When you can't decide if you prefer the original or the cover version

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2022 The WAM show

Jules_S

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So it's quite often the case that a cover version of a song is pretty rubbish. Either because the covering artist isn't right for the song, or doesn't bring any new perspective to it, or perhaps it's just one of those songs that you love so much that it feels like sacrilege for anyone other than the original artist to perform it.

On the other hand.... sometimes another artist covers a song you love, and you actually don't know if you prefer it to the original, or if you enjoy them both equally. It could even be the original artist re-working their own material. I have a couple of examples - Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus", covered by Marilyn Manson, who for me does a great job of it and I really enjoy listening to both versions. And Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now", the original on the album "Clouds" and the re-invention on the album of the same name.

What examples do you have where someone does a really good job of covering a song, without ruining your enjoyment of the original?

 

Ragnarock

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When I heard Johnny Cash's version of Nine Inch Nails - Hurt on the radio I thought it was a great version.  From what I understand he felt it was the best song written about drug addiction and he seemed to pour a lot of personal experience into the song.

 

StingRay

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When I heard Johnny Cash's version of Nine Inch Nails - Hurt on the radio I thought it was a great version.  From what I understand he felt it was the best song written about drug addiction and he seemed to pour a lot of personal experience into the song.
Yes I like Cashs version but I did not know the original.

John Murry’s “Little Coloured Balloons” is also a drug song but not easy listening if you know the background story.

 
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Bazzer

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The Damned - Eloise , it's so similar to Barry Ryan's original I can't make up my mind , both brilliant .

 
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greybeard

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12 minutes ago, Bazzer said:

The Damned - Eloise , it's so similar to Barry Ryan's original I can't make up my mind , both brilliant .

I have got the Barry Ryan original 45 somewhere!

 
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StingRay

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I quite this cover: 


Led Zepp also covered this.

The original was by Blind Willie Johnson around 1927. 

 
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bencat

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I just love Cassandra Wilson's version of Witchita Lineman which is so far away from the original but is spell binding and atmospheric . The ultimate hard to choose in this is I Say a Little Prayer for You , Aretha or Dionne quite different but both sublime in their own way .

Worst cover i have ever heard to date is Linda Rondstat who I like but her version of Costello's Alison is justy awful misses the point of the song and tries to make it a sweet ballad instead of a bitter and angst ridden denial of former love .

 
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Scooter

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Yes I like Cashs version but I did not know the original.

John Murry’s “Little Coloured Balloons” is also a drug song but not easy listening if you know the background story.
Glad to see you picked up on that album. John is in such a better place now but the story is so hard. I still rate it as my favourite album of this century.

 

StingRay

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Glad to see you picked up on that album. John is in such a better place now but the story is so hard. I still rate it as my favourite album of this century.
Thanks for the update, I did wonder what had happened to him. 

 

StingRay

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I just love Cassandra Wilson's version of Witchita Lineman which is so far away from the original but is spell binding and atmospheric . The ultimate hard to choose in this is I Say a Little Prayer for You , Aretha or Dionne quite different but both sublime in their own way .

Worst cover i have ever heard to date is Linda Rondstat who I like but her version of Costello's Alison is justy awful misses the point of the song and tries to make it a sweet ballad instead of a bitter and angst ridden denial of former love .
I hear William Shatner takes some beating on worst covers.

Not a huge Rondstadt fan but thought her last album was pretty good.

 
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DUVET

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Hendrix " All along the Watchtower." Ryan Adams " Wonderwall"  . This Mortal Coil " Song to Siren " . All of these in my opinion have made the song their own and preferable to the original . 

 
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StingRay

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Hendrix " All along the Watchtower." Ryan Adams " Wonderwall"  . This Mortal Coil " Song to Siren " . All of these in my opinion have made the song their own and preferable to the original . 
Even Dylan played Hendrix’s version live. It is my top cover of all. 

 

audio_PHIL_e

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Hendrix All along the watchtower and other Dylan covers, Johnny B Goode

James Taylor Up on the roof - many of his covers are masterpieces

Joe Cocker  Little help from my friends

 

bigrod

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Sonny and Cher’s ,, I got you babe 

James Last Version is one of my test tracks when I audition equipment.