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The Torontoist Cover Song Catalogue

Certainly not the definitive list

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes remaking other people’s songs brings a whole new level of originality.
New performers are well-advised to have a signature cover tune to help attract fans familiar with the original, and artists like Tori Amos and Barenaked Ladies have made cover songs a staple of their shows. The Beatles, Dylan and The Rolling Stones are among the most-covered artists, and there are more than 3,000 versions of Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” alone.
We tried to avoid some of the more obvious cover hits (like Alien Ant Farm’s recent chart-topper “Smooth Criminal”) and we stuck with actual recorded covers rather than including those only played in concert. You’ll notice that most of these cover versions are pretty chilled-out, which is a byproduct of looking for tracks that were eclectic, odd and often very different from the originals.
The crime of covering classic tracks is enough to give some music aficionados a bad rash and invoke petty flamewars on Stillepost, but a hit is a hit, so leave the music snobbery in your iPod and discover some fantastic recycled songs (and some bad ones too).

Many of these songs are available on iTunes for purchase. Click here to follow along with our iTunes playlist, or use the embedded playlist at the bottom of the article.

Category: Better Than The Original

Artist images

OK, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat, shall we? Feel free to leave your shock and outrage in the comments, but sometimes someone comes along who really whips an older song into shape.
Number 1SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS covering “What Have You Done For Me Lately”
Album: Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Original artist: Janet Jackson
When we played this version for people without explanation, all of them believed Janet was covering an obscure old song. She wasn’t. Sharon Jones take the eighties hit and turns it into a funky, lo-fi, Motown-era jam that is far superior to Miss Jackson’s (if you’re nasty) and sounds like it was the one recorded first. Flawless. [HEAR]
Number 2JONATHA BROOKE covering “Eye In The Sky”
Album: Back In The Circus
Original artist: Alan Parsons Project
Like The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”, “Eye In The Sky” is one of those tracks where the perkiness of the original recording obscures quite sinister lyrics. In this restrained, quiet version, Brooke brings the appropriate bitterness and sadness to lines like “The sun in your eyes / Made some of the lies worth believing.” [HEAR]
Number 3DAVE WERNER covering “Straight Up”
Original artist: Paula Abdul
New York-based graphic designer Dave Werner has accomplished an incredible feat: his acoustic YouTube version of “Straight Up” actually suggests that American Idol judge Paula Abdul might be a good songwriter. It pains us to say it, but the evidence is there. If this was a Jason Mraz, Ryan Adams or Jack Johnson track, it would be an indie smash. Believe it. (UPDATE: Reader Thierry informs us that the song credit should go to Elliott Wolff instead, who also wrote songs for Color Me Badd and Taylor Dayne)
Number 4GEORGE MICHAEL covering “They Won’t Go When I Go”
Album: Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1
Original artist: Stevie Wonder
Is that the sound of a thousand hate emails reaching our inbox? Stevie is undoubtedly a legend, but George Michael owns this song. Wonder wrote these musings on death and the afterlife it after being involved in a serious 1973 car crash, and Michael gives the song an appropriate gravity and pathos. [HEAR]
Number 5BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY covering “Ball and Chain”
Album: Cheap Thrills
Original artist: Big Mama Thornton
Man, that Janis Joplin was one way-out chick. At almost ten minutes, this version is half distorted sixties psychedelic guitar and half gravel-throated drunken Delta blues and it’s the ultimate showcase of Joplin’s unbelievable vocal talent. Torontonians may want to check-out the 2004 documentary Festival Express, which chronicled a 1970 Toronto to Winnipeg concert tour where Joplin shared billing with the Grateful Dead, Sha Na Na, and The Band, among others. Hollywood has continually bungled competing Joplin biopic projects, and The Gospel According To Janis, which director Penelope Spheeris has been developing for almost twenty years, was finally scheduled to start filming this month. Zooey Deschanel is playing Janis; a role originally awarded to Pink. [HEAR]
Also check out
RYAN ADAMS covering Oasis’s “Wonderwall” [HEAR]
JOSS STONE covering Joe Simon’s “The Chokin’ Kind” [HEAR]
THE WHITE STRIPES covering Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” [HEAR]
PAUL ANKA covering Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” [HEAR]
ISRAEL KAMAKAWIWO’OLE covering “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” [HEAR]
THIS MORTAL COIL covering Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren” [HEAR]
BETTYE LaVETTE covering Dolly Parton’s “Little Sparrow” [HEAR]
matt pond PA covering Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road” [HEAR]
ANNIE LENNOX covering Cole Porter’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” [HEAR]
EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL covering Tom Waits’ “Downtown Train”, made famous by Rod Stewart [HEAR]
Category: Toronto Recycles

Artist photos

Number 1EMM GRYNER covering “For What Reason”
Album: Girl Versions
Original artist: Death Cab For Cutie
Girl Versions is Gryner’s all-cover album and it’s fantastic, covering a range from Fugazi to The Clash to defunct east-coasters Thrush Hermit. In covering “For What Reason,” she puts her trademark haunting spin on Death Cab’s pretentious lyrics. Gryner fled Toronto for a small town life in St. Mary’s, and Bono declares the song “Almighty Love” off her new album to be one of the seven songs he wishes he’d written. Also check out her heartbreaking version of Paul Weller’s “You Do Something To Me” off her Science Fair album. [HEAR]
Number 2FINAL FANTASY covering “Peach, Plum, Pear”
Album: Young Canadian Mothers
Original artist: Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom is classically trained, has a voice like Björk’s infant sister and plays a harp. Owen Pallet is classically trained, plucks a violin and sounds like Thom Yorke’s little brother. What could go wrong covering Newsom’s “Peach, Plum, Pear?” Answer: nothing. Extra points to Final Fantasy for leaving-in whining microphone feedback over his string arrangement. (Song suggested by David Topping) [HEAR]
Number 3MOLLY JOHNSON covering “Sleep In Late”
Album: Another Day
Original artist: Big Sugar
Molly Johnson and Big Sugar have had more than a passing influence in each other’s careers, but Johnson’s version of “Sleep In Late” weaves it into the song it always should have been. The drawling vocals and Andrew Craig’s discordant old piano squarely places the track in a smoky southern turn-of-the-century juke joint. Johnson has been a solid staple of the Toronto music scene since the 80s and recorded this new album in only eight days. Also check out her cover of “Summertime,” which joins the 2,600 versions already recorded. [HEAR]
Number 4DALA covering “Lovesong”
Album: Angels & Thieves
Original artist: The Cure
The Dala girls are known for their coffee-house harmonies, and the song works well in that formula. “Lovesong” has been covered many times before, but Dala’s chilled-out version is a welcome departure from the usual heavier covers. [HEAR]
Number 5BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE covering “Puff The Magic Dragon”
Album: See You On The Moon! (Songs for Kids of All Ages)
Original artist: Made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary
This year, Paper Bag Records joined the losing fight against treacle like the Kidz Bop franchise with their indie kid compilation See You On The Moon, featuring tracks like “Be Nice To People With Lice” and “Voices Are Your Best Friend.” Stereogum reported that BSS’s original seven-minute submission of their funereal “Puff The Magic Dragon” cover was rejected in favour of a shorter version with their freaky coda excised. Kevin Drew explained that the publisher refused permission because of the revised happy ending, which found Jackie Paper returning as an adult to introduce Puff to his son and, um, Broken Social Scene. “Puff” has some of the most tragic lyrics of any children’s classic, and one unenthusiastic Stereogum poster dubbed Broken Social Scene’s cover “a soundtrack for five year-old cutters.” (Song suggested by Gary Campbell) [HEAR]
Also check out
FEIST covering Ron Sexsmith’s “Secret Heart” (suggested by Ron Nurwisah) [HEAR]
ESTHERO covering Dusty Springfield’s “The Windmills Of Your Mind” [HEAR]
jacksoul covering Jane’s Addiction’s “Been Caught Stealing” [HEAR]
JARVIS CHURCH and K’NAAN covering U2′s “One” [HEAR]
SHAYE covering Crash Vegas’ “On And On” [HEAR]
ROBERTA MICHELE covering Bread’s “Make It With You” [HEAR]
STARS covering The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” [HEAR]
JAYMZ BEE’S ROYAL JELLY ORCHESTRA covering Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” [HEAR]
Category: Bizarre and Way Out

Artist photos

Number 1NINA GORDON covering “Straight Outta Compton”
Album: n/a
Original artist: N.W.A.
Hearing sweet, white Nina Gordon cheerily singing the N.W.A. ‘hood anthem with full sincerity is a total mindwarp. Sounding like a Woodstock-era folk song, there’s a charm in how the Veruca Salt co-founder delivers lines like, “The police are gonna hafta come and get me off yo ass / That’s how I’m goin’ out.” Nina come strapped straight from the capital CPT, yo. Strangely, it works. [HEAR - explicit] Which leads us to…
Number 2TORI AMOS covering “’97 Bonnie and Clyde”
Album: Strange Little Girls
Original artist: Eminem
Tori Amos is the Cover Queen in concert, whipping-out oddly unique versions of songs like “I’m On Fire” and “Losing My Religion”, but it’s this Eminem cover that really turns the original on its ear. The lyrics find Eminem explaining to his daughter why they’re dumping her mother’s slashed body, and Amos whispers the lyrics over a sparse cello riff which brings the horror and misogyny of Em’s version to a more psychotic level (believe it or not). The deadpan, icy female delivery of lyrics like, “Da-da made a nice bed for mommy at the bottom of the lake” sends chills down the spine. [HEAR]
Number 3MAX RAABE covering “Oops…I Did It Again”
Album: Palast Orchester prasentiert Super Hits
Original artist: Britney Spears
Think contemporary hits being performed at the Kit Kat Klub in 1930s Berlin and you’ve got German-born Max Raabe’s schtick. Raabe performed at Marilyn Manson’s 2005 wedding and made it to number one on the charts in Lithuania, selling more albums than the Beatles there. His Palast Orchester sells-out huge shows throughout Germany, and though Raabe mostly creates original songs and covers standards, it’s his contemporary versions of songs like “Sex Bomb” and “Tainted Love” that have got him most of the Western attention. Hören sie mit vergnügen! [HEAR]
Number 4TRANSFORMER DI ROBOTER covering “Stranger In Moscow”
Album: n/a
Original artist: Michael Jackson
Play this track around a Mac user and they’ll start looking for something wrong with their computer. This cover of Jackson’s minor hit employs the Mac’s error sound and Brian Eno startup chime to provide the music for this odd track. Other than that, there’s not much to it. [HEAR]
Number 5RICHARD CHEESE covering “Closer”
Album: Lounge Against The Machine
Original artist: Nine Inch Nails
Richard Cheese tells us what he’d like to do to us like an animal, sung over the Sesame Street theme. Enough said. [HEAR - explicit]
Also check out
DIAMANDA GALÁS covering “Gloomy Sunday”, made famous by Billie Holiday [HEAR] (video below left)
MINIMATIC covering A-ha’s “Take On Me” [HEAR]
SCALA covering Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” [HEAR]
LOCUST covering Depeche Mode’s “Master and Servant” [HEAR]
NED’S ATOMIC DUSTBIN covering Charlene’s “I’ve Never Been To Me” [HEAR]
THE POSTAL SERVICE covering Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” [HEAR]
LAURA BARRETT covering Weird Al Yankovic’s “Smells Like Nirvana” (suggested by Cal McLean) [HEAR]
CRISPIN GLOVER covering Michael Jackson’s “Ben” [HEAR] (video below right)

Category: Contemporary Covers

Artist photos

Number 1BLAME AMY covering “London Bridge”
Album: n/a
Original artist: Fergie
Well, that didn’t take long. Blame Amy earnestly serves-up some Fergie Ferg for the emo kids and gets a whack of MySpace friend requests in the process. [HEAR]
Number 2RAY LAMONTAGNE covering “Crazy”
Album: n/a
Original artist: Gnarls Barkley
Nelly Furtado performed her acoustic take on “Crazy” live on BBC Radio 1 back in May, causing fans to fire-up BitTorrent en masse, but Ray Lamontagne performs the better version. It actually works pretty well, but Lamontagne sounds like he’s taking it a little too seriously. Standard male singer-songwriter college radio fare. [HEAR]
Number 3IRON AND WINE covering “Such Great Heights”
Album: Garden State soundtrack
Original artist: The Postal Service
The Garden State and Grey’s Anatomy soundtracks are those kinds of discs that are actually pretty good, but listening to people pretentiously talking about them is a bore. So let’s do it. One of those “love you, hate your fans” artists is Iron And Wine, a.k.a. Sam Beam. Yes, he’s one of those single person artists who name themselves like a band (see Simple Kid, City and Colour, Final Fantasy, Badly Drawn Boy). In 2003, SubPop released an EP to promote The Postal Service’s Give Up album that included the Iron & Wine cover. The original ended up on the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. The cover showed-up in Garden State. Go figure. [HEAR]
Number 4THE VINES covering “Ms. Jackson”
Album: n/a
Original artist: Outkast
The Vines and your daughter — they got a special thing goin’ on. They never meant to make your daughter cry. How many times do they have to apologize? A trillion times? [HEAR]
Number 5LEAH ANDREONE covering “Déjà Vu”
Album: n/a
Original artist: Beyoncé
This is a remake with full studio instrumentation that appeared within nanoseconds of Beyoncé’s B-Day album release. Neither version is particularly good. Andreone should have done “Suga Mama” from that same CD. Now that’s a song, mami. [HEAR]
Category: Updating The Eighties


Number 1JIMMY SCOTT covering “Nothing Compares 2 U”
Album: Holding Back The Years
Original artist: Prince (made famous by Sinéad O’Connor)
It’s an absolute crime that Jimmy Scott toiled in relative obscurity since he started his career in the late 1940s. Born with Kallman’s syndrome, a genetic disorder which leads to a failure to engage puberty (among other things), Scott ended up with one of the most unique voices in music history and is considered by many to be a living legend. Often mistaken as the voice of a woman, Jimmy Scott’s oddly-phrased, halting delivery melds perfectly with the stripped-down instrumentation of the famous 1990 Sinéad O’Connor smash, originally written by Prince in 1984 for The Family. [HEAR]
Number 2DAMIEN RICE covering “When Doves Cry/Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”
Album: Like A Version
Original Artists: Prince/Led Zeppelin
“When Doves Cry” has been covered by west coasters The Be Good Tanyas and Toronto-based The Pursuit of Happiness to varying levels of success, and it’s been effectively interpolated into “Thugz Cry” by Bizzy Bone. Fourteen year-old Quindon Tarver brought some churchin’ to the classic in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and it’s an oft-performed cover in many artists’ live shows. Damien Rice switches things up with an acoustic mashup of Prince and Zeppelin, and it’s as if they were both the same song. [HEAR]
Number 3STEPHANIE CASEY covering “Hold Me Now”
Album: n/a
Original artist: The Thompson Twins
Oregonian Stephanie Casey is better known as fall of snow, a singer-songwriter who self-taught herself guitar about four years ago with a chord chart and tabs pulled from the internet. Her delicate treatment of the Thompson Twins hit brings a tenderness and vulnerability to the song, which sounds like it belongs at the end of a Very Special O.C. episode. [HEAR]
Number 4MELANIE B covering “Word Up”
Album: Austin Powers II soundtrack
Original artist: Cameo
Who woulda thunk that ex-Spice girl and Eddie Murphy paramour Melanie B would do a better cover of “Word Up” than Korn? And why did Korn do one anyway? It’s purely run-of-the-mill pop and it can’t touch the mustachioed original, but it’s the song that permanently ensconced “wave your hands in the air like you don’t care” into the musical lexicon and it’s as catchy as ebola. [HEAR]
Number 5THE FAINT covering “Enola Gay”
Album: Messages: Modern Synthpop Artists Cover OMD
Original artist: OMD
The Faint cribs their sound from the 80s anyway, so it works. [HEAR]
Also check out
IAN BROWN covering Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” [HEAR]
SNAKE RIVER CONSPIRACY covering The Smith’s “How Soon Is Now?” [HEAR]
LINDA CARRIERE covering Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “The Power Of Love” [HEAR]
MARILYN MANSON covering The Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” [HEAR]
YOUTH GROUP covering Alphaville’s “Forever Young” [HEAR]
Category: Covering Canadians

Artist photos

Number 1JEFF BUCKLEY covering “Hallelujah”
Album: Grace
Original artist: Leonard Cohen
If Jeff Buckley were still alive, he’d be shouting, “enough already!” Often considered the best version ever recorded, Buckley’s cover of this song has been used in more than twenty mainstream films and TV shows, usually to punctuate scenes of death and misery. Its overuse would be more annoying if it wasn’t so devastatingly moving and appropriate. [HEAR]
Number 2k.d. lang covering “Hallelujah”
Album: Hymns of the 49th Parallel
Original artist: Leonard Cohen
Just when you think Jeff Buckley has “Hallelujah” wrapped-up tight as Best Version Ever, along comes k.d. lang with some solid competition. lang cemented her status during a 2005 Juno Awards performance of this song in honour of Neil Young, who was recovering from brain surgery in New York. Barefoot, free of makeup and pitch-perfect, lang brought chills to the entire arena in Winnipeg with a career-topping awards show performance unrivaled since Mary J. Blige’s legendary 2002 Grammy bustout revival. TV show audiences these days are a little trigger-happy with their standing ovations, but the love k.d. lang received that night could not have been more genuine. [HEAR]
Number 3JASPER STEVERLINCK covering “Insensitive”
Album: Songs Of Innocence
Original artist: Jann Arden
Picture Freddy Mercury singing Jann Arden’s biggest U.S. hit (#12 on the Billboard charts) with Billy Joel on piano and there you have it. Steverlinck is the lead vocalist of Belgian rock group Arid, and his recent solo effort is an album of covers ranging from Bowie to Donny Hathaway. [HEAR]
Number 4TRAVIS covering “River”
Album: n/a
Original artist: Joni Mitchell
Another oft-covered staple, Joni Mitchell’s Christmas classic is given a competent spin by the lads from Glasgow. Sarah McLachlan also redoes the track for her latest album of holiday hymns, and Martin Tielli of the Rheostatics also recorded a fantastic version in the early nineties for a hard-to-find Joni Mitchell tribute disc. [HEAR]
Number 5HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH covering “I Go Blind”
Album: Scattered, Smothered and Covered
Original artist: 54.40
Nobody was more surprised than Vancouver-based 54.40 to have a cover of “I Go Blind” land on the Friends soundtrack. Then Hootie & The Blowfish were blindsided (ha!) when the track became a 1997 radio hit despite not yet having appeared on any of their albums (the track reached #16 on the Top 40 chart). Hootie revealed that they were huge 54.40 fans, covered several of their songs in concert and drove long distances to see the band play. Now whenever 54.40 play “I Go Blind,” people think it’s a cover of a Hootie song. Man, that must suck — until the royalties come in. [HEAR]
Also check out
WEEPING TILE covering Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” [HEAR]
SAINT ETIENNE covering Neil Young’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” [HEAR]
MINDLESS SELF INDULGENCE covering Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” [HEAR]
DICK BRAVE & THE BACKBEATS covering Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” [HEAR]
Staff Suggestions

In addition to the suggestions noted in the article, Torontoist staff chimed-in with some of their favourite covers by local artists:
COWBOY JUNKIES covering The Beatles’ “Run For Your Life”
CAL McLEAN suggests…
THE GOLDEN DOGS covering “1985″ by Paul McCartney & Wings
ARCADE FIRE covering Magnetic Fields’ “Born on a Train”
LES MOUCHES covering The Carpenters’ “Close To You”
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT covering Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2″
DANNY MICHEL‘s Loving The Alien album of Bowie covers.
RON NURWISAH suggests…
FEIST covering the Bee Gees’ “Inside & Out”
BARENAKED LADIES covering Bruce Cockburn’s “Lovers In A Dangerous Time”
THE APOSTLE OF HUSTLE covering Tweet’s “Oops (Oh My)”
FINAL FANTASY covering Mariah Carey’s “Sweet Fantasy” and Jann Arden’s “Good Mother”
THE GOLDEN DOGS covering Hary Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow” from that amazing 70s cartoon special The Point (anyone? anyone?)
Buy it!
We encourage everyone to support artists they like by buying their music. Here are some of the songs we featured in this article, so if you like them, drop a few bucks.


  • Mark Medley

    Here’s my contribution to the cover song list. Matt Weddle plays Hey Ya.

  • BCL

    The best cover ever is I Fought the Law by the Clash. So there.

  • Johnnie

    Marc, you have provided the world with hours of sweet, sweet procrastination. Thank you.

  • rek

    Other good covers if you can find them:

    Travis covers Britney Spear’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time”

    Sarah Polley covers the Hip’s “Courage” (The Sweet Hereafter soundtrack)

    Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine covers Disturbed’s “Down With the Sickness” (Dawn of the Dead soundtrack)

  • Thierry

    Paula Abdul, a great songwriter? That may be true, but the credit should go to Elliot Wolff, who actually wrote “Straight Up” (and other hits for Taylor Dayne, Color Me Badd, etc.).
    Also, “Downtown Train” is not a Rod Stewart cover – it’s a Tom Waits song that Rod Stewart covered in 1989 (after Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tom Russell and Patty Smyth).

  • David Topping

    I’m all about Spoon’s cover of “Tear Me Down” from the Hedwig & the Angry Inch covers album Wig In A Box (via dreams of horses). It’s been one of my favourite songs – and by far my favourite cover – for well over two years now.
    For worldwide covers, my other favourites are:
    The Futureheads – Hounds Of Love (Kate Bush)
    The Avalanches – I’m A Cuckoo (Belle & Sebastien)
    Cake – Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town (Kenny Rogers?)
    Rogue Wave – Everyday (Buddy Holly)
    R.E.M. – Crazy (Pylon)

  • Marc Lostracco

    Thanks, Thierry…fixed! Poor Elliott Wolff. So many good songwriters who toil in the shadows.

  • chris

    TOM WAITS not ROD STEWART … please correct this grave injustice ….

  • Marc Lostracco

    Deian McBride does a really haunting cover (iTunes link) of “Strange Fruit”, the sickening song made famous by Billie Holiday. He almost sounds like Nina Simone. Jeff Buckley also has a cover of this track on his Live At Sin-é album, as does Tori Amos, of course. “Strange Fruit” has some of the most stomach-turning, brilliant lyrics ever written, IMO.

  • Chester Pape

    In the category of “shouldn’t work but does” Toots and the Maytal’s cover of John Denver’s “Take me Home Country Roads”
    The cover that made the Toronto indie scene is of course The Diodes cover of The Cyrcle’s “Red Rubber Ball”, we’d live with a very different music scene today if it hadn’t been for this little 7″ chunk of vinyl.

  • Pete Cheung

    i like the Frames’ cover of Everytime (Britney Spears).

  • Marc Lostracco

    And from the embarrassing soundtrack department, Dawn Robinson’s cover of Aretha’s “Rock Steady” is awesome from Dr. Dolittle. Ahem.
    Fuel does a great version of Elton John’s “Daniel” but I don’t think they ever officially recorded it. Live versions are out there though.

  • Carrie

    Here were some of the other covers on my list:
    The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself by Dusty Springfield
    Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
    Sid Vicious – My Way by Frank Sinatra
    Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower by Bob Dylan
    U2 – Helter Skelter by The Beatles
    Elliott Smith – Jealous Guy by John Lennon (I might’ve mentioned this one before)
    Iron & Wine – Such Great Heights by The Postal Service
    Stereophonics – Don’t Let Me Down by The Beatles
    Nirvana – The Man Who Sold The World by David Bowie
    Johnny Cash – Hurt by NIN
    Johnny Cash – One by U2

  • Jeremy Wilson

    I must respectively disagree with the assertion that the cover of Eye in the Sky is better than the original.

  • brokenengine

    In the ‘wierd but great’ category, you should add The Cardigans covering “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”.
    But for one of the weirdest and greatest things I’ve ever heard, check out this:
    It’s some guy in the UK who has reimagined songs by The Pixies, as covered by OTHER artists. For instance, he thinks “Hey” would be covered by Prince, and does an amazing job of it. Truly one of the most ambitious and fully realized cover projects I’ve ever heard!

  • Jonathan

    Limiting myself to things I already have in my iTunes library, here are some very good covers not already mentioned by anyone above, presented in alphabetical order by covering artist:
    • Al Green and Annie Lennox – “Put A Little Love In Your Heart” (Jackie DeShannon); from the soundtrack to the movie Scrooged
    • The Arcade Fire – “Brazil” (Ary Barroso)
    • Boomtang Boys – “Both Sides Now” (Joni Mitchell)
    • Dave Grohl – “Tiny Dancer” (Elton John); live on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn
    • Dave Matthews Band – “Linus & Lucy” (Vince Guaraldi); live cover
    • DCI Star of Indiana – “Gee, Officer Krupke” (Leonard Bernstein); covering the West Side Story song in the show Blast!
    • Deodato – “Also Sprach Zarathustra” (Richard Strauss); one of the the greatest and most essential of all covers, best known for its use in the Hal Ashby/Peter Sellers film Being There
    • DJ Tiësto – “Adagio for Strings” (Samual Barber); the original is generally remembered as the theme from Platoon
    to be continued

  • Jonathan

    • Goldfinger – “99 Red Balloons” (Nena)
    • The Goombas, feat. George Clinton – “Walk the Dinosaur” (Was (Not Was)); from the Super Marios Bros. movie soundtrack
    • Halbino – “In Da Club” (50 Cent); utterly remarkable, very much worth listening to (
    • Handsome Hank and his Lonesome Boys – “Video Killed the Radio Star” (The Buggles); check out the Copy, Right? blog for this one
    • Joey Ramone – “What A Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong); memorably used in Bowling for Columbine
    • Kathleen Hanna – “I Wish I Was Him” (Ben Lee/Noise Addict)
    • Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton – “Theme from Mission: Impossible” (Lalo Schifrin); from the first M:I movie
    • Leonard Nimoy – “Both Sides Now” (Joni Mitchell)
    • Manfred Mann – “Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)” (Bob Dylan)
    • Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – “Blinded By The Light” (Bruce Springsteen)
    • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – “Science Fiction Double Feature” (Richard O’Brien); originally the opening song of The Rocky Horror (Picture) Show
    • Ministry – “Lay Lady Lay” (Bob Dylan); simply amazing, I could have sworn I recently heard this being blasted from the Yonge Street windows of the The Bay’s flagship store (on Queen) at three or four in the morning
    to be continued further

  • Marc Lostracco

    Speaking of “In Da Club,” Beyoncé does an answer track that is so much better than the original. Now every time I hear 50′s version, all I can think of is Beyoncé’s chorus, “You can find me in the club / Sippin on some bub / Daddy, I got whatcha need / You sexy little thug…”

  • Jonathan

    even more
    • Mr. Bungle – Tetris theme (originally a Russian folk song called “Korobeiniki”)
    • The New Pornographers – “Your Daddy Don’t Know” (Toronto); from the FUBAR soundtrack
    • No Secrets – “Kiss The Girl” (Howard Ashman and Alan Menken); originally from The Little Mermaid
    • The Pixies – “Lady in the Radiator Song (In Heaven)” (Laurel Near); originally from Eraserhead
    • The Polyphonic Spree – “Lithium” (Nirvana); this is the cover I’ve recently been listening to the most
    • The Presidents of the United States of America – “Video Killed the Radio Star” (The Buggles); from The Wedding Singer
    • Propellerheads – “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (John Barry)
    • Radiohead – “Nobody Does It Better” (Carly Simon)
    • Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Love Rollercoaster” (Ohio Players); from the Beavis & Butthead Do America soundtrack
    • Reel Big Fish – “Take On Me” (a-ha); from the BASEketball soundtrack
    • Rivers Cuomo – “Tomorrow” (Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin); originally from the musical Annie
    • Rockapella – “The Longest Time” (Billy Joel); one of my very favourite covers for well over a decade, it was recently spoofed on Family Guy
    • Scala – they deserve their own post
    • Smashing Pumpkins – “The Joker” (Steve Miller Band); as far as I know, this only exists on very early bootleg live recordings (and the Internet)
    • Stewie Griffin – “Rocket Man” (Elton John)
    • Tori Amos – “I Don’t Like Mondays” (The Boomtown Rats)
    • Tori Amos – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Nirvana)
    • George W. Bush – “Imagine This” (John Lennon); a DJ named Wax Audio reconstructs “Imagine” using clips from Bush speeches… supremely disturbing
    • Weezer – “Happy Together” (The Turtles); originally recorded for the movie Adaptation, it was dropped in favour of the original
    • Whirling Dervishes – “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” (Thurl Ravenscroft)
    • The Whoremoans – “I Wish I Was Him” (Ben Lee/Kathleen Hanna)
    • The Whoremoans – “Shimmer Like A Girl” (Veruca Salt)
    • William Shatner – “Rocket Man” (Elton John)
    that’s it for now

  • DRH

    How about the Leslie Spit Treeo “Angel from Montgomery” (John Prine), Pukka Orchastra “Listen to the Radio/Atmospherics” (Tom Robinson), and Annie Lennox “Don`t Let it Bring You Down” (Neil Young)from the American Beauty soundtrack.

  • Marc Lostracco

    Jimmy Scott has also appeared singing “Sycamore Trees” in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (clip) and appears in Madonna’s “Secret” video for a split second.

  • Fen

    Best cover, Ben Folds doing Dr. DRE’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit”.

  • David Topping

    If we’re doing the whole “completely inappropriate gansta rap covers” thing, I give you The Gourds, doing Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice.” Also not work safe:

  • Marc Lostracco

    We just reached the Digg front page! Thanks to everyone who dugg the article. :-*

  • Craig

    Love Will Tear Us Apart by Albert Kuvezin and Yat-Kha, Joy Division meets throat singing…

  • Itsa Me Mario

    Excellent lists!
    I want to add a few odd balls…
    Ted Hawkins (RIP) has 2 excellent covers on some of his stuff…There Stands The Glass (country classic orig by Webb Pierce) and Long As I Can See The Light (Orig by CCR) amazing stuff if you have never heard him you owe it to your self to check him out…

  • Simon Smith

    Definitely have to include Jonathan Coulter’s cover of Sir Mix-a-lot’s Baby Got Back in any list of great covers.

  • andytron

    dead souls by nin (joy division)
    modern way by the cribs (kaiser chiefs)

  • Bill

    Okay, how did you miss Gary Jules’ cover of :Mad World?” The people doing the new Gears of War TV spot didn’t.
    This cover brings added poignancy to the original, excellent lyrics.

  • Jim

    Revolting Cocks do an awesome cover of Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy
    Also, Mustard Plug has an excellent version of The Freshman by The Verve Pipe, though I think it’s only available via bootleg.

  • Steve

    I can’t believe the Bangles’ cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade Of Winter.”
    The original makes you depressed like most other Simon & Garfunkel songs. The cover at least has a rockin melody.

  • Rick

    “THE GOLDEN DOGS covering Hary Nilsson’s “Me and My Arrow” from that amazing 70s cartoon special The Point (anyone? anyone?)”
    Me! Oblio and Arrow, had the album, liked it as a kid, loved it as a stoner. I haven’t heard the Golden Dogs cover, but Adrian Belew does a wicked faithful cover of Me and My Arrow.

  • knobwrangler

    Senor Coconut should have been on this list. His covers of Smoke on the Water and Smooth Operator are instant classics!

  • Glenn Davis

    I must second the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World” and guys? Guys? FUNBOY THREE doing the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” is the best thing ever. And how bout XTC’s version of “All Along The Watchtower” and then there’s Magazine’s cover of “Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Agin)” and and and…

  • Kevin

    In response to: MAX RAABE covering “Oops…I Did It Again”
    Album: Palast Orchester prasentiert Super Hits
    Original artist: Britney Spears
    It was really Louis Armstrong who wrote that song in the 30s.

  • Alan

    The Bongwater cover of “Bedazzled” was pretty cool.
    I have a couple of covers of Tori Amos and Kate Bush in Mandrin Chinese, but I am not certain who they are done by.
    I also still have a fondness for Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.
    Nine Inch Richard’s country western version of “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails. (With the animal noises in the background.)
    The Austin Lounge Lizard’s cover of “Brain Damage” by Pink Floyd.
    “Calling All Angels” covered by Land of the Blind. (I forget the original artist.)
    I know I am forgetting something…

  • Krystoll Meth

    Not including “Me First & the Gimme Gimmies”, I have around 100 cover songs. Some mislabeled of course, however, go to Second Hand Songs for a good cover song database.

  • shari k.

    *The Constantines covering “Thank You for Sending me an Angel” (The Talking Heads)
    *JonRae and the River covering “Just What I Needed” (The Cars)
    and not local:
    *Otis Redding’s version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (the stones)
    *PJ Harvey and Bjork do “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (the stones)
    *Nick Cave’s version of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (joy division)
    cover discs with Canadian content (but not favourites):
    *Neko Case covers Canadian tunes on “Canadian Amp” (the cover of Mike O’Neill’s “Andy” is not too shabby)
    *Luther Wright and the Wrongs” doing a YEEHAW version Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” on “Rebuild the Wall”
    *i keep hearing on CBC radio about Serena Ryder’s new album of Canadian cover songs…i know nothing much about it…..
    cover discs without Canadian content:
    *Dump covers Prince tunes on “That Skinny Motherfucker With The High Voice?”
    (and Dump covers “Everlasting Love” on another disc….)
    *Cat Power’s disc of cover tunes, appropriately named “The Covers Record”
    *The Wondermints have a great disc of cover tunes: “Wonderful World of the Wondermints”
    Thierry (the walking/talking music encyclopedia) can fill you in with every cover EVER done of a Harry Nilsson tune…..and he can likely tell you every cover EVER done of a Laura Nyro tune as well…..

  • Shnakepup

    I’d like to recommend “Bring The Pain”, originally by Method Man, covered by Mindless Self Indulgence. Personally, I haven’t heard the originally, nor do i intend to. You hear the frenetic, schizo, almost-racist-but-not-since-it’s-a-cover, technopunk version, and you don’t want to hear anything else :)

  • 50clint

    Don’t forget The The’s Hanky Panky album. All Hank Williams Sr. covers completely reworked into somber, uber wierd ballads.

  • Potter

    Though not for everyone, I think that A Perfect Circle’s cover of John Lennon’s Imagine is really good.
    They made it into a dark, minor piece that turns the lyrics from ones of hope to despair. It seems a rather appropriate change considering the direction the world seem to be moving in of late.

  • Sean

    I agree with the other two comments. Gary Jules’ cover of ‘Mad World’ is one of the best I’ve ever heard. It ranks up there with Iron and Wine’s Such Great Hights for me.

  • ratporchrico

    Thea Gilmore has been covering Straight Up by Paula Abdul for some years in her live gigs and released it in 2001 on an EP called As If. She has also released an album of covers called Loft Music including Ever Fallen in Love by The Buzzcocks and Crazy Love by Van Morrison both brilliant cover versions. Check her out.

  • Jonathan

    Further to my comment above, the greatest “cover band” of all time may very well be Scala, or as they’re apparently now known “Scala & Kolancy Brothers.” Their website describes them thusly: “a youth choir from Aarschot, Belgium, roughly sixty teenage girls, directed by two talented brothers.”
    I cannot think of any other ensemble that so consistently produces covers that introduce new depth and earnestness to the originals. Who else could make songs by Radiohead (both early and more recent stuff) even more haunting?
    Their most well-known song is probably their cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Marc included it in his original post), which was recently used in the thoroughly awesome Portuguese film Odete, which screened at this year’s Inside Out and is available on DVD as Two Drifters.
    I was first introduced to them by John Sakamoto’s Anti-Hit List column, although I can’t remember if it was in the Star or Eye Weekly at the time. He picked their cover of The Divinyls’s “I Touch Myself” for the number one spot one week, and since it’s one of my favourite songs, I had to hear it.
    After listening to quite a bit of their stuff, I must say that my personal favourite, however, is their version of “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus, which imparts to the original song a sincerity I always suspected was there but obscured by its tie-in to the now-forgotten Jason Biggs/Mena Suvari movie Loser, from 2000. Scala’s take is heartbreakingly beautiful, and I got a very good (if puzzled) reaction when I played it in my set while DJing at the opening of the TPSC’s “What the TTC Could Be” art show in Janurary.

  • Ryan Waddell

    I have to nth Gary Jules’ Mad World. I hunted it down after CSI used it at the beginning of a recent(ish) episode, and it turns out it was the #1 Christmas single in the UK back in 2003 (a very big deal, apparently, though I’d never heard of it before moving to Ireland).

  • corey j

    For bizarre and way out – Shonen Knife doing Top Of The World from the Carpenters

  • Brian from Coverville

    Just a quick correction: The aforementioned “Baby Got Back” cover is by Jonathan Coulton, not Coulter (he’s no relative of Ann).
    Check out his site for covers and originals that are both entertaining and intelligent.
    Another excellent cover is Jason Falkner’s rockin’ take on “Both Sides Now” – absolutely reimagined.

  • ben

    the arcade fire – naive melody
    this david byrne (talking heads) cover is wonderful. steel drums and full live instrumentation.

  • Jordan

    If you like covers, check out the Coverville podcast (

  • Raab

    If you want to hear a really amazing “Straight Up” cover, check out

  • toronto_sean

    EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL covering Tom Waits’ “Downtown Train”, made famous by Rod Stewart?
    ummm, i would say made famous by Tom Waits…certainly his best known track…

  • Marc Lostracco

    I guarantee that if you polled 100 random people out on the street on who sang “Downtown Train,” almost all of them would say “Rod Stewart,” as unfortunate as that may be.

  • Zagboo Gislawicz

    A few oldies
    - Husker Du covering (or should I say assaulting) The Byrds’ “8 Miles High”
    - Husker Du covering “Love Is All Around” (Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song)
    - Lords of the New Church – “Like A Virgin”… they made Madonna feel dirty.
    A little more recent
    Johnny Cash covering “Rusty Cage” by Soundgarden.
    I want to hear a roots reggae band cover “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive. I really do.

  • Marc Lostracco

    Speaking of k.d. lang, she did a cover album called Drag of songs that had something to do in some way with cigarettes. The highlight is a steamy version of “Ain’t It Funny” (Jane Siberry) where she wakes up alone thinking her lover left her, packs their suitcases, dumps them outside, only to find “Hain’t it funny / One of life’s little jokes / Thought you’d gone for good / But you’d only gone for smokes”.
    Also, thanks to Brian Ibbott of Coverville for giving us a shoutout this morning. Check-out his podcast!

  • anon

    Ben Harper covers “In Your Eyes” and “Sexual Healing” -two rather abysmal songs in the original -he pulls it off and works wonders

  • Peter

    Wait until you hear this, it is absolutely sublime.
    We Are Scientists took Art Brut‘s “Bang Bang Rock and Roll” (the song that says ‘I don’t like the sound of the Velvet Underground’) and made it sound like the Velvet Underground.
    It’s sooo good. Find it at the bottom of the linked page.

    “Bang Bang Rock and Roll”

  • James Reshinkal

    The Rheostatics cover of Wreck of the Edmund Fitz is a lot better than the original.

  • Errol

    Carter USM cover of Pet Shop Boys “Rent”

  • jiggy

    Rasputina’s cover of Wish You Were Here has been my favorite cover song for a couple years now.

  • Marc Lostracco

    Someone just wrote-in to suggest Casey Stratton, who does loads of covers in his live shows. Check his crazy voice in this YouTube clip where he covers Tori Amos’s “Silent All These Years.”
    He actually sounds a lot like Craig Sharpe of Canadian Idol fame.

  • ColinM

    Pete Yorn – Dancing in the Dark (Springsteen)
    The Dandy Warhols – Hells Bells (AC/DC)
    …and if we’re going with live covers
    Ben Harper – The Drugs Don’t Work (The Verve)

  • drs

    How about Steve Lawrence and Edie Gorme covering “Black Hole Sun” Heard it once and it burnt into my brain.

  • claire

    australian band frente did a great version of bizarre love triangle (originally new order).
    also recently released in australia an album of crowded house/split enz/finn bros covers by female artists titled ‘she will have her way’
    one of my favourites is the sunday’s cover of the rolling stones’ wild horses, but I think it is only available on the buffy soundtrack.

  • DRH

    Check out the London Ukelele Orchestra, several cool covers including Smells Like Teen Spirit.

  • j

    i cant believe noone mentioned tv on the radios cover of mr grieves. i love that cover. also ben folds five’s cover of tangerine. hmm i can think of more noone mentioned but its not like posting on any forum really matters. hmm.

  • HE

    Oh Boy, the whitest list in the world. I feel like I’m back in the indie-taliban 90s.

  • toby

    How about Pet Shop Boys covering Neil Young’s ‘Philadelpha’…

  • Marc Lostracco

    The whitest list in the world? At least ten featured artist in that list are non-white and at least seventeen of the original songs are by non-white artists. Feel free to make some of your own suggestions like everybody else now that we’re allegedly out of the “indie-Taliban” era.

  • DRH

    English Beat “Tears of a Clown”.
    This is fun!

  • Daniel

    Nobody has yet named Nomeansno’s version of “Bitches Brew” by Miles Davis. They’re Canadian even.

  • Mando

    i can’t believe no one mentioned Failure’s cover of Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode)…
    … ok, i can believe it… but still, it’s a damn good cover!

  • mark

    how about a cover of a canadian act?
    try Buffalo based Drowning Susan’s cover of
    Skinny Puppy’s “CULT” for free at:

  • Chris

    Jimmy Eat World covering Prodigy’s FIRESTARTER

  • Marc Lostracco

    Thanks to Entertainment Weekly and Michael Slezak for the shout-out! More cover song recommendations are in their forum.

  • ed

    Simon and Garfunkle’s Mrs Robinson by The Lemonheads

  • Keith Moore

    Tooting my own horn, I recently recorded some modern electronic/reggae/rock spins on Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” and The Fixx’s “One Thing Leads To Another”. They’re on iTunes, but you can sample here:

  • matt

    the Asylum Street Spankers’ (Straight Outta Austin) jive/rocakbilly/Western swing cover of the Beasite Boys’ “Paul Revere” is not to be missed. There’s also Frente’s cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
    see: here

  • Matt

    Cibo Matto’s cover of “About a Girl” by Nirvana. Very bizarre, and strangely overlooked, as was the cover of “Bitches Ain’t Shit” by Ben Fold’s Five (mentioned by an earlier poster)

  • Marjorie

    Have you heard Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme’s version of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” on an album (uh, CD) called Lounge-a-Palooza? I think it’s incredible!

  • AJH

    Any cover recorded by Allison Crowe tops my list. Peerless song choices and performances. “Hallelujah”. “A Murder of One”. “River”. “Running for Home”. “I Never Loved a Man”. Simply great. And then some.
    On a very different tack, William Shatner’s “Tambourine Man” has forever changed how I hear the original.



  • dave fink

    Great work. It’s not over, however.
    Now we need an ORIGINALS LIST of songs sung by original artists, yet made famous first by a cover act.
    Start with Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl” (popularized via FM by Springsteen) and the aforementioned “Downtown Train” (Rod Stewart).
    #2 I agree with you. Clash ruled!

  • Marc Lostracco

    Thanks to The Washington Post for the shout out!

  • Shawn Johnson

    Chantay Savage covers “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor) in a sexy soultry version that is so good you’ll forget that it’s a cover and not something brand new. Promise!!

  • Ben Harris

    Hi! I did an a cappella cover of the Sarah Harmer song Tether, which you can listen to here:

  • Cade

    Allred covering Dammit by Blink-182 (renamed Growing Up) and I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt. These are beautiful.

  • jeff r

    how about rage against the machine’s cover of renegades of funk? i think that is the best cover of all time.

  • Cobra Commander

    This a a really fun blog post. I recognise many of these covers but now I have many others to look up and enjoy. Thanks to all who posted cool reccomendations. My additions:
    The Trio (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris) covering The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel
    Devo covering Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones
    Nirvana covering Where Did You Sleep Last Night by Leadbelly

  • moustache

    !!! doing The Magnetic Fields’ “Take Ecstasy With Me.” Best cover song ever.

  • Maia

    Thank you that someone finally recognized the greatness of George Michael’s version of They Won’t Go When I Go! It’s one of my favorites of all time….

  • Maia

    Some more, from my covers iTunes playlist…
    Lay All Your Love on Me (Abba) c. by Erasure
    Hey Ya (Outkast) c. by Thorir
    Nobody’s Fault (Beck) c. by Marianne Faithfull
    They Won’t Go When I Go (Stevie Wonder) c. by George Michael
    Baby One More Time (Britney Spears) c. by Travis
    Total Eclipse of the Heart (Bonnie Tyler) c. by Nicki French
    Across The Universe (The Beatles) c. by Fiona Apple
    Life on Mars (David Bowie) c. by Anggun
    Hazy Shade of Winter (Simon & Garfunkel) c. by The Bangles
    Train In Vain (The Clash) c. by Annie Lennox
    Such Great Heights (Postal Service) c. by Iron & Wine
    Rocket Man (Elton John) c. by Kate Bush
    I Melt With You (Modern English) c. by Nouvelle Vague
    I Want You (Bob Dylan) c. by Sophie B. Hawkins

  • Griffin

    Hello from Chicago (got this off the Chicagoist)
    THANK GOD someone mentioned Failure’s cover of Enjoy The Silence. It’s one of my all time favorite covers.
    Other in contention:
    Deftones- Ordinary Love (Sade)
    The Darkness- Street Spirit (Radiohead)
    The Deftones’ cover isn’t what you’d expect. The Deftones being the Deftones, you’re getting ready for a bombardment of over the top distortion and screaming. It’s a very gentle version of it.

  • Marc Lostracco

    We heart Filter Magazine for covering our covers (grazie to Carrie M. for the heads-up!).

  • blah

    Faith no More doing Easy by Lionel Richie
    there’s another version of Closer by the mike Flowers pop orchestra
    Mr Bungle doing a Mamba version of Sixteen Tons
    Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt is the ultimate. Reznor may have wrote it but Cash owns it.
    Nouvelle Vague doing DK’s too Drunk to Fuck
    (they’ve got two studio albums of covers/reinterpretations, with no cheese)
    Seu Jorge’s versions of Bowie songs in Life aquatic
    Faith no More doing Spanish Eyes
    Social Distortion/ Mike Ness doing Ring of Fire (Written for Johnny Cash by someone who’s name I forget)
    Bi God 20 covering Like a Prayer(Madonna)
    Dresden Dolls covering War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
    GoldFrapp with (Let’s Get)Physical (Olivia Newton John)
    Tiga with Sunglasses at Night(Corey Hart)
    Revolting Cocks covering Do you Think I’m Sexy (Rod Stewart)
    Hard Core Logo doing Sonic Reducer by the Dead Boys
    Iron Horse Blue Grass Covers of Metallica
    Apocalyptica doing the same thing ^^
    Bill Laswells reworkings of Bob Marley
    Sid Viscious Covering My Way by Frank S
    Alley Dukes dong American Nightmare from the Misfits
    Nutley Brass covering Misfits and Ramones
    Beatallica mashing Beatles with Metallica

  • Dave

    “Let it Be” by Aretha Franklin, perhaps better than the Beatles.

  • Cassandra

    My new favorite is “Yellow”. Originally a Coldplay song, but recently recorded by the talented Petra Haden and Bill Frisell.
    Here are a couple fun ones: sorry if there are any repeats!
    “I Believe I can fly” by Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies (originally R.Kelly)
    “My Heart will Go on” by New Found Glory (originally Celine Dion)
    “Wannabe” by Zebrahead (originally Spice Girls)
    Thanks for starting this list Marc, you’ve officially delayed some much needed finals-studying… but I liked it.

  • Stephen Frost

    Deeper, perhaps more melancholy that the originals:
    - Jimmy Buffett doing Bruce Cockburn’s “Pacing the Cage” (Beach House On The Moon album)
    - Cassandra Wilson doing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” (Traveling Miles album)
    Also recommended: Eva Cassidy’s many excellent covers, e.g. Time After Time as well.

  • JennT

    I love the tracks from BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge. I have more than 40 of them, including:
    Charlotte Church, Let Me Love You (Mario)
    Jamie Cullum, Frontin’ (Pharrell)
    Lily Allen, Naive (The Kooks)
    Scissor Sisters, Take Me Out (Franz Ferdinand)
    Corinne Bailey Rae, Munich (Editors)
    Lemar, I Believe in a Thing Called Love (The Darkness)
    Sugarbabes, I Bet U Look Good on the DanceFloor (Arctic Monkeys)
    McFly, I Predict A Riot (Kaiser Chiefs)
    In addition to many already mentioned above, among my all-time favorite covers are:
    Charlie Hunter, More than This (Roxy Music)
    Mr. Bungle, Hit Me Baby (One More Time) (Britney Spears), brilliant for Mike Patton’s descent into madness mid-song.
    Youngblood Brass Band, Human Nature (Michael Jackson)
    Faith No More, Easy Like Sunday Morning (the Commordores)
    Donny Hathaway, What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye) because he owns it without treating the song like a standard.

  • d.

    Whiskey In The Jar (trad.) – Pulp
    You Shook Me All Night Long (ACDC) – Arab Strap
    I Love You (Me Either) (Serge Gainsbourg)- Cat Power & Karen Elson
    Devil Town (Daniel Johnston) – Bright Eyes
    Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic)- Arizona Amp & Alternator
    Boy With The Thorn In His Side (The Smiths) – Dinosaur Jr.
    Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright) (Bob Dylan) – Bobby Bare
    4 My People (Missy Elliott) – Popchor Berlin

  • d.

    Few more:
    More Than This (Roxy Music) – Electrelane
    Got To Give It Up (Marvin Gaye) – The Dirtbombs
    Hyperballad (Bjork) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

  • Stu

    the stereo – covering el scorcho by weezer (rock tribute to weezer)
    jonathan richman – covering stop your sobbing by the kinks (This Is Where I Belong)

  • d

    Eisbar (Grauzone) – Dresden Dolls

  • Dave T.

    Here’s my list – some of them have been mentioned a lot already, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some:
    Cat Power, “Satisfaction” (and Devo’s too)
    Temple City Kazoo Band, “Whole Lotta Love”
    Galaxie 500, “Isn’t It A Pity” (they also cover New Order’s “Ceremony”)
    Johnny Cash, “Hurt” (yes, he owns this song)
    Smashing Pumpkins, “Dreaming”
    Pretenders, “Bold As Love”
    Screeching Weasel, “You Are My Sunshine”
    Social Distortion, “Ring Of Fire”
    Nirvana’s unplugged version of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”
    Bangles, “Hazy Shade of Winter”
    Sex Pistols, “No Fun”
    The Damned, “Ballroom Blitz”
    Husker Du, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”
    Shonen Knife, “Suzy Is A Headbanger”
    Ramones, “California Sun”
    The Clash, “Pressure Drop” and “I Fought The Law”
    Roxy Music, “Eight Miles High”

  • Marky

    A New Zealand band called “Head like a Hole” or HLAH, now long gone, did the greatest cover of Springsteens “I’m on fire”

  • LividRedDragon

    Tom Jones & the Art of Noise – “Kiss” (Prince)
    Racer X – “Godzilla” (Blue Öyster Cult)
    Local H – “Toxic” (Britney Spears) Note: This is MUCH better than Britney’s ;)
    Bauhaus – “Ziggy Stardust” (David Bowie)
    Rammstein – “Stripped” (Depeche Mode)
    Lostprophets – “A View to a Kill” (Duran Duran)
    Powerman 5000 – “Relax” (Frankie Goes to Hollywood)
    Muse – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (Frankie Valli)
    NonPoint – “In the Air Tonight” (Phil Collins)
    Cake – “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor)
    Duran Duran – “White Lines” (Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel)
    The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – “Detroit Rock City” (Kiss)
    Rufus Wainwright – “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen)
    Shinedown – “Simple Man” (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
    Flunk – “Blue Monday” (New Order)
    Orgy – “Blue Monday” (New Order)
    Velvet Revolver – “Money” (Pink Floyd)
    Wyclef Jean – “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd)
    Shiny Toy Guns – “Ritz” (Taco)

  • shanbot

    check out my cover of ‘green eyes’ by coldplay. I did this for my brother’s wedding a couple years back. enjoy!

  • justin

    ok this girl isn’t famous so i don’t know if it counts ( i don’t even know who she is) i was in china town in brisbane ( australia) and i heard the most spine tingling rendition of “fake plastic trees” originally from radiohead, i meanit gave me goosebumps and had me humming the tune for the next week, think light acoustic but sung sort of by missy higgins ( google it) but with so much raw emotion it nealy made me cry…. truely awesome!!!!

  • Dug Rosson

    Marianne Faithful covers John Lennons Working class Hero and Frank Zappa’s cover of the Allman Bros. Whipping post.

  • polvicski

    XTC- All Along The Watchtower

  • MMinTranna

    Sorry for the long list (boring last day of work before the break):
    All Tomorrow’s Parties (Velvet Underground & Nico)- Nick Cave, also Disco 2000 (Pulp)
    Always On My Mind (Brenda Lee) – Pet Shop Boys
    Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (The Who) – The Flaming Lips, who also do Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) and Can’t Get You Outta My Head (Kylie Minogue)
    August & September (The The) – Elbow
    Beautiful Boy (John Lennon) – Feeder
    Burning Down The House (Talking Heads) – Tom Jones & The Cardigans
    Can’t Take My Eyes Off You (The Four Seasons) – Lauryn Hill
    Caravan Of Love (Isley Brothers?) – The Housemartins, also I’ll Be Your Shelter, People Get Ready, etc.
    Crazy (Gnarls Barkley) – The Raconteurs Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Neil Young) – Rheostatics
    Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon (Neil Diamond) – Urge Overkill
    Gloria (Them featuring Van Morrison) – Patti Smith, who also does a kick-ass My Generation (The Who)
    Gone Daddy Gone (The Violent Femmes) – Gnarls Barkley
    Handbags And Gladrags (Manfred Mann, Rod Stewart) – Stereophonics
    Heroes (David Bowie) – Blondie
    Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder) – Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan) – PJ Harvey
    Honky Tonk Women (The Rolling Stones) – Tina Turner, also Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
    I Feel For You (Prince) – Chaka Khan
    I Want You (Marvin Gaye) – Madonna
    It’s My Life (Talk Talk) – No Doubt
    John The Revelator (traditional blues) – Depeche Mode, and also Beck
    Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone medley (Seal, The Temptations) – George Michael
    Killing Me Softly (Roberta Flack) – The Fugees
    Let Down (Radiohead) – Toots And The Maytals, via Easy Star All-Stars
    White Light, White Heat (Velvet Underground) – David Bowie; other Bowie covers I enjoy are Let’s Spend The Night Together (Stones) and See Emily Play (Syd Barrett)
    Me And Bobby McGee (Kris Kristofferson) – Janis Joplin, also Summertime (Gershwin)
    Night And Day (Cole Porter) – U2
    Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode) – Johnny Cash (who needs his own whole section thanks to Rick Rubin)
    Police And Thieves (Lee “Scratch” Perry) – The Clash, also Joe Strummer’s Redemption Song (Bob Marley)
    Sea Of Love (Phil Phillips) – Tom Waits
    Straight To Hell (The Clash) – Josh Rouse
    The Way Young Lovers Do (Van Morrison) – Jeff Buckley
    Tired Eyes (Neil Young) – Cowboy Junkies, also Sweet Jane (Velvet Underground)
    Toys In The Attic (Aerosmith) – R.E.M.
    War Pigs (Black Sabbath) – Faith No More
    We Can Work It Out (The Beatles) – Stevie Wonder
    What You Waiting For? (Gwen Stefani) – Franz Ferdinand


    This is crazy. While its a great list, there is not a single mention of Uwe Schmidt aka Atom Heart and his amazing collection of covers perfomed under the name Senor Coconut, nor from his electro cover album Pop Artificielle.

  • sc

    Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah will always be my all-time favourite, but Lindi Ortega also does a really nice cover of it.
    Here she is singing it at the Rivoli with Danny Michel
    FLASH version
    If that doesn’t work, here it is on Google Video

  • Cortney

    I’m rather fond of Dynamite Hack’s cover of “Boyz in the Hood”

  • Underrun

    One of my favs is Dido doing The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”.
    And I like what Rek mentioned: The Tragically Hip’s “Courage” sung by Sarah Polly.

  • Jillian

    Heres my contribution a band called the grey between from halifax canada covered the flock of seagulls I ran so far away which is featured on grand theft auto vice city soundtrack. But they did it a little diff from the original thats for sure.

  • Deborah

    Can you tell me the name of the artist who covered Joni Mitchell’s “How Do You Stop?”
    It’s a man or a group. Thanks

  • David Topping

    Just recently discovered these great kids called The Wrong Trousers. Harp + standing bass + mandolin + still in high school = dope.
    Video Killed the Radio Star
    Peach Plum Pear

  • http://undefined mark

    Been a while since anyone posted to this list, but I wanted to point out another one here for you that people seem to be responding to:
    Drowning Susan (from Charlotte, NC) covering DEATH by Skinny Puppy, of Canadian industrial fame.
    Listen free here at: