Musical Acts Whose Biggest Hit is a Cover or is Heavily Sampled from Another Song

Sometimes, a musical act comes around with a song that’s either heavily sampled from another act or an outright cover, and that song becomes their biggest claim to fame.

The Top Ten Musical Acts Whose Biggest Hit is a Cover or is Heavily Sampled from Another Song

1 Vanilla Ice Robert Matthew Van Winkle, known by his stage name, Vanilla Ice, is an American rapper, actor and television host.

I heard that before he gave the credits to Queen and David Bowie, he claimed that the bass line wasn't stolen at all since he added an extra "dun". Going by that logic, if a classmate of mine lets me copy his homework, and that I just changed a few words but copied everything else directly, then it wouldn't be considered as copying anymore. That doesn't sound right... - Misfire

Just A White Rapper From Florida... With A Funny Haircut! - A quote by Queens drummer Roger Taylor

Literally the only song anyone knows by him is his rip-off of Under Pressure. Seriously, has this guy done anything else?

Just a drugged man who likes ripping off major bands like queen

2 Sinead O'Connor Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor is an Irish singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra.

I agree with her statement against the Catholic church on SNL. While I do support the church, I don't support the fact that some of its leaders are kiddie diddlers. - Kuro

'Nothing Compares 2 U' is probably her biggest thing, with her second biggest being an infamous SNL performance where she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II. But, did you know that it was originally a Prince song? - ReturnOfScorpio

Cannot stand this women. She is an insult to humanity.

3 Lil Meerkat Ameeer Pipi, better known by his stage name Lil Meerkat is a Canadian rapper and singer-songwriter. He is known for his infamous remix of the popular Queen song "Bohemian Rhapsody". He released his debut studio album "Weeaboo Paradise, Vol. 1" in November 2018.

A song that does not chart anywhere in the world is not a hit so this guy does not belong he simply has never had a hit song. - Powell

Is this the chocolate rain song dude? - DMZABO

He's a God - 445956

I have no idea who this is. - RobertWisdom

Some guy who makes songs bad on purpose, and also the most hated guy in this page this year, another reason why this web is not mature enough to understand the irony - Pato_cargo

4 Whitney Houston Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American singer, actress, producer, and model. In 2009, Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston is one of pop music's best-selling music artists of all-time, with an estimated 170–200 more.

I liked I Wanna Dance with Somebody better than I Will Always Love You though... - iamawesomedog

Her version, takes my breath away. Sorry Dolly

She did have 10 other #1 pop hits - westofohio

Totally forgot about this one! ‘I Will Always Love You’ was originally by Dolly Parton - ReturnOfScorpio

5 Elvis Presley Elvis Presley was an American musician and actor. Known as "The King" He was mostly known for his number 1 singles including "Heartbreak Hotel" "Hound Dog" "Jailhouse Rock" "Love me Tender" Elvis debuted in the movie "Love me Tender" and focused less on his music and continued that way. more.

He wrote almost none of his songs

'Hound Dog' is, arguably, his biggest hit. It wasn't written by him, as it originally came out in 1953 and was written by Big Mama Thornton. It’s often because the white elvis’ Version was more popular that some labeled him racist (yeah, seriously…). - ReturnOfScorpio

6 Jeff Buckley Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997) raised as Scott "Scottie" Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. more.

So who was this nobody? No seriously who is he and what ever did he almost do? - DMZABO

He's known for his cover of Hallelujah, it's a very famous song so he isn't a nobody. - Kuro

Jeff Buckley's 'Hallelujah' was written and originally recorded by 'Leonard Cohen' in 1984. - ParasN2000

7 Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

They love rock and roll, and have loaded copious dimes in the jukebox over the years thanks to their 1982 hit. However, they wouldn't have had that hit if it weren't for the original writer of the song; Alan Merril of a lesser known glam band called the Arrows. - ReturnOfScorpio

8 The Verve The Verve were an English rock band formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. Guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong became a member at a later date.

This one’s actually pretty upsetting. The Verve acquired the right to sample the Andrew Oldham orchestral Version of the Rolling Stones’ song ‘The Last Time’. With this, they made the 90’s anthem ‘Bittersweet Symphony’.
The Verve and the Stones originally agreed on splitting the royalties 50/50, but, following the song’s immense popularity, The Rolling Stones (former business manager Allen Klein in particular) demanded 100% of the royalties, and the song’s credit. They ultimately got that wish.
While the Verve continues to do this song live today, they do not use the iconic strings backing track, and instead opt to give it an original sound.
The most ironic thing of the whole situation was how the writer of the sheet music for the orchestral music, David Whitacre, did not receive any credit whatsoever. - ReturnOfScorpio

9 Cyndi Lauper Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper is an American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist. Her career has spanned over 40 years.

Girls just wanna have fun! And, boy, did Cyndi have a lot of fun raking in the money with this infectious 1970’s punk hit!
Oops, no, she did the 1980s pop anthem. The 1970s punk song was the original writer, Bo Hazard. - ReturnOfScorpio

Time after time my fave old person

10 Quiet Riot Quiet Riot is an American heavy metal band. The band was founded in 1973, by guitarist Randy Rhoads and bassist Kelly Garni under the name Mach 1. They then changed the name to Little Women, before settling on Quiet Riot in May 1975. The band's name was inspired by a conversation with Rick Parfitt of more.

Quiet Riot’s biggest hit was ‘come on Feel the Noise’, a cover of a Slade song of the same name. While their fans may know other good songs of theirs, such as the Wild and the Young from QRIII, many people mostly know them from this slade cover. - ReturnOfScorpio

The Newcomers

? Depeche Mode Depeche Mode are an English electronic and synth-pop band formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group's original line-up consisted of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Vince Clarke.

Their song Personal Jesus was sampled in Reach Out by Hilary Duff. - SamanthaRosie

? Natalie Cole Natalie Maria Cole was an American singer, voice actress, songwriter, and actress. The daughter of the great American singer Nat King Cole, she rose to musical success in the mid-1970s as an R&B artist.

The Contenders

11 Alien Ant Farm Alien Ant Farm is an American rock band that formed in Riverside, California, United States, in 1996. Their name comes from an idea original guitarist Terry Corso had about aliens and the Earth: "it was just my daydream about our planet being seeded by entities from other dimensions." They have released more.

Okay, but it was ten million times better than Michael Jackson's version.

I love the cover.

Good though

UPDATE: I’ve come to appreciate this song! Thanks for showing me the light! - ReturnOfScorpio

12 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter . Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated more.

I was not aware All Along the Watchtower was a cover. That's cool! - Misfire

He covered a song called All Along the Watchtower, I forget who the original artist of that song is.

It is Bob Dylan.

13 The Beach Boys The Beach Boys are an American pop rock band formed in Hawthorne, California in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and their friend Al Jardine.

I like Surfin' USA. - Misfire


They were surfin’ USA, and then the wave carried them into trouble.
Basically, Brian Wilson took instrumental influence from Chuck Berry’s ‘Sweet Little 16’. And by influence, I mean he copied the instrumental outright and called it his own.
Berry’s publisher, of course, sued the band, and got Berry a writer’s credit on the song.
I’m considering this a case of sampling. Deal with it. - ReturnOfScorpio

14 Coldplay Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996. The band consists of Chris Martin (lead vocalist and pianist), Jonny Buckland (lead guitarist), Guy Berryman (bassist) and Will Champion (drummer and backing vocalist). Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member. The band renamed more.

You know Coldplay has other big hits than viva la Vida - Weirdest-thing

Ripped off Joe Satriani - Silence4101

This one ranks lowest due to a technicality: Viva La Vida neither samples nor is a cover of another song. But, if you ask Joe Satriani, he’d tell you that it was an outright ripoff.
In 2009, he sued the British band for Viva La Vida’s similarities with his 2004 song ‘If I Could Fly’, which are hard to deny upon good examination. - ReturnOfScorpio

15 Coolio Artis Leon Ivey Jr., known professionally as Coolio, is an American musician, rapper, chef, actor, and record producer. Coolio achieved mainstream success in the mid to late 1990s with his albums It Takes a Thief, Gangsta's Paradise, and My Soul.

Coolio's biggest song is 'Gangsta's Paradise' feat. L.V. which quite heavily samples Stevie Wonder's 'Pastime Paradise'. - ParasN2000

And now for a little bit of irony. Coolio was pissed off at weird Al for his parody of gangsta’s paradise, Amish Paradise, claiming that It took away from the serious nature of the song.

Then, he turned around and allowed post hard-core band falling in reverse to cover it, giving it a much more ridiculous sound than the weird Al parody.

Trust me, falling in reverse’s cover is ass. - ReturnOfScorpio

16 Sean Kingston Kisean Anderson, known professionally as Sean Kingston, is a Jamaican-American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer whose first album, Sean Kingston, was released in 2007.

His song "Beautiful Girls" sampled Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" - DaWyteNight

He also sampled Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Mak'er" in his song "Me Love." - galaxyfox

17 Natalie Imbruglia
18 Kanye West Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, songwriter, and fashion designer. He was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. After West's parents divorced, him and his single mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 10, West temporarily moved to Nanjing, China, because his mother was teaching more.

"Stronger" sampled "Harder Better Faster Stronger" by Daft Punk- which itself was a sample of Edwin Birdsong's "Cola Bottle Baby". - Drewman1211

He samples popular songs but most of them have major changes or are just better in general. he didn't rap Daft Punk lyrics he rapped over it. If that counts I'll dare you to put Eminem and Nas on the list - 4our2wen0ty

No his biggest hit is Gold Digger not Stronger

19 Crazy Town Crazy Town is an American rap rock band, formed in 1995 by Bret Mazur and Seth Binzer. Crazy Town is best known for their 2000 hit single, "Butterfly", which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and helped their debut album, The Gift of Game sell over 1.5 million units.

Their biggest hit "Butterfly", samples a song from Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Yup, Butterfly heavily sampled ‘Pretty Little Ditty’ by RHCP. - ReturnOfScorpio

20 Mariah Carey Mariah Carey, born March 27, 1970, is an American singer, songwriter and actress. She is one of the biggest best-selling women in the music industry, with 18 number 1 records to her name. She is regarded as a sex symbol through her songs and music videos, and she is "well known" for her over-the-top more.

Without You is a simple cover version. Also, Mariah used a lot of samples in her music, just like Beyonce Knowles

21 The Ataris

Boys of Summer is still and Awesome Song - MaximanDaBeast

22 Soft Cell Soft Cell are an English synthpop duo who came to prominence in the early 1980s, consisting of vocalist Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball.

€�Tainted Love’ was a Gloria Jones cover. Marilyn Manson would also go on to cover this song. - ReturnOfScorpio

23 Submarine Man Water Handblast (born Ardy Robert Andrews) better known by his name Submarine Man, is an American rapper known for his songs that heavily feature lyrics about foot fetishes as well as heavily autotuned vocals.

Lemme guess: Yellow Submarine? Is that it? If not, educate me. - ReturnOfScorpio

Who? - peepsmith

24 Pharrell Willams Pharrell Lanscilo Williams, born April 5, 1973, known professionally as Pharrell, is an American singer, rapper, and record producer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo the Neptunes, producing soul, hip hop and R&B music.

Wasn't he involved with the making of Blurred Lines? - ReturnOfScorpio

25 Rednex

If you’ve ever been to a 90s themed party, chances are you’ve heard that fun little dance/country song ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’.
The Swedish Rednex actually covered a traditional American folk song that dates back to 1861 for their only worldwide hit.
And, boy, what a hit it was. - ReturnOfScorpio

26 Polo G

Fill me in, please? - ReturnOfScorpio

27 George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

George subconsciously copied it. - Misfire

Harrison was actually sued for “My Sweet Lord”- he was accused of plagiarizing “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons.

28 Robin Thicke Robin Charles Thicke is an American singer, songwriter and record producer. Thicke has worked with numerous artists.

And it was one of the worst songs capable of being created by man. - NickelbackLinkinPark4Eva

Anyone with ears knows he ripped off Marvin Gaye...

This one’s probably gonna be a hot button issue in music for years to come. - ReturnOfScorpio

29 Punk Rock Punk rock is a subgenre of rock music. It usually has rebellious lyrics and down stroked power chords played on guitars. Bad Religion, Sex Pistols, and Green Day (actually pop-punk, which is still punk in a way) are a few punk rock bands. The subgenre influenced thrash metal because of it's down stroked more.

This only happened because a few of these bands released some Ramones cover albums.

You're kidding right?

What do you mean? - Misfire

What? - Dragon12604

30 M.C. Hammer

When I think "heavily sampled", Can't Touch This is the first song to pop into my head. I'm pretty sure that song was his biggest hit. - THC13

€U Can't Touch This’ sampled Rick James’ ‘Super Freak’. - ReturnOfScorpio

31 R. City
32 Nicki Minaj Onika Tanya Maraj, known professionally as Nicki Minaj (born December 8, 1982) is a Trinidadian/American rapper / pop music artist. Minaj is most known for her songs such as "Anaconda", "Super Bass", "Starships" and her feature on "Bang Bang". more.

Anaconda is very derivative of Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A Lot

Anaconda obviously sampled ‘Baby got Back’ by Sir Mix-a-Lot. - ReturnOfScorpio

33 The Byrds The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial more.

Yeah, but the Byrds did so many changes to Turn! Turn! Turn! and Mr. Tambourine man, it became unique to their own style

34 Beyonce Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, is an American singer and actress, who started out in the popular pop/r&b girl group Destiny's Child. They had multiple top 5 hits such as "No, No, No", "Say My Name", "Bills, Bills, Bills", "Survivor", "Independent Women", "Bootylicious", and "Jumpin', Jumpin" from more.

Every single song from her "Lemonade" album has a sample. Crazy In Love and Single Ladies have famous samples too

35 Duck Sauce

"Barbra Streisand" sampled "Gotta Go Home" by Boney M. - Drewman1211

36 Jason Derulo Jason Joel Desrouleaux, better known by his stage name Jason Derulo (an alternate spelling of his surname), is an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. He is best known for his singles such as "Whatcha Say", "Ridin' Solo", "In My Head", "What If", "Wiggle", "Talk Dirty", "Trumpets" and "Want To Want more.

"Wactha Say" takes its chorus right out of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek" - ThatStrangeKid42

37 William Shatner William "Bill" Shatner is a Canadian actor, singer, author, producer, director, spokesman, and comedian.

Believe it or not, he does music. Only he doesn't write his own music. Instead, he does already famous songs in a weird spoken word rendition.
His most famous (or infamous really) one is his cover of Elton’s John’s ‘Rocket Man’. Check it out, if you dare. - ReturnOfScorpio

38 Akon
39 Bad Wolves

Zombie, originally by the Cranberries. Only the lyrics were edited to reflect a more modern approach.

Delores O’Riordan, the Cranberries lead singer, was originally going to feature on this song, but she had passed away before recording began. The cover was released in her memory. - ReturnOfScorpio

40 Lil Mosquito Disease Denzel Brown, better known by his stage name Lil Mosquito Disease is an American rapper known for his song "Trombone Attacc".

His song trombone attacc is a remix of heart attack by scarlxrd and slide on the blocc contains samples from slide by calvin harris - ShrekTheGoat

Dis Boi looks like Memeulous

41 K.A.A.N.
42 Billy Ray Cyrus

€Achy Breaky Heart’ was originally by the Marcy Brothers, and it was called ‘Don't Tell My Heart’. - ReturnOfScorpio

43 The Beatles The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The members consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They were soon known as the foremost and most influential act of rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented more.

They had many big hits, and many songs associated with them.

However, their first major hit, ‘Twist And Shout’, was originally by the Topnotes. - ReturnOfScorpio

44 Lostprophets Lostprophets were a Welsh rock band from Pontypridd, Wales formed in 1997. Founded by lead vocalist and lyricist Ian Watkins, bassist Mike Lewis, drummer Mike Chiplin and guitarist Lee Gaze, they were originally a side-project to hardcore punk band Public Disturbance.

Lostprophets is definitely a highly controversial band, especially after the crimes committed by lead singer Ian Watkins, were revealed. However, their biggest hit was not a cover or heavily sampled from anything. - ReturnOfScorpio

Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver & Joseph Williams worst singers in the world

45 Limp Bizkit Limp Bizkit is an American nu metal band from Jacksonville, Florida, formed in 1994. Their lineup consists of Fred Durst, Sam Rivers, John Otto, and Wes Borland.

Behind Blue Eyes isn't exactly their biggest hit... - Undistinguished

Their biggest hit was Rollin’, which isn't sampled nor a cover. If you’re referring to their covers of ‘Faith’ by George Michael or ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by The Who, those were nowhere near as big as Rollin’. - ReturnOfScorpio

46 M.I.A. Mathangi 'Maya' Arulpragasam, better known by her stage name M.I.A., is an English hip hop recording artist, director, visual artist, activist, record producer, photographer, fashion designer and model.
47 Xxxtentacion Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy (January 23, 1998 - June 18, 2018), known professionally as XXXTentacion, and often referred to as X, was an American rapper, singer and songwriter.

Off the wall samples slipknots spit it out

Look at me samples changes by mala - ShrekTheGoat

48 Natalie la Rose

Who? - ReturnOfScorpio

49 Disturbed Disturbed is an American nu metal/ alternative rock/ alternative metal band from Chicago, Illinois. The band comprises vocalist David Draiman, bassist John Moyer, guitarist Dan Donegan, and drummer Mike Wengren. They are known for songs like "Down With the Sickness" and "Stricken" .

Their biggest hit was ‘Down With the Sickness’ from 2000’s ‘The Sickness’, though they’ve had other hits in the forms of covers, including the ‘Sound of Silence’. - ReturnOfScorpio

50 Gotye Wouter Andre "Wally" De Backer, better known as Gotye, is an Australian-Belgian multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. The name "Gotye" is a pronunciation respelling of "Gauthier", the French cognate of Gotye's given Dutch name "Wouter".

€"Somebody That I Used to Know’ is his biggest hit, and it samples Luis Bonfá’s song ‘Seville’. Also, he just drop this banger, and then he dropped off the face of the earth.

I guess he’s just somebody that we used to know? - ReturnOfScorpio

It also sampled the Alphabet song, which Twinkle Twinkle as well as What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong sampled. - SamanthaRosie

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