You’d be amazed to see how many of an artist’s hallmark songs are real versions when you actually sample them.
Several are from what would refer to as the Golden Era (the 1960s and 1970s). Here are a few examples of the most unique cover songs better than their originals.
Jeff Buckley’s cover track of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
Jeff Buckley gave Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah an outstanding and profoundly moving cover, polishing something already dazzling to an even higher brilliance.
Johnny Cash’s cover song of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”
There are references to drug addiction and self-harm in “Hurt.” While some think that the song is ultimately a musical suicide note, others disagree.
Sound of Silence’s cover song by Simon and Garfunkle’s “Disturbed”
In essence, the lyrics highlight the lack of efficient emotional communication between individuals. And the aforesaid uncomfortable state or sickness is a result of this weakness that is innate in everyone.
Joe Cocker’s cover of the Beatle’s “With A Little Help From My Friends”
The English rock group the Beatles released the song “With a Little Help from My Friends” on their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. John Lennon and Paul McCartney composed the song, while drummer Ringo Starr provided the album’s lead vocal as Billy Shears, the leader of the Sgt. Pepper band. It follows the title tune’s standing ovation as the album’s second track.
A later Joe Cocker performance of the song rose to the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1968 and served as an anthem for the Woodstock movement.
Whitney Houston’s Cover on Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”
Dolly Parton’s 1974 hit song “I Will Always Love You” came close to being covered by someone else long before Whitney Houston’s famous retake. Parton, 75, explained why Elvis Presley was also intended to record the song in a story for W magazine.
Aretha Franklin’s Cover on Otis Redding’s “Respect”
American soul musician Otis Redding wrote and first performed the song “Respect.” From his third album, Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul, it was made available as a single in 1965 and went on to become a crossover smash for Redding.
When Aretha Franklin, a fellow soul singer, performed and reworked “Respect” in 1967, it became a larger smash and became her hallmark song.