When you hear the lyrics, "I fought the law and the law won," which artist comes to mind? If you're musically inclined, a certain English punk-rock band likely pops into your head. And the crunchy guitar riffs and raw power of "American Woman" probably conjure the image of a flashy rock star and his Flying V guitar. But get this, neither tune was written by the artist you associate the song with. They are just masterful takes on someone else's work. To see how your music knowledge stacks up, we've gathered the 50 best cover songs of all time. Be honest, how many did you think were originals? And for more great music trivia, check out 50 Songs Turning 50 This Year. Jimi Hendrix's rowdier, louder, and punchier electrified version of Bob Dylan's classic song, released in , blew even the original songwriter away. Listen here.
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The internet is filled with talented people hoping to jumpstart their singing careers by covering popular songs and posting them on YouTube hi, Justin Bieber. Of course there are established artists who decide to do covers too, but there's something amazing about hearing a complete stranger belt out your favorite song from your favorite artist and make it sound even better than the original. Here, a roundup of the best new covers released in , including singers you'll recognize and ones you won't—but you'll want to research them immediately. You'll recognize "Moon River" from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's , but Frank Ocean's version is the three minutes and eight seconds of peace we deserve after the year we all had.
Best cover songs of all time ranked
The best cover versions can truly reinvent a song — sometimes so much so that they become the definitive recordings. One of the greatest modern-day soul ballads, as written by… Black Sabbath? Sure enough, the Ozzy ballad proved the perfect vehicle for the soul singer Charles Bradley to eulogise his mother and generally pour his heart out. It would later be used to convey a different kind of change, on the animated TV series about puberty, Big Mouth. Nobody gave more soul to this oft-recorded Jackson Browne tune than Gregg Allman on his solo debut album, Laid Back. In turn, Browne gave Allman all the world-weariness he ever needed from a lyric. For their self-titled debut album, Chrissie Hynde and producer Nick Lowe give a great Kinks obscurity the Spector-type treatment it deserved in the first place. Plenty of people fell in love with both the cover and Hynde herself, including Ray Davies. Los Lobos gave it a personalised touch by adding the traditional Mexican flourish at the end. The sheer unlikelihood makes it hilarious, but The Wailers actually make a pretty great groove out of it.