Writing a good song is hard work, and covering someone else’s song is just as much work, if not more. You have to make sure you sound as good as the original, or in the case of this list, BETTER. Cover songs are an awesome way to watch people’s creativity flow, giving us different takes of one piece. LET THE COVERING BEGIN!
10- Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground [Original by Stevie Wonder]
Recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1973 for his album, Innervisions, Higher Ground is an incredible funk song. RHCP were big fans of Mr. Wonder and recorded their version of HG for their fourth album, Mother’s Milk, released in 1989. The album is the first since the addition of Chad Smith and John Frusciante after Jack Irons left and Hillel Slovak passed away. While the original version is good, RHCP’s version is an interesting mix of funk and a little metal, bringing a different energy and making the cover even better than the original.
9- Guns N’ Roses – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door [Original by Bob Dylan]
This song was originally recorded by Dylan in 1973 for the soundtrack of the Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Since then, many artists have covered this song, from Eric Clapton, to Wyclef Jean, but no cover has ever come close to GnR’s version from from the 1990 movie, Days of Thunder. In 1991, the song was included in their album, Use Your Illusions II. The band still plays the song live, many times making it a long jam. We love Bob Dylan, but Axl’s voice in this track is extremely powerful.
8 – Joan Jett – I love Rock N’ Roll [Original by The Arrows]
Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker from The Arrows wrote this track in 1975, but it was made popular by The Runaways’ founding guitarist, Joan Jett. The Arrows’ version is actually wicked good, and Joan didn’t disappoint when she covered this song in 1979, then later recorded it in 1981 with her band, The Blackhearts. Her version surely packs a punch!
7 – Faith No More – Easy [Original by The Commodores]
The Commodores’ hit song was written by Lionel Richie and released in 1977. While it is a great song in its own right, Faith No More came in and recorded a cover of “Easy” for their album, Angel Dust, in 1992. Mike Patton’s voice in the track is soft, soulful, and completely different from what we are used to hearing from him. The guy who sang Midlife Crisis completely blew our minds with his cover of the Commodores’ hit song. This song definitely showed Patton’s range and how talented he truly is as a singer.
6 – Rage Against the Machine – Renegades of Funk [Original by Afrika Bambaataa & SoulSonic Force]
If you haven’t listened to Rage Against the Machine’s Renegades album, this is your big chance to do it! The album consists of only cover songs, so it was difficult to pick the best one. My personal favorites are Renegades of Funk and How Could I Just Kill a Man (original by Cypress Hill).
Renegades of Funk is a song by Afrika Bambaataa & SoulSonic forced, released in 1983 in Planet Rock: The album. Rage’s version was released in 2000.
5 – Avril Lavigne – Fuel (Original by Metallica)
HAHA WE KID, WE KID. Just making sure you’re still reading. ;)
5 - Metallica – Turn The Page [Original by Bob Seger]
This was a hard one to choose because all Metallica covers are ridiculously good. From “Am I evil” to “Whiskey in a Jar,” they’ve all got something great, but their version of the Bob Seger track stands out for the simple fact that it is so different from the original. There is an underlying softness to James’ voice, but it’s heavy at the same time. Bob Seger first recorded it in 1973 for his Back in ’72 album. Metallica recorded and released the song in their 1998 album, Garage Inc.
4 – Led Zeppelin – You Shook Me [Original by Muddy Waters]
Is it surprising that Zeppelin could make a cover better than than original? They had more talent than any other band in the world, and this song is a prime example of that. Originally recorded by Muddy Waters in 1962, You Shook Me is a piece of art; one that was perfected by the Mighty Zep in 1969 for their debut album.
3 – The Beatles – Twist and Shout [Original by the Isley Brothers]
The song you sang along to while watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Twist and Shout was originally recorded by The Top Notes in 1961, and then made popular when covered by The Isley Brothers in 1962. Both versions are now outshined by The Beatles’ version released in 1963. John’s voice is wicked cool in this track, giving it a really rockin’ feel.
2 – Pantera – Cat Scratch Fever [Original by Ted Nugent]
The Nuge released this track in 1977 as a part of the Cat Scratch Fever Album. Very cool, very catchy riff. Then comes Pantera and turns a cool catchy riff into a much heavier and thunderous track.
1 – Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower [Original by Bob Dylan]
Surprise surprise. Who could have seen this one coming?
Honestly, Hendrix can cover any song by any artist and he will make that song better by miles. Hey Joe, Wild Thing, Like a Rolling Stone, any song he covered turned out better. It’s hard even choosing one as his best, but regardless of which one any of us like, it’s safe to say any of his covers will always be #1.
This original was written and recorded by Dylan for his album John Wesley Harding in 1967, while Hendrix’s version came out in 1968.
Did your favorite cover make the list? If it didn’t, come yell at me (@tessaroj) for overlooking such awesomeness!
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