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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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6 Hurt - Johnny Cash

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

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7 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

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8 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

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9 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

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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

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The Newcomers

? Imagine - Corey Feldman

Conoisseurs may consider this to be the worst cover song of all time.

That may well be, but the problem is that Corey Feldman has later covered, on a perhaps even worse album (Angelic 2 the Core), the Lennon classic Working Class Hero. Tought pick. - JoLeKosovo

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? Back in the U.S.S.R. - Dead Kennedys

From their live album "Live at the Deaf Club". This is not half as good as Viva Las Vegas in my opinion, but it still sounds radically different. While The Beatles embraced a 50s rock n roll, imitating Chuck Berry and early Beach Boys, the Dead Kennedys unsurprisingly embrace an early punk rock sound. My main complaint is that the delivery sounds slightly bland from Jello, even though I love his voice usually. - JoLeKosovo

The Contenders

11 My Humps - Alanis Morissette

It's hilarious! - Misfire

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 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

14 Womanizer - The All-American Rejects

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

15 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

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16 Mad World - Gary Jules

I like the version of Tears for Fears better than this. - Misfire

Much crappier than the original. - jrodz

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17 Wrecking Ball - August Burns Red

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

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18 Gin and Juice - The Gourds

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

Originally a Snoop Dogg song - Metal_Treasure

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19 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Patti Smith UListen to Sample
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

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21 Blue Monday - Orgy

New Order cover. - cjWriter1997

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22 Money - Of Mice & Men

Pink Floyd cover of 2018 - Metal_Treasure

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23 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

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24 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

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25 Bohemian Rhapsody - The Braids

@Misfire - I'm not sure either but maybe it isn't bad for what it is. They made it sound like Killing Me Softly by Fugees. But I think it's an interesting rendition that changes the genre and after the 2nd listen I quite liked it. - Metal_Treasure

I heard this on the radio once... I'm not sure what to feel about it... - Misfire

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26 Black Night - Bad Manners

Deep Purple ska cover, it's so funny. But I wouldn't say bad. - Metal_Treasure

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

Originally by The Rolling Stones. - Metal_Treasure

28 Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm

Actually sounds very similar. - RobertWisdom

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29 Smoke on the Water - Six Feet Under

Deep Purple death metal cover. - Metal_Treasure

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30 Crazy in Love - Emeli Sandé & the Bryan Ferry Orchestra UListen to Sample
31 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

32 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

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33 Thunderstruck - Hellsongs

Unrecognizable AC/DC cover. - Metal_Treasure

34 Paranoid - Type O Negative

The original is barley above 2 minutes while this cover is above 7 minutes and it does sound very different it even includes the Iron Man Riff into this song - christangrant

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35 Das Modell - Rammstein UListen to Sample
36 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

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37 Burn - Oulu All Star Big Band & J. Ahola

Deep Purple cover. Different but I like it a lot. - Metal_Treasure

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38 Style - Ryan Adams

Taylor Swift cover of 2015. - Metal_Treasure

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39 Ring of Fire - Social Distortion

Johnny Cash went punk - Metal_Treasure

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40 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

41 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

42 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

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43 Somewhere Only We Know - Lily Allen UListen to Sample
44 A Hard Day's Night - Peter Sellers UListen to Sample
45 Mr. Tambourine Man - William Shatner

You're better off Not hearing this - Billyv

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46 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - Marilyn Manson UListen to Sample
47 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

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48 Born to Be Wild - Slayer
49 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

50 Mr. Crowley - Cradle of Filth UListen to Sample
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List Stats

100 votes
71 listings
2 years, 22 days old

Top Remixes

1. Engel - Annett Louisan
2. Ayo Technology - Milow
3. Billie Jean - Terenzi
1. I Should Be So Lucky - Northern Kings
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit - Tori Amos
3. Run to the Hills - Hellsongs


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