10 Cover Songs You Might Be Surprised to Learn are Covers
Every now and then you come across a song that you are 100% sure you know who the original artist is. Don’t bet your life on it. I’ve been fooled by a few of these, and have been incredulous when friends thought some of these were the originals. Here are 10 cover versions that are frequently mistaken to be the original. You can cover many of these songs yourself using our extensive online karaoke catalogue.
Me and Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson/Roger Miller
Many people think Janis Joplin wrote and sang original material. Piece of My Heart, recorded by Joplin in 1968, was originally recorded by Erma Franklin, Aretha’s sister, in 1967 and Joplin’s only No. 1 hit, recorded just a few days before her tragic death in October 1970, Me and Bobby McGee was originally written by Kris Kristofferson (Bobby was a girl in his version) and first recorded by Roger Miller. A number of artists have recorded the song, including Kristofferson himself, but Joplin’s version remains the most well known.
Roger Miller, Me and Bobby McGee, Original
Janis Joplin, Me and Bobby McGee, Cover
All Along the Watchtower, Jimi Hendrix/Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan first recorded All Along the Watchtower in 1966, but it was Jimi Hendrix’s cover of it in 1968 that would become the more popular version of the song, even according to Dylan himself who started performing Hendrix’s rendition of the song.
Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower, Original – updated to match Hendrix’s style
Jimi Hendrix, All Along the Watchtower, Cover
Blue Suede Shoes, Elvis Presley/Carl Perkins
In 1955, Carl Perkins wrote a song about a guy not wanting his girl to step on his blue suede shoes. Perkins crossed over from Country to R&B with his hit recording Blue Suede Shoes. Elvis recorded it a few months later and although Elvis’ version never reached the chart success that Perkin’s version did, when we think of Blue Suede Shoes, we think of Elvis, not Perkins.
Carl Perkins, Blue Suede Shoes, Original
Elvis Presley, Blue Suede Shoes, Cover
No More I Love You’s, Annie Lennox/The Lover Speaks
80s band The Lover Speaks wrote and recorded No More I Love You’s in 1986. Although The Lover Speaks band opened for The Eurythmics in 1986 for their Revenge Tour, they did not find success. Annie Lennox, recorded their song, No More I Love You’s on her first solo album, Medusa, after the Eurythmics split up. Her cover version topped the charts and won her the 1995 Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
The Lover Speaks, No More I Love You’s, Original
Annie Lennox, No More I Love You’s, Cover
Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper/Robert Hazard
Robert Hazard, wrote and recorded Girls Just Want To Have Fun, in 1979 from a guy’s point of view. Cyndi Lauper got a hold of the song, changed it to a girl’s perspective, recorded it and her cover reached No. 1
Robert Hazard, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Original
Cyndi Lauper, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Cover
Red Red Wine, UB40/Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond wrote and recorded Red Red Wine in 1963. Twenty years later, in 1983, UB40 picked it up and covered it. In 1988 it was re-released as a single after being played in dance clubs. The 1988 single reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart. Like Dylan, Neil Diamond re-recorded the song, using the cover version’s style.
Neil Diamond, Red Red Wine, Original
UB40, Red Red Wine, Cover
Tainted Love, Soft Cell/Gloria Jones
In 1964, Gloria Jones, the singer/songwriter, recorded Tainted Love (written by Ed Cobb). Her recording of of the song failed to chart. She re-recorded it in 1976, but again it failed to chart. Soft Cell recorded Tainted Love in 1981, and their version reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart and topped at No. 8 on the US Top 40 Chart.
Gloria Jones, Tainted Love, Original
Soft Cell, Tainted Love, Cover
Blinded by the Light, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band/Bruce Springsteen
Originally written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen in 1973, it was Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s cover of Blinded by the Light that reached the No. 1 position on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1977. The Manfred Mann version is also well known for a misinterpreted lyric, “revved up like a deuce” (changed from Springsteen’s lyric “cut loose like a deuce”) has been misinterpreted by some as “wrapped up like a douche”.
Bruce Springsteen, Blinded By The Light, Original
Manfred Mann, Blinded By The Light, Cover
Respect, Aretha Franklin/Otis Redding
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me”! Can you hear anyone other than Aretha Franklin singing this line ? Respect was written for and first recorded by Otis Redding. Aretha Franklin’s version topped the charts and earned her 2 Grammy awards in 1968. Rolling Stone lists Aretha’s version at No.5 on their list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Otis Redding, Respect, Original
Aretha Franklin, Respect, Cover
I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton
Since Whitney’s performance in the film The Bodyguard, I Will Always Love You, seems like it is Whitney’s song. But alas, Dolly Parton, wrote and performed the original version in 1973. Parton’s version reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs Chart. She’s recorded the song a few times, and each time it has had success on the Charts. Whitney’s 1992 version, recorded for the soundtrack of The Bodyguard, reached No. 1 on many singles charts from around the world, as well as on Billboard’s Hot 100, Hot Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts, not to mention the multi-million dollar sales of the single.
Dolly Parton, I Will Always Love You, Original