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!

Are you kidding?! How is Crimson and Clover by Joan Jett not number one?! Hendrix is so overrated!

V30 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)

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

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

Should be #1. Overall a great song. Love both the Nine Inch Nails original and Johnny Cash cover

V28 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

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

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

This one should be at least #2 on the list! The Hendrix cover is way too far up

V15 Comments
4Respect - Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
5To Love You More - Sarah Geronimo (Celine Dion)

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

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.

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

V4 Comments
6Mr. 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

7Hallelujah - 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

V4 Comments
8Smooth 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

An interesting take on the pop song. - TheAwesomeBrosVotes

V2 Comments
9Turn 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

Thanks to Metallica, this now one of my favorite songs of all time - Songsta41

10Whiskey 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.

Just listen to that, awelsome song, better than the original one. They got a Grammy for that song.
This cover is better than the others in the top.

V2 Comments

The Newcomers

?House of the Rising Sun - Geordie (Clarence Ashley)
?Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith)V1 Comment

The Contenders

11Rock and Roll - Heart (Led Zeppelin)

Its on HEART's Greatest hits CD.Not the CD from the 80's the one when HEART was a real rock, Band 1975-1980. - jerryw08

No one can sing Zeppelin like Ann Wilson.

Roger Fisher is one of the great guitar players of all time and shows it as he lays down some Jimmy Page.

Just pure talent here, Ann sings and Nancy rocks!

V3 Comments
12Man 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

How is this not #1? Even I it wasn't how is Knocking on Heave's Door higher than this?

V16 Comments
13Crying In the Rain - A-ha (Everly Brothers)

I normally don´┐Ż'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 didn't cover that much songs, but what they covered (all of them songs) is great! Thankyou a-ha for this fantastic music :-)

A-ha is my favorite. I love them.

V2 Comments
14Walk This Way - Run-DMC (Aerosmith)

I thought that it was great when Run DMC and Aerosmith actually joined up to do the song.

This is not a cover. But it is an awful song

V3 Comments
15You 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.

Why is this one not in the top ten?

V2 Comments
16Sweet 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.

It won't get recognition because Manson has no talent at all and sucks at music - TheThomasThomas

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

My favourite song, I like this more than the original

V4 Comments
17Rolling 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

V4 Comments
18Dust 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

V1 Comment
19Twist 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

amazing. i never knew it was a cover song.

V1 Comment
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

V3 Comments
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List StatsUpdated 5 Dec 2016

11,000 votes
594 listings
10 years, 312 days old

Top Remixes (40)

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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