We are all in search of those few songs when the artist has perfected the
lyrics, rhythm, and sound. In order to reach musical perfection all elements of a recording must align. I
have compiled a list of the Top 10 Greatest Cover Songs.
Dynamite Hack - Boyz-n-the-Hood Original Artist: Easy-E
This song was featured on the first solo album released by Easy-E, titled Easy-Duz-It. Originally written by Ice Cube, the lyrics tell the story of a typical day for Cube. Dynamite Hack is a group
from Texas. The band got their name from a Caddyshack reference in which Bill Murray's character is quoted
saying "this is some dynamite hack," when referring to the joint he is smoking. The band decided
to take this incredibly popular rap hit, slow down the beat, and sing the lyrics. The satire in this clip is
hilarous. It paved the way for some other classic covers such as Bitches Ain't Shit by Ben Folds Five.
9. Faith No More - Easy Original Artist: Commodores (Lionel Richie)
This song was released by The
Commodores in 1977 on the band’s fifth studio album. The lyrics tell the story of a man who leaves his lover, but
instead of being depressed he titles the break up “easy as a Sunday morning.” Faith No More is a heavy metal
band that was formed in San Francisco during the 80’s. Lead singer Mike Patton has an extraordinary
vocal range and a unique style, which includes mixing beats with falsetto, rapping, beat boxing, and rock lyrics.
This is one of the last songs you would ever imagine this band to perform. It
was a risky marketing decision that subsequently paid off.With a combination of a Patton’s
unique style and an amazing guitar presence by Jim Martin, this version trumps all others.It was
released in 1992 and reached #3 on the UK charts.The video clip was taken from a live performance
on The Tonight Show during the early 90’s.
8. Ugly Kid Joe - Cat’s in the Cradle
Original Artist: Harry Chapin
This classic single
was released on Chapin’s album Verities & Balderdash.It topped the U.S. charts in 1974.It was co-written by Chapin and his wife. Ugly Kid Joe was an American hard rock band that achieved success in
the early 90’s.Taking advantage of their blonde hair and Southern California look, the
band seemed to capitalize on Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement of the time.
Lead singer Whitfield Crane does a great job
on this track. You can hear the multi-guitar, bass, and drum influence come together. Ugly Kid Joe’s version reached #7 on the U.S. and UK charts. The single sold over 500,000 copies in the U.S.
7. Toots & the Maytals - Take Me Home, Country Roads
This song was originally released on John Denver’s 1971 hit album Poems, Prayers and Promises.It
became Denver’s signature song and the University of West Virginia’s anthem.“Country
Roads” has been performed at every West Virginia football pre-game rally since 1972. Denver’s performance
is not easily matched, but Toots was up for the challenge. Toots & the Maytals are one of the most famous
reggae music groups in the world. Originally from Jamaica, lead singer Frederick Hibbert has a soulful and cheerful sound to his music.
6. Gary Jules & Michael Andrews - Mad World
Original Artist: Tears
This song was released
in 1982 on Tears for Fears first album The Hurting.It was a popular song for the British group and
reached the Top 40 in many countries. The tune has rather somber lyrics. Gary Jules &
Michael Andrews collaborated on the cover and it was released on the soundtrack for Donnie Darko. The duo transformed this song
and made it their own.They stripped it down and got rid of the quicker pace, various synthesizers,
and percussion that Tears for Fears used.The song was turned into a ballad that used only a set of
piano chords and a cello. This version was more popular then the original and reached #1 in the UK during 2003.I included the original video, which is a great direction and a must see.Sadly, this song
is so visually compelling that it has become correlated with suicide over the years.
5. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole - Over the Rainbow
Original Artist: Judy
This song was idealized
by Judy Garland in the movie The Wizard of Oz.Garland’s version of the song is so popular that
it was named the #1 song of the century by The Recording Industry of America. In 1993, Hawaiian native Israel Kamakawiwo’ole covered the song on his album Facing Future.His version of the song has been featured in many television
advertisements, shows, and movies. With his ukulele, the new sound Israel gave this song is great.
Sadly, Israel died in 1997 after struggling with a life long obesity problem.He died at age 38 and
weighed around 700 pounds. Israel remains one of the most influential and prized musicians in Hawaii. His
version of Over the Rainbow has a legacy that will not soon be matched.It has gained most of its
fame after Israel’s death and has become a low-charting best seller.
Pearl Jam - Last Kiss
Original Artist: Wayne Cochran & the C.C. Riders’
Wayne Cochran wrote “Last Kiss” in 1962 after
an incident in which several teens were killed in a car accident.The song did not reach commercial success until it was covered by J Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers two years later.Wilson took
the tune to #2 on the charts and earned a gold record. Pearl Jam's version became their biggest hit single of
all time and has been certified gold. It reached #2 on the U.S. charts. Pearl Jam went back to the basics for this recording, using only a single drum beat and a simple
guitar riff.Bassist Jeff Ament is quoted as saying that it was the minimalist recording
the band has ever done.
3. The Fugees - Killing me Softly with His Song
Original Artist: Lori
In 1971 Lori
Lieberman was the first to record this classic song.Its lyrics were inspired by her response to a
performance by Don McLean.It became a much bigger hit two years later when Roberta Flack covered
it.Flack’s recording swept the Grammy Awards by winning Song of the Year, Record of the
Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal.The Fugees are a New Jersey based group consisting of lead vocal
Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel.The band blended hip hop, soul, ska, and reggae music.The Fugees released a cover of this song on their album The Score. It was a massive
hit and reached #2 in the U.S. and #1 in the UK. It was the best selling single of 1996.
2. Johnny Cash - Hurt
Nine Inch Nails
Click for Original Video
This song was written by front man Trent Reznor and was originally released on the 1994 album The Downward Smile.Nine Inch Nails is a hard rock group that has been extremely successful selling more then 30 million records worldwide
and winning multiple Grammy Awards. While some may not prefer the group’s hard rock theme, you can’t
deny the genius of the lyrics.Johnny Cash covered this song in 2002, which was the year before his
passing.Reznor was initially hesitant to lend out his lyrics until he viewed Cash’s video.
Declaring afterwards that “I just lost my girlfriend because that song is not mine anymore” out of praise
1. Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
Original Artist: Leonard Cohen
Hallelujah is a song
originally released on Cohen’s album Various Positions.In 1994, singer Jeff Buckley covered
the song. In 2004, his version was named #259 on Rolling Stones list of the greatest songs of all time.It is a great recording and a powerful song.The lyrics are great and the song has
become a memorial for many, including Jeff Buckley, who sadly drowned in 1997 after going for a swim in Wolf River
Harbor, a channel of the Mississippi River. Since Buckley’s recording, the song has received worldwide success
and has been featured on the soundtrack of numerous television shows and movies.
1.Youth Group - Forever Young
Original Artist: Alphaville.“Youth
is like diamonds in the sun, and diamonds are forever young.”
2.Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane
Original Artist: Velvet Underground.This tune just sounds a bit sexier coming from a female
3. Red Red Wine - UB40
Original Artist: Neil Diamond.Call it reggae, soul, or pop,
all I know is that it is right on.
4. Snoop Dogg & The Doors - Riders on the Storm
Snoop got in the studio created a
beat and mixed his raps with The Doors classic song.A must listen for hip hop lovers.
July 23, 2010
Hell Yeah!Snoop and Jim:D
Copyright The List Blog-Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted May 25, 2009