My husband and I were discussing cover songs the other day and the conversation got me thinking. I used to be adamant that no cover song is better than the original until I realized that I couldn't argue my point because one of my favorite songs of all time is a cover! This brought to mind several other examples of cover songs that I actually prefer over the original. So I guess I have to eat my words a bit (just don't tell my husband!).
Here's my "better than the original" list. I'm curious to see what your list would include.
- "Hallelujah", Jeff Buckley (Leonard Cohen) - This is possibly my favorite song of all-time. I love the original, too, but no other version (and there are plenty) even comes close to giving me chills like Jeff Buckley's take.
- "Fields of Gold", Eva Cassidy (Sting) - This was the song my husband and I danced to at our wedding and Live at Blues Alley is still one of the few albums that I'll play from start to finish. Sadly, Ms. Cassidy died from melanoma before she really became well known.
- "Hazy Shade of Winter", The Bangles (Simon & Garfunkel) - Ok, I'll admit that for the longest time I didn't even know this was a cover song. I'm sure many prefer the original but I'm a child of the 80s.
- "Tainted Love", Soft Cell (Gloria Jones) - As with Hazy Shade of Winter, it took many years before I realized that this, one of my favorite songs from the 80s, was actually a cover. I much prefer Soft Cell's take, don't you?
- "I Will Always Love You", Whitney Houston (Dolly Parton) - I'm cringing as I type this but I would be lying if I didn't include this on my list. I love Dolly but I loved, loved, loved The Bodyguard (hey, I was a teen girl when it came out) and for me Whitney just nails this one.
- Age of Consent, Grant-Lee Phillips (New Order) - This cover is more or less tied with the original for me because I love 'em both equally. I had to include this song, however, just to give a shout out to Grant-Lee Phillips awesome album, "nineteeneighties". Another one of the few albums I'll play the whole way through.