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)

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 Guitar solo alone makes this song deserve the number 1 spot

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2 Hurt - 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

Coolest cover song ever. - SionicRelations

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3 Respect - Aretha Franklin (Otis Redding)
4 Knockin' 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

Best Guns N' Roses song ever!

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5 Mr. 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

6 Hallelujah - 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.

Let's hope the hater troll doesn't vote a bad cover above this - 445956

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7 You 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.

Yuck, Kinks are much better, Van halen are overrated - HumzahJ

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8 Smooth 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

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

The video was better for the original, but as far as musical quality goes, AAF nailed it

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9 Whiskey 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

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.

10 Turn 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

The Newcomers

? Perfect Day - Caro Emerald (Loe Reed)
? Mad World - Gary Jules (Tears for Fears)

The Contenders

11 House 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

This is a cover?

12 Sweet 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

In my opinion, he ruined it.

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13 Walk This Way - Run-DMC (Aerosmith)

This is not a cover

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

Run-DMC's version is awful.

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

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14 Twist 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

Thanks to the legend John Lennon

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

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 Rolling 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 loved When Chester Covered This Song.I Hated Adele But After Listening to The Song Covered By Chester I fell In Love With It.Linkin park Rocks.The Best Band Since 2000.

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17 Proud Mary - Tina Turner (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
18 Hound Dog - Elvis Presley (Willie Mae)

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

19 Born To Be Wild - Steppenwolf (Mars Bonfire)

Mars Bonfire was a fictitious name John Kay made up to try to weasel out of a bad contract with their record company at that time. It didn't work, John Kay wrote Born To Be Wild.. Under the pen name "Mars Bonfire"

Steppenwolf made this song famous! Much better than the original in my opinion. - THEMASTER

20 Dust 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

21 Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith)

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

Wow this is amazing - christangrant

Iconic song, great cover! - Metal_Treasure

22 Master Of Puppets - Trivium (Metallica)

Great Song already Trivium just added a youthful energy to it

Much better than Metallica.. Trivium rules!

23 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston (Dolly Parton)

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

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

Much better than the original- sould be #1

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24 Cross - Eyed Mary - Iron Maiden (Jethro Tull)
25 Paranoid - Avenged Sevenfold (Black Sabbath)

This songs has no changes with the old one... This is an awesome creation of avenged sevenfold... They shown us what can they do and how better they are... That's why I just love a7x... And avenged sevenfold for life..

Avenged, in this song gives Paranoid a pimp. No many changes in here and there, but, still pimped

26 Roll Over Beethoven - ELO (Chuck Berry)

Everyone has covered Chuck Berry. But this is one of the most well crafted and a real tribute to Chuck.

27 Diamonds and Rust - Judas Priest (Joan Baenz)
28 Thoughtless - Evanescence (Korn)

They took an already amazing song and made it that much better this is deffinaetly number one quality. Evanescence really understood the song and were able to take it and add their amazing style too.. AMAZING

29 Come On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot (Slade)

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

30 Am I Evil?- Metallica (Diamond Head)

When you here a great song and associate it with the band that covered it more than the original you often have something special. Jimi did this with Watchtower, and Metallica did it with Am I Evil?

This song brought Diamond Head and the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" to America's Metalheads' attention. - thethrasher

An epic classic, forged by Diamond Head, and perfected by Metallica. Cheers to James Hetfield and the boys!

AM I EVIL? YES, YES I AM >:D
MUAHAHAAHAHAAHAHA, Best song on this list by far.
Why the hell is it so low though really?
It sucks how underrated all these songs are, just because of people who love pop and pop rock, POP sucks.

31 The Green Manalishi - Judas Priest (Fleetwood Mac)

Great song both versions are different buy great

32 Give In to Me - Three Days Grace (Michael Jackson)

Woah. I didn't even know that this song was an mj one. Three days grace rocks

I never thought this was a cover...so great adm and the guys are killing it...just love this song

Best cover in this list...adam and the guys did a great job in this song...by giving a newlife to this song, amazing...

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33 Blue Monday - Orgy (New Order)

What more do I need to say

34 Gloria - The Doors (Van Morrison)
35 Louie Louie - The Kingsmen (Richard Berry)

The Kingsmen took an R&B song, stripped it down to its essence, and created the greatest party song of all time.

Louie Louie has to be for sure in the top 10. - sUx2Bu

36 Land of Confusion - Disturbed (Genesis)

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

37 Cinnamon Girl - Type O Negative (Neil Young)
38 Blinded by the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band (Bruce Springsteen)

I am surprised at how few people realize that the version of this song they've heard all these years is a cover! Manfred Mann took a decent Bruce Springsteen song and almost completely changed all except the lyrics, and the result was truly something special.

Number 125 on this list?

Are you people all born after 1980?

This was a NUMBER ONE hit before Bruce ever had a number one. - dek

Bruce's version was good by Manfred Mann's Earth band made a great cover

Superior to the original IF, IF you listen to the extended album version.
Stay away from the inferior single version.

39 Bad Company - Five Finger Death Punch (Bad Company)

When I first heard this song it blew my mind and I wondered, "How the hell did I even not hear this version before? " This remake is sick beyond belief (in a great way)! FFDP did the song great justice and Bad Company would be PROUD at this version! It needs to be WAY higher on the list.

I feel like the cover is better than the original, easily one of my favorite songs

Horrible cover, no contest to the original

(FFDP) this cover is one of the best ever, if not the best.

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40 Go West - Pet Shop Boys (Village People)
41 The Ghost of Tom Joad - Rage Against the Machine (Bruce Springsteen)
42 Live and Let Die - Guns N' Roses (Wings)

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! - ryanfarolddanielwenas

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43 Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stevie Wonder)

The Song That badly needed a cover to be good.

Sorry but how the hell is Michael Jacksons Come Together on the list.

In fact I believe that Aerosmith did the song better than Michael Jackson but not better then The Beatles.

Also Ooops!... I Did It again is a pop song not a rock song before infact Children of Bodom ruined the song.

Even though I don't mind Stevie Wonders Version too but Red Hot Chili Peppers made it their own song.

Also I should add that it is one of Red Hot Chili Peppers best songs too

My childhood was this song. I can't believe it was a cover all along. Whatever it's still amazing

One of the best bass lines to ever start a red hot chili peppers song. Ever. New album this august vote for this song if your siked

Early hit for them

44 Under Pressure- My Chemical Romance & The Used (Queen)

mcr are pro. the used arent my style but this is an awesome song - mattbellamyisagod1234

45 To Feel the Fire - Gackt (Stevie Wonder)

Like better than the original ^^ really good song. maybe not to well English pronunciation. but still the song rocks!

46 That's All Right - Elvis Presley (Arthur Crudup)
47 Crying 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 :-)

Great cover.
Felt it was a bad move though to do a cover at the time and felt it led to their initial break up

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48 Stairway to Heaven - Heart (Led Zeppelin)

If you've seen this video of the live performance, then you know it should be #1!

Even Led Zeppelin teared up. It was THAT GOOD!

One of the best covers of what may be the greatest R & R songs ever!

49 Drift Away - Uncle Kracker (Dobie Gray)
50 Stay - 30 Seconds to Mars (Rihanna)
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List Stats

13,000 votes
634 listings
12 years, 82 days old

Top Remixes (45)

1. Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith)
2. Come On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot (Slade)
3. Painkiller - Death (Judas Priest)
christangrant
1. Dream On - Ronnie James Dio (Aerosmith)
2. Don't Talk to Strangers - Blind Guardian (Dio)
3. Turn The Page - Metallica (Bob Seager)
Metal_Treasure
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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