Admit It: There’s No Better Musical Valentine Than A Well-Executed Cover Song

Between this Monday’s release of the latest covers-stuffed War Child charity album—which includes the Yeah Yeah Yeahstake on “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” and Lily Allen‘s drowsy reworking of “Straight To Hell”—and the “what are your favorite cover songs” meme going around Facebook lately, I figured it would be fun to have us all share some of our favorite reworkings of popular songs. A few of mine after the jump, presented with minimal comment because after a week of scandals and Grammys and people not being dead I am wiped out. Feel free to share yours! The newer the better!

Nick Cave, “Disco 2000″ (originally by Pulp)

Afghan Whigs, “Come See About Me” (originally by the Supremes)

(Really, the whole Uptown Avondale EP is fantastic.)

Mother Love Bone, “I’m In Love With My Car” (originally by Queen)

The Raincoats, “Lola” (originally by the Kinks)

Solex’s cover of Pavement’s “Shady Lane” is on her MySpace page. And I can’t find the Fastbacks’ version of the Bee Gees’ “Please Read Me” anywhere, but it is awesome.

Also, I found the Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser doing Chic’s “At Last I Am Free” while looking for the (superior) (not that this isn’t good, but still) Robert Wyatt version:

  • Anonymous

    Shades Apart’s cover of “Tainted Love”

  • Bjork Rhymes With Pork

    Greg Dulli really has a way with cover songs. I don’t think it’s because he’s a great interpreter; it’s more that he just has a big-ass record collection. I still prefer the Twilight Singers’ version of “Hyperballad” to Bjork’s.

    Also, the William Shatner “Common People” is pretty fucking amazing. It’s strange, because it seems like Pulp songs would be insanely difficult to cover; perhaps it just takes a tough motherfucker like Shatner or Cave.

  • Chris N.

    Soundgarden attacks “Come Together”:

  • dyfl

    Pretty much every cover ever recorded by the Pet Shop Boys and the Afghan Whigs. If I had to pick a favorite from each, it’s PSB’s “Always On My Mind” (or “We’re The Pet Shop Boys”) and the Whigs’ “Lost In The Supermarket” (or “Come See About Me”).

    That said, I do specifically exempt the PSB’s awful “Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus)” from those accolades. Ugh.

  • dyfl

    And yeah, I can’t really listen to Bjork’s “Hyperballad” after the Twilight Singers’ version. Dulli is a man who needs danger to stay interested. Bjork just seems impetuous. There’s a difference.

  • Rob Murphy


    Chris Brown has taken to his private Facebook page to defend himself. “You’ll begin to see her true colors. Believe it!” He also changed his “relationship” status to “single”.



  • Dan Gibson

    Trying to keep things recent (and to not list a hundred covers I really love), I really enjoyed Love Is All’s cover of “So Far Away” (Dire Straits) from last year.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite Whigs cover is I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man. Saw it live and it was life changing.

    I like Mobius Band’s Baby, We’ll Be Fine because it sounds like something Desmond would be listening to in the hatch.

  • gofreescout

    All those Love Is All covers are pretty enjoyable. I like the Bat For Lashes take on “I’m On Fire.”

  • Jack Fear

    Reeeeeeeeeeally recently, Ruby Isles did an electro cover of the Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal” that makes me smile. There’s something for everybody here; Fleet Foxes haters can latch onto the irony as evidence for their backlash, Fleet Foxes fans can point to the fact that the melody still sounds great even in a radically altered context.

    And two for the romantics in the crowd: DeVotchKa’s version of “Last Beat of My Heart” is incredibly swoony, and the Peter Gabriel-plus-string-section take on the Magnetic Fields’ “The Book Of Love”-from the SHall We Dance soundtrack, no less-is just amazingly gorgeous.

  • Anonymous

    A.C. Newman did a cover of Ah-Ha’s “Take On Me” that pretty much rules…

    I think it’s on a sbux comp.

  • unperson

    Greatest Beatles cover ever:

  • Anonymous

    Ida did an incredible version of American Music Club’s “What Holds The World Together.”

    And not quite the same, but I keep listening to “Teardrops” by Womack & Womack and wishing that Feist would do a cover of it. Maybe if I think hard enough about it, I can will it into existence….

  • walkmasterflex

    i’m personal a huge fan of final fantasy’s cover of “fantasy” by mariah carey

  • walkmasterflex

    agh the link didn’t get in there

  • brasstax

    Does it really get any better than Harry Nilsson doing Badfinger’s “Without You?”

  • Anonymous

    I’m a sucker for D’Angelo’s version of Roberta Flack’s “Feel Like Makin Love”

  • LeBron

    Put me down for Ryan Adams’ Wonderwall and Aaron Lewis’ version of Pearl Jam’s Black.

  • joshservo

    I enjoy Nickel Creek’s take on Pavement’s “Spit on a Stranger.”

  • Anonymous

    I like Esau Mwamwaya’s version of “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” way better than the original.

    Also, it’s not new, but David Bowie’s cover of “Across the Universe” is what I’d play in my coke-addled heaven.

  • Poubelle

    I’ve always loved the Raincoats’ version of “Lola.”

    A friend of mine recently send me the Last Shadow Puppets doing Rihanna’s “SOS” which was fun (though very similar to the Arctics doing Winehouse or Girls Aloud).

  • Penny

    Pin Me Down REDUX’s “The Chain” (Fleetwood Mac) on the new Rewind 2 compilation is awesome. The comp has 90+ free cover downloads with songs from Little Boots, Au Revior Simone and more.


  • Chris Molanphy

    I know it’s mad old and maybe not that original, but I’ve always loved the imagination that inspired Bryan Ferry to reinterpret Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” as a pumping glam anthem.

    When he works up to the long string of A-then-B lyric couplets like “Where black is the color/And none is the number,” you feel like getting up and doing the bump, fer chrissake. Not quite what Bobby had in mind, which I love.

  • iantenna

    a bit self-serving but the botticellis totally flip whitesnake’s “here i go again.”

    my all-time favorite cover is probably swamp dogg doing the bee gees “got to get a message to you.”

  • scarletvirtue

    @whoneedslight: I’m almost ashamed to say that Jordan Knight did a pretty good version of “I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man” – but, I’ve said it. It was good.

  • freeMurphy

    along the Final Fantasy-Mariah lines, there’s TLC’s “No Scrubs” which Scout Niblett, Meiko and possibly 6000 other people have done.

    then you get into your Snoop-covered-by-white-bearded-dudes…

  • Bjork Rhymes With Pork

    Hey everybody, remember Maxwell?

  • Anonymous

    It’s an oldie, but after all these years I’d still have to go with The Mountain Goats’ cover of Ace of Base’s “The Sign”. John Darnielle renders this pop song into a touching and sweet gem, which both reveals the hidden beauty in the original’s lyrics as well as self-satirises his signature delivery as being able to make anything sound heartfelt and sincere. Perfect all around.

  • galactus5000

    Basically anything that Julia Nunes does is a thousand times more charming than the original.

    And her version of Falling Slowly is better than the original, in my humble opinion.

  • Oldboy

    And of course, Jimi Hendrix’s version of All Along The Watchtower—the best cover ever.

  • kajsa

    I’ve always been a fan of Noel Gallagher’s version of The Jam’s “To Be Someone”

  • dippinkind

    Bananarama – No Feelings

  • Anonymous

    This guy’s cover of “Nowhere Man” is spot on. Love it.

  • Thierry

    In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’ve really enjoyed Woodpigeon’s cover of Abba’s “Lay All Your Love On Me”.

  • caspiann

    who’s that calling?…must be the hounds of love!