Covering somebody else’s work is no small challenge- doing justice to their work, making it your own and somehow making it appeal to others. That’s why I’ve chosen ten of my favourite covers of all time. Do you agree with me? Tell me about your favourites in the comments below!
1. Hurt- Johnny Cash covers Nine Inch Nails
From one dark soul to the other, this song has all the key ingredients of a song built to last: heartbreaking lyrics, amazing sound and gut wrenching soul. Both the original and the cover of Hurt are perfect for those feeling…well, hurt.
2. When the Levee Breaks- Led Zeppelin covers Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie
I’m pretty sure I’ve brought this song up one or twice on this blog before but that’s because I seriously can’t get enough of it. The blues are the foundation of all modern music and this song and its cover are proof of that.
3. All Along the Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix covers Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s genius lyrics meet Jimi Hendrix’s classic style and soul- need I say more?
4. Drugs Don’t Work- Ben Harper covers The Verve
Possibly one of the most heartfelt covers ever. I love this one.
5. Piece of My Heart- Janis Joplin covers Erma Franklin
This is a song we associate with Janis and let’s be honest, she kills it. Her gravely voice makes her cover a beautiful rendition. However, let’s give some props to Erma (yes, it’s Aretha’s sister!) whose voice is gorgeous and whose song is a classic.
6. Needle and the Damage Done- Laura Marling covers Neil Young
Neil Young’s original version of Needle and the Damage Done is possibly my favourite song…ever. Like…ever. So saying that I like somebody covering it isn’t easy for me. Laura Marling has truly done justice to this song. Her version is haunting, heartfelt and will send shivers up your spine. Her voice isn’t showy; it’s just simple and beautiful.
7. LA Woman-Glorious Sons cover The Doors
Brett of the Glorious Sons is seriously underrated. His voice is amazing. The band is so talented and if you haven’t listened to their music you’re missing out. This Kingston band is sure to be big.
8. Jolene- The White Stripes cover Dolly Parton
There are so many amazing songs that the White Stripes (and Jack White) have covered. Goodnight Irene, Walking with a Ghost…I love them all but the cover of Dolly’s Jolene is my favourite of them all.
9. Wish You Were Here- The Milk Carton Kids cover Pink Floyd
This hilarious musical duo has some serious instrumental chops. As a folk duo they have some really great songs I recommend listening to including their cover of Wish You Were Here which holds a special place is my heart.
10. Black Day in July- Tragically Hip cover Gordon Lightfoot
This song is rife with political undertones (see my blog on it here) and The Tragically Hip do justice to it in a way only Canadians could. Both versions of this song tell an amazing story of the epic tragedy of the Detroit City Race Riots.
11. Changes- Neil Young covers Phil Ochs
Neil Young covered this song on an album recorded completely in Jack White’s “Record Your Voice” Record Booth in Nashville where one can record straight to vinyl (read about my experience). The quality isn’t great, but the song itself is beautiful and sounds so authentic.