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 Ten

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

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!

He was not a good song writer. At least half the songs he ever did were cover songs. But stage presence and natural talent he is one of the best live acts of all time and the number one talented guitarist. And song Is a good example of that.

2 Hurt - Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails) Hurt - Johnny Cash (Nine Inch Nails) Cover Art

This has to be #1. It takes on an entirely new meaning than the original, NIN's version is more about the heartbreak of a lost relationship, but Cash turns it into a song about reflecting back at his life as he knows he's nearing the end. Both versions are great in their own way.

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.

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

3 Knockin' on Heavens Door - Guns N Roses (Bob Dylan) Knockin' on Heavens Door - Guns N Roses (Bob Dylan) Cover Art

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.

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

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!

Guns N Roses had an album called "The Spaghetti Incident? " (An incident that they fought for spaghetti) which this song is included. The song is a great cover and surpassed Bob Dylan's original Knockin' On Heaven's Door.

4 Respect - Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding) Respect - Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding) Cover Art

Wonderful voive carry the song.

Legendary!

5 Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen) Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen) Cover Art

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.

Best cover ever! Wish Jeff was still alive and could sing this over and over.

6 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston (Dolly Parton) I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston (Dolly Parton) Cover Art

Even though Whitney's wasn't better (though it was SO close) she brought the song out into the mainstream.

I find it crazy that I'm adding this. Maybe it's because everyone thinks that it was her song.

Should be number 1 or at least 2. I know Dolly Parton wrote it but admit it Whitney sang it better

Way better than the original version!

7 Rolling In the Deep - Linkin Park (Adele) Rolling In the Deep - Linkin Park (Adele) Cover Art

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

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

8 Sweet Dreams - Marilyn Manson (The Eurythmics) Sweet Dreams - Marilyn Manson (The Eurythmics) Cover Art

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

This is a great cover, Manson really expresses it the way it is supposed to be expressed. The only thing I wonder is, does anybody think he slowed down the riff on Crazy Train on purpose? Or was it just coincidence?

9 Twist and Shout - The Beatles (Topnotes) Twist and Shout - The Beatles (Topnotes) Cover Art

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.

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

The Beatles took an R&B minor hit and made it a rock classic.

10 Whiskey In The Jar - Metallica (Thin Lizzy) Whiskey In The Jar - Metallica (Thin Lizzy) Cover Art

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.

Metallica has a grammy for that song!

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

The worst version of this traditional Irish Song

The Newcomers

? Romeo and Juliet - The Killers (Dire Straits)

The Killers did a great job of covering this song, nearly as good as the original.

? No Diggity - Chet Faker (Blackstreet)

The Contenders

11 Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds (Bob Dylan) Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds (Bob Dylan) Cover Art

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

12 Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm (Michael Jackson) Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm (Michael Jackson) Cover Art

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.

You people are crazy?! Why do you vote for this cover? The original song is MUCH MORE better.

Cause this is best cover songs not covers that are better than the original. - XxembermasterxX

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

No the original is amazing, and it's hard to cover Michael

13 You Really Got Me - Van Halen (The Kinks) You Really Got Me - Van Halen (The Kinks) Cover Art

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

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.

Yuck, Kinks are much better, Van halen are overrated

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

14 Turn The Page - Metallica (Bob Seager) Turn The Page - Metallica (Bob Seager) Cover Art

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!

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

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!

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

15 You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Man - Rod Stewart (Carole King) You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Man - Rod Stewart (Carole King) Cover Art

In this song you can hear exactly why they call Rod Stewart the white man with the black voice.

Rod makes this his own.
Although this song was writen for a female Rod made it male like no one else can.
So heartfelt, so emotional, so wondefully good...

16 Hound Dog - Elvis Presley (Willie Mae) Hound Dog - Elvis Presley (Willie Mae) Cover Art

HOW IS THIS NOT HIGHER? Elvis Presley, the king, only at number 25? This is not right.

17 Come On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot (Slade) Come On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot (Slade) Cover Art

Amazing cover should be higher on the list.

One of my favorite songs ever. So much better than the original Slade garbage.

I don't know if I would call this a cover

Was this serously not on the list?

18 Dust in the Wind - Sarah Brightman (Kansas) Dust in the Wind - Sarah Brightman (Kansas) Cover Art

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.

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

No way is it better then the original

19 House of the Rising Sun - The Animals (Clarence Ashley) House of the Rising Sun - The Animals (Clarence Ashley) Cover Art

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

This is a cover?

Technically Clarence Ashley's Version Was A Cover Itself, It's An Old Folk Song - Bndspitw

What can I say, unreal

20 Man Who Sold The World - Nirvana (David Bowie) Man Who Sold The World - Nirvana (David Bowie) Cover Art

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

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

this is one of the best cover I heard along with knocking on heavens door and all along the watch tower by hendrix... kurt cobain nailed it... should be in top 10

21 Proud Mary - Tina Turner (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Proud Mary - Tina Turner (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Cover Art
22 Land of Confusion - Disturbed (Genesis) Land of Confusion - Disturbed (Genesis) Cover Art

Why is this song way down here? This is by far the best cover of a song. David Draiman did such an excellent job on the vocals and the rest of the guys matched the instrumentals perfectly!

I voted for Hurt by Johnny Cash but I have to say, that it's silly to vote for a cover when it sounds exactly like the original song. Land of Confusion is a great cover. Especially the guitar solo is epic and on the original it was a little bit boring. But both versions were great.

Could not agree more, this is one of my favorite covers, Johnny Cash cover of Hurt is up there too, Disturbed has other good covers too

It's an awesomely EPIC cover, but the genesis version is still better

23 Wish - Linkin Park (Nine Inch Nails) Wish - Linkin Park (Nine Inch Nails) Cover Art

Way better than the original, it has angel voice, with... DEVIL SCREAMS! Chester hit the spot to be the Top 1. To those who likes scream and growls, this is a perfect Semi-death metal cover for you! M/

I heard the NIN version and didn't really like it that much, but then I heard the LP version and it was awesome. Linkin Park rules.

Really the best cover ever. I don't think the NIN version is so good, but Chester and Linkin Park really makes it have that angry, rough tone that NIN couldn't give.

24 Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith) Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith) Cover Art

It's Ronnie James Dio on vocals and Yngwie Malmsteen on guitars.

Wow this is amazing

Iconic song, great cover!

25 Live and Let Die - Guns N' Roses (Wings) Live and Let Die - Guns N' Roses (Wings) Cover Art

This is Truly a great song. It deseves to be in the top

I've heard this song 100 times! This is the best cover song all time! They change the bored song to a crazy hard rock song! It deserves to be in the top!
AMAZING!

Should be way higher

Both versions are great in my opinion.

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