Johnny Cash, ‘Hurt’
Last week we talked about covers that are better than the originals, and asked for your suggestions. Here’s the Top 30, as chose by writers for and readers of NME.COM, beginning with Johnny Cash, ‘Hurt’. Originally a Nine Inch Nails number but now the Man In Black’s swansong – he made it all his own.
White Stripes, ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’
White Stripes, ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’ Written by Burt Bacharach, performed by numerous artists, made famous by Dusty Springfield and to a lesser extent Dionna Warwick, but turned into a blustering rock monster by Meg and Jack White.
Credit: Dean Chalkley/NME
Janis Joplin, ‘Me and Bobby McGee’
Janis Joplin, ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ Country pop singer Roger Miller was the originally voice behind this tune but it was a release from Janis, just after her death, that topped the charts – hers was the second posthumous release to do that (the first was Otis Redding’s ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay’).
Jimi Hendrix, ‘All Along the Watchtower’
Jimi Hendrix, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ Bob Dylan’s version was fine and all that, but when Jimi took over, it took on a whole new dimension. This is the song that inspired the blog on the topic.
Muse, ‘Feeling Good’
Muse, ‘Feeling Good’ Another NME.COM user’s pick, this track dates all the way back to 1965 and has been performed by Nina Simone, John Coltrane and Sammy David Jr. However, it took a Devonshire space rock trio to blast it into the stratosphere. An integral part of their legendary live show.
Travis, ‘…Baby One More Time’
Travis, ‘…Baby One More Time’ Yep, Travis covered Britney Spears. It sounds like it would be downright awful. But they jumped on the bandwagon early, performing one of the very first covers of her hit song at a live gig. It started as a joke (as you would expect), but it actually ended up sounding pretty impressive.
Marilyn Manson, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’
Marilyn Manson, ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ It’s hard to pick just one of their covers to dub as their best. ‘Personal Jesus’ and ‘Tainted Love’ are equally brilliant. But Marilyn Manson’s take on this Eurythmics classic, with added lyrics (“I wanna use you and abuse you/I wanna know what’s inside you“) is dark, twisted and utterly beautiful.
The Animals, ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’
The Animals, ‘The House Of The Rising Sun’ Here’s one of those classic folk tunes that doesn’t really have a set origin, so we’ll just give these guys the credit. It’s probably one of their most successful tunes that we’ll never forget about – although we wish we could forget those awful haircuts.
Sinead O’Connor, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’
Sinead O’Connor, ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ What began as a tune from Prince’s project The Family was ultimately made a worldwide hit by Sinead O’Connor’s gorgeous version. It also came along with one of the most recognisable promo videos of all time.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, ‘Blinded By The Light’
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, ‘Blinded By The Light’ Many attempt to cover The Boss, few succeed. But Manfred Mann and his Earth Band did Bruce Springsteen justice in their rather groovy cover of ‘Blinded By The Light’. We’re not so sure on the single artwork, though…
Bjork, ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’
Bjork, ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ Sometimes it’s hard to remember that this was actually a cover of the 1951 song by Betty Hutton. Only could Bjork fill a song with whispers and shrieks and make them sound ever so lovely – and what could be better than a Spike Jonze-directed promo video with mechanics, goths and columns with feet dancing along the dirty streets of NYC?
Led Zeppelin, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’
Led Zeppelin, ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ Here’s another one of those, “Really? It’s a cover?” kind of songs. Even after you listen to the original version recorded by Joan Baez, it’s hard to imagine the song being performed by any act other than Led Zep.