2nd Best Cover Songs
There's the original, then a cover version that's almost as famous (or more), then there are these ones.
1. All Along the Watchtower by U2
Original: Bob Dylan
Best Known Cover: Jimi Hendrix Experience
I think U2's faster tempo lends an urgency to the song that improves the atmosphere. I kind of like Bono's improvisation ("All I need is red guitar...")
2. Respect by Diana Ross and the Supremes Join the Temptations
Original: Otis Redding
Best Known Cover: Aretha Franklin
Talk about a Supergroup!
3. When The Levee Breaks by Playing for Change (featuring John Paul Jones)
Original: Memphis Minnie
Best Known Cover: Led Zeppelin
Every Playing For Change (a collaboration of artists all over the world contributing their talents - often with flavours of their local culture) is epic. The Led Zeppelin version is not the original, though it is better known and informs this version.
4. Hound Dog by Karis Eden
Original: Big Mama Thornton
Best Known Cover: Elvis Presley
A little bluesier...
5. 20th Century Boy by Chalk Circle
Best Known Cover: Placebo
The Placebo version came up first in my search, and I saw them do this live on TV with David Bowie, so I'll count that as better known. I think the Chalk Circle version has more 'oomph'.
6. I Fought The Law by Green Day
Original: Bobby Fuller Four
Best Known Cover: The Clash
7. Nothing Compares 2 U by Toni & Chris Cornell
Original: Prince/The Family
Best Known Cover: Sinead O'Connor
Chris Cornell released a version of this song after Prince's passing, but knowing now that Chris himself would pass on himself a year later, I've chosen this heartbreaking version with his daughter Toni in a duet instead.
8. 99 Red Balloons by Goldfinger
Original: 99 LuftBallons by Nena
Best Known Cover: 99 Red Balloons by Nena (English Version)
By changing the language of the lyrics, Nena covered themselves (in my books). So Goldfinger gets 2nd place.
9. Wild Horses by Chantal Kreviazuk
Original: The Rolling Stones
Best Known Cover: The Sundays
The Sundays version and any other female artist with an airy voice will draw comparisons. I picked Chantal since she's one of my favourite singer/songwriters.
10. Sweet Child O'Mine by Rachelle Spring
Original: Guns N Roses
Best Known Cover: Sheryl Crow
A Bossa-Nova version???? Sacrilege some might say, but you have to admire the audacity.
11. Angel From Montgomery by Leslie Spit Treeo
Original: John Prine
Best Known Cover: Bonnie Raitt
There's a million versions of this song that vary between country, blues or even jazz. This one from a Toronto band is rock n' roll.
12. Dancing in the Streets by Van Halen
Original: Martha Reeves and the Vandelas
Best Known Cover: Mick Jagger and David Bowie
I don't know what kind of witchcraft Eddie Van Halen was up to...