This is the last time I am doing this MyTake so I really went all out with this one, covering a wide range of genres, eras and countries and also feature some more obscure ones. I'm really gonna rock your asses with this one! You know the routine already, but just incase you don't, here are my first two MyTakes from this series.
Now, for the last time, here are 7 cover songs that are better than the original.
7. HELLO HURRAY
Written by Rolf Kempf
Covered by Alice Cooper
Okay. This one is a little confusing, so I decided to put it first to get it out the way. This song was originally written by Rolf Kempf, don't ask me when, the guy doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. The song was first RECORDED by Judy Collins in 1968. Rolf Kempf, whoever he is, recorded it himself AFTER Judy Collins released. Then in 1973 Alice Cooper released a version of the song on his 1973 album "Billion Dollar Babies". He changed the spelling of the song to, "Hello Hooray" and added heavier vocals and guitars to give it a more hard rock sound. Although the original song is officially attributed to Judy Collins, I decided to post the Rolf Kempf version for compassion , because it was recorded by the original writer, and Judy changed the original song so much that it was beyond recognition. A few other lesser known artists also recorded version of this song, but most will agree that the Alice Cooper version is by far the best, and closest to the original.
Written by Bob Seger
Covered by Thin Lizzy
I had been listening to both artists for years, and never knew Rosalie was a cover song until recently. The song was originally written by Bob Segar and featured on his 1973 album "Back In '72". Just two years later, Irish rock band Thin Lizzy released the song on their album "Fighting". The song quickly became one of their biggest hits. Not only is it more popular than the original, it's also better, with heavier guitars and vocals.
5. SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
Written by Soul Brother Six
Cover by Grand Funk Railroad
If you didn't know this was a cover song, don't feel bad. I didn't know it was a cover song either until I attended a GFR concert and viewed the playlist. This classic hit was first recorded in 1967 by the African American Soul band, Soul Brothers Six. That same year the song came in at number 91 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 1974 Michigan blues rock band Grand Funk Railroad recorded a rock version of the song, which ended up reaching number 3 on the same chart. Need I say more?
4. BLUE ON BLACK
Witten by Kenny Wayne Shepard
Covered by Five Finger Death Punch
Let's take a break from Classic Rock for a while and move into some heavier stuff. This is another case in which I heard the cover before I heard the original. However, based on the Country sound and FFDP's reputation for recording cover songs, I knew immediately what we were dealing with. Okay, the original was more Blues Rock than Country, but it was still bizarre to hear such a heavy band singing in such a style, but the tune was really catchy. Five Finger Death Punch released their version in 2018, 20 years after Kenny Wayne Shepherd recorded the original tune. Unlike the previous tunes on this list, the original version was actually quite successful, even being named the "Best Rock Song of the Year". I guess I was too young to remember the tune, and by the time I grew up the song had faded into obscurity. I will admit, the Blues Rock genre suits this song much better, but I still prefer the heavier version of Five Finger Death Punch. Though both versions are pretty sweet, FFDP wins by a margin.
3. TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD
Written by Amon Amarth
Covered by Sabaton
This is a pretty rare case, as I don't know of very many metal bands that cover other metal bands, especially from the same era and similar genre. Once again, I heard Sabaton's version first and didn't know it was a cover song. The song was originally released in 2008 by Swedish Melodic Death Metal band Amom Armath. In 2012 another Swedish metal band, Sabaton released the song as a bonus track on their album Carolus Rex. The song was part of a series of special songs they recorded to pay tribute to other metal bands. Instrumentally, the songs don't sound much different, the only reason I prefer Sabaton's version is because the singer is actually singing. No offense to screamo or death metal fans, but those kind of vocals ruin the entire song for me. That being said, I will say that the original version has more of a Viking atmosphere, while the cover version has more of an "epic battle feel". This is one of the rare occasions though where heavier actually isn't better. I won't lie, I was a bit disappointed when I learned that Sabaton's version is a cover, as the song suits them much better.
2. SPIRITS IN THE NIGHT
Written by Bruce Springsteen
Covered by Manfred Mann's Earth Band
Okay, since the last few songs probably gave you a headache, I'm gonna conclude my list with some mellow ones. I already know this one will cause some controversy as I listed it as an "honorable mention" on one of my earlier lists, and received some negative feedback. Yeah, you guys know nothing. Once again, I'd been listening to this song for several years and didn't know it was a cover. Don't blame me, blame the local radio station. The song was originally written by The Boss and featured on his 1973 debut album, "Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J." In 1975 it was covered by British-South African Manfred Mann and his Earth Band, and quickly became a Top 40 single. There are many reasons I prefer Manfred Mann's version of the song. Firstly, Springsteen's version has the horns which gives it more of a jazzy than rock sound. Manfred Mann's version is also faster and the vocals are much better, especially on the chorus. Manfred Mann's voice is also a better fit for this song. Sorry Boss fans, the cover is better.
1. KNOCKIN' ON HEAVEN'S DOOR
Written by Bob Dylan
Covered by Guns N' Roses
Since I won't be making anymore of these MyTakes, I decided to end it with a real classic! I feel this is another one that might cause some controversy, since people have mixed feelings about Guns N' Roses. Okay, I think most people including myself know this is a cover. The song was originally written by Bob Dylan as part of the soundtrack to the 1973 film "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" and quickly reached number 12 in the "Billboard Hot 100 singles". Guns N' Roses didn't cover the song until 1990, during which point it also became a chart topping single, and is now more poplar than the original. Despite Axl's crazy behavior, you gotta admit, the guy has talent. There are many reasons the cover is better than the original. First off, the G & R version is heavier and has more riffs and vocals. Axl's, "Hey, hey, hey hey hey" in the chorus is a nice addition, which I really wish Dylan had thought off. So you can think what you want about G & R and their music, but this is one they did right.
Thanks for reading. As the legendary Neil Young said, "Hey Hey My My. Rock n Roll can never die"