What is your favorite song covered by another band?
August 15, 2022 12:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm creating a new exercise playlist, after getting burned out on the ones I have. I came across the song Ring of Fire, originally by Johnny Cash, covered by Social Distortion. I was blown away by how good it is! What is your favorite song that was covered by another band? Thanks!
posted by racersix6 to Media & Arts (82 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Johnny Cash did some fantastic covers himself. Personal Jesus is a particularly good one.

Other favourites:

Cannons - Sex on Fire (Kings of Leon cover)
Pamplemoose - Everybody Wants To Rule the World (Tears for Fears cover, they've done tons of great covers)
London Grammar - Wicked Game (Chris Issak cover)
Morgan James - Take Me To Church
(Hozier cover, another singer with a lot of great covers)
MEUTE - You and Me (Flume Remix) (Disclosure cover, they're a German marching band who cover techno songs, they're amazing)
Chet Faker - No Diggity
(Blackstreet cover)
posted by underclocked at 12:31 AM on August 15 [4 favorites]

Supple's Stayin Alive [Bee Gees] is my fave.
posted by Thella at 12:57 AM on August 15

William Shatner and Ben Folds - Common People, originally by Pulp
posted by Faff at 2:15 AM on August 15 [8 favorites]

I like the Flamin Groovies cover of Dylan's Absolutley Sweet Marie
posted by brachiopod at 3:16 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Of Montreal covering Know Your Onion! (originally by the Shins) was how I first heard the song. THe same record has them covering Color Me In (originally by Broadcast).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:41 AM on August 15

Marie Mazziotti’s acoustic cover of Bowie’s Modern Love from the JCVD soundtrack is fun.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:48 AM on August 15

J Mascis' cover of Edie Brickell's Circle.
posted by phil at 3:49 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Not sure how suitable they are for your exercise playlist, but First Aid Kit does some great covers. Here's their version of REM's Walk Unafraid.
posted by synecdoche at 3:51 AM on August 15

Roy Buchanan's The Messiah Will Come Again is an amazing piece of music.

This performance by Checkerboard Lounge was just beyond.

Turn it up.

No, louder than that.

No, louder.

OK, close your eyes and sit back.
posted by flabdablet at 4:14 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Covers are my jams.

Iron Horse is a band that makes bluegrass covers of popular songs. Everything they do is wonderful. My favorite track of theirs is their version of Ozzy's Crazy Train.

A short list of other favorites:
Richard Cheese - Like A Virgin (original by Madonna)
Cibo Matto - About A Girl (original by Nirvana)
K.D. Lang - Smoke Rings (original by The Mills Brothers)
The Murmurs - White Rabbit (original by Jefferson Airplane)
Phoebe Snow - Let The Good Times Roll (original by Louis Jordan)
The Charles River Valley Boys - And Your Bird Can Sing (original by The Beatles)
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 4:24 AM on August 15

Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - California Uber Alles
posted by box at 4:32 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Ben l'Oncle Soul‘s cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” would be a good workout song, at least for me. I like it a lot better than the original.
posted by baseballpajamas at 4:34 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

The Wailin' Jennys cover of Jane Siberry's "Calling All Angels"
posted by humbug at 4:40 AM on August 15

Cato Salsa Experience & The Thing with Joe McPhee - Art Star
posted by box at 4:52 AM on August 15

Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Passenger” (Iggy Pop)

This is another baller version of “Ring of Fire”: Wall of Voodoo
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:01 AM on August 15 [8 favorites]

Nina Simone - I Shall Be Released
posted by box at 5:03 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

This Pixies cover of Jesus and Mary Chain's Head On
posted by i_mean_come_on_now at 5:06 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

I enjoy Tom Waits doing Sea Of Love in comparison to the original Phil Phillips Sea Of Love from 1959, bringing out something implicit.
posted by dreamyshade at 5:11 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Oh man, I’m glad other people aren’t just choosing one.
Indigo Girls, covering Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet
This remix of Tori Amos’s cover of The Cure’s Lovesong
Nouvelle Vague’s cover of The Cure’s A Forest
DEVO’s cover of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

And just to show how anything can surprise you when it’s done differently enough, Postmodern Jukebox covers Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On
posted by Mchelly at 5:14 AM on August 15 [3 favorites]

Here is a playlist of covers that I listen to regularly.

Spotify Playlist Link
posted by wile e at 5:34 AM on August 15

R.E.M. covering Superman, originally by The Clique.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:10 AM on August 15

Forgot a couple more favorites
Aztec Camera covers Van Halen’s Jump
Cake’s cover of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive

If foreign covers count, I adore Mo Horizons’ cover of Hit the Road Jack
posted by Mchelly at 6:21 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

The Living End's Punk take on the "Prisoner Cell Black H" theme tune is a high-high-energy take and a world away from the original by Lynne Hamilton.

Nobody's mentioned "Hallelujah" yet, so I'll bring in Allison Crowe's masterful piano performance.

Jack Savoretti's cover of "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" pulls double duty, given that it is covering Dusty Springfield's version of the song (this version is in my top ten list of live songs ever), is itself a cover of Pino Donaggio's "Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)."

Finally, is the megamix of Tom and Jerry music from the BBC Proms a cover? If so the John Wilson Orchestra covering Scott Bradley classic is just absolute pure joy.
posted by ewan at 6:25 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

In 2019, Jonathan Coulton released an entire album of extremely faithful covers of some soft rock classics, Some Guys (Apple Music)
posted by emelenjr at 6:37 AM on August 15

Hasta siempre, Comandante covered by Sandra Sangiao and the Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra

Previously: Nathalie Cardone


The actual really original from Socialist Central Committee: Traditional Version

Actual Cuban street version

Carlos Puebla (composer)
posted by sammyo at 6:38 AM on August 15

Space Junk is Forever covering Plantasia is pretty great.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:58 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

The New Pornographers, covering Toronto's Your Daddy Don't Know

The Replacements, covering The Only Ones' Another Girl, Another Planet (live)
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:01 AM on August 15

Dum Dum Girls: There is a Light that Never Goes Out

The Mountain Goats: The Sign
posted by Ragged Richard at 7:29 AM on August 15

So - I thought I was in a time-loop when I saw this question, as something similar was asked just last month:
Noteworthy Covers of Famous Songs

(But I am not complaining, I simply cannot get enough covers... In-my-opinion many are so much better than the originals, to the extent that some are now "owned" by the covering artist... (Hurt for example))

(Argh, missed the Previously...)
posted by rozcakj at 7:40 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

All Along the Watchtower by Dylan: Jimi Hendrix, Michael Hedges

Istanbul (not Constantinople) by The Four Lads: They Might be Giants

Tubthumping by Chumbawumba: also They Might be Giants
posted by scolbath at 7:41 AM on August 15

Kathryn Williams's version of Beautiful Cosmos by Ivor Cutler.
Sivuca's version of Ain't no Sunshine by Bill Withers
Noriel Vilela's Brazilian cover Sixteen Tons by Merle Haggard
Julie London's version of Yummy Yummy Yummy by the Ohio Players
Camera obscura's cover of Super Trouper by Abba
Tomas Dolby's cover of I Scare Myself by Dan Hicks
Radioheads version of Nobody Does it Better by Carly Simon
KT Tunstall's version of I Want you Back by the Jackson 5
Psapp's version of Everybody Wants to be Cat from the Aristocrats
Pamplemoose's version of Call Me by Blondie
posted by rongorongo at 7:43 AM on August 15

My favorite cover ever is probably Red House Painters - All Mixed Up which takes an upbeat Cars song and turns it really slow.

But other ones that are good:
Bloodhound Gang - Along Comes Mary turns a proto rap song into deadpan metal/rap.

Hold Steady - Atlantic City adds more umph to a thin Bruce Springsteen song
Local H - Toxic turns a Britney Spears pop hit into a rock hit.
Wedding Present - Box Elder Mo a warbly Pavement song played straight.

Anthrax - Parasite The original by KISS is poorly played and poorly recorded. Anthrax improves both.

Eric Heatherly - Counting Flowers on the Wall Originally the Statler Brothers.

Luna - Everybody's Talking Originally Harry Nillson.

Reel Big Fish - Gigantic originally The Pixies. I don't generally like Reel Big Fish, but this one is actually fun and not terrible.

Teenage Fanclub - Like a Virgin Madonna Teenage Fanclub-ized. if you like TFC, then you will like this, if you don't it a bit slow and boring.

INXS - Miss Shapiro/You Really Got Me Originally by 801, and they do the same segue in concert, except at 2/3 the speed.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:50 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Coil - Tainted Love
posted by box at 7:52 AM on August 15

Andy Rehfeldt - Du Hast
Richard Cheese - Anarchy in the UK
Mambo Kurt - Final Countdown
Katrina and the Waves - Chemical Warfare

(OK, that last one is cheating)
posted by flabdablet at 8:04 AM on August 15

Absolutely everything the Dee Gees have ever done
posted by flabdablet at 8:08 AM on August 15

My favorite cover is Easy by Faith No More. (Originally by the Commodores.)
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 8:12 AM on August 15 [2 favorites]

the replicants, destination unknown, the bewlay brothers

puddles pity party, royals, life on mars

the lovemongers (heart), battle of evermore
posted by j_curiouser at 8:21 AM on August 15

There's a story about Trent Reznor hearing Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's Hurt for the first time, being completely floored by it, and then simply saying, "It's his song now".

I've no idea if the story's true or not, but I do like the sentiment behind it.
posted by Paul Slade at 8:32 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Paul Slade, it's even better than that: "...this other person inhabiting my most personal song. Hearing it was like someone kissing your girlfriend.". Supposedly the "that song isn't mine anymore" line is from a Financial Times article, but I'm not a subscriber.
posted by adekllny at 8:48 AM on August 15

I also love Social Distortion's cover of Ring of Fire, and love the band! Our Last Night has some great covers, including Wrecking Ball, Dancing Queen, and Bye, Bye, Bye, amongst many others!
posted by poppunkcat at 8:52 AM on August 15

lil peppa (drums) from space junk was the road drummer for m. doughty's 25 anniv ruby vroom tour. she's amazing, and a very sweet and friendly human.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:59 AM on August 15

Quick question to the OP - I notice that you're doing this to create a workout mix. Should we focus on songs that are faster-paced if that's the case?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Well this won't work for working out, but Billie Eilish's cover of Michael Jackson's "Bad" is so *good*
posted by radioamy at 10:24 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Brian Eno does a lovely cover of the Velvet Underground's I'm Set Free.
posted by brachiopod at 11:03 AM on August 15

Beck's Diamond Dogs.
posted by thatone at 11:11 AM on August 15

Nick Cave's version of Stagger Lee is my favorite song of his, and that's saying something.
And The Residents absolutely destroy Satisfaction.
posted by Furnace of Doubt at 11:18 AM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Phosphorescent's cover of Vampire Weekend's Ya Hey.
posted by Eddie Mars at 12:25 PM on August 15

I have not yet heard KT Tunstall's version of "I Want You Back" (mentioned above), but Graham Parker's version is pretty good too.

From a similar era, the Clash's cover of Vince Taylor and His Playboys' "Brand New Cadillac" has got to be good for running some sprints or crushing some reps or whatever. Slamming some burpees.
posted by baseballpajamas at 12:42 PM on August 15

The Claypool Lennon Delirium, "Boris the Spider"
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, "Hot Rod Lincoln"
Herb Alpert & the TJB, "A Taste of Honey"
posted by luckynerd at 1:26 PM on August 15

I really dig the Feist cover of "Inside & Out" by the Bee Gees.

And I love the Taj Mahal cover of "Desperate Lover."
posted by kensington314 at 1:51 PM on August 15

Charles Bradley covering 'Changes'
posted by JaredSeth at 2:05 PM on August 15 [2 favorites]

Sershen & Zaritskaya - Welcome To The Jungle by Guns n Roses

Nine Inch Nails - Get Down Make Love by Queen

Aimee Mann - Nobody Does It Better by Marvin Hamlisch & Carole Bayer Sager for Carly Simon

Pet Shop Boys - Always on My Mind / In My House by Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, and Mark James

Pet Shop Boys - Where The Streets Have No Name / I Can't Take My Eyes Off You by U2, Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio

Not sure if this counts since it's a remix and not a cover, buuut putting it here anyhow:

Soulwax remix You Can't Always Get Want You Want
posted by bitterkitten at 2:40 PM on August 15

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! This is sending me down so many rabbit holes of covers discovery! Love it!
posted by racersix6 at 4:04 PM on August 15 [1 favorite]

Jawbreaker's cover of Pack It Up by The Pretenders
(lyrics modified to be about fans bitching about their songs)
posted by intermod at 8:36 PM on August 15

I have many favorite covers, but I'm adding this one because I'm pretty sure no one else will

Scatman Crother's cover of "Ghost Riders In The Sky"
posted by TimHare at 9:49 PM on August 15

Song to the Siren, This Mortal Coil (Tim Buckley)
posted by horsegnut at 5:01 AM on August 16

Two of my favorite covers (and songs) of all time are by Jason Falkner:
Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell) - I just FEEL this one so much, you know?
Photograph (Def Leppard)

I Heard It Through the Grapevine (The Slits covering Redding/Gaye)

Southern Man (Merry Clayton covering Neil Young)

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (Rufus Wainwright covering the Hollies) - I can’t find this on YouTube just now, but it’s the closing credits from Zoolander, hee hee. It’s so lush! I love it so much. Anyway, here’s Rufus and his sister Martha singing “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” live.

This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us (Siouxsie and the Banshees covering Sparks) - technically, most people have probably heard this one, so maybe look up the Sparks original, too? (I love Sparks.)

Evan Dando/the Lemonheads do a CRAPTON of covers, not just Mrs. Robinson! “How Will I Know” is kind of the opposite of an exercise mix, but fun.
posted by St. Hubbins at 6:09 AM on August 16

Shawn Colvin - This Must Be The Place (Talking Heads)

Jonathan Coulton - Baby Got Back (Sir Mix-a-Lot)
posted by Mchelly at 6:41 AM on August 16

Oh! Mefi's own chococat's vaguely psychopathic cover of Fame is the canonical version of the song for me now.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:08 AM on August 16 [2 favorites]

Average White Band covering the Isley Brothers Work to Do.
posted by missmobtown at 7:43 AM on August 16

I love Stevie Ray Vaughan's cover of "Little Wing" (originally by Jimi Hendrix).
posted by alex1965 at 8:30 AM on August 16 [1 favorite]

u2's version of patti smith's dancing barefoot
posted by brujita at 9:07 AM on August 16

This is not technically a cover (as the famous version is the cover), but I am very fond of Raf's original version of Self Control, which was immediately covered of course by Laura Branigan.
posted by wittgenstein at 11:30 AM on August 16

Marianne Faithfull - Working Class Hero (John Lennon)
Devo - Satisfaction (Rolling Stones)
Lake Street Dive - Take on Me (A-Ha)
Lake Street Dive - Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
David Bowie - Wild is the Wind (Johnny Mathis but better known from Nina Simone)
My Bubba and Mi - Fuck the Pain Away (Peaches)
Steve Earle - State Trooper (Springsteen)
Cake - I Will Survive - (Gloria Gaynor)
Alanis Morisette - My Humps (Black Eyed Peas)
Morgan James - Dream On (Aerosmith)
Richie Havens - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band)
posted by Rumple at 12:44 PM on August 16

Type O Negative covers of Summer Breeze and Cinnamon Girl.
posted by ericales at 5:57 PM on August 16

Unfortunately all my favorites are from recordings of live performances, rather than songs commercially available for purchase, so it may not help for your workout purposes unless you are making a YouTube playlist.

Brandon Flowers' cover of Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes
The Killers' cover of I Think We're Alone Now by Tommy James & the Shondells (famously covered by Tiffany)

The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge YouTube page also has a ton of recent covers to check out!
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 11:16 PM on August 17

Oops, meant to include this at the end of my last comment:

Such as Lil Nas X's cover of Jolene by Dolly Parton
posted by panther of the pyrenees at 11:23 PM on August 17 [1 favorite]

St Etienne "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" (Neil Young)
Tom Jones w/ Art of Noise "Kiss" (Prince)
Kirsty MacColl "New England" (Billy Bragg)
Tracey Ullman "They Don't Know" (Kirsty MacColl)
Bananarama "Venus" (Shocking Blue)
The Damned "Alone Again Or" (Love)
The Bangles "Hazy Shade of Winter" (Simon & Garfunkel)
Anthrax "Got the Time" (Joe Jackson)
Cibo Matto "Black Hole Sun" (Soundgarden)
Maxence Cyrin "Where Is My Mind" (Pixies)
Primus "Have a Cigar" (Pink Floyd)
The Fall "Victoria" (Kinks)
Martin Gore "Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth" (Sparks)
Siouxsie & the Banshees "This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us" (Sparks)

This is just a list I've been compiling through the week. I'm sure I'll think of a bunch more.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:44 PM on August 18

Love these! A recent great one:

DeathbyRomy - It's Raining Men
posted by Mr Yak at 9:03 PM on September 3

« Older transmasc pregnancy   |   Have I been out of the relationship game too long? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments