25 Cover Songs That Completely Reinvent The Originals

Cover songs are a beautiful way for different artists to share their songs and give the music their own personal twist. Often, a cover may become more popular than the original recording, to the point that people don’t even know it’s a cover! Check out 25 of the best song covers that showcase the range a single song can have when taken on by a different artist.

1. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

I Will Always Love You - The Best of Whitney Houston (2012)
Image Credit: RCA Records.

Many people don’t know that “I Will Always Love You” is actually a Dolly Parton song! Whitney Houston covered this enchanting track, and the world never looked back. When Dolly has been asked about it, she says she adores Whitney’s version and actually prefers it to her own.

2. “Hotline Bling” by Billie Eilish

Hotline Bling by Billie Eilish
Image Credit: Interscope Records.

A few years ago, Billie Eilish released a cover of Drake’s popular song “Hotline Bling.” Her version was substantially different from his, with her angelic vocals and a soft, ethereal sound that is hypnotizing. Billie’s version is truly a reinvention of his playful rap song.

3. “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” by Miley Cyrus

Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High? by Miley Cyrus
Image Credit: Domino Recording Company.

Miley Cyrus loves covering iconic songs, from Metallica to Dolly Parton. But one of her most moving and distinct covers is “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?,” originally by Arctic Monkeys. She brings a sensuality and freshness to the song that shows it in a new light.

4. “Africa” by Weezer

Africa by Weezer
Image Credit: Atlantic Records.

“Africa” is a supremely popular song by Toto that has recently come back around to become even more popular again. The indie rock band Weezer covered this song, giving it a different edge that beautifully changed the song.

5. “Walk This Way” by Run-D.M.C.

“Walk This Way”—Run-DMC and Aerosmith (1986)
Image Credit: Profile Records.

“Walk This Way” is an Aerosmith song that Run-D.M.C covered. As you can imagine, the rap group’s cover of this iconic rock song was quite different, giving the track a whole new vibe that was invigorating. Aerosmith even featured on the cover along with them!

6. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

Hurt by Johnny Cash
Image Credit: American Recordings.

The song “Hurt” was originally released by the rock band Nine Inch Nails. It’s a fantastically intense song that doesn’t fit Johnny Cash’s vibe at all, but Cash adapted it to his own style, reinventing the song as something more tender and subtle.

7. “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars

Billie Jean by The Civil Wars
Image Credit: Sensibility Music.

The Civil Wars covered “Billie Jean,” one of the best Michael Jackson songs ever. Jackson’s original version is cool and upbeat, but The Civil Wars give it a slower style, creating a folksy version that enchants the listener. It might not be better, but it’s definitely a reinvention.

8. “Hotline Bling” by Sufjan Stevens

Hotline Bling by Sufjan Stevens
Image Credit: Asthmatic Kitty Records.

It seems like “Hotline Bling” is a popular song for people to cover! This cover is very different from Drake’s and Billie Eillish’s, giving the song a reggae sound that fits the lyrics quite well. Sufjack Stevens does this cover with Gallant, creating a soulful but playful version of the track.

9. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by Devo

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by Devo
Image Credit: Stiff Records.

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was originally The Rolling Stones’ song, but Devo covered it, changing the vibe completely. Unsurprisingly, Devo gave the song more of a techno sound that seamlessly fit their style, making the song super modern and clean.

10. “With A Little Help From My Friends” by Joe Cocker

With A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker
Image Credit: A&M Records.

You may notice that several songs from The Beatles are mentioned here, which is not surprising. Joe Cocker covers “With a Little Help From My Friends,” giving it a folksy sound and almost gospel-like energy that makes the song all the more powerful and impactful.

11. “Wild Horses” by The Sundays

Wild Horses by The Sundays
Image Credit: DGC.

“Wild Horses” is thought of as a song by The Rolling Stones, but The Flying Burrito Brothers originally released it. Nevertheless, the cover by The Sundays is one of the best versions, as it has a strong sound and enticing energy that make it distinct from the many other covers.

12. “Got to Get You Into My Life” by Earth, Wind and Fire

Got to Get You Into My Life by Earth, Wind and Fire
Image Credit: CBS.

The Beatles’ version of “Got to Get You Into My Life” will always be iconic, but it’s certainly rivaled by the Earth, Wind and Fire cover. They bring so much soul to the track and make it feel deeper while maintaining the cheerful message of the song.

13. “Come Together” by Aerosmith

Come Together by Aerosmith
Image Credit: Columbia Records.

Another iconic song from The Beatles, “Come Together,” has been covered by many, many artists, but the Aerosmith cover is likely my favorite. Their raspy rock and roll voices give the song more edge than it already had, and they add some interesting instrumentals into the mix.

14. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Placebo

Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) by Placebo
Image Credit: So Recordings.

While I can’t say that I like The Placebo’s version of “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” more than Kate Bush’s, it is undeniably a reinvention. They take out a lot of the ethereal instrumentals and make the song more raw and dry, which is an interesting take.

15. “Jolene” by The White Stripes

Jolene by The White Stripes
Image Credit: Fabio Venni – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

“Jolene” is a Dolly Parton song that many artists, including The White Stripes, have covered. Their version is significantly different, with a fierce rock and roll sound that makes the track almost unrecognizable. It’s an intense version that delivers a more righteous and angry sound.

16. “Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey

Doin’ Time by Lana Del Rey
Image Credit: Polydor.

“Doin’ Time” was originally a Sublime song, but Lana Del Rey’s cover is emotional and moving. She covered this song on one of her albums, completely revamping it to be her own. It’s one of the more upbeat songs on her album, but still splendidly sad, like most of her work.

17. “Iris” by Sleeping With Sirens

Iris by Sleeping With Sirens
Image Credit: Derrick Austinson – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Sleeping With Sirens is a  rock band that dabbles in screamo music and other intense sounds. Despite this, they covered The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” with a tender and soft sound that showcases the band’s raw talent outside of their own genre.

18. “Gin and Juice” by The Gourds

Gin and Juice by The Gourds
Image Credit: Sugar Hill Records.

Of course, “Gin and Juice” is a classic Snoop Dogg song, but The Gourds covered it, giving it a completely new sound. The Gourds recorded the song in a country style with a banjo and folksy vibe, making it wildly different but still lovable.

19. “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia

Torn by Natalie Imbruglia
Image Credit: RCA Records.

“Torn” is easily Natalie Imburglia’s most successful song, but it was originally recorded by a Danish singer called Lis Sørensen. However, it’s undeniable that Imbruglia’s version is the best, with her sultry vocals and raw emotions that come through in the track.

20. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor

IMG 3026
Image Credit: Chrysalis Records.

For the longest time, I had no idea this was a cover. “Nothing Compares 2 U” was one of Prince’s original songs, but Sinead O’Connor gave it a revolutionary depth of feeling, with lots of emotion and sadness, even though it isn’t necessarily supposed to be a depressing song.

21. “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles

Twist And Shout by The Beatles
Image Credit: Capitol Records.

Instead of having their song covered for this one, The Beatles covered someone else! The Top Notes first recorded this song, but it was later included on The Beatles album, which made it famous. The Beatles brought a soulful but fresh vibe to the track that we all know and love today.

22. “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett

I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll by Joan Jett
Image Credit: The Boardwalk Entertainment Co.

The Arrows were the first ones to record “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” but Joan Jett made it the iconic song we know today. The two versions are not wildly different, but Jett brings an edge to the lyrics and sound that resonate with listeners more than the original.

23. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper

Girls Just Want to Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Image Credit: Portrait.

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was first recorded by Robert Hazard before Cyndi Lauper made it the sensational track we know. The biggest difference between the two versions is Cyndi Lauper’s potent and hypnotizing voice that draws you into the beat and lyrics.

24. “Respect” by Aretha Franklin

Respect by Aretha Franklin
Image Credit: Warner Music.

Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” is a fabulous song that highlights her amazing voice and ability to infuse any song with soul. Otis Redding originally recorded it, but Aretha’s version is more vibrant and attention-grabbing than his and got a lot more attention.

25. “Untouchable” by Taylor Swift

Untouchable by Taylor Swift
Image Credit: Republic Records.

Taylor Swift is known for being a brilliant songwriter, but one of her deluxe albums includes her cover of “Untouchable” by Luna Halo. The original song is a saucy rock song you can bang your head to, but Swift’s version is a gentle ballad that evokes tender feelings.

Source: (Reddit).