10 Covers That Wound Up Being More Popular Than The Original


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Throughout the years, so many amazing songs have been released. And musicians oftentimes love to cover some of their favorites. Sometimes, however, those covers can wind up more popular than the original. Read through some popular covers throughout history, and you may find yourself surprised that a few of these weren't an original.

1. Whitney Houston's cover of “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton initially wrote "I Will Always Love You" in 1973, and recorded the song in 1974. In a recent cover interview with W magazine, the country singer revealed that Elvis Presley had once wanted to cover the track, however, she wound up turning him and his team down after they asked for half of the publishing rights. Whitney Houston then wound up covering the song for the 1992 film, The Bodyguard, and her version of the track was an absolute hit. Houston's cover spent 14 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, and holds the record for being the best-selling single by a woman in the entire history of music. When Houston passed in 2012, the song wound up re-entering the charts.

Speaking on the history of the song, Parton said in her W magazine interview, "Priscilla, Elvis' wife, told me that when she and Elvis divorced, Elvis sang my song to her. That touched me so deeply. And they also played the song at Whitney Houston's funeral. After that, I thought, I bet they'll play the same song when I go."

2. Nirvana's cover of “The Man Who Sold The World” by David Bowie

"The Man Who Sold The World" was released in 1970 as the title track for David Bowie's album that year. While the song is now considered a classic, it did not gain any mainstream attention until Scottish singer Lulu covered the song in 1974. However, the song was launched into absolute superstardom in the mainstream after Kurt Cobain covered the track in 1993 as part of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged set.

Cobain ranked the record at No. 45 of his Top 50 favorite albums in his journals. While at the time, "The Man Who Sold The World" was considered an outtake, the cover became one of Cobain's most spellbinding performances.

"It's a very sad rendition, of course," Bowie once said of the song and Cobain's cover. "Because it is so tied up with his own life and death. So it takes on all these different shades for me. I also remember, fairly clearly, my state of mind when I was actually writing it, which was, I guess, as near to a mystical state that a 19-year-old can get into."

3. Adele's cover of "Make You Feel My Love" by Bob Dylan

Adele's cover of Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" in 2008 wound up helping her to launch into superstardom. Appearing on her debut album, 19, her version of the track appeared as the only cover on the record.

"My manager is the biggest Dylan fan, and for ages, he'd been bugging me to listen to the song because I hadn't heard it before," Adele said in an interview with Premiere Networks. "I was being quite defiant against it. I said, 'I don't want a cover on my album. It kind of implies that I'm incapable of writing enough songs on my own for my first record.' And then I heard it in New York when he played it for me, and it just really touched me. It's cheesy, but I think it's just a stunning song, and it really just summed up everything that I'd been trying to write in my songs."

Dylan had written the song for his 1997 album, Time Out of Mind, however, Billy Joel actually released his cover of the song prior to when Dylan's appeared. The song has been covered by more than 450 other artists.

4. Soft Cell's cover of “Tainted Love” by Gloria Jones

Gloria Jones recorded "Tainted Love" in 1964, but it wasn't until Soft Cell covered the song in 1981 that the track really began to take off. The group slowed down the tempo from Jones' version and added in synths to make it a more '80s sound. With the rise in popularity of new wave sounds, Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" became an absolute hit.

When Jones first released "Tainted Love," the song was a commercial flop. However, the vocalist re-recorded the track a decade later in 1973 to slightly more success. Both her versions of the song failed to chart, but Soft Cell managed to get the song to the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1981, the track becoming the UK's best-selling single for that year.

5. The Fugees cover of "Killing Me Softly" by Lorie Lieberman

When Lorie Lieberman released "Killing Me Softly With His Song" in 1972, the track did not chart. However, when Roberta Flack covered the song in 1973, the track became a number-one hit in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Then, the Fugees covered the song in 1996 for their record, The Score, and the track became a worldwide smash and hit No. 1 in 10 countries.

Both Flack and the Fugees won Grammy's for their covers of the song. Flack won the 1974 Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, while the Fugees took home the awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Both versions were also placed on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Killing Me Softly" had been the last song the Fugees recorded for The Score, and the group opted to sample A Tribe Called Quest for their version of the song, and it continues to be considered a classic.

6. Cyndi Lauper's cover of “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Robert Hazard

Robert Hazard first wrote "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" in 1979, but the song really took off when Cyndi Lauper covered it in 1983. She made the track almost completely her own, flipping Hazard's male point of view for one that shows women just want to have the same experiences as a man.

"It was about having every little girl see herself so that she would understand that she could have fun, too," Lauper said in an interview about the song's famous music video. "Not just white people, not just Black people, not just Spanish people. Everybody mixed together because that's what makes it more fun I got as many different friends as I could. It made a community. And I wanted to convey that."

7. No Doubt's cover of “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk

"It's My Life" had been the title track off Talk Talk's sophomore record, but it never saw much commercial success. No Doubt then tried their hand at the song by releasing a cover in 2003 and wound up becoming one of the band's biggest hits. Their cover of the song wound up snagging them a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The music video for the track saw Gwen Stefani portraying a black widow, and the project was directed by David LaChapelle.

8. Led Zeppelin's cover of “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” by Anne Bredon

Anne Bredon wrote "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" in the late 1950s as a folk song, and the track wound up being performed by Joan Baez in 1962 for her record, Joan Baez in Concert. However, the song took on a new life in the hands of Led Zeppelin.

Early in his career as a session guitarist, Jimmy Page heard Baez's version of the song. When he met Robert Plant in 1968, he played his version of the track, and Led Zeppelin wound up doubling the length of the song when they began recording. The song was released on their self-titled debut record, and has remained one of their most popular hits.

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine in 2012, Page said of the song, "I knew exactly how it was going to shape up. I set the mood with the acoustic guitar and that flamenco-like section. But Robert embraced it. He came up with an incredible, plaintive vocal."

9. Aretha's cover of “Respect” by Otis Redding

Otis Redding wrote "Respect" in 1965 for his third album, but Aretha Franklin wound up making it even more of hit with her 1967 cover. "Respect" wound up becoming her signature song, and an anthem for the feminist movement of the 1970s. The singer snagged two Grammy's for her cover and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1987.

While Redding initially wrote the track as a ballad, however, he wound up speeding up the track's tempo. Franklin opted to record her own version after including the song within her live sets for a few years. "Respect" wound up becoming a breakthrough for the singer, and synonymous with her name.

10. Jimi Hendrix's cover of “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan

"All Along the Watchtower" is near-synonymous with Jimi Hendrix. In fact, it's hard to believe that the song was not an original. Hendrix's guitar notes in the track became some of his most iconic and appeared on his record Electric Ladyland. His cover received a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2001 and is ranked at No. 40 in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Yet, Bob Dylan is the one who initially wrote the song back in 1967. While Hendrix's cover appeared only six months later, the song appeared on Dylan's 1967 album, John Wesley Harding. Dylan wrote the song after he had been in a motorcycle accident in 1966. However, Dylan himself admits that when he now performs the track, he tries to embody Hendrix, and tributes the song to the late guitarist.

"It overwhelmed me, really," Dylan said of when he first heard Hendrix's cover. "He had such talent, he could find things inside a song and vigorously develop them. He found things that other people wouldn't think of finding in there. He probably improved upon it by the spaces he was using. I took license with the song from his version, actually, and continue to do it to this day."


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