Covers better than the original

Discussion in 'General Music' started by Steve D, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Steve D

    Steve D Well-Known Member

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    Today I was listening to Johnny Cash's "Hurt" and it once again made me marvel how an artist could take someone else's song and make it so much greater (in my opinion, your mileage may vary). In principle the original should be the definitive version because it's the one with the greatest connection to the artist who composed it but we all know many examples where this simply isn't the case. I'm curious about covers that blow away the originals and why, what makes them better?

    So for the example I just gave, here's why:

    "Hurt" was first performed by Nine Inch Nails and then covered by Johnny Case. Why Cash's is better: Emotional impact. NIN / Trent Reznor performs it like he's numb. It's about his addiction and it's personal and has an intensity to it, it's good. But not great. Cash's take on it, though, wow! He conveys the soul of a man knowing he's at the end of his life and looking back on how he lived it, filled with sadness, regret and loss. Reznor, who wrote the song, tells you he has pain in his version. Cash makes you feel the pain. Amazing.

    Anyone have any cover that really inspire you in a way that the original never could?
     
  2. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    I love Cash's cover of Hurt, it still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

    Jimi's cover of All Along the Watchtower is better than Dylan's original, possibly the best example of a cover far surpassing the original in terms of popularity.

    The Green Manalishi as covered by Judas Priest is quite different to the original, it rocks so damn hard and is a standout on any of their live albums.

    I heard a really good cover of Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice by a bluegrass band, quite funny and clever.
     
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  3. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    All Along the Watchtower
    Original: Bob Dylan
    Cover: Jimi Hendrix

    The Green Manalishi
    Original: Fleetwood Mac
    Cover: Judas Priest

    Diamonds and Rust
    Original: Joan Baez
    Cover: Judas Priest

    Rainbow’s Gold
    Original: Beckett
    Cover: Iron Maiden
     
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  4. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    I like Metallica's version of "Turn the Page" better than Bob Seger's.

    This in spite of the fact that I've been a Bob Seger fan since I was a teen. *shrugs
    The original version is still there. But Hetfield nails it, as does Ginger Lynn Allen.
    It's an excellent cover, and an excellent video IMHO.

    Seger's original was perfect for the times ... (1970s) But this one
    is more for 21st century viewers, which surprisingly includes me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
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  5. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    Samantha Fish: I put a Spell on You


    Okay the song was written and performed by Screaming' Jay Hawkins in the fifties.
    Comparing the elderly production of the original with a 2014 performance might seem
    like sending an old F-104 against a newer F-16 fighter... and it is. Technology makes
    a huge difference, it's true.

    Hawkins nails it of course, but I like Samantha Fish's version really well, and
    her mama might not have been born when the original was current. I also like the
    1968 version recorded by English maniac Arthur Brown... I saw him perform it when
    he opened for the Doors at Cobo Hall way back then.

    Samantha Fish makes the song her own, IMHO, which is one key attribute
    of a great cover.
     
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  6. DangerousD

    DangerousD New Member

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    this may be akin to blasphemy but...Blue Oyster Cult...Kick Out The Jams...Some Enchanted Evening.
     
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  7. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    And then there's Gary Moore playing "I loved another woman"
    on Peter Greene's old gold top. He doesn't have the raw energy that Peter Greene
    (the author) put into it, but I just never get tired of this.

     
  8. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    And of course, here's Heart plus a whole orchestra and a whole choir, playing
    Stairway to Heaven as a "tribute" to Led Zeppelin... but they just blow the old version
    away with modern production, lots and lots of performers, correct intonation,
    proper vocal timbre and a dynamite performance, including drumming by
    Jason Bonham, John's son.

    Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were in attendance, as was the President and First Lady
    and a whole packed Kennedy Center. This performance just kicks the song up into
    a new dimension. Which is one of the attributes of an excellent cover.
     
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  9. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    and how about the Rolling Stones version of "Like a Rolling Stone"
    ...what could be more perfect?
     
  10. Col Mustard

    Col Mustard Well-Known Member

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    and how about the Rolling Stones version of "Like a Rolling Stone"
    ...what could be more perfect?
     
  11. michaelinokc

    michaelinokc Well-Known Member

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    I know this is sacreligious, but Turn To Stone. Original - Joe Walsh, Cover - Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.

     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  12. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    I was going to say All Along the Warchtower, too. This one seems to be the only cover you can praise above the original on the internet without getting hate.

    Also Ghost do great covers! I especially like their Eurythmics cover:

    The original is good too (if you like 80s music like me). But the addition of heavy guitars makes it even better imo.
     
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  13. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Joe Cocker's cover of the Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends" is a revelation.
     
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  14. DanB

    DanB Active Member

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    Here is another Jimi Hendrix cover of a Bob Dylan song that I think was better than Bob's version (although Dylan's is also good).



    I also think that Van Halen's cover of the Kinks' "Where Have all the Good Times Gone" is better than the original.


    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ke3ua0kLhYA
     
  15. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Nope, can't agree with Van Halen over the Kinks, I'm afraid.

    Instead I will offer Kirsty McColl's "New England" over the Billy Bragg original. He still gets the writing credit, of course.
     
  16. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Active Member

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    Tough one here.... Oingo Boingo's version of "I am the walrus" comes to mind from the Farewell lp.
    As much as I hate Guns and Roses, their version of Dylan's "knocking on Heaven's door" Kills it.
    Twist and Shout, done by the Beatles. 'nuff said on that one.
     
  17. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    I will end this thread.

    This question of best cover often comes up and we get the usual suspects listed. However, there is one definitive answer.

    This cover is so great, so iconic that hardly anybody knows it is a cover. But more than that, the original version is just a song while the cover version became a legendary anthem. One of music's few songs that have become a part of the fabric of society. The cover completely changed the original. It gave it deep meaning, purpose, statement....it became an artistic masterpiece in that it expresses who and what we are (or should be) as a people. The original didn't do that. The original is just a song. The cover is one of the most important pieces of music ever recorded.



    If you don't know, the original is done by Otis Redding. That song is just a silly song about a guy wanting respect from his woman when he comes home from work. Aretha took that silliness and made it a human rights cry for all -- gender, race, religion, sexuality. Dignity. Respect.
     
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  18. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Nope, doesn't do it for me. I find her shrill, and the idea of demanding respect is just stupid; it has to be earned. Quite a few of the other offerings are better.
     
  19. NMA

    NMA Well-Known Member

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    Jeez, donepearce, you kind of miss the point of anybody seeking equality. So if you come across a woman, or a person of color, or a homosexual, or a person of a different religion...they have to earn your respect??? You afford them no respect, no dignity until they do something for you that earns their respect? Wow.

    Look, you may not like the tune (I never did either), but the sentiment that we are all equal and all worthy of respect regardless of gender, religion, sexuality, or race is kind of an accepted idea. But for you others have to earn your respect. Meaning you don't respect or afford anybody the simple dignity of equality until they earn it. Once again, wow.
     
  20. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Everybody has to earn respect. It isn't something that comes anybody's way in their morning cereal. Respect is special, and shouting "respect me" is not going to get it.
     

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