Cover songs, for those of you who don’t know, are songs recorded and performed by an artist other than the original writer or performer of the song. While the original songs hold a special place in our hearts, a good cover can be just as powerful and poignant and can often overtake the original when it comes to popularity. Here are the top cover songs of all time that have outdone the originals:

“Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley

Written by Leonard Cohen, “Hallelujah” has seen many cover versions, but Jeff Buckley’s is, without question, the most popular. Buckley’s version, which has become the definitive version, was released in 1994 and quickly became a fan-favorite. It’s more restrained than the original and Buckley’s passionate vocals have gone on to make the song an instant classic.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinead O’Connor

Originally written and performed by the enigmatic Prince, “Nothing Compares 2 U” was given a new life when Sinead O’Connor released her version in 1990. Her heartbreaking rendition of the song quickly became a global sensation and sent her career into the stratosphere. Her powerful vocals and emotional performance give the song a unique charm that has gone on to make it one of the most popular cover songs of all time.

“All Along the Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix

Bob Dylan’s iconic song has seen many versions in the decades since it was first released, but many would argue that Jimi Hendrix’s version is the definitive one. Hendrix’s version manages to retain the bluesy, rootsy feel of the original while putting his own stamp on it. His iconic guitar work and vocal work make the song transcendent, allowing him to show why he is one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

The Power of the Cover Song

Cover songs are more than just music—they can often represent a unique and powerful moment in time, one that is often more lasting than that of the original song. A great cover can often complete redefine the song, giving it an elevated status, and often making it even more popular than the original.

The Benefits of a Good Cover

A good cover can often give a fresh perspective to the original, highlighting its strengths and giving the song a renewed relevance. In addition, a good cover can also make a song accessible to a new generation of music fans, who may not have heard the original. A good cover of a classic is something to be celebrated, as it often appeals to longtime fans while also introducing the song to a whole new audience.

The Classics That Will Last the Test of Time

Though there is no shortage of amazing cover songs, some will no doubt stand the test of time, becoming lastingly popular and appreciated. The five cover songs listed above are just a few examples of how powerful a cover song can be, and they are all examples of how a cover can become even more popular than the original.

The Best Cover Songs of All Time That Outdid the Originals

For many music fans, the best covers are the ones that take on iconic songs and put their own stamp on them, transforming the song in the process. What makes a great cover is often a matter of opinion, but the following five songs have become some of the most beloved covers of all time, often becoming far more popular than the original:

  1. “Hallelujah” – Jeff Buckley
  2. “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinead O’Connor
  3. “All Along the Watchtower” – Jimi Hendrix
  4. “The Weight” – The Band
  5. “Hurt” – Johnny Cash

“The Weight” – The Band

The Band’s “The Weight” is one of the most iconic songs of all time, and their version of the song has become the definitive one. Their slow-burning rendition of the song is an incredible testament to their songwriting ability and their musical skill. The song is one of their most enduring and beloved tracks, and it outdid the original, which was recorded by Jackie DeShannon.

“Hurt” – Johnny Cash

When Johnny Cash released his cover of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt,” not many people were expecting it to become the song it did. But, propelled by its raw emotion and Cash’s trademark vocals, the song went on to become one of his most beloved songs. His version has become iconic and many argue that it has made the original version of the song obsolete.

The Future of Cover Songs

While cover songs have been around for decades, the future of covers looks to be a bright one. As new and talented artists spring up every day, more and more unique, beautiful covers are likely to appear and become popular. Cover songs provide a unique opportunity for artists to showcase their talent, and it’s clear that they will continue to be relevant for years to come.

Cover songs can be a source of great joy and entertainment, and some of them have become even more popular than the originals. From Prince to Dylan and beyond, the covers in this list have become lasting classics that have solidified their place in music history. Cover songs represent a unique and powerful moment in time that can often be just as powerful as the original.