12 Best Cover Songs For Any Time Or Situation
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12 Best Cover Songs For Any Time Or Situation

There's something so satisfying about an artist being able to make an already-beloved song their own.

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12 Best Cover Songs For Any Time Or Situation
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Cover songs have been around for as long as there's been a commercial music industry. In the Youtube age, concert recordings of covers, and renditions of popular songs by unsigned artists, are plentiful. There are many covers that have become just as popular as, or more popular than, the originals (sometimes for the wrong reasons). While a bad cover can be amusing, there's something so satisfying about an artist being able to make an already-beloved song their own. Here are 12 cover songs that I have come to love:

1. "Careless Whisper" by Seether (Originally by Wham!)

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As I was driving to work this morning and blanking on what I was going to write this week's Odyssey article about, the original version of this song came on the radio, and while George Michael will forever be my favorite birthday buddy (he died on our half-birthday, sadly), I can't hear this song without thinking of the bizarre warm-up we once did at a class at my gym, which involved running laps and lunging and squatting to a Seether song. But not just any song, but a darker-sounding and saxophone-free version of "Careless Whisper." The song actually suits Seether ridiculously well (If I knew more about music theory I could vocalize why).

2. "There She Goes" by Sixpence None The Richer (Originally by The La's)

Sixpence None the Richer was right up my alley when their cover came out in 1999, and it took me years to listen to the power pop original, which is lovely in its own right. Really, I don't think there's one song on this list where I would call the cover better than the original; good songs tend to be good songs (unless they're covered by William Shatner, if you happened to click the link in the intro).

3. "Proud Mary" by Ike & Tina Turner (Originally by Credeence Clearwater Revival)

Case in point; Ike & Tina's version of this song is so different from the CCR one that in some ways they don't sound like the same song, especially as the cover's tempo picks up at the end. But they're both great.

4. "Ain't That a Shame" by Cheap Trick (Originally by Fats Domino)

Gary Clark Jr. and Jon Batiste's awesome tribute performance of this song on the Grammy's made me remember how much I love this song (and also reminded me what a terrible year 2017 was for musician deaths ugh). Cheap Trick's power pop cover, off their iconic "Live at Budokan" album, was said to be a favorite of Domino.

5. "Desperado" by Linda Ronstadt (Originally by The Eagles)

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Ronstadt has been referred to as the "queen of the cover song" before, but this cover is perhaps the most fitting since the Eagles got their start as her backup band, and it suits both acts incredibly well.

6. "Cool Jerk" by The Go-Go's (Originally by the Capitols)

This one is mostly on here because my BFF and I got to dance on stage with the Go-Go's to this cover after I won two free tickets to one of their shows, and then I met my soulmate on the same weekend. The original version hasn't brought me any such luck.

7. "The Fool on the Hill" by Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 (Originally by the Beatles)

Mendes has made a career out of bossa nova covers of Portuguese and English-language standbys, so I had my pick of songs to include on this list, but the arrangement of this song, light but wistful, won out.

8. "A Hazy Shade of Winter" by The Bangles (Originally by Simon & Garfunkel)

Clearly, I am on a power-pop kick right now, so I've been listening to this song a lot lately. I'm realizing my favorite Bangles songs are the ones that they all share vocals on, and this cover, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1987 film "Less Than Zero" really shows off their ability to harmonize.

9. "Red Red Wine" by UB40 (Originally by Neil Diamond?)

Okay, I had no idea this was a cover until recently, let alone one written by Neil Diamond. It just works so well as a reggae song that I can't imagine it as anything else. (Diamond also wrote "I'm a Believer," apparently.)

10. "Landslide" by Smashing Pumpkins (Originally by Fleetwood Mac)

I'm extremely protective of Fleetwood Mac songs and every time I hear that someone's covered one I bristle. But Billy Corgan made this song his own, but not in a way that made people think it was a Smashing Pumpkins original (I loved the Dixie Chicks version until I realized that this was happening and then it made me grumpy.)

11. "Comfortably Numb" by Scissor Sisters (Originally by Pink Floyd)

Okay, this cover was completely unnecessary, and the Scissor Sisters' campy falsetto style does not fit the somber mood of this song at all, and I can't imagine that many Pink Floyd fans appreciate the disco-fication, but after listening to the cover enough times, I took it out of that "so bad, it's good" category and decided I genuinely liked it. Sorry. You have to admit it was a bold move.

12. "If You Could Read My Mind" - Stars on 54 (Originally by Gordon Lightfoot)

I have a completely unironic love for '70s soft rock, but even I can concede that one has to be in a certain mood to enjoy it. One also has to be in a certain mood, an entirely different mood, to enjoy oversung '90s dance music. Luckily, there's a version of "If You Could Read My Mind" that'll speak to each one. The Stars on 54 cover was recorded for the 1998 film "54" and I personally think it should be a part of every girls' night.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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