MY TOP 5: Song covers


I love my music, there is simply no denying that, but if there is one thing I really do dislike, is covers. I am a firm believer in the ‘original is best’ philosophy, and I still stick to that. To make a list of my favourite cover songs is a bit weird, because I hate them, but even I must admit, some musicians do just as good a job as the original singer, or very rarely they do better. Im not making this a top 10, because I don’t have 10 cover songs that I particularly would consider the best. This a mixture of recorded and live performances, so sound quality on some clips maybe poorer quality than others. The only rule I have is one cover per artist.

1. Muse: Where the streets have no names

Originally a song by U2, the original was released with a good critical reception. This song has been covered a number of times by lots of people. This is Muse’s version. Muse have a good reputation for cover songs, with their cover of ‘feeling good’ being very popular on the radio when that was released. They did this song for Glastonbury 2010, with Edge himself being a guest musician . This cover remains faithful to the original, with a bit of the live Muse magic you get whenever they do a concert. Muse’s live performances are great, I almost went to see them on their Second Law tour, but the powers that be decided a 3D Smart television would do. I mean, I love TV (I have a smaller, non 3D samsung in my room) but I rarely watch it, and my TV functions as a monitor for my computer 90% of the time.


2. Scissor Sisters: Comfortably Numb

People love the Pink Floyd original, but I loved this song, thanks to the Scissor Sisters. I don’t really listen to them as much anymore, which is a shame, because they had a lot going for them. But this cover is brilliant, because it manages to keep the spirit of the original, with its isolation behind the wall, and also they manage to make the song their own. Making it a nice dance piece, with a dark edge that the song’s original intention was to have. I almost went to see Scissor Sisters live as well, I cannot remember what happened that meant I couldn’t go, but it is either that my Mum was working, or that she thought I wasn’t interested. Part of me thinks it was the latter excuse. Which is a shame.


3. Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender

Originally a piece by The Platters, Mercury took this song in 1987 and turned it into a masterpiece of pop music. You can hear the original R’n’B sound in there, but that Freddie Mercury, operatic touch is peppered throughout the song. The best part about this song is its video, by far. It celebrates the almost 15 year history of Queen and Freddie’s videos since the 1970’s, with Freddie in the forefront. It is a nice callback to see all those famous videos recreated, some of them having the original actors, and costumes in them. That is an effort. It’s a shame this song is often forgotten about, much like most of Freddie’s solo work. I wish it got more attention then, when he was alive. But hey, at least these songs get the appreciation they deserve now.


4: Chris Hadfield: Space Oddity

This cover was; very sorry for the pun, out of this world. Chris Hadfield is a Canadian Pilot and Astronaut who was in the International Space Station. During his last few weeks and days, he recorded (from space) a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. With some altered lyrics and some beautiful footage of the earth from the ISS itself, the video is quite something. The actual cover is also very well done, the singing is actually pretty decent. I nearly didn’t put this cover on the list, due to the fact I wasn’t able to get a video of it. Due to the nature of Copyright, the song was removed after a year on YouTube, due to a deal with EMI expiring. Though recently, it was put back on YouTube after an agreement was reached. Surely it was a case of fair use. Oh well, this version is faithful, if a little simpler, which is probably suits the song better.


5: Limp Bizkit: Behind Blue Eyes

What do The Who and Limp Bizkit have in common? I don’t know, I assume not much. They’re both bands, and they do rock music…I suppose that is the link. This is probably one of the most unusual covers I have heard. Because Limp Bizkit are mostly Nu-Metal. Yet, they’re doing  a classic rock piece; albeit with a bit of flavouring. It is a good cover, don’t get me wrong, but I mean…this isn’t quite Limp Bizkit. Like I said, Not bad, but unorthodox. I is pretty faithful cover, with Fred Durst’s vocals being particularly good in this. Not other instruments beside a guitar and a speak it toy gadget thing. It is a good cover, and I reckon you should give it a look.

About the author


Since 2012, Benjamin Attwood has written for the If you Ask Ben blog.

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