5 Great Cover Songs!

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Just like movie remakes, cover songs can be really tricky. Some are fantastic while some are truly god awful that should have never even considered “paying homage” to the original. But when they nail it, oh boy is it something special. Look at the remakes of John Carpenter’s The Thing or Dawn Of The Dead, films that took elements of the original and created something new and exciting. Films like these got me thinking, “What are some of my favorite cover songs? What are songs that payed homage to a classic while creating something original?” So I put together five cover songs that I feel met these requirements for your enjoyment. Head on below for my 5 Great Cover Songs!

Marilyn Manson – “Sweet Dreams” (Originally written/performed by The Eurythmics

Alright, this one was tough for me to put on here as I’m actually, in all honesty, sick and tired of this song. I’ve heard it so many times that I’m beginning to fall under the delusion that the original is actually the cover song.

Still, I have to admit that this song is a fantastic example of taking an original and giving it a whole new spin. While the original was dancey and upbeat, Manson’s version became something sinister, something evil. Sweet Dreams never sounded more like a nightmare.

Johnny Cash – “Hurt” (Originally written/performed by Nine Inch Nails)

Probably one of the most famous and most popular cover songs of the 21st century, Cash’s take on “Hurt” is almost like an opposite of what Manson did with “Sweet Dreams”. Whereas the Nine Inch Nails version was eerie and almost phantasmagoric, Cash brought a melancholia and emotional pain that touched my heart in ways that other songs have only wished they could.

Also, you should check out this astonishing cover done by South Korean singer Youn Sun Nah.

Tool – “No Quarter” (Originally written/performed by Led Zeppelin

Covering Led Zeppelin is a difficult task as the group’s fanbase is rather rabid and defensive. But when a band as inventive and boundary-challenging as Tool takes aim at a track, it’s pretty hard to find faults. Paying great respect to the original, the prog rock/metal giants also added in their own flourishes and their own tone, creating something epic and gorgeous.

Opeth – “Would?” (Originally written/performed by Alice In Chains)

While it doesn’t sound drastically different (let’s be honest, it’s nearly identical), Opeth’s take on one of my absolute favorite Alice In Chains songs is more polished and simply cleaner. It removed the grime and grunge (hehe) of the original and created an almost liquid-like flow to the song.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Originally written/performed by Nirvana)

I’ve said it before and I have no problem saying it again: I hate Nirvana. They come on the radio, I change the channel. It’s that simple. “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? Can’t stand it for the life of me. I really hate hearing that song.

But then this cover came along and simply blew me away. Talk about taking a song and giving it a whole new spin. Everyone knows the iconic original song and its heavy, dirty attitude. But this takes the song and makes it a gorgeous, sublime, emotional piece of art.

Alright readers, what are some of your favorite cover songs? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Lion7718

    Aaron Lewis – Black (Pearl Jam)
    The Sundays – Wild Horses (The Rolling Stones)

  • weresmurf

    Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams
    Marilyn Manson – Tainted Love
    Cake – I will survive
    Ben Folds – Bitches ain’t shit
    Johnny Cash – Hurt
    Israel Kamakawiwoʻole – Somewhere over the Rainbow – (The dude wrapped two great songs into one, that’s a hell of a feat by ANY standards)
    Gary Jules – Mad World
    Placebo – Running up that hill (they made Kate Bush lyrics listenable AND one of her songs great, a hell of an accomplishment.)

  • ktn

    i never cared about the original version of PAINKILLER, from JUDAS PRIEST, but the DEATH version is one of my favorite songs ever.

  • YTYTY

    Rebelheart – Hurt (NIN) [especially from 3:40]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3Tp9iU8-0

    Deftones – Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
    Deftones – Drive (The Cars Cover)

    The Human Experimente, ft. Robert Fripp, Maynard Keenan, Jeff Fayman – 21st Century Schizoid Man (King Crimson)

    Puscifer – Balls To The Wall (Pillow Fight Mix) ( Accept)

    A Perfect Circle – Imagine (John Lennon)
    A Perfect Circle – People Are People (Depeche Mode)
    A Perfect Circle – The Nurse Who Loved Me (Failure)
    A Perfect Circle – Freedom of Choice (Devo)

    Live – I Walk The Line (Johnny Cash)

    Punk Covers The Collection Album – All That She Wants (Ace of Base)

    Alien Ant Farm – Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)

    • rgold

      I love that failure cover…. :)

      These are my two favorite
      Cowboy Junkies- Sweet Jane
      Pearl Jam – Reign Over Me

  • darkvictory

    Ministry-Lay Lady Lay(Dylan)
    Motorhead-God Save the Queen(The Sex Pistols)
    Johnny Cash-Personal Jesus(Depeche Mode)
    Pantera-Cat Scratch Fever(Ted Nugent)
    Type O Negative w/Ozzy Osbourne-Pictures of Matchstickmen(Status Quo)

    • dr.lamb

      The Ministry version is so great. The whole album is pretty underrated.

  • Dr_Loomis

    Metallica – Turn The Page (Bob Seger)

  • Raphael

    I like that opeth version of chains, subtle changes but definitley has an opeth sound, I always thought mikael sounded like cantrell anyway.

    Rhys Fulber covering skinny puppy’s worlock is a cool moody take on a cool moody song

  • Erased

    Pantera – Hole In The Sky (Black Sabbath)
    Pantera – Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath)

  • sascha henschel

    WASP – When the levee breaks (orig. Led Zep) – Album ‘The best of the best’

    • john

      Led Zepplin- When the Levee Breaks (org. Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie)

      • sascha henschel

        Thanks, didn’t know that.
        It’s interesting to see where their influences come from.

  • killxxjoy

    Karen O w/ Trent Reznor- Immigrant song

    • dr.lamb

      Great choice !

  • mjshearer1

    Vader – Fight Fire With Fire. Way better than the original. It helps if you have someone who can actually drum.

  • Flufferx
  • grayghost

    Tori Amos’s cover of: ’97 Bonnie & Clyde by Eminem….. is creepy as fuck
    Guns and roses cover of : Ain’t it fun by The Dead Boys
    Pearl Jam’s cover of: 25 minutes to go by Johnny Cash
    Sid Vicious’ cover of: My Way by Frank Sinatra…”To think, I killed a cat” instead of “…I did all that” …hilarious
    Filter’s cover of: One by three dog night…also very dark
    Faith no more’s cover of: War Pigs by Black sabbath… spot on
    Rage Against the machine’s cover of: The ghost of Tom Joad by Bruce Springsteen
    Red hot Chili peppers cover of: Fire by Jimi Hendricks
    The Big F’s cover of: Kick out the Jams by MC5
    Metallica’s cover of: Stone cold crazy by Queen …brutal

    I can go on all day I love covers

    • grayghost

      On the Opie and Anthony show they found this homeless guy singing in the street so they brought him up to thier studio…he did a version of “creep” by Radiohead…you will never be able to listen to the original again after hearing this. http://youtu.be/hXlzci1rKNM

  • mcgillj

    ok.. going to get some HATE for a few but..

    Guns and Roses I think did AMAZING covers of “Sympathy for the Devil” (The Rolling Stones), “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” (Dylan) and “Live and Let Die” (Wings).

    Also.. I prefer the, I always get it mixed up, but I believe Hendrix performed the cover of “All Along the Watchtower” (was Dylan the original?)

    Also.. No Doubt’s take on “It’s My Life”, sorry to me blows Talk Talk’s version ouf of the water.. Also the cover version of “Mad World” used in “Donnie Darko” the sound isn’t the change wasn’t toally different but it had a much deeper richer sound to me. Also I liked Golden Smog’s take on “Shooting Star” for the film “Clerks” over Bad Company’s original, while it was an amazing song at the time, I think the newer version yet again just seems much more fitting.

    Some remakes are DISASTERS.. ok alot are but in music, there are a fair amoung of hits we don’t seem to think about.

    just to name a few.. I am sure I could think of tons more, but I don’t think I saw any of these particular ones mentioned.

    I will say I agree with the assessment, and I don’t particularly care for Manson, but the way he took “Sweet Dreams” and made it more into a nightmare, really was something different in taking the song in a new direction.. I also agree with Cash’s take on “Hurt”.

    • sascha henschel

      What about
      Vanessa Carlton (Be not Nobody) – Paint it Black (RS)

  • JAYSAW

    Manson’s ‘sweet dreams’ is a given really.
    Pretty much ALL of ‘garage inc’
    Type o negative- summer breeze, cinnamon girl, highway star, light my fire,
    Roger daltrey- don’t let the sun go down on me- from the lost boys soundtrack
    Professional murder music’s version of ‘a night like this’ from the ‘ginger snaps soundtrack’
    snake river conspiricy’s ‘how soon is now?’
    Jack off jill- creep, love song(the cure)
    The donna’s version of ‘strutter’ from ‘detroit rock city’
    The offspring- i wanna be sedated from ‘idles hands’.

    There are more, but i’ll get back to y’all.

  • violentdope

    how is the thing and dawn remake new and exciting??shit suxs…

    • dr.lamb

      Agreed. Carpenter’s “The Thing” itself is a good example for a great remake, not that abomination of 2011.

      • spartan87

        Plus the 2011 Thing wasn’t a remake. It was a prequel

  • djblack1313

    i love Joan Jett’s cover of Crimson & Clover and Everyday People. there are other covers but i can’t think of them right now. :)

    Manson’s Sweet Dreams is a very good cover (although i love the Eurythmics’s original more. Eurythmics/Annie Lennox rule!) but it’s SO over-played/over-exposed by now that i’m sick of it.

    • dr.lamb

      They STILL use it on movie soundtracks…

      • djblack1313

        dr.lamb, i know, right? lol.

        • dr.lamb

          I just looked it up on imdb.: 6 times in about 16 years, Manson and Lennox approve.
          Still, most overused band is maybe AC/DC. Nothing against AC/DC, but anytime Hollywood wants to “rock us”, they use their songs. “Overused songs/artists” could be a topic for a ew thread on itself.

          • DevilDiabloDearieDear

            Or The Cure! Those aresholes seem to be on every soundtrack going, along with that Madonna bitch, who still seems to get namechecked in every bloody movie, or heard, or even seen, sometimes quoted. Ohdeeaarr! She’s shit and trust the US to feel something of such deficiency of point, value or depth should be revered. Says it all really.

  • dangerzone79

    Nine Inch Nails – Dead Souls (Original by Joy Division)
    Biohazard – We’re Only Gonna Die (Original by Bad Religion)
    Jane’s Addiction – Sympathy For The Devil (Original Rolling Stones)
    Husker Du – Love Is All Around (Original Mary Tyler Moore show)

  • dr.lamb

    NIN – Get down, make love (Queen)
    Six Feet Under – TNT (AC/DC)
    Marilyn Manson- I put a spell on you (Screamin Jay Hawkins)
    Type O Negative- Hey Pete (Cover of “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix)
    and
    for fun: Scissor Sisters- Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd)

    • dr.lamb

      and RHCP- Love Rollercoaster (ohio Players)

  • Slasher_Lover23

    Marilyn Manson–Sweet Dreams
    Type O Negative–Summer Breeze
    Karen O, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross–Immigrant Song
    Shinedown–Simple Man
    Joan Jett–Crimson and Clover
    The Wallflowers–Heroes

  • HMH

    GOB – Paint It Black
    The Deftones – No Ordinary Love
    Sonic Youth – Superstar
    Tori Amos – If 6 was 9

    • evilfairydust

      Gob’s Paint it Black…I know, right?? I heard that song in the credits for most recent Salem’s Lot miniseries, and immediately fell in love with it! Also, Superstar…is there a creepier song out there??

    • WalkingDeadGuy

      Sonic Youth’s ‘Superstar’ cover is amazing. I remember hearing it on the trailer for ‘High Tension’ and I ran out to buy it immediately. Great song, great cover.

  • djblack1313

    oh i forgot, Sheryl Crow’s cover of The Carpenters “Solitaire”. is fucking awesome!

  • lovezoid

    Raining Blood – Tori Amos
    Wax and Wane – Deftones
    Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana
    Smashing Pumpkins – Landslide
    Faith No More – This Guy’s in Love With You

    • lovezoid

      And I agree with many, many of the above choices.

  • dr.lamb

    As I see Nirvana mentioned here:
    Nirvana – The Man who sold the World (David Bowie)

    • dr.lamb

      Johnny Cash – Thirteen (Danzig)

  • jchano123

    Otep – Breed (Nirvana cover)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37ncqG_AoJk
    Earlyrise – Narcissistic Cannibal (Korn cover)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywhvj7UaDHo

  • Cozen

    Good to see TOOL’s version of No Quarter on this list. They accomplished a beautiful segue from the literal LZ cover to an all out TOOL track…seamless, flawless, fluid, etc.

    Always loved Sepultura’s version of “Bullet The Blue Sky”

  • Lion7718

    Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun (The Animals)
    Myself, I like it better than the original.

    Nonpoint – In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins)

  • crimghost

    Type O Negative Black Sabbath
    Type O Negative Paranoid

    2 of the best cover versions of songs ever done.

  • violentdope

    type o negative- summer breeze
    marilyn manson- down in the park,rock n roll nigger,this is halloween,eye,highway to hell,1999….

  • m-m-m-MONSTER_KILL

    “Mr. Crowley” (originally by Ozzy Osbourne), covered by Dio, Rob Halford, and Yngwie Malmsteen. It manages to actually surpass the original (which I love) with the help of Halford and Dio’s incredible vocals, and of course Malmsteen melting faces on guitar.

    “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (originally by Guns N’ Roses), covered by Taken By Trees (you all may remember it from the trailers for the last House on the Left remake). On that note, “My Boys”, Taken By Trees’s cover of “My Girls” by Animal Collective was also quite good.

    White Rabbit (originally by Jefferson Airplane), covered by Collide.

    “The Final Countdown” (originally by Europe), covered by Children of Bodom.

  • DevilDiabloDearieDear

    “You Keep Me Hangin’On” from Kim Wilde beats the living crap out of the embarrassing and thrown-togther construct of the Supremes version. Ditto her ‘Putty In Your Hands’ by Shangri-Las.

    She does the same with ‘If I Can’t Have You’,first done by Yvonne Elliman, and for the disco song ‘Shame’, whoever did that first, also outdoing on her recent covers album ‘Just What I Needed’ by The Cars, ‘To France’ by Mike Oldfield, ‘It’s Alright’ by East 17 and ‘Beautiful Ones’-Suede.

    Duran Duran have also made several songs more listenable to me than were they first came from whether it’s ‘Perfect Day’ (and original composer Lou Reed admits that), Femme Fatale’ (Velvet Underground), ‘Watching The Detectives’ (Elvis Costello), ‘Lay Lady Lay’ (Bob Dylan) or ‘Make Me Smile’ (Cockney Rebel & Steve Harley).

    Bangles ‘Tear Off Your Own Head (Doll Revolution)’ beat up Elvis Costello’s first, and their ‘Hazy Shade Of Winter’ by Paul Simon. Then there’s Sandra Cretu covering ‘All You Zombies’ from The Hooters, a great song but their treatment of it was a hammy joke, doesn’t matter it was theirs! Also did a masterful version of ‘Nights In White Satin’ by Moody Blues.

    Marian Gold/Alphaville’s take on ‘Say It Ain’t So, Joe’ by Murray Head, turned it into a tragic and stirring anthem.

    OMD doing Chris Monetz’s ‘The More I See You’.

    Marilyn Manson, moreso than most with ‘Sweet Dreams’ an ironic title for a tune originally so appalling and tragically written I only ever refer to it with the far longer but way more apt “horrible, monotonous, repetitive dirge-song” as one critic perfectly assessed the ghastly abomination back in 1985. Thanks to Manson, the song matters once more than it ever could, and ever would again. It does not make the original any less awful, but it makes the song standable while I watch ‘House On Haunted Hill’ from 1999.

    Also Grace Jones’s cover of ‘Private Life’ from Pretenders. Amazing. And special mention for Voice Of The Beehive’ who took ‘I Think I Love You’ from The Patridge Family and made a cracking little rocker out of it.

    Sorry that’s a bit more than four you know, but you can pick out any one from each person. At least I included one stated (by Manson), only I’d add the original isn’t for me abhorrent cos it’s overplayed beyond belief (which it is) it’s that way cos the song’s dreadful in the fist place, so just hearing it once is enough to tell me it will be horrible for ever, but well doe Manson, I can laugh and even shiver at it cos of him!

  • Milk

    I actually hated the cover of Hurt. Not because I’m a fan of NIN or the original song. I am a huge fan of Cash and feel like he’s too good for Hurt. The lyrics are infantile and cheap.

  • The-ReAnimator

    Metallica – Last Caress (Misfits) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTRJAgPmsIY

    Ministry – The Light Pours Out Of Me (Magazine) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tol8Jodp4yw

    Agent Orange – Somebody To Love (Jefferson Airplane) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pQXXbFBbzo

    Foo Fighters & Serj Tankian – Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJ1Af7SQVng

  • oneofthosedeadfckers

    Bear McCreary- All along the Watchtower