Music Monday: Covers That Surpassed The Originals

by Scott Lydon

In honor of your chance to "cover yourself" in our special music-themed Shirt.woot shirts, Scott's revisiting one of his favorite genres… the cover song! But today's got a twist. Today we're taking a look at those songs where the definitive version isn't the one by the original artist. Does that seem a little complex? Well, let us make it clear with our very first example:

Johnny Cash - Hurt

 

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Without too much effort, you could probably convince a hardcore Nine Inch Nails fan that Johnny Cash wrote this classic, and that Trent Reznor's maybe NSFW original is the cover. In fact, the opposite is true! Thankfully it's no insult to lose a song to Johnny Cash, because Trent's never getting this one back.

Get the picture? After the jump, we'll be listing some songs where the cover wound up more famous than the original. If you know some of your own, why not throw them into the comments? This has the potential to create the GREATEST PLAYLIST EVER!!

And speaking of playlists, remember our Spotify playlist is up and running. Since last week's post was a tribute to the late, great MCA the comments were mostly reminiscing, and there weren't many links offered. So the theme of this week's mix is Kristy's Favorite Beastie Boys Songs and you know what? It's pretty darn good! After you listen you can catch her hanging out in our Turntable.fm room if you want to tell her that she rocks. But before you do any of that, check out this week's Music Monday selections inside! We'll be waiting for you after the jump…

Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower

 

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Do you remember the first time you heard this song? Do you remember the first time you learned it was written by Bob Dylan? And yet, when Bob still plays it in concert today, he's deliberately doing a Hendrix cover. High praise indeed, when the songwriter prefers your version to his.

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

 

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with Dolly Parton's sweet farewell to Porter Wagoner. Absolutely nothing at all. But the first time Whitney hit that flawless high note in the chorus, everything this song used to be was gone. People aren't going to forget Dolly any time soon, but this hit isn't going to be hers ever again.

John Cale - Hallelujah

 

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Are we gonna have to fight about this? There's a good chance we might. This Leonard Cohen song has been covered so many times that the artist himself asked people to give it a rest, but this 1991 cover was really the drop that would later open the floodgate. Even the great Jeff Buckley didn't re-invent the song as well as Cale did. Yeah, I said it. And I stand behind it too.

The Who - Summertime Blues

 

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We had to work a little glam-pop in here somewhere! The Eddie Cochrane original captured the spirit of the '50s, but kids in the '70s needed their rebellion a little beefed up. After you hear The Who's version, it's impossible to go back, and even the later cover by Blue Cheer… well, it's pretty obvious which version they're building from, and it ain't the Elvis impersonator.

Get the idea? There are plenty more winners that Scott didn't have room to mention, so he's trusting you to add them in the comments. And after you take care of that, why not cover yourself with one of our Shirt.Woot music shirts, then stop into the Turntable.fm room for some Music Monday mixin'?