Sunday, November 22, 2015

Favorites - Top 10 Cover Songs

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about anything related to music, so here’s something a little different. For the longest time, songs have been covered by other artists. Whether it’s for TV, a random artist, or some random bloke on YouTube, just know that they are out there. For this list, I’m pretty much talking about covers by professional artists. Let’s just leave the Glee stuff out of this. What was the appeal of that show? Anyway, most if not all covers are pretty inferior to the original. There are a lot of examples out there. Then, there are some that are pretty decent but still aren’t as great or memorable.

Today, here are some of the covered songs that I think are as good or are greater than the original songs. It’s not in order and I’m leaving it at ten. There are other songs out there but I have to cut it off somewhere. I was curious in seeing what songs were covers and a couple actually shocked me. I’ll include links to both the original and cover so you can make up your own mind.

1. “Hurt” - Johnny Cash
While I’m not a country fan, I can actually listen to some Johnny Cash. His music tends to be inclusive to almost any genre. “Hurt” was actually one of his last hits before he died in 2003. The song was originally done by Nine Inch Nails. It also was a big hit back the day and it almost won a Grammy in 1996. They’re both pretty good renditions but I do have to go towards Cash’s rendition. I like the NIN version but it seemed too quiet to me. I think even Trent Reznor (the frontman for NIN) had said that Cash’s version was pretty good. They both hit that depressive mood really well.

2. "Got To Get You Into My Life" - Earth, Wind, and Fire
You know I had to get EWF on here somewhere. “Got To Get You Into My Life” was actually done by the Beatles first. It appeared on their 1966 album, Revolver, and it was a modest hit. EWF covered the song for a soundtrack to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1978 and then released the song on their own hits album. They are both good songs, but I lean towards EWF’s version. I love the music to it with all of the horns blasting, the bass playing, and the guitar solo.

3. "Baker Street" - The Foo Fighters
“Baker Street” was originally done by Greg Rafferty back in1978. I’ve always liked the song especially since it has that sax in the chorus. I still wish I learned how to play the saxophone. That’d probably be one of the first things I’d want to play. The Foo Fighters covered it and released that version on a B-Side album back in 1998. It’s a good rendition of the song, but I don’t know if I could say it’s better than the original. If anything, it’s an awesome rock version of the original.  Ya’ll can probably make your mind better than me on this one.

4. "I Will Always Love You" - Whitney Houston
For those who didn’t know, this song was a cover of a previous song. I didn’t know that till about a few years ago. Dolly Parton originally did this song for her 1974 album, Jolene. It did pretty well for its time on the country side of things. Whitney Houston did a cover of the song for the movie, The Bodyguard, in 1993. I think I first saw that movie with my family at my uncle’s apartment. They both hit their respective notes in their own genres. While the original is fine, I like Whitney’s rendition better. The singing, the music, and the whole feel of the song is good. I mean, it’s not even a choice for me here.

5. "Ain’t No Sunshine" – Michael Jackson
“Ain’t No Sunshine” was originally done by artist Bill Withers for his album in 1971. It was his breakout hit. While Michael Jackson was with the Jackson 5, he also released some solo albums and he covered this song on his 1972 album, Got to Be There. His version is a bit longer and more spruced up. They’re both nice versions but I actually can’t say which is the better one. The original is short and to the point. Michael’s version has a bit more though. Either way, they’re nice in the end.

6. "Land of Confusion" – Disturbed
Why yes, I do like listening to some Disturbed every once in a while. I was shocked they did this song and was quite surprised by how good it was. “Land of Confusion” was originally released by Genesis on their album, Invisible Touch, back in 1986. It’s actually one of my favorite songs from the group. Disturbed released their rendition on their album, Ten Thousand Fists, back in 2005. As I said before, I liked it and is as about as good as the original.

7. "Respect" - Aretha Franklin
Now, I know this comes as a shock, but this was originally done by another artist before Aretha Franklin got her hands on it. Otis Redding originally did the song for his album, Otis Blue, back in 1965. Franklin did her rendition for her album in 1967. While it is a cover, it does something different from Otis’s version. His version was a man’s perspective on the subject of respect while Aretha’s was from a woman’s perspective. As to whose version is better, I have to go with Aretha’s. Otis’s version is good but Aretha knocked it out of the park.

8. "I Feel For You" - Chaka Khan
This song was originally done by Prince (oh yeah) and was released on his second album in 1979. Man, that’s a weird album cover. While this song has been done by other artists such as the Pointer Sisters and Rebbie Jackson (one of the Jackson family), Chaka Khan’s sticks out the most. It was released on her album, I Feel For You, in 1984. Hers was more successful than the others as well as Prince’s version. I also like Chaka’s version over the original as well. It’s definitely some you can dance to. I also like the music and overall feel to it.

9. "With A Little Help From My Friends" - Joe Cocker
We have another Beatles’ cover here today. This song was actually released on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (the actual album, not the movie soundtrack) in 1967. It’s remembered to be one of their best songs… for some reason. I think it’s alright. Joe Cocker did a rendition of the song on his 1968 album, With A Little Help From My Friends. Cocker’s version was also used as the theme song for the TV show, The Wonder Years. It’s easy to see which version is better. Cocker’s version is loud and reeks of coolness to me. You got the guitar blaring, the singers singing, and the cymbals a-clashing! It’s awesome.

10. "Twist and Shout" - the Beatles and the Isley Brothers
Yes, the Beatles are on this list again. This time, they are actually the ones covering someone. I also learned a little more about this song. Apparently, the Isley Brothers, the ones who first made the song popular, weren’t the ones who first did the song. It was originally released by a group called the Top Notes back in 1961. It wasn’t too popular though. The Isley Brothers covered it in 1962 and then the Beatles covered it in 1963. The Beatles modeled their version off of the Isley Brothers. So, which is better? I’ll leave that up to you since I think all three are pretty good.

Well, I thought I’d end it here. There were other songs I thought about adding to the list, but ten is enough. If you have any covered songs that are as good or surpass the original, let me know. Peace, God Bless, and stay funky or something.

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