Covers that might even be better than the originals

edited February 6 in General Discussion

I recall the music of my teenage years with fondness and most of them were spent in the early 1980’s so I was fairly shocked to discover decades later that a song I had long associated with the ‘new’ concept of a synth-based duo namely Tainted Love by Soft Cell was in fact a cover of a song by Gloria Jones
Both are brilliant in their own very different ways
I love the original of Eight Miles High by The Byrds but the version by Husker Du is just a mind-shreddingly brilliant version that tears off the head of the original and screams down the remaining gaping hole
Okay where exactly am I going with this ramble?
I’ve always loved Red House Painters take on Neil Young’s Midnight On The Bay but until yesterday I’d never actually heard the original & now that I have it convinced me even more how much more brilliant the RHP version actually is
I mean Mark does a better impression of Neil Young than Neil Young himself
Likewise the RHP version of John Denver’s I’m Sorry is again probably at least as good as the original
Anyone else want to humour me by adding their tuppence worth to this?


  • Posts: 89

    I've got to say as much as I love The Cars' first record, "All Mixed Up" definitely falls into this category for me. Also "Silly Love Songs" as I don't even like the original, but the Painters really turned that into their own; it works well as a Neil Young and Crazy Horse-inspired workout.

    When Nirvana did their unplugged "Lake of Fire" and "The Man Who Sold the World", so those. I loved both of the originals, but those were really great and passionate sounding.

    Also when Prince played the Superbowl and did "Best of You" that was killer and really made me appreciate the original more because I loved the Foos growing up but really fell off with that record (In Your Honor) which I found way too boring when they split the dynamics in two, but that was great.

    Back to Mark songs, I think "Rock n Roll Singer" was amazing, didn't like the silly new version but the solo one on the LP of the same name was fantastic in my eyes.

    There are tons more, I could go on but awesome idea for a thread.

    edited February 7 Posts: 80

    For me Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs is the absolute master of covers. He doesn't just re-play the songs, he completely inhabits them - often making them sound totally different to the original. Weirdly, his actual covers album with The Twilight Singers was terrible (in my view), but some of the b-sides he's done are amazing.

    There are so many, but one of my favourites is If I Only Had A Heart which is from The Wizard of Oz.

    Or his Gutter Twins version of Down The Line by Jose Gonzales:

    The build up and release that starts about 3:20 in always gives me goose bumps

  • 'All Mixed Up' and 'Onward' for me from the Koz.

    I'm a huge Dylan fan, but I think George Harrison betters 'If Not For You'.

    Posts: 80

    Here's a lovely Ryan Adams cover of Glenn Tipton

  • I would love a Mark sings Neil Young album.

    I've also always loved the New Order Love Vigilantes cover by Iron & Wine. I think Sam Beam does amazing (maybe a tad kitschy) folk covers. Waiting for a Superman and Such Great Heights come to mind, too.

  • edited February 7 Posts: 1,186

    Radiohead did a nice cover of The Headmaster Ritual by The Smiths. I also like the Concrete Blonde cover of Everybody Knows by Leonard Cohen.

  • Posts: 27

    For me there is nothing worse than a cover that’s simply the same as the original. I remember years ago Simple Minds did a cover of a Prince song and it was just so boringly the same. Why bother. Kozelek was a master at making covers his own. I vaguely recall a killer comment by 4AD that “All Mixed Up” was his best work, ouch.

    I love Low’s take on Transmission (Joy Division). Dart did a tidy version of Perfection (Massive Attack) that sticks in my mind.

    I also like it when the cover is a song that you wouldn’t normally listen to and its done tongue in cheek. Art of Fighting (who have just reformed and put out a new single) did a great version of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long back in the day. 2JJJ Like A Version does that a lot, like this version of Milkshake by Pictures:

  • Posts: 169

    Free jazz guitarist Noel Akchoté recorded a whole album of Kylie Minogue covers! Sounds silly, but when you listen to it you get that he really loves her music. Here's a beautiful live version of "Cant' Get You Out Of My Head":

  • Posts: 963

    Well back to Mark and his covers....who knew that AC/DC songs could be re-interpreted so brilliantly & apart from Float On and a couple of other tracks I was fairly unaware of Modest Mouse’s output until Tiny Cities emerged
    In some ways the most high profile of them all is Jimi Hendrix’s take on Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower which allegedly Dylan agreed is far superior to his original version
    Oh and of course Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah being covered to death by Jeff Buckley and countless others but supposedly laughing Len (R.I.P.) thought the best cover or his personal favourite was by John Cale
    Thanks 🙏 for your contributions to this

  • Posts: 169

    @MrHanky said:
    Oh and of course Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah being covered to death by Jeff Buckley and countless others but supposedly laughing Len (R.I.P.) thought the best cover or his personal favourite was by John Cale

    Yes, Cale's version is definitely the best. Was thinking of that, too!
    As for "All Along The Watchtower", there's a nice acoustic version by Eef Barzelay that I also like very much. Barzelay did a whole series of "Fan Chosen Covers" albums, all worth checking out.

  • Posts: 1,186

    Cale does a cool slowed down version of Heartbreak Hotel on piano.

  • Posts: 169

    @KozFan said:
    Cale does a cool slowed down version of Heartbreak Hotel on piano.

    Yeah, he usually does. Except when he goes full-blown paranoid, as in this live version from 1984. Really scary!

  • Posts: 1,186

    I was thinking of the live album Fragments of a Rainy Season, which also has Hallelujah and is pretty great throughout, but I’ll check out that version. Thanks.

  • Posts: 963

    Hey since it’s Friday and a time to be happy how about checking out some of the many wacky covers that William Shatner has done down through the years....yes Captain Kirk himself
    His version of Pulp’s Common People is a hoot

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