Who doesn’t love listening to songs in a completely different style than intended? Different versions of songs, such as covers, have been known to become massive hits, topping the charts and some even considered better than the original.
In no particular order here is a list of top covers, mainly covered by varied genres of rock bands.
“Gold Dust Women” covered by Hole
Hole released their cover of the infamous Fleetwood Mac song from Rumours as their single in 1996. “Gold Dust Women” is probably one of the most underrated covers; Courtney Love’s alternative rock spin adds powerful angst to the song.
“Jolene” covered by The White Stripes
“Jolene” has to be one of the most covered songs of all time. This classic originally released by Dolly Parton in 1974 has been covered by the likes of Olivia Newton- John, Reba McEntire and Miley Cyrus. The White Stripes “garage band” style being the most different. The White Stripe released this song several times throughout their career including live and recorded versions. Jack White’s voice is killer in the Live version linked above.
“Hurt” covered by Johnny Cash
At first Trent Reznor wasn’t too happy that Cash covered his most personal song but once he saw the emotion Cash brought to the song , he changed his mind. Cash also changed on of the original lines from “I wear this crown of shit” to “I wear this crown of thorns”. If you didn’t think that “Hurt” could get anymore emotional, just wait until you see Cash’s Video. Spoiler: Keep the tissues close.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” covered by Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson has had lots of success with covers “Tainted Love” originally by Soft Cell, “You’re So Vein” originally by Carly Simon but Mansons’ cover of “ Sweet Dreams” adds a ominous vibe to the originally pop style it was recorded in. He records the song in a hauntingly beautiful way with a music video to match.
The song was the single from Mansons EP Smells like Children released in 1995, which was mostly a cover album. According to Marilyn Manson’s autobiography The Long Hard Road out of Hell, the idea to cover this song came from Manson’s first acid trip. Manson also added some extra lyrics to the song : I wanna use you and abuse you/I wanna know what’s inside you” and “I’m gonna use you and abuse you/I gotta know what’s inside you.”. The video was also rated the Scariest Music Video Ever Made by Billboard. Fun Fact: Trent Reznor of the Nine Inch Nails produced this song before their falling out.
“Last Kiss” covered by Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam’s Cover of “Last Kiss” was the highest charting Pearl Jam song in the US was #2 on Billboard Hot 100. They played the song in 1998 on tour before recording it at a sound check. It was originally released on a benefit album “No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees” in 1999 and appeared on Pearl Jams album Lost Dogs in 2003
“Twist and Shout” covered by The Beatles
The Beatles cover of “Twist and Shout” appeared on Please Please Me in 1963. “Twist and Shout” is often mistaken for an original Beatles song but is in fact a cover of the Isley Brothers song. John Lennon’s raw voice in unmistakable on the track. The Beatles did the song in one take at the end of a long day of recording. The Beatles cover is raw and contains little editing providing a raw live- show aspect to the recording. The song became popular again after its use in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”.
“Landslide” covered by Smashing Pumpkins
Both The Smashing Pumpkins and The Dixie Chicks covered “Landslide” originally released in 1975 by Fleetwood Mac in 2002, with the Smashing Pumpkins providing the most interesting cover of the two. Billy Corgan gets a lot of hate but his voice is one of the most unique voices in Rock.
“Live and Let Die” covered by Guns N Roses
“Live and Let die” was a James Bond theme for the movie of the same name and was produced for the Wings by from fifth Beatle George Martin (the genius Beatles producer. Guns N Roses covered “Live and Let die” in 1991 appearing on Use Your Illusion I with Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon singing backup. Both versions were nominated for Grammy’s.
“I Love Rock and Roll” covered by Joan Jett
Joan Jetts’ breakout hit post The Runaways was “I Love Rock and Roll”, a cover of British band The Arrows. Jett wanted to record the song with The Runaways but they turned it down. Originally In 1979 it was recorded with Paul Cook and Steve Jones from The Sex Pistols but was officially recorded and released with her band The Blackhearts in 1981. Fun Fact: The song is talking back to The Rolling Stones hit: “It’s Only Rock and Roll”.
“Babe I’m Gonna Leave you” covered by Led Zeppelin
Many may not know that “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” is actually a cover. Jimmy Page got the idea to cover the song after hearing Joan Baez’ folk cover. Originally Led Zeppelin thought this was a “traditional song” and were unaware of who wrote it thus Anne Bredon was not credited for the song until 1990.