7 Cover Songs That Are Better Then The Original (Rock & Metal)


There are a lot of great rock n' roll artists in the world, but we all know what the deal is. Almost every successful rock band in history, aside from the original ones, started off as cover bands. Although most of them later went on to write some incredible original material, some of their covers were so iconic that they became more popular then the original. Some people love covers, some people hate them. Personally for me, if a band has too many popular covers, it makes me feel like they are incapable of writing their own material. But as with all things, there are good covers and there are bad covers. Here are 7 covers which are better then their original.

7. Hurt

Written By: Nine Inch Nails

Covered By: Johnny Cash

If you wanna know how much I know about new music, I thought Nine Inch Nails did a crappy cover of a Johnny Cash song, but no. Although Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" is extremely popular the song was originally written by Ohio industrial rock band, Nine Inch Nails. It was released as a single on April 17, 1995.

In 2003, the song was covered by country music icon Johnny Cash, just before his death. The song immediately became a hit, and is now more synonymous with Cash then it is with Nine Inch Nails. Nine Inch Nails might have written it, but Cash perfected it. Johnny Cash's version is louder, faster, heavier and rocks harder. It's just far better. I don't know how a country singer outdid a rock band, but he did.

6. I Put A Spell On You

Written By: Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Covered By: Creedence Clearwater Revival

This song is an absolute classic and has been covered by everyone from Nina Simone to Marilyn Manson. However, the best and most popular rendition of the song is by Bay Area rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. It's no surprise so many artists have covered this song. It was originally released in 1956 by Cleveland artist, Screamin' Jay Hawkins. The screeching lyrics and scary theatrics of Screamin' Jay were way ahead of their time. The song shaped the entire rock n' roll world and is said to have inspired the shock rock movement. Rolling Stones Magazine still ranks it in the 500 greatest rock songs of all time. But I'm also noticing a trend of bands from Ohio getting covered. I guess there is a reason the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame is located there.

5. Baby Please Don't Go

Written By: Big Joe Williams

Covered By: AC/DC

This is another one of those classic songs that has been around forever. This one was originally written way back in 1935 by Delta Blues musician, Big Joe Williams. It has been covered by everyone from Van Morison to Aerosmith. However, the AC/DC version is my absolute favorite. The song was released in 1975 on their debut album "High Voltage". At the time, it was considered the highlight of their live shows. To this day, it is the only cover song to be featured on an AC/DC album. With their enormous catalog of original kickass songs, this song still ranks as one of my all time favorites. And the video for it is absolutely hilarious. There is something about Bon Scott in drag that cracks me up. That alone earns it a spot on the list.

4. Land of Confusion

Written By: Genesis

Covered By: Disturbed

This is another song I had no idea was a cover until recently. I was never a fan of Genesis so I always thought this was a Disturbed song, especially since their version was a huge hit when it came out in 2005. However, it turns out the song was originally written by the English "rock" band Genesis and released in 1986. Maybe it's the fact that I've grown to love Disturbed's version, that I absolutely can't stand the original version. The Disturbed version is just louder, heaver and rocks harder. Plus their video for it is way more badass then the creepy Genesis video. This is one instance where older isn't necessarily better.

3. Hush

Written By: Billy Joe Royal

Covered By: Deep Purple

This is another song I was surprised to find out was a cover. With this one however, I feel a lot of people don't realize it's a cover, as it's become so synonymous with Deep Purple. It was originally released in 1967 by Georgian rocker, Billy Joe Royal. Don't worry, I hadn't heard of him either until an hour ago. Anyway, the song was covered the following year by Deep Purple and quickly became a hit. It should be saying a lot that a British band wants to cover an American song. But let's be honest, the original version kind of sucks. This is another example of the Americans creating something, and the British perfecting it.

2. Do You Wanna Touch Me

Written By: Gary Glitter

Covered By: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

This is by far the closest cover of all of the songs on this list, although most people also do not realize that this is a cover. This popular rock anthem was originally released in 1973 by British glam rocker, Gary Glitter and was covered by Joan Jett over a decade later. Listening to both versions, there isn't much of a difference, aside from the fact that the guitars on Joan's version are heavier, and there's a woman singing. But this song is so synonymous with Joan Jett that most people simply pretend the Gary Glitter version doesn't exist. It also deserves to be number 2 on this list for the simple fact that we have a woman covering a song which was originally sung by a man. And she certainly outdid him. She really outdid him. This time, the Yanks outdid the Brits.

1. With A Little Help From My Friends

Written By: The Beatles

Covered By: Joe Cocker

Rule number one of covering the Beatles, don't cover the Beatles.....unless you're Joe Cocker. This is one time when the Beatles really got served. The song was originally released by them in 1967 and was covered by fellow Brit Joe Cocker, the following year. I think this is one instance where the cover is just as popular as the original. The Joe Coker version is longer, heavier and has extra riffs. The singing and melody is also far better then the original. I appreciate the Beatles' contribution to the music world, but this is one time when I'm glad they were covered. This time, the Brits perfected their own music.

Unfortunately, GAG only allows you to post 15 videos, so here are some honorable mentions.

Black Sabbath's cover of Crow's "Evil Woman"

Jimi Hendrix's cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"

Manfred Mann's cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Spirits in the Night"

Thin Lizzy's cover of the Irish folk song "Whiskey in a Jar"

Deep Purple's cover of Billy Roberts' "Hey Joe"

Thanks for reading/listening.

If you have any covers you really like, post them in the comments section.

7 Cover Songs That Are Better Then The Original (Rock & Metal)
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Most Helpful Guys

  • NearlyNapping
    It's common for covers to be better than originals. A lot of songwriters are much better writers than they are performers.

    That Cash version of Hurt sounds so much more personal

    Yea, "I Put A Spell On You" is a classic that's covered by a lot of people. But CCR definitely put their stamp on it.

    "Baby Please Don't Go" - Pretty sure Big Joe Williams did not write that song. He was the first to popularize it. Nobody knows for sure who wrote it. It goes back to a time when most songs were variations of old traditional songs. I'm most familiar with the Ted Nugent and Ten Years After versions.

    Hush - I didn't know that was a cover either.

    With A Little Help From My Friends - Yea, the Joe Cocker version is good (the studio version is better than the one in the link). There are several covers he does as well or better than the original. I also didn't know he died. I have several of his CDs, but haven't listened to them in a long time.

    If I took some time I could probably come up with lots of good covers. One person that comes to mind is Patti Smith's covers of Prince's "When Doves Cry", Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush, and REM's "Everybody Hurts".


    Robert Plants' cover of Jessie Colin Young's Darkness Darkness.

    The Bangles cover of Simon and Garfunkel's Hazy Shade of Winter.

    Alabama Song covered by The Doors (called Whiskey Bar)

    Jolene covered by The White Stripes

    The Beatles cover of Twist and Shout (yes that's a cover)

    John Lennon's cover of Stand By me

    I'm just getting started but I'll stop for now.
    Is this still revelant?
  • abc3643
    1. No. Joe Cocker Spaniel never did anythingbiriginal let alone be better than the original.

    2. "Land of Confusion"? Ummm... no.

    3. You forgot the culturally and historically important "Get Together" by The Youngbloods in 1969 which is a cover of earlier "Let's Get Together" versions.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Girl

  • Anonymous
    Gary Glitter's version is far better than Joan's.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • madhatters4
    great list. i can't disagree with any although i have not heard the disturbed cover of land of confusion

    for please don't go i'd also say the van morrison cover is better than the original
    • Really?
      Disturbed's version is actually more popular.

      I'll have to check out the Van Morrison version

    • not a fan of the heavy metal genre and they started releasing music after the point i stopped listening to modern rock radio... so outside of a movie, commercial or whatever i'd probably never come across their music

  • castratedwhiteguy
    Personally, I'll stick with the original Genesis recording of "Land Of Confusion" although Disturbed did do it justice. Also, you're probably the only person on this planet who thinks that Manfred Mann's covers of any of Bruce Springsteen's classics such as "Spirits in the Night" are better than the originals. Having said that, I agree with most of your calls here.
  • Jack_L_andTurn
    Good list. You could say the same thing about Joan Jett's cover of "I Love Rock n Roll" by Arrows and about a half dozen songs written and performed first by Russ Ballard like "Liar" by Three Dog Night, "I Don't Believe in Miracles" by Colin Blunstone, "Winning" by Santana, "Since You Been Gone" covered by Head East and Rainbow (also by Cherie and Marie Currie, but their version was meh), "God Gave Rock n Roll to You" covered by Petra and Kiss, "New York Groove" performed live by Russ but written for Hello and covered expertly by Ace Frehley,
  • lpoots
  • howlyz
    I like how Cake covered this song and I just dig the guitar solo in this cover for some reason, the original song is also great but this is just the song that crossed my mind when I saw your question here, I like some of the songs very much, like the Deep Purple's Hash. Lots of songs are actually covers, some songs you would never say it was a cover, just as many many movies are just recycled even two or more times.. here is the song
    • howlyz

      this genius band I love very much and all they do is covers, they are a cover band, they cover songs of all genres and do it in a, heavier, punk version, in my opinion they are genius and every song they do ends up great, not sure if you know of them but check it out if you haven't yet, I really like when a pop or some other genre song is covered as a punk version.. songs like "O Sole mio", Mandy, Eleanor and others, all of them actually..

  • LegateLanius
    Thank you
  • kojikurac
    Johnny Cash - Hurt
    👍 All day
  • Anonymous
    Gary glitter is a peadophille and you shouldn't be promoting his music or videos
    • I'm not. To me it will. always be a Joan Jett song. I said that her version is better.

      That makes me rethink what Gary Glitter's version was about

    • Anonymous

      Yeah he gets royalties for his songs

    • I know. She had to pay him, but I shouldn't listen to Joan Jett?

      But I knew the moment I saw him, that Gary Glitter is a faggot

  • Anonymous
    Didn't hear the 2nd one on your list. But yeah I agree. Great.

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