Has there been a song that you were familiar with and then heard another artist’s take on it and been completely blown away? Including the times you actually liked the initial release? I thought I’d choose my favourites and see what you thought. Are you in agreement with many of the songs? Which ones would you add? As always your comments and suggestions are more than encouraged.
Jealous Guy – Roxy Music
If I could only choose one for this set, it would be this. It was Roxy Music’s only UK number one, a fitting reward for capturing the musical and vocal sadness that reverberates within the fondly remembered original.
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Even without seeing the haunting video and the circumstances behind it, it’s impossible to listen to this without feeling shivers tremble right down your spine. The raw darkness evident from Nine Inch Nail’s original changes to reveal a goodbye and a complicated sadness of leaving it all behind.
I Drove All Night – Roy Orbison
Cyndi Lauper may have had plenty of success in the 80s, but only her most biased of fans would argue her version is better than The Big O’s. Even with such a wide of range of hits to choose from, I believe this song showcases more than any other just how magnificent his voice was.
Superstar -Sonic Youth
It almost seems cheeky to include this, as The Carpenters original is so wonderful and Karen always had such a lovely and much-loved voice. Indeed her performance of Neil Sedaka’s Solitaire could easily have made this list. But what Sonic Youth do is just extraordinary.
Running up that Hill – Placebo
As Sonic Youth doubtless found, it’s must be tricky to improve upon a great song that was already a popular hit. But Placebo manage to bring their own identity with a Gothic darkness that has a more downbeat and reflective tone than even Kate Bush’s original.
Perfect Day – Various Artists
Most charity songs tend to be uninspired efforts, hurriedly rushed together. Unsurprising then that this one had an unconventional background, with the initial intention of being a BBC promotion. Thankfully it was officially released, became a big UK number one and showcased a wonderful assortment of singers (including the song’s original creator Lou Reed).
Last Christmas – Jimmy Eat World
With everyone from Taylor Swift, Glee, Arctic Monkeys and Manic Street Preachers having given it a go, competition is certainly fierce. The most sold single in UK music history not to have topped the chart, Jimmy Eat World’s version may not be the most well-known but it’s delightful instrumental adds something lacking in the many others.
Mr Tamborine Man – The Byrds
Bob Dylan may not have the most fondly-though of voices, but The Byrds’ effort is loved for more than it’s vocal, adding in a jangling guitar and smoother sound. Released the same year as Dylan’s original, it topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and helped popularise folk-rock.