (Bonnie Tyler) = Holding Out for a Hero (Jennifer Saunders)

Don’t pit mother against mother!

[–]Pangurvan 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Her voice is absolutely amazing in that song.

[–]rockandroll93 826 points827 points  (44 children)

Talking Heads- Take me to the River

[–]EnoughCheesecake6050 785 points786 points  (24 children)

Eric Cartman cover of poker face that shit is fire

[–]drsausages88 134 points135 points  (11 children)

Not forgetting his version of "heat of the moment"

[–]Fleganhimer 127 points128 points  (8 children)

Or his classic cover of "Come Sail Away"

[–]KC19771984 84 points85 points  (5 children)

Or In The Ghetto. Or She Works Hard For The Money…. Oh come on, any song Cartman covers he instantly improves upon the original…

[–]_Dolamite_ 52 points53 points  (1 child)

Taco Flavored Kisses is a modern day classic....

Originally by Jennifer Lopez

[–]Kkaff 2172 points2173 points  (96 children)

House of the rising sun by The Animals

[–]Supersnazz 395 points396 points  (40 children)

Do folk songs count as 'covers'?

[–]Stalking_Goat 312 points313 points  (31 children)

I was gonna say. I like Metallica's "Whiskey in the Jar" but the song is literally hundreds of years old.

[–]CorporateDeathBurger 179 points180 points  (18 children)

There is no original tho. Every version we've ever heard has been a cover.

[–]heinyho 82 points83 points  (8 children)

Give Geordie with Brian Johnson on vocals a listen.

[–]xpoisonvalkyrie 563 points564 points  (6 children)

the fairy godmother’s cover of “holding out for a hero”

[–]Godloseslaw 2325 points2326 points  (54 children)

4 Non Blondes' cover of He-Man's "What's Up?"


[–]silentdragoon 415 points416 points  (24 children)

[–]rcklmbr 181 points182 points  (10 children)

You dont realize how old that is until you see the text messages are from AIM

[–]ddh85 13 points14 points  (0 children)


[–]tuileisu 2074 points2075 points  (51 children)

Israel Kamakawiwoole —Somewhere Over The Rainbow

[–]Slackbeing 377 points378 points  (8 children)

What's cool about this one is that it's also a cover of "What a wonderful world" by Louis Armstrong.

[–]penni_cent 80 points81 points  (2 children)

Not necessarily, he did three separate songs. Over the Rainbow, What a Wonderful World, and the mash-up version.

[–]Slackbeing 48 points49 points  (0 children)

Well, the famous one that he recorded in one shot at 3am is the medley, but I'm sure he sang both independently.

[–]whotookmyshit 99 points100 points  (10 children)

Another song that has me in tears every single time I hear it! What a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

[–]Mr_BillyB 30 points31 points  (7 children)

I refuse to listen to this song. It's absolutely beautiful, but I can't separate it from death. There's ER and Finding Forrester off the top of my head, and I've heard it played at more than one funeral, including one for an infant at a time I also had an infant.

It's a beautiful rendition of a classic song, but I can't get past this.

[–][deleted] 1854 points1855 points  (55 children)

Respect by Aretha Franklin is the best cover song.

But my favourite is by The Fugees covering Roberta Flacks “Killing me softly”. Norah Jones also did a beautiful cover of “don’t know why”

[–]bluecheesemoon- 205 points206 points  (14 children)

Killing me softly's isn't Roberta Flacks'. It's from Lori Lieberman.

[–]PlaysTheTriangle 216 points217 points  (4 children)

Oh my gosh, yes! Lauryn Hill singing Killing Me Softly is a masterpiece

[–]Frank_Woodford 208 points209 points  (6 children)

"I Love Rock n Roll", Joan Jett. Most people don't even know it's a cover. The original was done by British glam rock adjacent band The Arrows.

[–]Chunky-Chinky 310 points311 points  (14 children)

Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin made it passionately great.

[–]Dazzling_Meeting1727 29 points30 points  (4 children)

The Soft Cell version of Tainted Love.

[–]stattest 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Suspicious minds, written and recorded by Mark James, taken to another level by Elvis though.

[–]Flyingcircus1 472 points473 points  (26 children)

She's Not There by Santana. Also their version of Black Magic Woman.

[–]itothepowerofahalf 417 points418 points  (9 children)

Istanbul (not Constantinople) - They Might be Giants. Original by The Four Lads

[–]gabotas 1308 points1309 points  (138 children)

Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing compares to you is amazing, but I even felt like crying when I listened to Chris Cornell’s version

[–]TotallyNotAustin 206 points207 points  (7 children)

Chris could have sang me the yellow pages and I would cry.

[–]dukeotto 461 points462 points  (33 children)

Richard Cheese - Down With The Sickness

[–]LoDyes 68 points69 points  (3 children)

You can cover pretty much any song with some crooner. Richard cheese proves this.

[–]funfsinn14 20 points21 points  (4 children)

Not well known but Head On by Pixies in the Trompe le Monde album. It's not among their conventional favorites certainly but I think it's better than the original and that middle section of that album, also not one known for big hits, has some bangers that fly under the radar along with it. Like UMass, Letter to Memphis, Subbacultcha. The whole section is the loud-quiet-loud ethos through and through.

[–]Minimum_Aioli_8689 466 points467 points  (26 children)

Blue bayou Linda Ronstad 💙 😍 ♥️

[–]starfish31 228 points229 points  (6 children)

Black Magic Woman - Santana

Love Fleetwood Mac but Santana made that their own

[–]anno3397 142 points143 points  (6 children)

"Diggy diggy hole" originally by Yogscast and covered by Wind Rose

[–]Chezenine 116 points117 points  (7 children)

Judas Priest - green manalishi

[–]GrossenCharakter 57 points58 points  (4 children)

Diamonds and Rust (originally by Joan Baez) is also fantastic.

[–]FragnificentKW 410 points411 points  (38 children)

[–]MaystroInnis 107 points108 points  (14 children)

Generally speaking the "Like A Version" has produced some pretty great covers over the years. See also Paul Kelly covering his own song https://youtu.be/ICcewg7fxho

[–]chimmez 12 points13 points  (1 child)

I’d pay good money for a whole RATM cover album by Denzel Curry:


[–]robthetrashguy 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Mad World by Gary Jules originally by Tears for Fears

He turned it into a much darker song.

[–]Len462 449 points450 points  (15 children)

Red Red Wine UB40, originally by Neil Diamond.

[–]sycaboiler 103 points104 points  (6 children)

Tennessee Whiskey - Chris Stapleton

[–]Evorgleb 15 points16 points  (1 child)

I Feel for You by Chaka Khan.

[–]venusiansailorscout 505 points506 points  (36 children)

“Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia” - Reba

[–]pnorcross 14 points15 points  (2 children)

How can you mend a broken heart - Al green covering the bee gees

[–]harryblasagna 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Johnny Cash’s cover of A Boy Named Sue, originally sung by Shel Silverstein

[–]thatsdoable1 252 points253 points  (19 children)

Siouxsie and the Banshees cover of The Passenger. Adds a fantastic energy to the song.

[–]thalantyr 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Can't believe I had to scroll so far to find this. Even Iggy Pop said it was an improvement.

[–]Rob_B_ 125 points126 points  (6 children)

On the subject of Siouxsie And The Banshees - what about Dear Prudence?

[–]Ok-Worker6691 131 points132 points  (1 child)

Torn - Natalie Imbruglia

[–]TanTanExtreme2 502 points503 points  (95 children)

Blinded by the light was a Springsteen song, and Manfred Mann's earth band covered it. Also funny mention, but Pat Boone had a metal album that was all covers, including Holy Diver. It's not good. Funny though.

[–]Icy-Meaning9187 1226 points1227 points  (107 children)

"I will always love you". Dolly Parton,

"I will always love you" Whitney Huston.

[–]LibrarianJane 82 points83 points  (11 children)

The Sundays cover of Wild Horses.

[–]Illustrious_Print279 85 points86 points  (4 children)

Crazy by Patsy Cline. Originally by Willie Nelson. Bobby McGee by Janis Joplin. Originally by Kris Kristofferson.

[–]sokorsognarf 197 points198 points  (10 children)

Soft Cell ‘Tainted Love’

[–]Flashy-Ad-8327 102 points103 points  (5 children)

Simply the Best by Tina Turner

Original by Bonnie Tyler