It’s well-known that Taylor Swift likes to keep busy. After all, while the rest of us were trying to stay occupied last year by partaking in Zoom quizzes and baking banana bread, Swift was putting together her secret lockdown album ‘Folklore’. Not a bad use of her time, we think you’ll agree.
As well as releasing nine record-breaking albums (two of which have now been re-recorded), Swift has regularly found the time throughout her career to produce a host of cover versions of her favourite songs. Be it during her ‘1989’ tour, where she was regularly joined on-stage by a revolving door of musical friends for a series of all-star duets, or the stripped-back renditions that have been produced in more cosier acoustic settings, Swift has long been adding her own twist to some massive tunes.
Here’s a look, then, at 10 of Taylor Swift’s best cover versions.
Phil Collins – ‘Can’t Stop Loving You’
Performed as part of Swift’s BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge set in 2019 – where she also shared songs from ‘Lover’ – the singer took on Phil Collins’ 2002 version of the William Nicholls-written ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You (Though I Try)’. Swift and her band’s warm rendition of this romantic ballad even got the seal of approval from the man himself. “Such a beautiful voice, she absolutely nails it,” Collins wrote in the comments section on YouTube (yes, really). “Lovely to hear it.”
Alanis Morissette – ‘You Oughta Know’
Swift regularly brought out special guests during her ‘1989’ tour to perform a special version of one of their songs. A notable instance came when Alanis Morissette joined Swift in LA in 2015 to perform the former’s ‘You Oughta Know’.
“I think that it is fair to say that so many of the female singer/songwriters of my generation, including myself, would not write the way that we do without her and her music,” Swift said of Morissette before the two delivered a stadium-shaking rendition of the alt-rock belter.
Gwen Stefani – ‘Sweet Escape’
Performed a handful of times during the ‘Speak Now’ tour in 2011, this suitably sweet cover of Gwen Stefani‘s ‘Sweet Escape’ saw Swift effortlessly run through the track’s tongue-twisting lyrics. This cover was later recorded for the Target DVD edition of Swift’s ‘Speak Now World Tour – Live’ live album.
Beck – ‘Dreams’
Another cover from the ‘1989’ tour, Swift was joined by indie heroes Beck and St. Vincent for a version of the former’s 2015 song ‘Dreams’. Come for the unlikely trio’s performance, stay for St. Vincent’s killer guitar solo as she makes her way down the stadium-spanning catwalk.
Coldplay – ‘Viva La Vida’
This stripped-back performance from over a decade ago saw Swift put her own spin on Coldplay‘s ‘Viva La Vida’. Swapping the original’s bombastic instrumental for a set of acoustic guitars, this 2011 cover serves as a time capsule of Swift’s voice and sound at that point in her career.
Robbie Williams – ‘Angels’
Swift played not one but two massive gigs at London’s Wembley Stadium in June 2018 as part of her ‘Reputation’ world tour. Night one featured a guest appearance from One Direction‘s Niall Horan, while night two saw a surprise link-up with Robbie Williams. The ‘Angels’ cover began with Swift singing and playing the beginning of Williams’ mega-hit on piano, before the former Take That singer joined her for a rousing rendition of the crowd-favourite.
Mary J. Blige – ‘Doubt’
“It’s absolutely foolish to try and sing a Mary J. Blige song, because she is the greatest singer who ever lived,” Swift told the audience at LA’s Staples Center in 2015, before adding: “But this song matters to me, and it means so much to me to get to just sing it to you, and I think it could help you if you struggle with the same insecurities that I do.”
The song in question was the moving ballad ‘Doubt’, and for this show on the ‘1989’ tour Swift was joined by Blige herself for an emotive yet powerhouse rendition of the track.
Jennifer Lopez – ‘Jenny From The Block’
Another Staples Center performance, this cover dates back to 2013 when Swift was on her ‘Red’ tour. The singer told her fans that her choice of “hairbrush song” – a track that she would dance around to in her bedroom – used to be Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Jenny From The Block’. Gone are the days of just singing this into a brush, though: for one night only, Swift lived out one of her dreams as she was joined by J-Lo herself on stage for a slick and energetic rendition of the 2002 track.
Vance Joy – ‘Riptide’
Recorded during another Live Lounge performance, Swift took on Australian artist Vance Joy’s song ‘Riptide’ back in 2014. Opening with just a piano accompaniment, this exposed cover of Joy’s much-loved tune is absolutely charming.
Carly Simon – ‘You’re So Vain’
And last but by no means least, here’s a 2013 cover of ‘You’re So Vain’ where Swift is joined by Carly Simon herself in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Duetting to an audience of 55,000 fans, it’s a suitably joy-filled version of an enduring karaoke classic.