Best Cover Songs

Steps to making a good cover song: 1) Start with a song that is already good or has potential to be good 2) Improve on the original version or make the song live up to potential and 3) do something special to make the song your own. Whether through better musicianship, vocals, emotion, etc. a great cover version takes the original song and gives it a new life.

This is a collection of the cover songs that were most certainly better the second time through.

The Top TenXW

1All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix (Bob Dylan)

Bob Dylan sometimes played Hendrix's version on stage, that's gotta mean something!

Out of the ten songs here, I feel this is hands down the best. No question. There will never be another Jimi Hendrix. He was so amazing and unique.

Absolutely phenominal. Fits into every era. This man was a true genius!

The best there ever was

V31 Comments
2Hurt - Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails)

Actually my favorite cover song is Jimi Hendrix's version of 'All along the Watchtower'. But seeing this great piece of art so far down here, I just feel like I have to give it my vote, because it is not only one of the best covers but easily one of the best songs ever recorded. So I think it is a shame to see Johnny Cash's beautiful and unique version of this great song on rank 32 (and I mean by now everybody should know that it is a cover so that is not an excuse)

What makes this cover so special is that it basically reflected his life right before his death. Reznor even said he knew it wasn't his song anymore once he heard Cash play it. I was originally going for Jimmy Hendrix's All Along The Watchtower but I changed my mind at the last minute. - AlteredState

No doubt this song tops the original by a hundred times, johnny cash's final songs were mediocre but this songs stands right with the best of him

This just proves how important NIN truly are.

V27 Comments
3Knockin' on Heavens Door - Guns N Roses (Bob Dylan)

Gun's and Roses do this song better than anyone, this happens a lot with Dylans songs, a great writer and lyricist with a unique voice but whose songs are oten better with other performers take on them. Gun's and roses version adds a awesome heavy element to this song and make the changes sound amazing! better than any on the above list. - Cantonez

Awesome cover! It should be on the top of the list! In my opinion, this song sounds best when played with an electric guitar. I think the main reason for the success of this song was slash's guitar playing. His solo was just unbelievably amazing! - winner333

much better than 7 covers! this cover is much better than the original song, this is the best GUNS N' ROSES cover ever! - rock2metal

This song is genius! Doesn't matter how old you are, it's always a hit!

V18 Comments
4Crying In the Rain - A-ha (Everly Brothers)

I normally donĀ“t like cover versions, but this one is really good! - Daisymorot

A-ha is always so original but the one time they covered, it was also great!

A-ha is my favorite. I love them.

V6 Comments
5Respect - Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
6To Love You More - Sarah Geronimo (Celine Dion)

Celine is at her best, suits her vocal range. I actually thought the song was written and composed for Dion. I have never heard the original, but I can't imagine it surpassing this one.

,, definitely.. ,, from the start of the start contest,, I olredy knew that she's gonna win the competition.. ,, - fherline_67

to love you more is here winning piece in the compitation.. by celine dion. and her voice fitted (ala) celine dion of the philippines.. - tata919

the song that made her successful... - aleli0927

V8 Comments
7Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds (Bob Dylan)

Bob Dylan, the best songwriter ever, himself said that no one could play this song any better, which was right. This is such an amazing rendition while I'll agree that the other songs on this list are good I just like this one the best. But notice how 3 of the top 4 songs are Dylans covers...

"Wow, you can even dance to that! " Bob Dylan after hearing the cover

This is definitely the winner here. Killing a Bob Dylan song is hard to do but they did it. Crazy stuff

8Turn The Page - Metallica (Bob Seager)

One of Metallica's best songs ever! Metallica is my favorite band forever and is a big part of my life and they rock! GO METALLICA! you guys are the best! - usmcmike43

Amazing! I was speechless when I fist heard this song. And it took me forever to actually find it, but thanks to Pandora... I finally found it!

Yes even their covers are epic! M/best band ever... this song has a meaningful video and the solo is so cool! - rahulsharma1

9Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm (Michael Jackson)

The fact that I didn't hear much good (or bad for that matter) about the original before this came out should say something. They also did this at a time when admitting to liking Michael Jackson was just something you didn't do, which is kinda cool. This version is also better by a mile.

I liked the original song, but AAF made an even better version. - rock2metal

A lot of covers don't deviate much from the original. This one, however, is quite unique. - djh101

Why I choose this?...
bob dylan is better I think... - muhammadfajri

V4 Comments
10You Really Got Me - Van Halen (The Kinks)

When Van Halen covers a song they always make it better than the original version of it. And this just owns the kinks version - rocker1796

The original Kinks tune was great - not the sort of tune that gets one-upped much - but the Van Halen cover just blows it away.

Ray Davies even said this version is better than the original.

Best cover by far!

V4 Comments

The Newcomers

?Sympathy for the Devil - Laibach (The Rolling Stones)
?When Doves Cry - Patti Smith (Prince)
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The Contenders

11Whiskey In The Jar - Metallica (Thin Lizzy)

Metallica just put a new life in this song. And James' solo was just great. What I want to tell is that Metallica popularized this song and just made it monumental like the band itself. Unfortunately this song has a really stupid video. Anyway an all time classic and Metallica just put some of their mind and soul to create a masterpiece.

I cannot believe that this song ain't made by them! Perfect!

Metallica has a grammy for that song! - kkkppp

V4 Comments
12Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen)

This is such an underrated cover. This is personally one of my favorite covers of all time, showing the true talent behind Jeff's composition. He writes these solos himself, which takes talent guys. Some of my personal favorites are this, Jimi Hendrix's All Along the Watchtower, Heart's Rock and Roll and Guns N' Roses' Knockin' on Heaven's Doors

This song will never be such a beautiful masterpiece if Jeff Buckley never covered it. I listened to the original and totally hate it, I can respect Leonard's genius in lyrical composure but the execution of the song is horrible in my opinion. Jeff Buckley ripped apart the song and stripped it down to a pure, simple but nonetheless wonderful work of musical art.

Once you get to the point where people think that you wrote the song, it's safe to say that the cover was amazing. This cover is monumental and made it the legend it is today.

How is this not number 1? This is one of the greatest songs ever by one of the greatest voices

V8 Comments
13Walk This Way - Run-DMC (Aerosmith)

This is not a cover

14Rolling In the Deep - Linkin Park (Adele)

The Best Cover Ever! Although it it is newer than many of the items at the top(at this moment)...

And it is 100 times better than Adele Version of the song...

I Hated this song too much but when Chester Bennington sang it and Mike Shinoda took the piano, it was totally a different experience...

Chester's Voice cannot be compared he's 10 times better than Adele!

Awesome Cover... Linkin Park for Life - shouryat2b

Rumor has it that Adele made a cover of this song.

Chester really blew this song out the competition. Amazing vocals with Shinoda on the piano. It was just beautiful

Chester's awesome voice and Mike's addictive tunes. Gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. Linkin Park doesn't do a lot of covers. But when they do, they make it better than the original. LINKIN PARK ROCKS!

I love it. Number 1

V6 Comments
15Twist and Shout - The Beatles (Topnotes)

Most people don't know it's a cover song. That's the ultimate praise to a great cover song. Should be much higher than number 39.

I had no idea it was a cover! I feel a bit bad about that now, but that is definitely a sign that this was a brilliant cover. - sameera62

john lennon recorded this song while he was having a bad cold and that's why this sounds so good! - Mathx

I never even knew it was a Cover!
The Beatles are the Best Band EVER! Period

V5 Comments
16Man Who Sold The World - Nirvana (David Bowie)

Truly... the magic of Kurt Cobain... Best Cover ever! - hereisHorizon

Can't believe this song is way down in this list.. This together with all along the watchtower-jimi hendrix are the best cover songs to be ever performed

The best cover of Nirvana and all time, they made it better than David Bowie!

I think this one must be in the principal list

Definitely better than anything ever done original or cover by Van Halen. Better than anything in spots 5-10 on this list during the time of this writing.

V15 Comments
17Dust in the Wind - Sarah Brightman (Kansas)

When Sarah covers a piece of music, the unique beauty of her voice and the sensitive emotional phrasing she brings to it leave her name forever inscribed on that song. - timhatcher

I actually like Sarah's version better than the original. She's a genius. - tarot_contralto

No way is it better then the original

18Sweet Dreams - Marilyn Manson (The Eurythmics)

The lyrics are dark and creepy, Marilyn Manson made the song fit the lyrics. Unfortunately it will never get the recognition it deserves because he is Marilyn Manson.

The songs lyrics were meant to be creepy but the original isn't creepy sounding, Marilyn Manson changed it to it's true form.

the cover by marilyn manson has so much more soul than the original. respect 4 MM - elitan

Marilyn Manson played this song the way it was meant to played. So much better than the original - Shake_n_Bake13

V7 Comments
19Feeling Good - Muse (Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse)

Muse has made this song into an epic - original use of a loud speaker - hidden away at the end of Origin of Symmetry this has become a firm fan favourite and a must=play at live gigs - this has to be higher than number 32

Moving cover version by a legendary rock band

Matthew's voice is beautiful and haunting. - karica4

20House of the Rising Sun - The Animals (Clarence Ashley)

This is by far the best hands down cover song of all time a classic. -

This is amazing, I cry every time I hear it

What can I say, unreal

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List StatsUpdated 9 Oct 2015

11,000 votes
515 listings
9 years, 254 days old

Top Remixes (30)

1. American Pie - Madonna (Don Mclean)
2. It's Raining Men - Geri Halliwell (The Weather Girls)
3. The Best - Tina Turner (Bonnie Tyler)
1. Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith)
2. Turn The Page - Metallica (Bob Seager)
3. Billie Jean - Chris Cornell (Michael Jackson)
1. Respect - Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
2. Proud Mary - Tina Turner (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
3. All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix (Bob Dylan)

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