There seems to be this unspoken rule that the original of anything is always better. This applies to movies, books, characters, personalities, and especially music. We've seen time and time again failed covers, versions, replicas or strange samplings; hence why there is outcry from the public to just stop trying to make covers happen, they're not going to happen! However, with this being said, there are always exceptions to every rule, so here are the very few exceptions to this otherwise solid rule. There may be disgruntled nods of agreement, outrageous cries of disagreement, but overall there will be a sense of content acceptance.
1. "Nothing Compares To You" - Sinead O'Connor (Original by The Family)
Many people don't actually know that the original version of this song was by The Family, and that Prince
actually covered it too! Despite the legends attempts, Sinead O'Connor takes the crown with her stunning recording. It's emotive, sensual, and sad, so very sad. It outdoes the original by miles and remains one of the most iconic covers of all time.
2. "Mad World" - Gary Jules (Original by Tears for Fears)
Here is another confusing origin story, Gary Jules just sings with such intensity it fits that he would be the original mastermind, but no! It is indeed a Tears For Fears
cover, just with more power and enthusiasm, which makes it the better version, sorry!
3. "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston (Original by Dolly Parton)
Whitney can sing anything and it will instantly be better, but the same can be said for Dolly. However, in accordance with this particular song the leading lady here is of course Whitney. The vigor in which she sings is amazing, she just brings this track to a whole new level.
4. "Crazy In Love" - Antony & The Johnsons (Original by Beyonce)
Now we are all huge Beyonce
fans, naturally. She can do no wrong...but she is human I guess, so that does leave room for some slip ups. "Crazy In Love" is a hit in its purest form, but Antony & The Johnsons
bring out aspects of the track you'd think were another song entirely. It's experimental and melodic, which sets it apart from its original.
5. "The Man Who Sold The World" - Nirvana (Original by David Bowie)
Both artists are groundbreaking in their own way, Nirvana
for their grunge and Bowie
for his fabulousness. If they could have done a collaboration it probably would have been amazing…?
6. "Tainted Love" - Soft Cell (Original by Gloria Jones)
Another song that was assumed to be the original, but yet again is the incorrect assumption. Soft Cell were basically only famous for this song and turns out it's a cover! At least we can say they did one thing right, they made "Tainted Love" a hit that's lasted over the decades.
7. "Respect" - Aretha Franklin (Original by Otis Redding)
Respect is exactly what we have for this song. It's strong and robust in its delivery which is Aretha's
area of expertise. It feels like this song was made for her, she embodies it so well it's hard to think anyone else could have done it before her. This is a song that will remain hers, forever.
8. "There She Goes" - Sixpence None The Richer (Original by The Las)
This is the epitome of a 90's teen movie song, the high pitch vocals along with the guitar riff are fuelled with nostalgic references to our childhood. The love for this song could be due to this fond nostalgia and not for the musical interpretation. Whatever the reason, it is the more adored version and that's what matters.
9. "Hallelujah" - Jeff Buckley (Original by Leonard Cohen)
Both artists have shared with the world their musical prowess and sadly both have left us, but not without giving us this hit first. The original is of course incredible, but Jeff Buckley
adds an extra touch that just seems to make it that tiny bit more amazing. The gradual swelling of the song as performed by both artists gives it its body, but there's something with Jeff's version that evokes so much more emotion.
10. "It's My Life" - No Doubt (Original by Talk Talk)
There is no doubt (pun intended) this version soars above the original. With Gwen's voice and the support of the band, "It's My Life" is one for the ages. It removes the tacky 80's vibe, instead replacing it with the typical 90's sound that still resonates today.
11. "Take Me To The River" - Talking Heads (Original by Al Green)
can take anything, even something terrible, and turn it into a masterpiece. This is not saying Al Green's version was terrible, but the cover is just more interesting. Its silky guitar and keys gives it a seedy vibe, setting it completely apart from the original. "Take Me To The River" has become so ingrained in Talking Heads' sound that it feels weird to even say it's just a cover, but we have to face the facts.
12. "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" - Cyndi Lauper (Original by Robert Hazard)
"No way" you say, how could this iconic song be a cover? But yes, sadly it is. When anyone mentions the name Cyndi Lauper
your mind immediately goes to the fiery red head strolling down the street screaming "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." How can this be a song by anyone else, let alone Robert Hazard? Despite this crazy revelation, Cyndi still owns the song, in absolutely every way. She was born to sing this song, and thank god she did!
13. "Skinny Love" - Birdy (Original by Bon Iver)
This cover caused a lot of controversy for its division in reception. There may be people who strongly disagree with this addition, but it will remain in this list. Birdy brings a sweet feminine touch to this track, more so than Bon Iver could. She enhances the dainty aspects giving it its charm.
14. "Live And Let Die" - Guns N' Roses (Original by Paul McCartney & Wings)
It's surprising anyone could out do a Paul McCartney
song, but Guns N' Roses
appear to do a pretty good job. They're version is much more rock 'n' roll with a certain roughness that makes it almost gritty and very appealing.
15. "Blinded By The Light" - Manfred Mann's Earth Band (Original by Bruce Springsteen)
Nothing against Bruce
but his original version of this song is quite bad. The cover is synthy, dreamy and more engaging in every way. Its success is mostly due to the guitar riffs that accompany the track, they help build the layers whilst the vocals complete it.