The best cover versions can truly reinvent a song — sometimes so much so that they become the definitive recordings. One of the greatest modern-day soul ballads, as written by… Black Sabbath? Sure enough, the Ozzy ballad proved the perfect vehicle for the soul singer Charles Bradley to eulogise his mother and generally pour his heart out. It would later be used to convey a different kind of change, on the animated TV series about puberty, Big Mouth. Nobody gave more soul to this oft-recorded Jackson Browne tune than Gregg Allman on his solo debut album, Laid Back. In turn, Browne gave Allman all the world-weariness he ever needed from a lyric. For their self-titled debut album, Chrissie Hynde and producer Nick Lowe give a great Kinks obscurity the Spector-type treatment it deserved in the first place. Plenty of people fell in love with both the cover and Hynde herself, including Ray Davies.
Best cover songs of all time ranked
When you hear the lyrics, "I fought the law and the law won," which artist comes to mind? If you're musically inclined, a certain English punk-rock band likely pops into your head. And the crunchy guitar riffs and raw power of "American Woman" probably conjure the image of a flashy rock star and his Flying V guitar. But get this, neither tune was written by the artist you associate the song with. They are just masterful takes on someone else's work.
1. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
At best it could be transformative, lifting both artist and label into the spotlight. Across four top lists in , Treble made a deep dive into how modern covers albums explored past artists and songs. We also limited musicians to one performance slot each in our countdown, although you may notice certain original artists, sources, and songs showing up multiple times—a testament to their timelessness and versatility. Even without considering some big names you might otherwise expect to find here, live bootlegs, radio-show one-offs, parodies and YouTube home-studio clips, we still managed to wade through and vote on hundreds of well-known and obscure covers. You can hear almost all of those in the embedded Spotify playlist. From gender-switched contexts and wild reinterpretations to faithful renditions and star-powered exposure, descriptions of our essential cover songs—and links to their originals—follow below. Let the debate begin. Originally released in Born to Dance , Penned by the prolifically talented Cole Porter, the track earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Song in , and would go on to become a top ten hit for the Four Seasons some 30 years later.
The internet is filled with talented people hoping to jumpstart their singing careers by covering popular songs and posting them on YouTube hi, Justin Bieber. Of course there are established artists who decide to do covers too, but there's something amazing about hearing a complete stranger belt out your favorite song from your favorite artist and make it sound even better than the original. Here, a roundup of the best new covers released in , including singers you'll recognize and ones you won't—but you'll want to research them immediately. You'll recognize "Moon River" from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's , but Frank Ocean's version is the three minutes and eight seconds of peace we deserve after the year we all had.