These stars blazed out fantastic versions of the originals.
In my last music related article, I talked about my opinions on the 10 worst cover songs, well, in this one I’ll be discussing my opinions on the 10 best cover songs. If you read my last article then you may remember me mentioning Jimi Hendrix’s two amazing covers – well, they’re in here; along with some Eric Clapton, some Metallica and many more.
Copying the song exactly just will not do, you’ve got to mix in some originality and make the song your own. It’s vital that you do not just reproduce something that has already been made – that’s boring; you need to show everyone just who you are and how you are. That’s what makes a good cover, and this article contains my 10 favourites.
This article will mostly be in the same format as the other one, I’ll countdown towards the best cover song and I’ll provide links to where you can hear both the original version and the cover version, I’ll ask provide the “Cover Popularity” as a percentage based on the amount of views the pages containing the song have and I’ll give a small description to go with each cover.
I really hope you enjoy this article, please read on.
Original Artist: JJ Cale – 20,212
Cover Artist: Eric Clapton – 749,193
Cover Popularity (based on views): 371%
Just listening to the cover of this song is surely enough to realise just why it’s in my top ten, I bet most people haven’t even heard of JJ Cale because the orgasmic guitar solos in this brilliantly composed Clapton cover have made this smashing song smash right to the top. I’m not saying I don’t like the original, I do, its simple licks and chord sequence make it perfectly relaxing and a good listen. However, I prefer Eric’s cover mainly because of the succulent solo at the beginning.
Original Artist: Nine Inch Nails – 667,479
Cover Artist: Johnny Cash – 9,055,834
Cover Popularity (based on views): 1357%
This song is truly beautiful. No matter how old he was when he recorded this, the amount of feeling and emotion expressed in his voice and his playing can never be reproduced by anyone, and his song still plays in people’s hearts as he lies in his grave. And no offence to Nine Inch Nails, but their faint whisperings can never amount to even half of what Cash showed in his cover. It showed the true battle he faced towards the end of his life.
Original Artist: The Kinks – 1,145,782
Cover Artist: Van Halen – 2,088,236
Cover Popularity (based on views): 182%
No offence to The Kinks, but they’re version of this song is boring. Well… actually… I did mean to offend a little. Just listen to the difference in the solo’s, Eddie absolutely shreds this one so much he rips it to pieces, in a good way. The Kinks attempt at punk/metal just cannot compete with this awesome guitar wailing composition of pure brilliance.
Original Artist: Billy Roberts
Cover Artist: Jimi Hendrix – 2,006,564
Cover Popularity (based on views): N/A
A lot of people don’t actually know that this is a cover, and it’s a perfect example of when a cover takes over from the original song. Jimi really spiced this song up and made it very lively indeed. Hendrix’s masterful use of his instrument is really put to good use in this cover, hence why it’s in my top 10 (and it’s not the only of Jimi’s songs that’s on this list).
Cover Artist: Metallica – 2,398,978
Cover Popularity (based on views): 574%
Metallica give this traditional Irish folk song a brand new vibe with their heavily distorted guitar and their hard-rocking beat. And listen to that guitar solo! They’ve made this song their own and turned up the heat with their sweaty performance. And also, I know this is off-topic but watch the video at the end – how fun would it be to smash up the house like that? Genius.
Original Artist: Robert Johnson – 647,701
Cover Artist: Eric Clapton – 594,923
Cover Popularity (based on views): 92%
I don’t know if this is just me or not, but don’t you think that the original sounds kind of “empty” without the heavy beat of a drum kit and the crazy wail of a Gibson? I definitely prefer the cover on this one, even though the original did have some very definitive blues improvisation. The original however, still seems to be more popular overall, which is understandable as both versions of this song stand out in their respective genres.
Original Artist: Michael Jackson – 9,091,236
Cover Artist: Alien Ant Farm – 4,892,918
Cover Popularity (based on views): 54%
Another not so popular cover, yet it still made it into my list of top covers. Alien Ant Farm perfectly adapts the bass riff into a blazing guitar riff that rocks your ears and they still retained Mike’s whispery vocals. They even managed to slip in a short yet immense guitar solo just to top it off.
Original Artist: Johaan Pachelbel – 2,429,225
Cover Artist: Funtwo – 45,091,496
Cover Popularity (based on views): 1856%
This song is only in here because I am a guitarist and this is possibly one of the greatest guitar covers ever. Also, I’m a huge admirer of classical music and Pachelbel’s Canon is simply one of my favourite hits from the classical world. The way the violins keep the harmonies and the way the melody is written just makes it so great to listen to. And Funtwo (although the original version of this was written by JerryC) plays this song so brilliantly and changes it in such a way that many guitarists practically worship him as a YouTube hero. 45,091,496 views!
Original Artist: Wings – 540,760
Cover Artist: Guns “N” Roses – 1,581,273
Cover Popularity (based on views): 292%
I think there might just be something about guitar’s covering orchestral parts that I love. Paul McCartney’s creatively composed James Bond theme makes the perfect rocking cover for Axel’s searing hot vocals and Slash’s guitar playing genius. It’s a shame that he’s not in Guns N Roses anymore, this song would be nothing without Slash, but in general the entire band flawlessly and effortlessly pull this off without hesitation.
Original Artist: Bob Dylan – 272,776
Cover Artist: Jimi Hendrix – 1,280,786
Cover Popularity (based on views): 470%
Even as soon as this cover begins you can tell it’s better, with Dylan’s hurtful harmonica transferred into Jimi’s great guitar. Jimi made this song what this is, a rocking, blazing, transfixing masterpiece. Bob’s version is pretty poor in comparison to this brilliantly shocking spectacle. Unfortunately, we can only listen to recordings of Jimi’s outstanding efforts, due to the fact that he is currently dead; such a shame.
So let’s see… the average cover popularity for these songs is 583.1%. Much higher than the 41% the songs from my “10 Worst Cover Songs” got, just goes to show that if you can really pull it off then you can make it big.
If you enjoyed reading this (and you haven’t already) could you kindly read my other article that’s on the same topic (The 10 Worst Cover Songs) and if there’s anything you disagree with don’t hesitate to leave me a comment.
Thanks for viewing (as always).