Top Ten Renditions of "Wish You Were Here" (Originally by Rednex)

“Wish You Were Here” is a 1995 song originally performed by Swedish country band Rednex. It was written by L. Teijo and produced by Denniz PoP and Max Martin, and served as the third single from the group’s debut album “Sex & Violins”. While Rednex’s previous two singles were fast paced, upbeat and light dance oriented songs dominated by fiddles and banjos, “Wish You Were Here” showed the band from a far more serious side, being a dramatic ballad about a woman’s bitter loneliness as her lover is far away from her. The song was a major success in several European countries and topped the charts in Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the latter of where it became the best selling song of 1995.

It is unrelated to the Pink Floyd song of the same name.
The Top Ten
1 Wish You Were Here - Rednex

Nothing beats the original from 1995. Mary Joe gives a perfectly vulnerable vocal performance with a delicate vibrato that sounds filled with desperation and sadness, which is exactly what the song needs. This, in combination with the sheer perfect dramatic build up (that part with the choir is just spot on) makes it one of my favorite and most listened to songs of all time, and the definitive version of the tune.

Also, I can't stress enough how much I hate such a beautiful song is from an album with such a butt ugly cover artwork. Please, give this an anniversary edition next year with a new, neutral artwork... maybe that from the single.

2 Ich wünscht', du wärst hier - Catlén

German schlager singer Catlén recorded a German language version of the tune in 1996, which is musically very similar to the original, but has unrelated lyrics. Although both versions are about dealing with the man's absence, here it appears that the man has died (it's at least implied - a line about his scent being still in the room sounds like he's gone forever rather than he just left). Although the instrumental is copied, it doesn't lose its soul, and Catlén brings in emotions of her own. Her timbre is very different from Mary Joe's; while the original singer sounded like tears would break out soon, Catlén sounds rather shocked, and completely broken. She's in that state that comes after the crying, when everything becomes stale.

3 Wish You Were Here - Blackmore's Night

Yes, in 1997 Richie Blackmore covered Rednex. And it's a wonderful, folk-ish cover that, naturally, puts more attention to the guitar, which is the true star of this rendition. Candice Night sings wonderfully and angelic, maybe even a bit too perfect for a song that lives from expressing emotions.

4 Wish You Were Here - Jam Tronik

This is a eurodance cover of the track made in the same year the original was released. I really like when disco oriented songs have their share of drama too (a reason why I like Boney M's "Ma Baker", and Lady Gaga's entire "The Fame Monster" EP so much), and this is provided here. The main synth line closely resembles E-Rotic's "Max Don't Have Sex With Your Ex", and it's put to good use. There's also this galactic, futuristic synth that makes it really awesome. The singer may not sound all too emotional, but she's powerful, and on a dance track, that's fine.

5 Wish You Were Here (Memorial Version) - Rednex

In 2017, Rednex (although with significant line up changes) re-recorded "Wish You Were Here" in memory of Deputy Carl Howell who was killed while responding to a domestic violence call in 2015. The lyrics were slightly altered as a line implies the man she sings to is still alive.
The new version sounds lusher, but is still pretty close to the original. The new singer Misty Mae tries very hard but she's no Mary Joe. Overall, this song is good and its intention wonderful, but I prefer the original.

6 Wish You Were Here - Urgent C

Another eurodance cover that was already released in 1995, and this one is actually better known that Jam Tronik's. Like the other version, it's very fun when you are into eurodance to have something equally dancable and dramatic, but I like Jam Tronik's approach a bit better - it's more eclectic, more unpredictable and simply more fun. Trashier too. This one is pretty straightforward and formularic, but still a good listen.

7 Wish You Were Here - Jonas Gross

A panflute cover! The sound of this instrument always has something soothing, calming, natural and almost mythical. And yeah, that's about it. It plays the melody note for note and the sound of the instrument carries it all the way. End of story.

That's very interesting, gives me that Peruvian music vibe for some reason.

8 Wish You Were Here - Anna-Maria Zimmermann

This 2006 version is from a compilation of participants in the third season of "Deutschland sucht den Superstar", the German "Idol" version. It's an exact tone-for-tone copy of the original version, but minus all the emotions put into it. Zimmermann never really sounds as if she actually listened to the lyrics, let alone having let them sink in. It's not horrible, just... underwhelming. And not really exciting.

9 Dich zu verlieren - Julia Lindholm

Another German language cover, although by a Swedish singer. Like Catlén's version, its lyrics are independent and it only uses the original melody, but unlike her version, this is pretty generic. The song is now about loving someone so much you couldn't handle losing them, and the beat is boring and never develops a real build up. It's from 2017, but sounds like a filler song from a 2005 album.

10 Wish You Were Here - Jan Wayne & Scarlet

This is a basic hands up cover like there have been several of in 2008 when Cascada and Basshunter were extremely popular. It has hard bass drums and a loud supersaw motif, and that's all that's needed for this genre. But you know... unlike the eurodance versions, this here never really sounds awesome. The drama is gone somehow and it's all just that bit too listless. But this aims for the clubs rather than your headphones, and in that surrounding it may work.

Ha! Who expected such a version? A sad song goes happy. Interesting.

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