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Song Cover Versions Rock!

Updated on August 30, 2017

Cover Songs Make the Music World Go 'Round

Song Cover Versions Rock!

While there has been many a musical misstep over the decades, some songs just beg to be covered. Imagine if only Bob Dylan ever sang Bob Dylan songs like Knockin' on Heaven's Door or no one covered Leadbelly's fabulous Black Betty. What a loss that would be for the music world.

If I hear a song that I love and discover that the songwriter has recorded their own version of it, I immediately seek out the original. Sometimes a cover does an even better job of expressing the song than the first version did. When the song is strong, a new version can make you think about it in a different way. And every once in a while, I'll find a song that has been recorded so many times and so many ways that I have to collect as many cover versions as I can get my digital tentacles on. (When that happens, I often make a lens about it to keep them all in one place. Check out my profile for some examples or even more on my blog, The Not-Pop Jukebox!)

So, tell me, do you love song covers or do you hate to hear that yet another someone has butchered music that you hold dear? Take a look around and share your opinion! And if you've got a favorite version of a cover song that I've missed please leave it in the guest book below.

Before You Decide Whether Cover Songs Rock

Consider these some successful cover bands

While some artists only cover one or two songs, preferring to record original music and lyrics, there are bands and musicians dedicated to taking hit songs and stamping them with their own particular personality. While "Weird" Al Yankovic has his own peculiar genius, I'm not talking about lyrics parodies. These folks take the original lyrics and completely transform the song into a new genre. I'd like to introduce you to a few of them here.

Richard Cheese and his band, Lounge Against the Machine, have been remaking hits into swingin' lounge songs for years. Imagine Frank Sinatra singing Baby's Got Back or Dean Martin crooning Radiohead's Creep. You can give Mr. Cheese and the band a listen at Last.fm but be warned: Richard Cheese has a potty mouth.

If a lounge act isn't your thing, as funny as it may be, take a listen to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. These musicians have made it their mission to spice up mellow old hits, giving them a hefty goose of hard rock guitar. Artists from such well-known groups as NOFX and the Foo Fighters take time out of their busy schedules to foster this labor of, well, fun. My favorite? Who Put the Bomp.

If you fondly remember The Andrews Sisters and their ilk, give the Puppini Sisters a try. While they do some of their own, original material, these women (who are not sisters, by the way) also offer terrific versions of songs like Walk Like an Egyptian, Blondie's Heart of Glass, and I Will Survive, all with a 40s twist.

And now there's Pomplamoose, whose creativity and fun keep their cover songs true to the originals without sounding like cheesy karaoke versions. You'll find videos below for all of these folks.

See Cover Bands Perform Great Versions - Including Fabulous Pomplamoose!

If you only watch one video from this set, make it the Pomplamousse cover of Earth Wind & Fire's September with the bass drum muppet interview at the end. Then watch the Muppet Show version of (Ghost) Riders in the Sky overlaid with the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover anyway. Remember to be patient with live videos, as the band often includes banter and introductory remarks. Some of the songs don't start until a minute or so into the clip. And to be fair, Star Wars Cantina isn't really a cover of Copacabana. It's awfully good, though.

Do Cover Versions Rock or Do Cover Bands Stink?

Let me know where you stand on the burning question of the recording industry. Convince me that I'm wrong! Remember, if you've got a link to drop, please put it in the "Yea" or "No Way" lists below.

Can other bands do a hit song justice?

If You Liked the Sound of That, Pick 'Em Up! - Try Cover Bands to Expand Your Taste in Music.

Sample Cover Songs from All Genres - Country, Pop, Ska, Punk, and More

Just about every band has recorded a cover song at some point. I've collected a few dozen of them here, from singers and bands as varied as Johnny Cash, The Toasters, and The Corrs, and The Connells. And of course there are the standards from Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, and more. If you've got a favorite cover version, particularly one that's done in a style that's very different from the original or the usual sound of the band that recorded it, please drop me a note in the guest book below and I'll add a sample here.

What's Your Favorite Cover Song? - Or do you think they're a waste of 4:4 time?

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    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I couldn't believe javrsmith mentioned Blinded By The Light by Manred Mann. I had just finished listening to that.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      Playing for Change - many songs actually. No more war f ex No more trouble,

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 6 years ago

      @javr: Holy cow, I didn't even know that *was* a cover song. You've given me my blog post for the day! Thanks so much for your comment. I love to hear about new (to me) cover songs.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Blinded by the Light by Manfred Man. Bruce Springstein stopped playing the original version for years. Radical difference in the sounds of the two versions. Both are great.

    • TopMovieSoundtr profile image

      TopMovieSoundtr 7 years ago

      Jump by Aztec Camera

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 7 years ago from Upstate, NY

      It really depends on how well its done. There are some cover songs I just love. Others I can't stand.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love the song True Colors by Cyndi Lauper. I know that song was re-made by a couple of people including Phill Collins. I love that song & it's words as well. It's such a beautiful song. Parental Control Software

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 7 years ago

      @anonymous: I have a whole lens for American Pie at https://hubpages.com/entertainment/american-pie-so as well. Thanks for visiting and adding some covers!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

      This is a fantastic lens (as your lenses always are). Lensrolling it to my Wham!'s Last Christmas Covers lens. (:

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 8 years ago

      [in reply to Shaney] Is that for or against?! :D I know that Me First and the Gimme Gimmes did a great cover of Leaving on a Jet Plane, but I'll have to see if I can find any others. American Pie could certainly use some rockin'.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Wild World (Cat Stevens) - Cover by Mr. Big

      Burning Love (Elvis) - Wynonna Judd

      If (Bread) - Eric martin

      Anyone know any rock cover for these songs?

      -American Pie

      -Leaving on a Jet Plane

    • RolandTumble profile image

      RolandTumble 8 years ago

      I, too, used to collect cover versions (still do, but more slowly). Some of my favorites are:

      Take Me to the River by the Talking Heads

      All Along the Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix

      Smokestack Lightning by Manfred Mann

      and anything by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

    • gmarlett lm profile image

      gmarlett lm 8 years ago

      Top notch lens! Welcome to the SquidGroovy Group

    • MatCauthon profile image

      MatCauthon 8 years ago

      I used to collect cover songs. 5*

    • Not-Pop profile image
      Author

      Not-Pop 8 years ago

      Ha! My sentiments exactly. He's the best argument there is for cover songs. ;)

    • MacPharlain profile image

      MacPharlain 8 years ago

      If it weren't for covers of Bob Dylan tunes, we'd never be able to understand the lyrics!

    • VBright profile image

      VBright 8 years ago

      The lens looks fantastic and reads well. I can't comment to the content, however (I am deaf) Sorry!

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 8 years ago from Idaho

      You know I'm terrible with remembering the names of songs, just the words. I get a kick out of some that have been redone in my daughters generation. She will be playing a new song done by her generation on the radio, and I will singing along and know the words. She looks surprised at me, saying "Mom, how do you know the words to this song". Great lens!