15 Cover Songs That Are Superior to the Originals

What's a cover song that's better than the original? I think the obvious answer here is Whitney Houston's “I Will Always Love You” annihilating Dolly Parton's version. After someone polled an online forum for more, these were the best answers.

1. All Along the Watchtower

Do you prefer the Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along the Watchtower?” According to this thread, Hendrix steals the show. Even Dylan acknowledged Hendrix made the song his own.

2. Respect

Did you know that Aretha Franklin's 1967 hit “Respect” is a cover of Otis Redding's 1965 song? When you think about how much the song's context changed, it's iconic. It turned from a man wanting respect from a woman to Aretha demanding it from a man.

3. Hurt

Johnny Cash's cover of “Hurt” edged out the original rendition by Nine Inch Nails. One suggests that the power behind the song is what leaps out. Cash had recently lost his wife of 35 years when he recorded it and died a few months after releasing it.

4. Man of Constant Sorrow

“Man of Constant Sorrow” by the Soggy Bottom Boys from the hit film  O Brother, Where Art Thou wins the better version against Dick Burnett's original. Did you realize it was a cover song?

5. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

“Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” was originally recorded by Cher before Nancy Sinatra claimed the song as her own. Both versions were released in 1966. However, according to the music buffs in the thread, Sinatra outshines Cher on this one.

6. Tainted Love

“Tainted Love” by Soft Cell has been nominated as a better version than Gloria Jone's original. However, many disagreed and defended Gloria Jones as the better pick. Finally, several commenters suggest that Marilyn Manson's performance is superior. What do you think?

7. Torn

Did you realize that Natalie Imbruglia's version of “Torn” was initially done by the rock group Ednaswap? Many users in the forum admit they had no idea they'd been listening to a cover song for twenty-five years.

8. Smooth Criminal

Like most of his songs, Michael Jackson's “Smooth Criminal” is epic. However, the consensus in this thread is that Alien Ant Farm's version killed it. One notes that Michael Jackson admitted to loving Alien Ant Farm's cover of the song. Also, the video was, and still is, fabulous!

9. Holding Out for a Hero

“Holding Out for a Hero” by Jennifer Saunders was voted the better cover. However, the comments were flooded with angry Bonnie Tyler fans who suggested, “No. That's just your childhood nostalgia talking. Saunder's version is from Shrek 2

10. Somewhere Over The Rainbow

While Judy Garland sang a memorable version of the song “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” the thread says Israel Kamakawiwoole's is far superior, and there is no contest.

11. I Love Rock and Roll

“I Love Rock and Roll” was originally recorded by The Arrows. Nevertheless, these music fans state that Joan Jett's cover defined the song. Oh, come on? Not a single vote for the Britney Spears rendition?

12. Hallelujah

“Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley is preferred over the original by Leonard Cohen. Although one suggests, “KD Langs version is also great. Her voice in that song is spot on.”

13. Killing Me Softly

“Killing Me Softly” from Fugees features the sultry voice of Miss. Lauryn Hill. So there's not much to compete with that. After someone said they appreciated Roberta Flack's version, another shared the original is honestly from Lori Lieberman.

14. Unchained Melody

Opera singer Todd Duncan sang the original, not Elvis. However, the Righteous Brothers annihilated them both with their rendition of “Unchained Melody.”

15. Nothing Compares to You

Finally, someone suggested that Sinead O'Connor's “Nothing Compares to You” is excellent. However, they “even felt like crying” when listening to Chris Cornell's version.

This thread inspired this post.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock – Randy Miramontez. 


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