The best covers that overshadowed the original

Let's talk about covers and originals...

Famous covers that became hits

Today we will talk about covers that everyone knows. These covers eclipsed the original versions and became world famous. Of course, the authors who originally came up with the masterpieces will remain in our memory as pioneers, but the bands and performers who performed their “works” and glorified them throughout the world have already made themselves into the Hall of Fame and Eternal Honor and have become much more famous than those very real authors. So, the most famous covers that have become hits ...

"Love Hurts" (The Everly Brothers/Nazareth)

Nazareth Group
Nazareth Group



The first romantic ballad "Love Hurts" was performed by the American duo Don and Phil Everly, and this event dates back to 1960. The composition was written by the famous married couple Bryantons, who gave life to many hits of the related duo. However, Don and Phil were never able to make "Love Hurts" a world-class hit, and the song was almost forgotten forever ... It would have turned out if it had not been to the taste of the Scottish rock band Nazareth!

Yes Yes. It's hard to believe, but something as neat and sleek as neat Americans could make has become a gem in the rocker repertoire. The members of the band endowed the track with drive and passion, simultaneously creating one of the most exemplary rock ballads in the history of the genre.

"The Man Who Sold The World" (David Bowie / Nirvana)

Kurt Cobain at MTV Unplugged NY
Kurt Cobain at MTV Unplugged NY



In the early 70s, David Bowie, widely celebrated today, was in a very difficult and even rather shaky emotional state. It was during this period that a little-known artist released The Man Who Sold The World compilation with gloomy and heavy tracks. It is noteworthy that it was this album that marked the beginning of the glam period in Bowie's work. The work did not abound with potential hits, with the exception, perhaps, of the title single. There was no hope that the track would rise from the fringes of the legendary musician's discography until Kurt Cobain gave the song a second life! So the composition "The Man Who Sold The World" was released as part of the cult album Unplugged.

After that, it all started... After listening to the record, hordes of music lovers from all over the world were amazed by the supposedly new song. Since then, after each of his concert performances, David Bowie listened to words of gratitude for having performed everyone's beloved Nirvana song! And this is another vivid example of the misconceptions that exist in the music world and among fans ...

"Dazed and Confused" (Jake Holmes / Led Zeppelin)

Led Zeppelin (Live 1972)
Led Zeppelin (Live 1972)



Where is the line between an incredibly soulful cover and a completely new creation? It is difficult to give a correct answer to this question. However, you can reflect on the pleasant soundtrack of "Dazed and Confused"... The composition was originally composed and recorded by Jake Holmes in 1967, with the aim of further promotion of the track within the first album. The folk musician also performed his creation live, and in particular, as an opening act for the English band The Yardbirds, which then included the young but already very talented Jimmy Page.

The virtuoso guitarist immediately noticed the masterpiece, and after some time the composition became the highlight of every concert performance by The Yardbirds. And just a year later, the guitarist offered his favorite composition to his new colleagues and comrades from Led Zeppelin. As a result, the cover of "Dazed and Confused" adequately decorated their first album. It is interesting that Page himself was listed as the creator of the creation on the disc. In 2010, apparently unable to withstand the pressure of passions regarding his masterpiece, Holmes even defended his copyright in court. After that, the authorship of the sensational single is listed as "Page, inspired by Holmes." Can this record be considered a cover? Everyone decides for himself...

"Always On My Mind" (Elvis Presley/Pet Shop Boys)

Pet Shop Boys: Chris Lowe (left) and Neil Tennant. Photo: Yang Hutong
Pet Shop Boys: Chris Lowe (left) and Neil Tennant. Photo: Yang Hutong



For the first time this country appeared to the world in 1972, when it was performed by a little-known American singer Gwen McCray. The potential of the future hit was visible to the naked eye. Very soon, countless soul versions of a number of performers rained down on the listeners, the most successful of which was the Elvis Presley cover. The "King of Rock and Roll", as always, captivated the audience with an impeccable performance, so it was unlikely that anyone could surpass him ...

Today, we can rightly conclude that from a technical point of view, the Presley version remained the steepest and unsurpassed peak. But from the point of view of commercial success, the Pet Shop Boys became the leaders, leaving the permanent king of rock and roll far behind. The guys added a couple of new chords to the track, added a powerful electric beat and shot a surreal video sequence. The result is a completely new soulful thing, which in 2014 was recognized as the "best cover version" in the history of music, according to BBC listeners.

"Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen / Jeff Buckley)

Singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley has disappeared after taking a dip in the Mississippi River. His body was found on June 4, 1997, after being spotted by a passenger on a tourist riverboat.



The authorship of the hit and its original performance rightfully belongs to the famous Canadian Leonard Cohen. It was he who masterfully polished this composition, widely celebrated today. His written drafts contained approximately 80 different versions of the verses. In the end, at the cost of enormous efforts and time, the song was published in the first mid-eighties. Cohen gave the work a certain detachment, restraint and conciseness. To put it simply, the composition was notable for its characteristic vocal minimalism... Despite all the beauty, in this variation it had no chance to claim the title of a chart topper.

The unique performance of Jeff Buckley radically changed the fate of the track. The incredibly talented young singer released his own soul version on his only LP, Grace. The result of diligence and perseverance has become simply epic! The composition has rightfully become a hit for all time...

"Hurt" (Nine Inch Nail / Johnny Cash)

Johnny Cash died in 2003



The most grandiose covers in the history of music were born only on the condition that the new performer has a deeper life experience, more undeniable talent and, of course, the warm recognition of the world public. It was these qualities that Johnny Cash possessed, who released one of the most beautiful covers in the world. The singer managed to endow the creation of the Nine Inch Nails group with a special sensuality and a completely different sound, which the listeners liked much more. As Hurt's original writer Trent Reznor himself later admitted, after the release of the soul version of Cash, he felt a sad loss, as if his girlfriend had been taken away from him. “I no longer felt that“ Hurt ”belonged to me,” the musician admitted. Johnny Cash managed to turn the farewell notes of an addicted person into a real religious confession, with which the hero of the song accompanies the last threshold of his passing life...

Cash's version is still not just one of the most luxurious covers in the history of music. This is an amazing example of how you can soar above conventional genre boundaries and not just sing masterfully, but truly live a song...


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