Top 10 Cover Songs that Sound Completely Different Than the Original

It's when it's hard to recognize the original or you do but it still sounds like a different song because the genre or the tone were significantly changed. Music re-construction.

Remember, this list isn't about the best covers or covers better than the original (though some of the cover songs could be). But you can comment on whether you like better the original or the cover.

It's about how different both versions are and if the cover sounds decent - like a "new" song you don't know or without comparing it with the original.

The Top Ten

1 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Tori Amos

Artists with a series of different sounding covers that sound good, are: Tori Amos, Hellsongs, Flametal, Northern Kings. - Metal_Treasure

Tori Amos - allmost all her covers are innovative and unique. I think she takes the cake in this category - making very different covers. And her covers are good. - Metal_Treasure

2 I Should Be So Lucky - Northern Kings

Originally it's a fast upbeat pop song by Kylie Minogue. The cover is very slow and dark, and sounds creepy and threatening. The genre and the tone were changed completely. The style of this cover version is close to doom metal. - Metal_Treasure

3 Raining Blood - Tori Amos

Slayer signature song sounds like... on the song sample. Nothing in common. Probably only the lyrics remind you of the original. Complete transformation. It's a haunting rework. - Metal_Treasure

4 Billie Jean - Chris Cornell

One of my favorite covers of all time (originally by Michael Jackson).
Chris Cornell rendition is incredible - he changed the genre and the style and made the song sound darker and more emotional than the original. I adore Cornell's raspy vox in this song.
This cover has only live versions including the one on the song sample. It's from a live show in Sweden in 2005-6.
R.I.P. Chris. I still forget he died. - Metal_Treasure

5 Run to the Hills - Hellsongs

Iron Maiden classic was fully transformed. Just play the sample - genre and tone were changed completely. The cover sounds vulnerable and not angry. - Metal_Treasure

6 Hurt - Johnny Cash

Originally by Nine Inch Nails. Both versions are well known so no explanation needed. - Metal_Treasure

7 Symphony of Destruction - Hellsongs

Originally a metal song by Megadeth. The cover isn't metal and it's with female vocals. The cover sounds rather soothing and beautiful than angry. - Metal_Treasure

8 Aces High - Flametal

Iron Maiden instrumental cover flamenco style on flamenco guitars. I actually like this cover - very creative and guitars are very well played by Benjamin Woods. - Metal_Treasure

9 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Emily Browning

Thanks Martin. This one is very interesting, too. - Metal_Treasure

Originally by Eurythmics.

The upbeat 80s electro pop song turned into a haunting, surreal yet completely calm nightmare.
It was recorded for the magnificent and horribly underrated movie "Sucker Punch" where it plays during its opening scene, and it really fits the tone of the movie. - Martin_Canine

10 Engel - Annett Louisan

Originally by Rammstein.

In 2016, German chanson singer Annett Louisan released a cover album containing ten covers of popular German songs, adapted in her petite, soft style. Rammstein's signature song "Engel" is one of them, and arguably underwent the biggest genre transformation.
She was inspired by her participation in the third season of the popular show "Sing meinen Song" where a handful of famous German singers are challenged to sing each other's songs. - Martin_Canine

The Newcomers

? Junge - Xavier Naidoo

Originally by Die Ärzte.

The original by the iconic German punk band was an ironic take on worried parents that want their revolting kids to be normal, efficient and career oriented. It's told from the parents' perspective, but is extremely cynical and clearly on the teen's side - this can already be told from the fact that the song is performed in a wild rock style with a very tongue in cheek vocal delivery.

Xavier Naidoo, a neo-soul singer who had numerous number one albums and hit singles himself, turned this into a smooth ballad that on the one hand fits his style, but on the other hand loses the cynical undertone because it's so calm and passionately sung. You could easily think this song is actually performed by an actually worried parent. - Martin_Canine

? Rock Me Amadeus - Edguy

Falco cover, with a hint of metal in the arrangement. I really love this cover as well as the original. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 My Humps - Alanis Morissette

I applaud Alanis for this cover. - Gg2000

Sounds nothing like the Black Eyed Peas. - Metal_Treasure

12 Ayo Technology - Milow

Originally by 50 Cent, Timbaland & Justin Timberlake.

While the original version also was a moderate success over here, Belgian singer Milow's version was even bigger two years later, it was almost unavoidable. His version was sung over a very stripped down, minimalistic guitar instrumental, in fact, no one would notice it's the same song apart from the lyrics. - Martin_Canine

13 Master of Puppets - Wisecräcker

This cover of an angry thrash metal song sounds pretty happy in this ska arrangement, LOL.
Well, I recognize the original because I've listened to it a million times but I still can say it's very different. Believe it or not, I like this cover - for making me smile. - Metal_Treasure

14 Billie Jean - Terenzi

Originally by Michael Jackson.
Marc Terenzi, or simply Terenzi, is an American singer but he is known mostly in Germany because he once was married to the wonderful Sarah Connor, and later on was engaged to the model and reality T.V. star Gina Lisa Lohfink. During his marriage with Connor he released two moderately successful albums, then he became a T.V. personality that was mostly known for his former relationships, and he participated in the German edition of "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here", which is a highly popular and hyped show over here, in 2017 and won. On his second and so far last album he had this pop rock ballad version of Billie Jean. - Martin_Canine

15 Womanizer - The All-American Rejects

Britney, what those guys did to your song... - Metal_Treasure

16 Wrecking Ball - August Burns Red

Everyone knows the original by Miley Cyrus. For the rest, just play the sample. - Metal_Treasure

17 Mad World - Gary Jules

Much crappier than the original. - jrodz

18 Blue Monday - Orgy

New Order cover. - cjWriter1997

19 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Patti Smith
20 Comfortably Numb - Scissor Sisters

I wouldn't recognize it... Thanks, Martin, great addition, very different. But I love the original.
Yep, Bee Gees, and a bit of Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. - Metal_Treasure

Originally by Pink Floyd.

My father, a devoted Pink Floyd fan, didn't initially recognize it. This version is more alike the Bee Gees, an old school disco song with falsetto vocals. - Martin_Canine

21 I Just Died in Your Arms - Northern Kings

Cutting Crew cover. Jarkko Ahola turned this fast paced rock song into a beautiful and epic ballad. - Metal_Treasure

22 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Devo

Originally by The Rolling Stones. - Metal_Treasure

23 Smoke on the Water - Six Feet Under

Deep Purple death metal cover. - Metal_Treasure

24 Gin and Juice - The Gourds

I forgot about this! I think it's hilarious! - Gg2000

Originally a Snoop Dogg song - Metal_Treasure

25 Crazy in Love - Emeli Sandé & the Bryan Ferry Orchestra
26 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Robert Hazard

That's not a cover, it's actually the original version then Cyndi Lauper covered the song after Robert Hazard did it originally. - Liam31idents

27 Don't Believe a Word - Octavia Sperati

A Thin Lizzy cover - the original is a rock song with loud guitars and everything a rock song has but Octavia Sperati made a cover of Tori Amos type: a soft version with vocals and piano - Metal_Treasure

28 White Light / White Heat - Ralph Stanley

Ralph Stanley, the bluegrass player, recorded a cover of this song (by the Velvet Underground) for the movie "Lawless". While the original version is a fuzzed-out rocker, the Ralph Stanley version is just him and his acoustic guitar. His haggard voice gives it a totally different impression. - Gg2000

29 Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
30 Style - Ryan Adams

Taylor Swift cover of 2015. - Metal_Treasure

31 Ring of Fire - Social Distortion

Johnny Cash went punk - Metal_Treasure

32 Atlantis 2002 - No Angels & Donovan

Originally by Donovan as "Atlantis".

While the spoken verses still feature Donovan's voice, the overall cover by the best known German girl group still turned the folk-ish rock song to an uplifting early 2000s pop song (it's called Atlantis 2002 but it's from 2001). The song served as the German theme song from the Disney movie "Atlantis". - Martin_Canine

33 Nur Geträumt - Blümchen

Originally by Nena.

Nena's version is one of the two quintessential Neue Deutsche Welle tunes by her that everyone knows and still gets a lot of airplay, and its New Wave outfit helped form the definitive sound of the NDW movement, which was what the 80s sounded like in Germany.
Blümchen's happy eurodance version, almost bubblegum dance, is on the other a perfect example of what the 90s sounded like in Germany. It has all the aesthetics of the techno music 90s Central Europe loved so much, plus a certain pop appeal due to her sung chorus. - Martin_Canine

34 Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Glee Cast

This isn't very different, in my opinion (I didn't add this song). - Metal_Treasure

35 Somewhere Only We Know - Lily Allen
36 A Hard Day's Night - Peter Sellers
37 Mr. Tambourine Man - William Shatner

You're better off Not hearing this - Billyv

38 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Marilyn Manson
39 In a Gadda Da Vida - Blind Guardian

They changed the original significantly to make it sound more "metal-ish". Made the song faster. Removed many of the psychedelic elements and I like it. But I admit I don't like psychedelic rock with heavy distortion and this might be the reason I like the cover better. - Metal_Treasure

40 Born to Be Wild - Slayer
41 Caught Somewhere in Time - Madina Lake

Iron Maiden cover.
What can I say? It's more power metal but the tempo is slowed. Vocal style is different too. - IronSabbathPriest

42 Mr. Crowley - Cradle of Filth
43 The Beautiful People - The Bosshoss

Originally by Marilyn Manson.

The BossHoss are a popular German country rock band who, next to their original songs, are known to adapt popular songs that are most different to their country style. Their breakthrough was a cover of Outkast's "Hey Ya! ", but I think the biggest genre transformation can be found on their 2015 cover of "The Beautiful People".

I have no idea what Americans would think of The BossHoss. They try to sing with a thick Texas accent, to the Germany it perfectly works, but I wonder if Americans would think that's awkward to hear Germans do that (they sing in English). And their entire gimmick is based on western movies, which is something the Germans love. Country is barely successful over here, there's pretty much only Taylor Swift (who in the meantime switched to pop and is usually seen as a pop star over here), Amy MacDonald and The BossHoss. The BossHoss are arguably the most popular of the genre here (apart from the legend that is Johnny Cash). - Martin_Canine

44 Rock Me Amadeus - Die Toten Hosen

Originally by Falco

You probably know what I think of this song's original version. It would be a great bubblegum pop song but I don't like it as much because non-Austrians judge Falco, an artist who was an intense personality and had equally intense music, simply by this one song that does not authentically reflect him. In fact, when he first appeared, many radio stations refused to play him initially because of his controversial lyrics and his overall strange way of performing. His first single "Ganz Wien" was entirely and explicitly about drug consume.
Now, the punk band Die Toten Hosen are one of the most acclaimed and loved German bands ever, and on their 30 year anniversary they released a cover album to honor artists that inspired them. It also includes a cover of Falco's international hit "Rock Me Amadeus", of course switched to a punk rock style, and may I say even if it would have never become such a cult classic in this version, this cover does more justice to ...more - Martin_Canine

45 Moonlight Shadow - Missing Heart

Originally by Mike Oldfield

I often state the original "Moonlight Shadow" as my favorite song out of all. But in fact it's a tie with Missing Heart's version. Oldfield's song is very folk-ish and sounds very organic, Missing Heart's version sounds mysterious and dream-like, even though more dancable due to the soft techno-ish beat. In fact, I discovered this song through its Missing Heart cover. When I was around 12, I stumbled upon the short lived group's only album through YouTube and immediately fell in love with it (that was in 2008, sound quality wasn't all that great). It shows how techno music needn't be just club anthems, but the feeling's more alike New Age music. I never owned the album though. Since it barely sold at all and the group quickly disbanded, they album's CD is extremely rare and a used copy costs hundreds of euros, and it never was available for download - until in 2017. Yes, it finally arrived at the iTunes store. For the first time in the 9 years I know ...more - Martin_Canine

46 Black Night - Deicide

Deep Purple song sounds very extreme in this rendition. Couldn't recognize it. - Metal_Treasure

47 Seasons in the Abyss - Hellsongs

A Slayer cover than sounds like a completely different song - different genre, tone, instrumentation, vocals, speed, etc. But the cover still sounds like a very good song, in my opinion. - Metal_Treasure

48 The Trooper - Hellsongs

Iron Maiden cover. Again, they changed the genre, tone, instrumentation, vocals, speed, and so on. - Metal_Treasure

49 Thunderstruck - Hellsongs

Unrecognizable AC/DC cover. - Metal_Treasure

50 Gates of Babylon - Flametal

Rainbow instrumental cover on flamenco guitars (Ben Woods). I think it's very unique and beautiful. - Metal_Treasure

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