Cool cover songs

My iTunes collection is full of unique, weird covers, so I’ve been working on a playlist of cool cover songs. It’s difficult, because often I didn’t realize a song I liked was a cover (growing up, I didn’t realize “Pretty Woman” wasn’t an Al Green song. There are also covers like Toxic by Mark Ronson or “Common People” by William Shatner which surpass the original.)

So here are fifty some songs that I know are covers. I may be wrong about the original artist – let me know if I am. Share your favorite covers in the comments section. Click here to see the full list.

On another note – don’t forget to tune into my friend Joey’s show every Monday at 3 PM on Y Rock on XPN .

Name Artist Original Artist (I think)
No Surprises Easy Star All-Stars Radiohead
Reason to Believe Michael Penn & Aimee Mann Bruce Springsteen
Heroes Peter Gabriel David Bowie
Mercy Street Elbow Peter Gabriel
Let Down Easy Star All-Stars Radiohead
Human Nature David Mead Michael Jackson
Gone Daddy Gone Gnarls Barkley Violent Femmes
Sleep To Dream Bettye Lavette Fiona Apple
Oh, Pretty Woman Al Green Roy Orbison
Wonderwall Ryan Adams Oasis
Hurt Johnny Cash Nine Inch Nails
Crazy Mary Pearl Jam Victoria Williams
i’m looking through you The Wallflowers The Beatles
Pennyroyal Tea Kristin Hersh Nirvana
Lights The Jayhawks Victoria Williams
They Don’t Know Tracey Ullman
Lay Lady Lay Magnet Bob Dylan
Personal Jesus Johnny Cash Depeche Mode
Handle With Care Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins Travelling Wilburys
Beautiful Elvis Costello Christina Aguilera
Paranoid Android Section Radiohead
Hallelujah Jeff Buckley Leonard Cohen
Keep the Car Running (BBC Radio 1′s Six Weeks of Summer) Foo Fighters Arcade Fire
Airbag Easy Star All-Stars Radiohead
Helter Skelter U2 The Beatles
The Man Who Sold The World Nirvana David Bowie
let it be Nick Cave The Beatles
Crazy Shawn Colvin Gnarlz Barkley
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (Vampire Weekend Cover) Hot Chip & Peter Gabriel Vampire Weekend
I Want You Back Discovery The Jackson 5
Come Talk To Me Bon Iver Peter Gabriel
Private Eyes The Bird And The Bee Hall & Oates
Wave of Mutilation Kristin Hersh The Pixies
Karma Police Section Radiohead
Hey Ya Booker T. Outkast
across the universe Rufus Wainwright The Beatles
Just (featuring Phantom Planet) Mark Ronson Radiohead
Tenderness On The Block Shawn Colvin Jackson Browne
Toxic (featuring Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Tiggers) Mark Ronson Britney Spears
Sea Of Love Cat Power Phil Phillips
I Don’t Remember David Byrne Peter Gabriel
Mexican Radio El Vez Wall of Voodoo
Common People William Shatner featuring Joe Jackson Pulp
How Am I Different Bettye Lavette Aimee Mann
Thirteen Elliott Smith Big Star
I Will Survive Cake Gloria Gaynor
God Put a Smile On Your Face (featuring The Daptone Horns) Mark Ronson Coldplay
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction Cat Power Rolling Stones
Flume Peter Gabriel Bon Iver
Hospital Beds Florence and the Machine Cold War Kids
(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night Shawn Colvin Tom Waits
Kiss On My List The Bird And The Bee Hall & Oates
Four Season in One Day (live) Mary Chapin Carpenter Crowded House
My Body Is a Cage Peter Gabriel Arcade Fire
Paranoid Android Easy Star All-Stars Radiohead
Trouble Kristin Hersh Cat Stevens
Little Wing Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Jimi Hendrix
Stop Me Mark Ronson The Smiths
  • http://www.facebook.com/howard.semones Howard Semones

    Hurt is Nine Inch Nails
    They Don't Know – Tracey Ullman
    Pennyroyal Tea – wasn't that Nirvana?

    That Bettye Lavette version of How Am I Different is glorious!

    Great list!

    • speener

      Thank you – I thought Pennyroyal Tea was a cover for some reason. They Don't Know is a cover of a girl band – I'll look it up at some point.

  • http://www.facebook.com/howard.semones Howard Semones

    Oh, right. Tracey was the first I had heard. Kristy MacColl wrote and recorded that one? Had no idea.

  • speener

    They Don't Know was done by the late Kirsty MacColl.

    • http://www.facebook.com/howard.semones Howard Semones

      I did not know that. Damn cool.

  • Suicide_blond

    Right now I’m loving forever young by audra mae — I’m not sure if rod stewartbwas original version but his was prob most recognized version… xoxo

  • Joe C.

    How about the New Pornographers cover of ELO's Don't Bring Me Down?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1216211082 Michael Comins

    Great list Spencer. Wish I could just click on these to hear the ones I hadn't heard! Just listened to Johnny Cash do Personal Jesus. Kind of creepy!

  • http://www.blonderthanyou.wordpress.com suicide_blond

    oh yeah..there is a greeeeat cover of cyndi laupers girls just wanna have fun by…greg laswell.. soooo awesome..
    btw… you have a great list there!
    xoxo