Cover songs that are better than the original

JackFlash

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What!?

That's not the original?
"Turn Turn Turn" is an old Pete Seeger folk song and was actually recorded by the Limeliters in 1962 and titled "To Everything There Is a Season". Significantly Roger McGuinn was a backing vocalist on that version and it actually pre dates the Pete Seeger release of his own song . McGuinn also worked on the Judy Collins version for her album in 1963 and the song title changed to "Turn Turn Turn". The Seekers had a crack it in 1966 even making a video! It is the Byrds version that was the hit in late 1965 and the most well known version..
 

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Nugett

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I didn't mind the Hothouse Flowers cover of:
I can see clearly now.
I also like the Lindsay Stirling and pentatonix version of Radioactive.
Pennywise version of I come from a land under is a good one too.
 

JimDocker

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Hurt - Johnny Cash
Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers

Those 2 songs are a tie for first.

Now in no order
Dirty Old Town - The Pogues
Rosalie - Thin Lizzy
Whiskey in the Jar - Thin Lizzy
When the Levee Breaks - Led Zeppelin
Handbags and Gladrags - Rod Stewart
Reason to Believe - Rod Stewart
I Don't Wanna Talk About It - Rod Stewart
Crazy - Patsy Cline
What's so Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding - Elvis Costello
Every song on the Album Stardust - Willie Nelson
Every song on Songs for Swinging Lovers and a few other albums - Frank Sinatra
Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C Riley
A Message to You Rudy - The Specials
Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
Lilac Wine - Jeff Buckley
I Fought the Law - The Clash
Respect - Aretha Franklin
Try a Little Tenderness - Otis Redding
Can't Get Used to Losing You - The Beat
It's Oh, So Quiet - Bjork
Such Great Heights - Iron and Wine
These Days - Nico
The Beast in Me - Johnny Cash
Crimson and Clover - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Easy - Faith No More
All Along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
Everybody's Talkin' - Harry Nillson
Black Sheep Boy - Okkervil River
Flame Trees - Sarah Blasko

There are hundreds of others. There is a massive list of songs in the Great American Songbook that have been recorded hundreds, if not thousands of times. Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Willie Nelson... have all had a go at recording them and they are all covers and so many are brilliant. Also, there are some great covers that I don't think are necessarily better then the original but still great songs.
 

Roobs321

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I prefer the Osmond and Lynn covers of Paper Roses to Anita Bryant.

I think Secret Love has improved from its Calamity Jane origin. George Michael's cover isn't necessarily the best, but pure joy.

The Yazz cover of "The Only Way is Up" isn't as revered as the Otis Young original, but I have a big soft spot for it, a very different take.
 

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Fossie 32

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All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix [brill]

Hurt - Johnny Cash [yes]

Suzie Q – Creedence Clearwater Revival [great]

Turn! Turn Turn! - Byrds [yes]

Little Queenie – Rolling Stones[yes]

California Sun – Ramones

Doesn’t make it Alright – Stiff little Fingers

Walk On By – Stranglers

Sounds of Silence – Disturbed

Summertime Blues – The Who [yes]

These may or may not be as good as the original, but i like em'
I put some comments in there. Speaking of CCR, also love I Put A Spell On You and I Heard It Through The Grapevine.
And speaking of yes, love Yes' cover of No Opportunity Necessary..
 
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Justlokan

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Devo - I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Siouxsie & The Banshees - Helter Skelter
Blondie - Hanging On The Telephone
Bryan Ferry - Let's Stick Together
The Flying Lizards - Money (That's What I Want)
Anna Calvi and David Byrne - Strange Weather
Curve - I Feel Love
Fiona Apple - Across The Universe
Harry Nilsson - Without You
Madness - It Must Be Love
Apologies if these have already been mentioned but I enjoyed

Depeche Mode - Route 66
Baby One More time - Travis


 

volcboy

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Hurt - Johnny Cash
Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers

Those 2 songs are a tie for first.
I love this cover, but I actually think the original NIN version is superior, especially in the context of its relationship to The Downward Spiral album


As a cover, I always preferred Cash's cover of Rusty Cage by Soundgarden. Watching this video does make me sad, though, as Cash (deceased) is playing a song written by Chris Cornell (deceased) being backed up by Tom Petty on guitar (deceased)

 

JimDocker

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I always loved the original of Hurt.

I went to The Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville last year. As you exit, the final exhibit is the chair that he sat in for the Hurt video. A few other items from the video are there also. They play the song on repeat on a TV above the chair. Going to the museum itself was an emotional event and this chair with the song playing has plenty of people in tears just as they exit.

If any of you ever get to Nashville, don't miss this museum.
 

Fossie 32

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Yeah I hadn't heard the original of Hurt before - thanks @voicboy - but very good. I like Cash's version better but I tend to be like that - like the versions I'm used to best
 
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