At best it could be transformative, lifting both artist and label into the spotlight. Across four top lists in , Treble made a deep dive into how modern covers albums explored past artists and songs. We also limited musicians to one performance slot each in our countdown, although you may notice certain original artists, sources, and songs showing up multiple times—a testament to their timelessness and versatility. Even without considering some big names you might otherwise expect to find here, live bootlegs, radio-show one-offs, parodies and YouTube home-studio clips, we still managed to wade through and vote on hundreds of well-known and obscure covers. You can hear almost all of those in the embedded Spotify playlist. From gender-switched contexts and wild reinterpretations to faithful renditions and star-powered exposure, descriptions of our essential cover songs—and links to their originals—follow below. Let the debate begin. Originally released in Born to Dance , Penned by the prolifically talented Cole Porter, the track earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Song in , and would go on to become a top ten hit for the Four Seasons some 30 years later. Recording for the cover reportedly took 22 takes to perfect, and it shows.
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When you hear the lyrics, "I fought the law and the law won," which artist comes to mind? If you're musically inclined, a certain English punk-rock band likely pops into your head. And the crunchy guitar riffs and raw power of "American Woman" probably conjure the image of a flashy rock star and his Flying V guitar. But get this, neither tune was written by the artist you associate the song with. They are just masterful takes on someone else's work. To see how your music knowledge stacks up, we've gathered the 50 best cover songs of all time. Be honest, how many did you think were originals?
Cover versions can be a delicate task. Do you simply copy a song or make it totally your own? Every artist has attempted a cover version of some kind during their career, and we've picked the times where they arguably improved up on the original:. Eva Cassidy covered many songs throughout her far too short life and career, but arguably her greatest was this beautiful version of an already-brilliant Fleetwood Mac song.