Looking for covers that are better than the original songs? Look no further! In this list, we'll explore some of the most memorable cover songs of all time, from Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" to Kelly Clarkson's rendition of Billie Eilish's "Happier Than Ever." Discover how artists like Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, and Aretha Franklin put their own spin on classic tracks, creating masterpieces that are often considered better than the originals. If you're a music lover looking for the best covers out there, this one is for you!
13 Covers That Are Better Than the Original Song
13. "Happier Than Ever" by Kelly Clarkson
Original Song By: Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish's original version of "Happier Than Ever" is a haunting ballad, but Kelly Clarkson's powerful cover of the song adds a new dimension to the track. Clarkson's emotive vocals and the soaring instrumentation make the song a powerful anthem of self-discovery that is difficult to forget. Kelly Clarkson's cover of "Happier Than Ever" has become a fan favorite and has helped to introduce a new generation of fans to Eilish's music. It is a testament to the power of a great cover to transform a song and make it truly unforgettable.
12. "Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm
Original Song By: Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's original version of "Smooth Criminal" is a pop classic, but Alien Ant Farm's punk-infused cover of the song is a unique take on the track. The band's driving guitar riffs and the heavy drums turn the song into a mosh pit favorite that is still played at rock concerts today. Alien Ant Farm's cover of "Smooth Criminal" has become one of the band's most popular tracks, without a doubt. By the way, if you like the Mike version even better, then you're not necessarily wrong either.
11. "The Man Who Sold the World" by Nirvana
Original Song By: David Bowie
David Bowie's original version of "The Man Who Sold the World" is a psychedelic classic, but Nirvana's stripped-down, grunge-infused cover of the song is a masterpiece in its own right. Kurt Cobain's emphatic vocals and the distorted guitar riffs make the song a perfect fit for Nirvana's signature sound. While it's not the band's most popular song ever, it surely showed off their sheer ability to work with any type of music in their field.
10. "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper
Original Song By: Robert Hazard
Next up on our list of covers that are better than the original song is an absolute classic. Let's preface this one by saying: OF COURSE A GIRL DID THIS BETTER THAN THE GUY WHO ORIGINALLY CREATED IT. Robert Hazard's original version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was a little-known new wave track until Cyndi Lauper turned it into a worldwide hit. Lauper's quirky vocals and the upbeat instrumentation turn the song into an anthem for women's liberation that is still played at parties today. Lauper's cover of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" won numerous awards and has become a feminist classic. It remains one of the most popular covers of the 1980s.
9. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor
Original Song By: Prince
Next up on our list of covers that are better than the original song is a track that initially originated from Prince. Prince's original version of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was a little-known track until Sinead O'Connor turned it into a worldwide hit. O'Connor's emotive vocals and the sparse instrumentation make the song a haunting ballad that is impossible to forget. Sinead O'Connor's cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" won numerous awards, including Record of the Year at the 1991 Grammy Awards. It remains one of the most popular covers of all time and a testament to O'Connor's incredible vocal range. Did we mention that it's Sinead's number one song on Spotify, with over 270 million streams on that platform alone?
8. "Jolene" by Miley Cyrus
Original Song By: Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is a name you will get used to on this particular list. Dolly Parton's original version of "Jolene" is a country classic, but Miley Cyrus' cover is a stunning reimagining of the song. Cyrus' soulful vocals and the stripped-down, acoustic instrumentation give the song a special quality that is difficult to forget. Cyrus' cover of "Jolene" has become a fan favorite and has even been praised by Parton herself. The cover has been featured in numerous TV shows and movies and has helped to introduce a new generation of fans to Parton's music. Is anybody else thinking about this scene from Hannah Montana right now?
7. "All My Loving" by Amy Winehouse
Original Song By: The Beatles
Next up on our list of covers that are better than the original song is a special one. The Beatles' original version of "All My Loving" is a certified pop classic, but Amy Winehouse's jazz-infused cover of the song is a beautiful and unique approach to it. Winehouse's soulful vocals and the swinging instrumentation turn the song into a sultry ballad that is impossible to resist. Winehouse's cover of "All My Loving" has become a fan favorite and a testament to her uncanny ability. It remains one of the most popular covers of a Beatles song to this day. Boy, are we missing Amy Winehouse a little extra today.
6. "Mad World" by Gary Jules
Original Song By: Tears For Fears
Tears for Fears' "Mad World" was already highly revered in the music world, but Gary Jules' stripped-down, piano-driven version of the song takes it to a new level of sadness. Jules' plaintive vocals and the distinct piano melody make the song a perfect fit for the 2001 film "Donnie Darko," in which it was featured. Jules' cover of "Mad World" became a surprise hit, topping the charts in numerous countries and becoming one of the most popular covers of the early 2000s.
5. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell
Original Song By: Gloria Jones
Gloria Jones' original version of "Tainted Love" was a lesser-known Motown track until Soft Cell's cover turned it into a worldwide hit. Soft Cell's dark and brooding take on the song, complete with pulsing synths and a driving beat, transformed the track into a new wave classic that is still played in clubs today. Soft Cell's cover of "Tainted Love" topped the charts in numerous countries and remains one of the most successful covers of all time.
4. "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley
Original Song By: Leonard Cohen
Jeff Buckley's rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is often considered one of the greatest covers of all time. While Cohen's version is notably beautiful in its own right, Buckley's interpretation takes the song to new heights. Buckley's emotive and ethereal vocals, combined with his masterful guitar playing, create a transcendent experience that is difficult to replicate. Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" has become so popular that it has been featured in numerous films, TV shows, and commercials. It has also been covered by countless artists, further cementing its status as a classic.
3. "All Along the Watchtower" by Jimi Hendrix
Original Song By: Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" is a super memorable song in its own right, but Jimi Hendrix's cover takes the track to a whole new level. Hendrix's psychedelic guitar riffs and soulful vocals added much more character to the song, making it a staple of classic rock to this day. Dylan himself has praised Hendrix's version of the song, saying that it "surprised him" and that he "liked it a lot." The cover has become so popular that many people are unaware that Dylan originally wrote and performed the song.
2. "Respect" by Aretha Franklin
Original Song By: Otis Redding
Many of you may not have known that this particular song was a cover. Otis Redding's original version of "Respect" is a soulful hit, but Aretha Franklin's cover has become the definitive version of the song. Franklin's powerful vocals and the funky instrumentation turned the song into a feminist anthem that has become synonymous with the civil rights movement. Franklin's version of "Respect" won two Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It remains one of the most popular covers of all time.
1. "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
Original Song By: Dolly Parton
At the number one spot on our list of covers that are better than the original song, we've got another track you might not have guessed was a cover to begin with. Yes, Dolly Parton was the originator of this global hit, but Whitney Houston's cover is arguably even more iconic. Houston's powerful vocals and the soaring instrumentals turn the ballad into an epic love song that has become synonymous with the 1992 film "The Bodyguard," in which it was featured. Houston's version of the song won numerous awards, including Record of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards. It remains one of the best-selling singles of all time. That's all for our list of covers that are better than the original song; stay tuned for even more music stories from the ONE37pm team.
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