Best cover songs: What's your favorite?

Since the No. 1 album in the country right now is a cover album — Sugarland’s Live on the Inside DVD includes a bonus CD of them taking on Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, R.E.M., and Beyonce — we thought it was a particularly opportune time to re-ask a perennial question: What’s your favorite cover song?

I’ve got a new one of late: Jay-Z taking on the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” while subbing in for them at this year’s All Points West music festival. It was a classy move, and it’s a fierce rendition:

A quick staff poll turned up some other classic suggestions, like the White Stripes’ “Jolene,” Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” Johnny Cash’s take on “Hurt,” and the we’re-secretly-15-years-old duo of Alien Ant Farm’s “Smooth Criminal” and the Ataris’ “Boys of Summer.” (Love that Black Flag shout-out.) But we sit around and listen to ourselves talk all day. We want your picks, Mixers! Give us enough good ones, and maybe we’ll make us a playlist! It worked for the heartbreaking songs, didn’t it?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
The Les Paul guitar’s greatest hits
Glenn Beck: You’ll never guess who his favorite band is
Paramore, “Ignorance”: See the new video here
Radiohead track(?) “These Are My Twisted Words” mysterously leaks: Hear it here
Led Zeppelin record a new song? No. But close!

Comments (324 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike

    I love love love Fiona Apple’s cover of “Across the Universe”.

    • Bennie der Denker

      Laibach’s version is even better.

      • Carol

        And even better would be the Rufus Wainwright version.

      • Mothra

        Blasphemy! That song NEVER needs to be covered. The original as sung by the writer of the song is PERFECT. ‘Nuff said.

  • danielle

    Bat for lashes does an amazing cover of springsteen “im on fire”, “use your love” by katy perry, two great bob dylan covers are ani difranco’s version of “hurricane” and audra mae’s”forever young” leighton meester rocks “bette davis eyes”

    the kooks version of gnarls barkley’s crazy is great because it is just so unique and different compared to the original song. same with greg laswell’s version of girls just wanna have fun and the bird and the bee’s take on the bee gees how deep is your love.


  • Rebelkat

    The Dixie Chicks’s Landslide

    • superso

      yes! love their version

      • Ken

        Very good but cannot compare to Stevie Nicks.

    • Jen

      LOVE the Dixie Chicks Landslide! Gorgeous.
      I also love Elliot Smith’s cover of The Beatles’ “Because” over the credits of American Beauty. So lovely how he does all the four harmonies a capella.

    • rchw

      Gavin Rossdale version of Landslide is better!

      • emt

        Smashing Pumpkins do the best Landslide cover

  • stelvis69

    bangles doing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Hazy Shade of Winter”……look around…duntduntduntdun..dunt

    • nmam

      Ditto on this–one of my favorite cover songs ever.

  • caitisully

    Cartel did Oasis’ “Wonderwall” I love it. Sometimes I just put it on repeat. It’s beautiful, and very well done. :)

    • Katie K

      The Ryan Adams cover of “Wonderwall” is pretty awesome as well. Absolutely heartbreaking.

  • lefty

    Even though I don’t really like country, I love Dixie Chick’s cover of “Landslide.” So good! I’d also agree about Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.”

  • Erica

    Regina Spektor-Real Love
    Arctic Monkey-Baby I’m Yours
    John Legend- Love Won’t Let Me Wait
    Cat Power- Sea of Love
    Feist- Inside and Out

    • Theresa

      Good call! I love that Arctic Monkeys cover!

    • Shelley

      The Regina Spektor and the Cat Power are 2 of my faves!

    • agent227

      I LOVE that Sea Of Love cover. It’s literally the most-played song on my iTunes. My husband is nuts for it, as well.

    • Phnam Ngyuen

      you’re taste in music is very great. i like you’re style.

  • PeterBilt The Nature Boy

    Landslide-Dixie Chicks

  • Chris

    Jody Watley’s cover of Madonna’s Borderline… stunning version.

  • Aaron

    From the Radio 1 set, I love The Gossip’s take on “Careless Whisper” and Jamelia’s take on “Numb.” And I’m a whore for Mark Ronson songs, so I’ll also throw in his cover of The Smith’s “Stop Me.” (Apparently I’m secretly British.)

    • Ben

      Those are great choices. Love the Brit music scene both highbrow and low. I secretly (well, not so secretly, I guess), love the Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud’s version of “Walk This Way.” And, really, any Girls Aloud cover.

  • pai

    Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah definitely. But Dana Fuchs’ Helter Skelter is amazing!!!

    • agent227

      The addition of Dana Fuchs in Across the Universe was the only casting choice I had a problem with. When I listen to the soundtrack, I have to skip through her songs. They literally make the hair on my arms stand up. And not in a good way.

  • Bennie der Denker

    Depeche Mode’s cover of ‘Route 66′ lets you forget all the previous versions. I don’t even remember the original artist.

    • Laurie

      Are you kidding? It’s by the Stones of course!!

      • Rory

        The song was composed in 1946 by American songwriter Bobby Troup. It was first recorded in the same year by Nat King Cole

  • K

    I love good cover songs. They can reimagine a song for you and give you a whole new way of interacting with a song you love. I have many favorites. Jeff Buckley Hallelujah probably takes the cake just because it is so different from the original, just as beautiful, and is a completely different listening experience. Others I love: The Czars’ Angel Eyes, GG Allin’s Carmelita, Kris Allen’s Heartless, Lizzie West’s I’m Your Man, Shelby Lynne’s Walk The Line, The Pretender’s Angel of the Morning, Anna Fermin’s Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps, , Placebo’s Running up That hill, and there are so many more great ones…and I love Vitamin String Quartet’s instrumental covers of rock and pop songs, and The Puppini Sisters are a great, unique cover band.

  • Donovan

    Smashing Pumpkins cover of ‘Landslide’ is great.

  • Winona

    The Beatles’ version of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” far surpasses the original, in my opinion.

    For a newer cover, I love Ben Folds’ cover of Dr. Dre’s “B*tches Ain’t S**t”.

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