Adele - Make You Feel My Love Originally by Bob Dylan
I expect many from the younger generation would be surprised to discover that this track from Adele is actually a cover of a Bob Dylan song from 1997. Adele successfully reworked the cheesy track to make it a powerful and emotional piano ballad that had Mums everywhere weeping over her beautiful vocals.
Ellie Goulding - Tessellate Originally by Alt-J
Now I’m not saying that Ellie Goulding’s cover is necessarily better than the original, but there’s no denying that this is an impressive rework. Goulding has reinvented this track, combining a fab saxophone solo with her signature husky vocals to make for an extremely trendy rendition that is perfect for a late night drive.
Gary Jules - Mad World Originally by Tears For Fears
Now who doesn’t remember the most depressing Christmas Number 1 of all time? Far from the funky original from 1980s pop band, Tears For Fears, Jules’ rendition of Mad World would probably make anyone feel a little bit miserable. But in the best way. It is a very good song, after all.
James Blake - Limit To Your Love Originally by Feist
Now I’m not a huge fan of Mr Blake, finding his work a tad pretentious and over-emotional at times. But this cover is undeniably good, and is perfect for his voice. The sparseness of the track is part of its charm, and while some may argue that the original is better, both renditions have something equally brilliant to offer.
Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah Originally by Leonard Cohen
Possibly one of the most famous covers of all time - how could this have escaped my list? Ever since I first heard this song on Shrek as a young child I knew it would be a classic. I think many people still dispute that Buckley was the original writer of this song, and with good reason too; the song truly becomes his own when he performs it. Own it, Jeff.
Johnny Cash - Hurt Originally by Nine Inch Nails
Who ever thought that listening to an old man whining about his woes could be so beautiful to hear? Johnny Cash embarrassed a lot of people by making them dispute that his version was the original when he borrowed this track from Nine Inch Nails. What a clever man.
Jose Gonzalez - Heartbeats Originally by The Knife
Okay, so there was absolutely no question about whether or not this would make this list. Jose Gonzalez absolutely owns this song. He steals it away from The Knife so successfully that I reckon the majority of people have never even heard the original. His vocals and guitar are matched so beautifully to the melody it would have been a crime if he hadn’t covered this song.
London Grammar - Nightcall _Originally by Kavinsky_
If you’ve never heard this song before then you have to do it now. This is such an underrated cover, it’s unreal. Though as I’ve previously admitted, I would listen to Hannah Reid sing the alphabet if it was available. That being said, this trio have managed to rework a funky, extremely French disco track and make it into a heartfelt and moody ballad. It sounds like it would be weird and depressing but it’s actually pretty good.
Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse - Valerie Originally by The Zutons
Yes, this song was annoying back in 2007 when it was overplayed horribly on every single radio station and music channel. But in hindsight, one can look back and appreciate it for being an incredibly fun and energetic cover of a song that was originally (let’s be honest) a little bit naff. Plus, that brass backing is unbelievably festive.
Muse - Feeling Good Originally by Nina Simone
As a ridiculously keen fan girl of this Devonshire trio, I would go so far as to say that this is the best cover of all time ever. For those who are slightly less eager, you can probably still appreciate just how original this song is considering they didn’t write it. And whoever thought of singing the second verse through a megaphone was just a bloody genius.
Placebo - Running Up That Hill Originally by Kate Bush
This song has just that right amount of darkness to make you feel really edgy; it’s heroin chic, if you will. While Kate Bush’s original was absolutely fab, this version of Running Up That Hill is the perfect alternative for when you want to be really angsty and moody and angry with the world.
The Animals - House Of The Rising Sun Originally a traditional folk song from New Orleans
The Animals successfully made this traditional folk song a standard when they officially released it back in the 1960s. This song speaks for itself really. Just listen to that riff.
The Corrs - Dreams Originally by Fleetwood Mac
Many may dispute this but as a young child of the 1990s this song, in my opinion, was one of the all time greatest covers. Fleetwood Mac’s rendition is, of course, beautiful and amazing and nothing can come close to Stevie Nicks. But boy, do The Corrs do a good job of trying with their enthusiastic violin playing and 90s disco backing.
The Futureheads - Hounds Of Love Originally by Kate Bush
This may seem like I’m hating on Kate Bush a little by suggesting that everyone else can perform her songs better than she can, but in reality that’s far from the truth. What I really think is that in order to create a great cover, you need to be working with a song that’s great in the first place. The Futureheads successfully make Hounds Of Love their own with their haphazard harmonies and it’s a lot of fun.
Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You Originally by Dolly Parton
I was shocked when I discovered that this was a cover. Absolutely gobsmacked. This is the Whitney Houston song, and it turns out that she actually nicked it from Dolly Parton. But what a splendid job she did. And that key change - the key change! It gives me chills every time.