12 of 2016’s best cover versions

Better than the original?

From Slaves’ angsty remake of ‘The Hills’ to Coldplay’s headliner tribute to Viola Beach, these were the best covers of 2016.

The Temper Trap – ‘Multi-Love’ by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The Temper trap brought egg shakers, warbling vocals and a whole lot of style to their cover of ‘ Multi-Love’ by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The Triple J presenter affectionately told them that “he didn’t remember buying tickets to funky town.”

Jake Bugg – ‘If I could change your mind’ by Haim

Jake Bugg strips back ‘If I could change your mind’ to its essence, adding a hefty dose of his signature raw emotion. He nonchalantly admitted to Triple J that chose the cover because he “was a bit stuck for time”.


Lady Gaga – ‘Bowie Grammy tribute’

Following Bowie’s death, famous fans scrambled to pay tribute; but none could pull it off like Gaga at the Grammy’s. Her power-house vocals belted out as many hits as possible, with electrifying visuals to match. Bowie’s son didn’t like it, though.


Coldplay – ‘Boys That Sing’ by Viola Beach

Coldplay have had a very successful year with ‘A head full of stars’, but one of their most heartfelt moments came at Glastonbury when they paid tribute to the young band Viola Beach, who sadly died in a car crash earlier this year. Frontman Chris Martin told the crowd that the band wanted to create Viola Beach’s “alternate future” by “letting them headline Glastonbury for a song”.


Christine & The Queens – ‘Sorry’ by Beyonce

Christine stamps ‘Sorry’ with wonderful quirkiness and the occasional French verse. Beyonce’s modern R&B pop gets a synthy, vintage makeover. Four minutes of perfect girl power.


Biffy Clyro – ‘Tilted’ by Christine and the Queens

Turns out Biffy frontman Simon Neil’s been sitting on some serious French skills all this time. But it wouldn’t be Biffy without a delightful Scottish twang. This cover is actually good.


Lianne La Havas and Coldplay – ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’ by Prince

La Havas has always made clear her fondness and respect for her dear friend Prince. This cover is filled with a tenderness and beauty that shows the sincerity of her feelings of loss yet simultaneously reminds us of Prince’s immense talent for songwriting.


Slaves – ‘The Hills’ by The Weeknd

Slaves go full grit and angst to stunning effect on this cover of The Weeknd’s ‘The Hills’. It’s full of energy and power, but it’s Isacc Holman’s almost sinister vocals that make your spine tingle.


The Rolling Stones – ‘I Can’t Quit You Baby’ by Otis Rush

The Rolling Stones are back and ooze style with every note played. This perfectly chilled out song will leave you in a bluesy daze.


Norah Jones – ‘Everybody Knows’ by Leonard Cohen

All-brilliant songstress Norah Jones makes a jazzy and classy tribute to the late, great Leonard Cohen.


Justin Bieber – ‘Fast Car’ by Tracy Chapman

Justin Bieber gives a sincere and heartfelt performance of ‘Fast Car’ for BBC Live Lounge. The stripped back acoustic performance brings out the emotion of Tracy Chapman’s lyrics, and the singing skills that launched Bieber’s career as a teen.


Jamie T – ‘The Sound’ by The 1975

Two of the biggest artists of 2016 meet in this indiefest cover of ‘The Sound’ by Jamie T.

By Tanya Kovatchka