Ten Great Cover Songs – Round 2
A couple of months ago, Jay posted a list of some of his favorite cover songs. In Jay’s words, “the cover song is a delicate art,” and I couldn’t agree more. I decided to compile ten of my personal favorite covers, which in my opinion, are great examples of this delicate art. I hope you enjoy.
1.” She Said She Said” – The Black Keys (The Beatles cover)
I chose this video specifically because I honestly believe there are few things better than The Black Keys live. However, you can find the recorded version of this cover song on the Keys’ The Big Come Up album. “She Said She Said” is one of the best tracks off of the Beatles’ Revolver, released in 1966. Though I can’t say it’s better than the original, the Black Keys took this song and injected it with their signature gritty rawness and made a kick-ass cover.
Also worthy of a mention, The Black Keys covering Buddy Holly’s “Dearest” check it out here.
2. “Skinny Love” – Birdy (Bon Iver cover)
15 year old English singer, Jasmine van den Bogaerde quickly rose to YouTube fame by posting videos such as the one above. She adopted the stage name “Birdy” and now even has an album out under the same name. Her rendition of “Skinny Love” is beautiful, and actually makes it hard to believe a 15 year old is singing. You can check out her YouTube channel where she has posted videos of herself covering a variety of artists.
Another one of my Birdy favorites is her version of The XX’s “Shelter.” Check it out here.
3. “What Would You Do” – Bastille (City High cover)
A UK electro-pop band and an American R&B group do seem like an odd mix. Even so, Bastille took City High’s most famous song and made a pretty awesome cover out of it. Bastille’s Laura Palmer EP isn’t half bad either.
4. “It Ain’t Me Babe” – Joan Baez (Bob Dylan cover)
I had an incredibly hard time choosing this one. First of all, there are some pretty decent Bob Dylan covers out there (especially now with the release of his tribute album for Amnesty International, Chimes of Freedom). Joan Baez notably covered various Bob Dylan songs throughout her career, and they even played together on a few occasions. I love how Baez’s powerful voice is especially soothing in her version of “It Ain’t Me Babe.” If you listen to it, I’m sure I won’t need to convince you it’s great. I love this woman.
5. “Video Games” – Bombay Bicycle Club (Lana del Rey cover)
This cover is very similar to the original version…just better. There’s something about Lana del Rey that just makes me too uncomfortable. “Video Games” is a great song, just not when it’s sung by Lana del Rey. The combination of vocals on this cover track give it the emotion it needs. Lana del Rey’s version is definitely interesting because it has absolutely no drums in it, but it just doesn’t work for me.
6. “Come Talk to Me” – Bon Iver (Peter Gabriel cover)
Honestly, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver can do no wrong in my eyes. Peter Gabriel originally released the song in 1992; it was a part of his album, Us. Both are, in my opinion, beautiful songs, but I love what Bon Iver did with it. Listen to the original here.
7. “I’d Rather Go Blind” – Faces (Etta James cover)
Rod Stewart’s ex-band used to play this Etta James cover live often. This song might be one of the greatest sad songs ever. Though there will be nothing like Etta James, Rod Stewart’s iconic voice suits the song perfectly.
8. “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinaed O’Connor (Prince cover)
Prince originally wrote this song. However, it was Sinead O’Connor who made it famous; and it, in turn, made her famous as well. Sinead O’Connor’s music video for the song remains one of the most recognizable, even though it originally went into rotation in the 90′s. “Nothing Compares 2 U” is a great song, and might be one of the few examples where the cover is better than the original.
9. “Your Song” – Ellie Goulding (Elton John cover)
Ellie Goulding might have one of those voices that you either love or you hate, but her cover of Elton John’s classic features her unique voice at its best. I definitely love this one.
10. “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” – The Strokes (Marvin Gaye cover)
The Strokes recorded this song as a B-side feature for their 2006 single, You Only Live Once. What makes this cover even more awesome? Yes, that is Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder singing on the track along with Julian Casablancas and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme drumming with Fabrizio Moretti. Great song, Marvin Gaye, but this version is just too awesome.