Music

The 50 Best Cover Songs of All Time

There's nothing better than hearing a great musician's fresh take on a classic song.
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Is there anything more exciting that a great musician reinterpreting a classic song? Sometimes a great cover is a faithful rendition, borne out of love and respect for the original track. Others completely reimagine the original tune, rendering it almost unrecognizable (in a good way). Here are 50 great cover songs—some of which improve on the originals. (Follow the playlist on Spotify!)

The Slits - "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"

Originally recorded by: Gladys Knight & the Pips

Sinead O'Connor - "Nothing Compares 2 U"

Originally recorded by: The Family

Hot Chip - "Dancing in the Dark"

Originally recorded by: The Beatles

Aretha Franklin - "Eleanor Rigby"

Originally recorded by: The Beatles

Sturgill Simpson - "In Bloom"

Originally recorded by: Nirvana

Ra Ra Riot - "Suspended in Gaffa"

Originally recorded by: Kate Bush

Ryan Adams - "Wonderwall"

Originally recorded by: Oasis

Gary Jules - "Mad World"

Originally recorded by: Tears for Fears

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Tori Amos - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Originally recorded by: Nirvana

Marianne Faithfull - "Working Class Hero"

Originally recorded by: John Lennon

Fiona Apple - "Across the Universe"

Originally recorded by: The Beatles

Antony and the Johnsons - "Crazy in Love"

Originally recorded by: Beyoncé

Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"

Originally recorded by: Dolly Parton

Cowboy Junkies - "Sweet Jane"

Originally recorded by: The Velvet Underground

Kele - "Goodbye Horses"

Originally recorded by: Q Lazzarus

Joan Osborne - "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"

Originally recorded by: Jimmy Ruffin

Bettye LaVette - "Love Reign O'er Me"

Originally recorded by: The Who

Maxwell - "This Woman's Work"

Originally recorded by: Kate Bush

CSS - "Knife"

Originally recorded by: Grizzly Bear

Cake - "I Will Survive"

Originally recorded by: Gloria Gaynor

Echo and the Bunnymen - "Ticket to Ride"

Originally recorded by: The Beatles

Urge Overkill - "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon"

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Originally recorded by: Neil Diamond

Dean & Britta - "I'll Keep It With Mine"

Originally recorded by: Bob Dylan

Cat Power - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"

Originally recorded by: The Rolling Stones

Jim James & Calexico - "Goin' to Acapulco"

Originally recorded by: Bob Dylan

Roberta Flack - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

Originally recorded by: Simon & Garfunkel

Cyndi Lauper - "When You Were Mine"

Originally recorded by: Prince

Guns N' Roses - "Live and Let Die"

Originally recorded by: Paul McCartney and Wings

Bette Midler - "When a Man Loves a Woman"

Originally recorded by: Percy Sledge

Nina Simone - "Ain't Got No, I Got Life"

Originally recorded by: The original Broadway cast of Hair

Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse - "Valerie"

Originally recorded by: The Zutons

Ronnie Spector - "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory"

Originally recorded by: Johnny Thunders

Nancy Sinatra - "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)"

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Originally recorded by: Cher

Best Coast - "Rhiannon"

Originally recorded by: Fleetwood Mac

Talking Heads - "Take Me to the River"

Originally recorded by: Al Green

CeeLo Green - "No One's Gonna Love You"

Originally recorded by: Band of Horses

Jimi Hendrix - "All Along the Watchtower"

Originally recorded by: Bob Dylan

Joe Cocker - "With a Little Help From My Friends"

Originally recorded by: The Beatles

Aimee Mann - "One"

Originally recorded by: Harry Nilsson

Clem Snide - "Beautiful"

Originally recorded by: Christina Aguilera

Johnny Cash - "Personal Jesus"

Originally recorded by: Depeche Mode

Dinosaur Jr. - "Just Like Heaven"

Originally recorded by: The Cure

Judas Priest - "Diamonds and Rust"

Originally recorded by: Joan Baez

Bjork - "It's Oh So Quiet"

Originally recorded by: Betty Hutton

Prince - "A Case of You"

Originally recorded by: Joni Mitchell

Soft Cell - "Tainted Love"

Originally recorded by: Gloria Jones

Fugees - "Killing Me Softly With His Song"

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Originally recorded by: Lori Lieberman

The Raincoats - "Lola"

Originally recorded by: The Kinks

Lykke Li - "Unchained Melody"

Originally recorded by: Todd Duncan

Galaxie 500 - "Ceremony"

Originally recorded by: New Order

This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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