Jason asked about favorite covers on twitter today and there are just too many to list 140 characters at a time. So, here are my favorite cover songs at the moment:

  • José Gonzalez’ cover of Massive Attacks’ Teardrop: Already one of my all-time favorite songs, the cover is haunting in a completely different way. It’s gorgeous.
  • The Rheostatics’ cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald: The original is old, dour and has gravity. Unfortunately, it also shows its age. The cover is really good. The song rocks, but still packs an emotional punch, even more so than the original.
  • Luna’s cover of Guns n’ Roses Sweet Child o’ Mine: It takes the radio anthem from middle school and turns it into a lovely ballad.
  • Living Colour’s cover of AC/DC’s Back in Black: I know the original is a classic, but between Vernon Reid’s guitar and Corey Glover’s vocals, the cover is better. Yeah, I said it. The cover is better.
  • This Radiant Boy’s cover of They Might Be Giant’s Don’t Lets Start: Actually, everything on Hello Radio is good (The Wrens and Steve Burns’ songs especially), but this takes a classic we’ve all heard a million times, as great as it is, and turns it into a great little punk anthem.\
    There are a ton more, but those are the ones that stick out at the moment. There are of course the classic covers like Jeff Buckley’s cover of Hallelujah that’s pretty much turned into the canonical version of the song, any cover of Leonard Cohen’s stuff (I’m Your Fan is a GREAT tribute album), Cake’s cover of I Will Survive, etc that I didn’t mention (well, I just did, but whatever).\
    What’s your favorite cover?
Categorized as music

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.


  1. I am a cover junkie. A few of my favorites:
    Eels covering Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”
    Death Cab for Cutie’s cover of Matthew Sweet’s “Sick of Myself”
    Ben Folds & Rufuswainwright’s cover of Wham’s “Careless Whisper.”

  2. “Chance”: covering Prince’s When Doves Cry (I’m a huge Prince fan).
    Marilyn Manson covering Soft Cell’s Tainted Love. One of my all time favourite songs actually done well. I’m usually not a fan of MM.
    I’s sure there are others, but they are the ones that spring to mind.
    – Neil.

  3. I believe that Cake’s version of “I Will Survive” is better than Gloria Gaynor’s. It is a little more angry and a little less disco. Both of these are good things in my book.

  4. I love the Pearl Jam cover of the dead girlfriend song from the ’50s (or was it the’60s?)
    I also really like Madonna’s cover of American Pie.
    Mmm, pie. Too bad we don’t have any pumpkin pie in the house.

  5. Um, have to disagree – Gordon Lightfoot can’t be touched, especially for Edmund Fitzgerald.
    I think maybe the best cover of all time was Jimi Hendrix cover of All Along the Watchtower, which wowed Dylan when he heard it.

  6. good call on buckley’s “hallelujah.” gave me shivers the first time i heard it and it’s one of the first tunes i learned to play on guitar. i’d love to do a slide version someday. his version of “corpus christie carol” is also faboo. wish he was still around.
    sting’s cover of “little wing” is pretty superb, and hiram bullock’s solo rocks.
    the sundays’ “wild horses.”
    the pogues “i’m a man you don’t meet every day.” that’s a folk tune, but qualifies, methinks. too bad about elvis and cait. how can you break up with a woman named cait o’riordan? it ain’t right.
    the pixies’ “here comes your man.”
    but one of my all-time fave covers has to be the cowboy junkies’ version of “sweet jane.” gets me every time.
    i can’t stand bands/artists who cover tunes note-for-note. sugar ray’s version of “is she really going out with him?” is an example. why bother?

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