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"I think he died when he heard my version of 'Heartbreak Hotel'."

If a song is recorded by a singer-songwriter, and then by somebody else, the second person's recording is a Cover Version. If the song is from Tin Pan Alley and not released by the original songwriter, the Cover Version is either any version after the first recording, or any version after the first hit recording. The term got its name in The '50s, when labels used to record & release "white" versions of r&b and rock & roll songs originally performed by black people, thereby "covering" the market.

Hit songs tend to attract Cover Versions. Sometimes, Cover Versions are more popular than the first version; the original is then Covered Up. If a cover is done in another language then it is a Translated Cover Version. For specific types of cover see also The Cover Changes the Gender, The Cover Changes the Meaning, and Softer and Slower Cover.

If you're curious, the website WhoSampled has a quite thorough list of the most popular songs to cover.

An entire album being composed of cover songs is a Cover Album.

Compare and contrast with remix, a related concept that is more common in electronic music.

Differences in the production process:

  • A cover is a re-recording, an entirely new performance. The melody and lyrics might remain the same, but the recording of the cover version does not use any parts of the recording of the original version. Every vocal performance, instrument performance, and various sound effects are reproduced and recreated from scratch. The writer of the original work retains the writing credit, but the performance and/or the production credit (in layman's terms, the work that was done to convert sheet music into the resulting audio track) belongs to the new artist. Covers are traditionally attributed to the new artist, with the original artist sometimes mentioned in the track title in brackets (such as Original Artist Cover or Cover Of Original Artist).

  • A remix re-uses some parts of the original recorded performance (for example, the clean acapella of the original vocal) and re-mixes them in some way, while almost inevitably adding new parts, instruments, and doing other creative changes. A remix effectively samples the original work. With remixes, the author of the original work retains both the writing credit and the production credit because parts of their production work are present in the remix, while the remixer typically gets a credit along the lines of "additional production by". Legally, a remix is still considered a composition by the original artist. This is reflected in the official name of the resulting work, which is attributed to the original artist, with the remixing artist mentioned in the track title (such as Another Artist Remix).

    • In the 80s and earlier, a "remix" was most commonly an alternative version of a song that was produced by the original production team in the same studio, and implied considerably less deviation from the original than modern remixes do. Some examples of that old definition of a remix could be a version with an additional synthesizer part in the choruses, or an extended version more suitable for disc jockeys in nightclubs, or one with less backing vocals – all of them would be minor variations of the same base track.

Differences in ownership:

  • Officially released covers are nearly always the covering artist's idea, where they – or their label or other representative – reach out to the rights holders of the original work for a license. Although the original songwriter retains the writing credit (and gets some compensation), the cover version belongs to the new artist or their label, just like a regular song does.

  • Officially released remixes, on the other hand, are nearly always commission work, where the owner of the original work – most commonly the label – reaches out to the remixing artist to commission the remix. Like it is common with commission works, the entity that commissioned the remix owns it outright, and most commonly the remixer only gets a fixed sum payment for the remix, regardless of how many copies it might sell.

    • When an artist decides to remix someone else's work unofficially, just because they felt like it and without being asked to, the resulting remix is called a bootleg remix, often shortened to simply bootleg (contrast with the rock music scene where this word typically refers to an unofficial recording of a concert). Bootleg remixes have a high chance of being left in legal limbo or outright considered illegal by the owner of the original, although it's not exactly unheard of that the original label ends up liking the remix and releasing it.

It's also worth nothing that some versions that are officially released as remixes might technically be covers, when the remixing artist chooses not to re-use any of the provided parts of the original work and only uses the melody. Likewise, some versions that are officially released as covers can actually sample some parts of the original. This can happen when the owner of the original enjoys the remix and has no problem with letting it see the light of day, but does not want to release it as a remix. A common reason for this is when the remix is in a wildly different style than the original artist is known for, and their label doesn't want to feature this work in the artist's official discography. In that case, they can allow the remixing artist to release the remix as a cover, and additionally allow the artist to sample the original work, as a separate legal technicality. See Above & Beyond - Blue Monday for a prominent example.


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  • Alien Ant Farm has the dubious honor of being a One-Hit Wonder whose single hit was not their own song; they covered Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal".
  • The song 'Another Girl, Another Planet'. Originally performed in 1979 by the cult band The Only Ones, it has been covered many times. The most recent cover (by blink-182) is actually a cover squared, as it is based on an earlier cover with slightly different lyrics to The Only Ones' original.
  • There have been lots of covers of The Beatles songs. Among the artists that have done a successful cover include Jimi Hendrix with "Day Tripper", Elton John with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", Joe Cocker with "With a Little Help from My Friends", Gryphon with "Mother Nature's Son" and Yes with "Every Little Thing". Roger Greenawalt with various singers has covered about half the songs on ukulele. Rosanne Cash covered a Lennon-McCartney ditty called "I Don't Want To Spoil the Party", and took it to No. 1 in 1989, the only cover of a Beatles song to ever top the Billboard country chart; additionally, country crooner Anne Murray's cover of "You Won't See Me" (another Lennon-McCartney creation) was a top 10 pop hit in the spring of 1974, and was part of a double-sided "A" hit, whose flip was itself a cover (not the Beatles but an old George Jones song) ... "He Thinks I Still Care."
    • "Yesterday" was originally recorded by the Beatles, and It has been covered many times since (rumor has it 3,000 times) by such luminaries as Ray Charles, Matt Munro, Michael Bolton, Paul McCartney (as a solo artist), and even Elvis Presley. Guinness lists it as the most-covered song of all time.
    • The Beatles themselves recorded their share of covers, especially early in their career — see "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Too Much Monkey Business", which are just two of their Chuck Berry covers, and "Twist and Shout", originally by the Top Notes (with the second most famous version being by the Isley Brothers). Another famous cover was "Act Naturally," originally a country hit for Buck Owens; Ringo Starr, who sang lead on the Beatles' version, went on to record a duet version with Owens in 1989, and it became a respectable-sized hit.
      • With the exception of A Hard Day's Night and Help! (which contained two cover songs), their first five albums were almost half covers (6 out of 14 songs). They stopped this around 1965, but threw in a short cover of "Maggie Mae" on Let It Be
  • The Black Crowes have done many blues and rock standards in their live shows. When they toured with Jimmy Page, he pretty much turned them in a Led Zeppelin tribute band. This resulted in the very popular album "Live at the Greek".
  • When a member of a band has released a solo album, occasionally, the band they're in will play the song in their concerts. Notable examples of The Eagles playing several of Glenn Frey's, Don Henley's, and Joe Walsh's singles in their post-reunion tours, and Meat Puppets opening several of their concerts with an electric version of Snow off of Curt Kirkwood's acoustic solo album.
  • Finnish Neo-Classical Black/MeloDeath/Thrash Metal band Children of Bodom has covered Britney Spears' Oops I Did It Again and Creedence Clearwater Revival's Lookin' Out My Back Door. Yes, there's a whole album of them, but those two stand out the most.
  • "Living for the City" by Stevie Wonder was covered by quite a lot of artists. This may be one of the best attempts.
  • "Take It Easy" was originally by Jackson Browne, but Eagles made it famous.
    • And it's also been covered by Billy Mize, Johnny Rivers, and Travis Tritt, among others. (Travis Tritt's version was on a country tribute album to the Eagles.)
  • Linda Ronstadt made a career out of cover versions. "It's So Easy" was originally by Buddy Holly, for instance.
  • Sonny James, a country hitmaker from the late 1950s through late-1970s, turned a bunch of pop and R&B songs into major country hits, sometimes making them the definitive versions. His biggest hits of cover songs have included "Take Good Care Of Her," "I'll Never Find Another You," "Born To Be With You," "Running Bear," "Only the Lonely," "Since I Met You Baby," "It's Just a Matter Of Time" note , "My Love," "Endlessly," "Empty Arms," "Bright Lights, Big City," "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "When the Snow Is On the Roses," "Is It Wrong (For Loving You)," "Little Band Of Gold," "The Prisoner's Song/Back In the Saddle Again," "Abeline" and "Caribbean."
  • "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was actually recorded by both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & The Pips at more or less the same time; the Gladys Knight version was released one year before the Gaye version. The song was covered by several other artists, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Slits, and The California Raisins. Most cover versions use Gaye's arrangement.
  • Pig Destroyer's cover of Exhumed to Consume by Carcass may have completely muffed the vocal patterns and lyrics, but you'd be lying if J.R.'s voice didn't scare you in the chorus.
    • The Ataris share this "distinction", their only mainstream hit being their cover of Don Henley's "The Boys of Summer".
    • As discussed by Todd in the Shadows, Australian group Pseudo Echo's only hit was a cover of another One-Hit Wonder: in this case, "Funky Town" (originally by Lipps, Inc).
  • The Jeff Beck Group, a short-lived supergroup featuring the eponymous ex-Yardbird on guitar, Rod Stewart on vocals, Ron Wood on bass and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and The Who drummer Keith Moon on one song, had a repertoire consisting almost entirely of Chicago blues covers. Most of it was pretty good.
    • However they were not a supergroup back then, only Beck being famous. Ron Wood and Rod Stewart didn't become stars after this (when they joined The Faces).
  • A number of Bob Dylan's early songs became widely known through their covers. Examples include Peter, Paul and Mary's rendition of "Blowin' in the Wind", The Byrds' covers of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "My Back Pages", The Turtles' version of "It Ain't Me, Babe", and Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along the Watchtower". That last one became so pervasive, Dylan himself incorporated elements of it into his live show.
  • It was Phish's cover of Ween's "Roses Are Free" that brought in many of Ween's fans.
  • Joni Mitchell's songbook is a favorite for other artists to tap into. Hit covers of her work include Judy Collins' "Both Sides Now", Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton's "Big Yellow Taxi", and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's version of "Woodstock".
  • While J.J. Cale is a relatively unknown musician in his own right, three of his songs have attained major notoriety in their covers; "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" as performed by Eric Clapton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd's cover of his "They Call Me the Breeze".
  • Try to count how many bands or solo artists have covered The Cure's "Lovesong". Mind-boggling.
  • And if you think that's bad, look up The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black".
  • Grindcore band 7000 Dying Rats covered Journey's Any Way You Want It, but covered it up with the title Hellcatcher and the first minute or so being random radio static and interference.
  • Basshunter covered two of his own songs among others for his most recent album, Now You're Gone.
  • "Last Christmas" is such a popular song to cover, in various styles by artists of various genres, that it's easy to forget it was written by George Michael and originally recorded by his band Wham!.
    • For example, more traditional artists such as Savage Garden, Billie Piper and Ariana Grande all have their own versions of it, but at the other end of the spectrum, one of the Sailor Moon "Christmas" collections has the voice for Rei Hino singing it. Of all the places it could end up...
  • Iron Maiden had many covers issued as B-sides (including a parody version of "Roll Over Beethoven" about their manager, and UFO's "Doctor Doctor", the song the PA always plays before the band hits the stage) and one as a single, "Women in Uniform". The band also inspires many covers, with "Aces High" having four (Arch Enemy, Hypocrisy, Vital Remains, Children Of Bodom) and tribute albums by both metal and hip-hop artists.
  • The Tornados's "Telstar" has somewhere in the region of 130 covers. Tim "TelstarMan" Lehnerer has achieved minor Internet fame for owning a copy of every one of them. That is, every one we know about — rest assured, if another is discovered, he will acquire it.
  • Quiet Riot's first major hit was a cover of Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize". Kevin Dubrow hated the song and had to be talked into it by the rest of the band; the version released on Metal Health is the first (and only) take.
    • Dubrow saw the light after the song became a major hit. The first single from their next album was another Slade cover, "Mama Weer All Crazee Now".
  • Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" has been covered so many times, The Other Wiki has two hefty paragraphs dedicated to listing instances.
    • Cohen originally wrote the song with 15 verses, with each artist choosing 4-5 verses for their cover version.
  • Sunn O))) covered "For Whom The Bell Tolls" by Music/Metallica in their usual droney style, so it's nearly impossible to tell that a track named FWTBT (I Dream of Lars Ulrich Being Thrown Through the Bus Window Instead of My Master Mystikall Kliff Burton). On that note they also covered "Cursed Realms (Of The Winterdemons)" by Immortal, but once again, in their molasses moving uphill style. One must wonder how it's really a cover if it sounds NOTHING like the original.
  • And speaking of sounding nothing like the original, Calvin Wilkerson's cover of Bill Haley and his Comets' "Rock Around the Clock".
  • For rights reasons, almost every song on Guitar Hero is actually a cover. When the title and artist come up at the beginning of the song, look at what it says: "As made famous by" is a cover, and "As performed by" is the original. This is why "Spanish Castle Magic" by Jimi Hendrix is an instrumental in the original Guitar Hero as the Hendrix's estate would not license the track to Harmonix if they attempted to have a singer impersonate Jimi's voice. By the third game in the series, the franchise was already notable enough to start putting more and more master recordings into the games, with Guitar Hero World Tour having every single song in the game a master track (although two covers would later be released as DLC).
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents also use covers (link leads to all of them except YMCA) instead of original songs, mainly because they have to alter the length of the songs to fit the stages. "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai, for example, is over seven minutes long; the version used in Elite Beat Agents is only three minutes. The Osu Tatakae Ouendan games have three or so mixes made from master recordings as opposed to covers between, however.
  • Blind Guardian seem to be fond of doing these. They have done several of them, such as "Surfin' USA" (The Beach Boys), "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vidda" (Iron Butterfly), "Spread Your Wings" (Queen), and a rather amusing version of "Mr. Sandman" (heres a video)
  • JAM Project's Masaki Endoh did a cover of Go Go Power Rangers for when Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was (re) re-dubbed and aired in Japan.
    • Endoh has released a pair of albums titled ENSON which are entirely covers of songs he (presumably) likes. "Go Go Power Rangers" is in the first one.
  • Marilyn Manson's first real mainstream hit was a cover of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". See also: his covers of "Personal Jesus" and "Tainted Love" (and see below for the more on the latter).
  • Ever try looking up how many covers of Radiohead's hit "Creep" are out there? I'll give you a hint, A LOT.
  • "Pop pop Pop pop pop pop pop, pop pop Pop pop pop pop pop...". Curse you, Gershon Kingsley.
  • Progressive Thrash/Power Metal band Nevermore covered The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel. They don't dive straight into the song, so one would be forgiven for thinking it to be an original until "Hello Darkness My Old Friend!" is shouted right in your ear.
  • Almost every song on Depeche Mode's album Violator has been covered. "Enjoy The Silence" in particular, has almost 20 covers.
  • Yet another Depeche Mode cover: The Saturdays did "Just Can't Get Enough", and that's what that catchy song you hear in the Payless commercials is. The original songwriter, Vince Clarke, even remixed it for them.
  • Just when you think the album has to come to an end, Austrian Death Machine's album Double Brutal salvos you with an array of covers from Metallica to The Misfits to Motörhead to Goretorture and Agnostic Fuckin' Front.
  • Kate Bush's song "Running Up That Hill" has been covered by everyone from Armin van Buuren to Within Temptation.
    • That would be only Dutch bands, then?
      • Maybe it's in alphabetical order!!
    • Placebo also did a cover of this, which is, oddly enough, one of their better known songs.
  • The entire point of Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine is producing light, breezy easy-listening covers of songs from metal, hip-hop, and rap artists.
    • You have not lived until you've heard their cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer". It's absolutely hysterical.
    • Not to mention the cover of Disturbed's Down With The Sickness. Just try to keep a straight face when the infamous child abuse segment comes up, sung in Cheese's trademark lounge style.
  • Disturbed has done a few covers including "Shout" by Tears for Fears ("Shout 2000" on The Sickness) and "Land of Confusion" (with an AWESOME animated music video to go with). Their cover of "The Sound of Silence" was a big hit, and they were even invited to perform it on Conan.
  • Being, as they were, major influences on just about every metal/punk/emo band that's emerged in the past twenty years, pretty much every single song in The Misfits discography has been covered a hundred times over. "Last Caress" and "Halloween" are particular favorites, it seems.
    • Metallica loves covering the Misfits: a medley of "Last Caress" and "Green Hell" on Garage Days Re-Revisited and "Die Die My Darling" on Garage Inc..
  • A special category in this trope is where the original artists assist in the cover version. For instance, the Beatles helped out the Silkie with their hit cover version of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" (mainly because the Silkie were being managed by Brian Epstein). Elton John did this trick with not one, but three, major hits: he got Pete Townsend to assist on his version of "Pinball Wizard", had John Lennon on guitar on his version of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", and returned the favor when George Michael did a cover of his "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".
    • Amy Grant joined Ali Lohan to cover Santa's Reindeer Ride.
    • Dolly Parton joined Kesha to cover "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle To You" on her Rainbow album.
    • Ozzy Osbourne joined with Primus to cover Black Sabbath's "N.I.B."
    • Toshi from X Japan will occasionally sing songs from Yoshiki's solo project Violet UK. He's covered 7th/Unnamed Song, and I'll Be Your Love. It works (far better than the models that originally sang both) since Yoshiki tends to write for Toshi's voice no matter what he's writing for, out of Author Appeal.
    • Tracey Ullman's two albums feature covers of several songs by her labelmate Kirsty Mac Coll, who helped out with backing vocals and even gained a co-producer credit on some of them.
    • Ray Manzerek lent his keyboard to the hit Echo and the Bunnymen cover of "People are Strange", as well as the lesser known Santana and Chester Bennington "Riders on the Storm."
  • Killswitch Engage covered Ronnie James Dio's "Holy Diver."
  • On the topic of all things holy, a Power/Thrash Metal band named Holy Grail covered Fast As A Shark by Accept and Judas Priest's Exciter. The covers were modified to be even faster, lending two already kickass old school songs even MORE kickassery.
  • Tom Lehrer recorded his song "The Irish Ballad" on the album Songs by Tom Lehrer in his usual fashion, playing a piano as accompaniment. The group Darby O'Gill later covered the song, turning it into a real Irish ballad. (Well, they perform in America, but they play Irish-type music and instruments.)
  • Jimi Hendrix took Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and added two guitar solos.
  • Emilie Autumn has recorded a few covers, some songs covered by her are "I Don't Care Much" from Cabert, "I Know It's Over" originally by The Smiths, "All My Loving" by The Beatles, a harpsichord cover of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life", and most recently "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".
    • She is also one of the few to have had the nerve to cover the last one on stage.
  • Madonna did a cover version of American Pie.
  • Aretha Franklin wasn't the first to sing "Respect". That would be the song's writer, Otis Redding.
  • "Lips Of An Angel". The radio success of Hinder's version spawned several covers with the most notable cover being that by country singer Jack Ingram.
  • Probably the most well-received cover in history was Johnny Cash's cover of the Nine Inch Nails song Hurt. Even Trent Reznor agrees that Cash did a far better job. This popularity does not extend to Cash's other covers of '90s songs, however.
  • Mayhem's most well-known song, Deathcrush, from the EP of the same name, has been covered over 140 times.
  • Nine Inch Nails covered Soft Cell's club-hit Memorabilia and stuck it on the Closer single as a b-side.
  • A lot of artists like to do a cover during unplugged sessions (notably MTV's unplugged).
  • A complete disc full of covers was released in the 3CD edition of Dream Theater's "Black Clouds and Silver Linings".
    • In addition, Dream Theater has covered entire albums by influential rock and metal bands during certain live shows. These include Metallica's "Master of Puppets", Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", Iron Maiden's "The Number of the Beast", and Deep Purple's live album "Made In Japan".
  • This is the entire point of the "Punk Goes..." series (with the exception of Punk Goes Acoustic)
  • Atreyu has covered both You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi, and Epic by Faith No More.
  • '60s British pop group the Searchers made a business of great covers.
  • Manfred Mann took Dylan's "The Mighty Quinn" and Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By The Light" and made them their own.
  • A good amount of Cascada's work are covers, Including "Everytime We Touch, "What Hurts the Most", Because the Night", "Wouldn't It Be Good", "Truly Madly Deeply", and several others.
  • Tori Amos is known to cover a lot of songs, most famously "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "'97 Bonnie & Clyde".
    • Strange Little Girls (which features "97 Bonnie & Clyde") is an entire album of cover songs, supposedly with the theme of "songs written by men about women".
  • Apocalyptica started their career by covering Metallica songs ON CELLOS. They later moved on to covering stuff like Sepultura, Pantera, you name it. Here are two examples.
  • The Isley Brothers cover of summer breeze probably counts. Ernie Isley adding a Epic Riff and ending on a bad ass 3 minute guitar solo. It went from a folk type tune by Seals and Crofts and turned into psychedelic funk/rock/soul track.
  • Most people don't know what "I Love Rock N Roll" by Joan Jett is actually a cover. The original is by The Arrows.
  • David Bowie is frequently covered, specially "Heroes" and "Rebel Rebel".
    • "Space Oddity" was covered by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield while he was on the International Space Station. Bowie even went to bat with his publishers to let Hadfield post the cover. note 
  • My Chemical Romance did a cover of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" for the "Watchmen" soundtrack.
  • There is an album called Pun-Colle that consists of anime seiyuu covering classic punk songs. In J-Pop style. Hearing a high-pitched, Japanese voice actress singing "White Riot" certainly is... something.
  • Primus did an EP of unexpected cover versions, including XTC's "Making Plans for Nigel" and Peter Gabriel's "The Intruder".
    • They also did an insanely kickass cover of Metallica's "Master Of Puppets". Where the guitar and bass lines are swapped. Sadly, it's only the intro of the song, but it kicks absolute ass. It can be found on YouTube if you want to hear it.
  • Smash Mouth did a cover of "I'm a Believer" for the Shrek soundtrack.
  • Frou Frou did a cover of Holding Out For a Hero, which was played over the end credits of Shrek 2.
  • Reel Big Fish has performed a myriad of covers, although most famous would be their cover of "Take On Me", originally by Music/A-ha, as it was part of the BASEketball soundtrack.
  • Doctor Steel does a cover version of the Inspector Gadget theme song, and a very quirky version of the Sesame Street theme song.
  • Mary and the Black Lamb Have covered various songs live such as Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" and Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People."
  • Lampshaded by Frank Sinatra in his cover of "Mack The Knife":
    Ah, old Satchmo, Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darrin
    They did this song nice, Lady Ella too
    They all sang it, with so much feeling
    That Old Blue Eyes, he ain't gonna add nothing new
  • PULP's video for "Bad Cover Version" (see what he did there?) has a whole host of celebrity impersonators getting together to record the eponymous song.
    • To add to the gag, the CD release of the song had two B-sides of Pulp songs covered by other artists, which parodied common types of bad cover. Nick Cave's "Disco 2000" parodied the "cover a silly uptempo pop song as slowly and depressingly as possible for instant irony/gravitas" phenomenon, while Moloko's "Sorted" (as in "... for E's and Whizz") parodied dance "remixes" that are simply generic EDM tracks with a perfunctory sample of the original thrown in occasionally.
  • Tubeway Army's "Down in the Park" has been covered by both Marilyn Manson and Foo Fighters.
  • Sonata Arctica are fond of covers; they have versions of Iron Maiden's "Die With Your Boots On," Scorpions' "Still Loving You," Metallica's "Fade to Black," Depeche Mode's "World In My Eyes," Helloween's "I Want Out," and Vanishing Point's "Two Minds, One Soul."
  • Avantasia has covered "Lay All Your Love on Me" by ABBA, "Dancing With Tears in My Eyes" by Ultravox, and "In My Defence" by Freddie Mercury.
  • The Ultravox song "Hymn" has been covered by Edguy and Lunatica.
  • Savatage covered two songs on their album Fight for the Rock; Badfinger's "Day After Day" and Free Band's "Wishing Well".
  • Def Leppard covered The Sweet's Action, Mick Ronson's Only After Dark on their album Retroactive, as well as a whole slew of other glam rock songs on the album YEAH!.
  • Blue Cheer covered Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues". Rush (Band) in turn covered the Blue Cheer version. Cover of a cover.
  • The Katy Perry song "Hot N' Cold" has been covered by.. well.. these guys.
    • Mc Fly, a British boy band, covered her song, "I Kissed a Girl".
      • And though it's not strictly a cover, Jill Sobule was upset at the similarity between Katy's song and her 1995 song of the same name. Video
  • The Mariah Carey version of Without You (Can't Live...), generally taken to be the original, is a cover of Harry Nilsson's much earlier version, released a week after Nilsson's death. The song actually originated with Badfinger, but Carey's version (and most other covers of the song) followed Nilsson's arrangement much more closely.
  • One pattern that seems to be fairly popular is to have a hardcore or death metal band cover a pop song. Take, for instance, "1000 Miles", a cover of Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" by Australian hardcore band Never See Tomorrow.
  • The Onion's affiliate pop-culture magazine The AV Club has a feature called "Undercover" where bands cover popular songs, taken from a limited list. After being covered, a song is crossed off the list so that the earlier a band comes, the better its selection of songs. The first round of songs is available here, the second round (currently ongoing) here.
  • The Birthday Massacre covered The Neverending Story theme song.
  • Many people are familiar with the Santana song The Game of Love as sung by Michelle Branch from his 2002 album Shaman. This version, however, is not the original version: Tina Turner originally sang the song, but it was released only five years later on a compilation album.
  • Two of the English language songs on Bentley Jones' TRANSLATION 2 album are covers - one is "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)", and the other is "Word Up". Both songs have been covered by everyone and their grandmother, but his attempts are probably among the best out there. He's also done a cover of the Devil May Cry 4 theme, "Shall Never Surrender", turning it into a soft piano ballad.
  • The Muppets (2011) has two covers: one of "We Built This City" by Starship and another of "Forget You" by Cee Lo Green.
  • DEVO covered The Rolling Stones "Satisfaction."
  • The Rolling Stones themselves have also recorded several covers. Like the Beatles, their first five albums primarily consisted of covers, with the band occasionally recording a cover song on their late '60s and '70s albums, including "Prodigal Son" by Robert Wilkins, "Love in Vain" by Robert Johnson, "You Gotta Move" by Mississippi Fred Mc Dowell, "Shake Your Hips" by Slim Harpo, "Stop Breaking Down" by Robert Johnson (again), and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations.
  • Anal Cunt has done plenty of these, the most famous being their cover of the Bee Gee's "Staying Alive". They've also covered Manowar's "Gloves of Metal", the theme from Three's Company, and Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill" Although it doesn't sound that different, since lead singer Seth Putnam contributed backing vocals to the original.
    • Also as a joke they did "Bank Machine"- a cover of KISS's "War Machine" mocking Gene Simmons's conversion to Judaism.
  • Speaking of KISS, they also did covers of other people's music during their career.
    • "Kissin' Time" by Bobby Rydell on their self-titled debut album.
    • "Then She Kissed Me" (a Gender Flip version of the original song by The Crystals) on Love Gun.
    • "Any Way You Want It" by the Dave Clark Five on Alive II.
    • "2000 Man" by The Rolling Stones on Dynasty. It was even played by the band on the New Years' Eve concert leading to 2000.
    • "Odyssey" by Tony Powers on Music from "The Elder".
    • "Hide Your Heart" (written by Paul Stanley and originally performed by Bonnie Tyler) on Hot In The Shade.
    • "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" (a remake of the original from Argent) on the Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey soundtrack.
    • "New York Groove" by Hello on the Ace Frehley solo album.
    • "Tossin' And Turnin'" on the Peter Criss solo album.
    • "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinocchio on the Gene Simmons solo album.
    • Kiss My Ass is an entire album of KISS songs covered by other artists.
  • Gob did a well-received cover of The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black." They also did a super-fast version of the Chordettes' "Mr. Sandman," because why not?
  • The whole idea behind Me First And The Gimme Gimmes is to do cover versions of famous songs but in punk-rock style. Each of their albums has a different theme around which the songs are selected: the album Have a Ball has songs by 1960s through '80s singer-songwriters like John Denver and Elton John, Take a Break does 1980s-90s R&B songs from artists like R. Kelly and Lionel Richie, etc. The Cover Changes the Gender is typically averted With these, so you get things like an obviously male voice singing (I Feel Like) A Natural Woman.
    • Several of the group's members are from the bands NOFX and Lagwagon, both known for including cover versions of well-known songs on their albums, such as Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" or Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" — the latter being hard to distinguish from the original until just before the vocals start and the tempo changes up a couple of gears.
    • A Running Gag for the band is to make the introduction of whatever they're covering sound like the beginning of a famous punk song - for instance the beginning of their version of "Sloop John B" is based on "Teenage Lobotomy" by Ramones, just with the band chanting "Sloop John B!" instead of "Lobotomy!".
  • Visual Kei band D has done a cover of Malice Mizer's "Gekka no yasoukyoku", although it isn't available on any of their releases.
  • Jimmy Fallon loves these.
  • Avril Lavigne has a hilariously bad cover of "Chop Suey". She also made genuinely good covers of Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" and Nickelback's "How You Remind Me" for One Piece Film: Z.
  • Donovan's "Season of the Witch" has been covered by numerous artists, but this version by Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger manages to condense the entire 60's cultural scene into seven and a half minutes.
  • When "Weird Al" Yankovic was pressured to include a cover song on one of his albums, he did a version of the theme song to George of the Jungle.
  • Cimorelli runs on this trope, covering popular songs in their YouTube videos. One even has I Won't Give Up mixed with When I Look at You at the final chorus.
  • Ditto for the late Christina Grimmie, Kurt Hugo Schnider and his friends, and literally countless others. Many such are hoping their covers will be found and they'll become the next Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes.
  • As well as working with other musicians, Lindsey Stirling has covered some songs and arrangements of themes from several films and videogames (The Lord of the Rings, The Legend of Zelda, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Game of Thrones here, here, here, and here respectively). She has also stated that she enjoys adding a violin part to popular radio songs.
  • Recess: School's Out contained two covers during the credits. The first being "Green Tamborine", covered by Robert Goulet (As Mikey's singing voice) and the second being "Dancing in the Street" by Myra.
  • The Japanese rock band Man With a Mission has covered Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Lithium".
  • In addition to an EP of nothing but cover songs (Local H's Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1), Local H has covered Toxic by Britney Spears, as well as songs by The Ramones, Godfathers, Guided by Voices, and Primal Scream.
  • The Blue Öyster Cult's song Going Thru The Motions is perhaps better known in Great Britain in the hit version by rock chick Bonnie Tyler. Co-author Ian Hunter, of Mott the Hoople fame, also recorded his version (albeit after the BOC put it on their Spectres album, which qualifies his version as a cover) which also charted.
  • Dexys Midnight Runners had one of their bigger hits with a cover of Van Morrison's Jackie Wilson Said, which Morrison allegedly loathed. A little mix-up between black American soul singer Jackie Wilson and Scottish darts legend Jockie Wilson didn't help, either. Elsewhere, Morrison's song Have I told You lately That I love You? was made a worldwide hit by Rod Stewart. And any number of acts have covered Gloria.
    • In turn, Dexys Midnight Runners' biggest hit, "Come On Eileen", ended up being covered by ska band Save Ferris.
  • De Staat have covered "Talk Dirty" by Jason Derulo.
  • Guns N' Roses had a full-on Cover Album ("The Spaghetti Incident?"), and their debut EP Live Like a Suicide is borderline (two are covers, two are from Hollywood Rose, the early incarnation of the band). Through their career, they had so many Greatest Hits has five (two from "The Spaghetti Incident?", two from Use Your Illusion- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door", "Live and Let Die" - and a soundtrack-recorded version of "Sympathy for the Devil"). In concerts there were many more, including "Whole Lotta Rosie", which probably helped Axl Rose get a guest singer gig at AC/DC.
  • Sugar Ray covered Adam and the Ants' "Stand and Deliver".
  • "Twist And Shout" was covered by Rodney Dangerfield for a music video to promote the movie Back to School.
  • Marianas Trench did a really beautiful cover of the Billy Joel song "And So It Goes", at the end of the director's cut of their album Masterpiece Theatre. Lead singer Josh Ramsay also did a really...strange cover of Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda".
  • Max Romeo: "Blowing in the Wind", "Three Blind Mice".
  • The Unrated Edition of Pretty Cool has a cover of Cerrone's "Supernature" in the hot tub scene.
  • Cult of Luna has covered The Smashing Pumpkins's "Bodies" and turned it to a crushing sludge metal song.
  • When Daniel Amos's album Horrendous Disc was reissued on CD, label owner (and influential musician in his own right) Larry Norman included two bonus tracks, both of himself covering DA's "Hound of Heaven". DA's fans were reportedly not amused.
  • Dismember covered the songs "Pagan Saviour" by Autopsy and "Beyond the Unholy Grave" by Death
  • Dark Angel had covered "Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin, and "Creeping Death" by Metallica.
  • Finnish Alternative Rockers Poets of the Fall have done a few covers, since using English is part of their schtick, but two standouts are their live studio version of "You Know My Name," Chris Cornell and David Arnold's James Bond theme from Casino Royale for The Voice's Livenä Vieraissa compilation album, performed while fully decked out in Bond Tuxes, and a live acoustic cover of Adele's Break-Up Song "Rolling in the Deep" at Radio Nova's Nova Stage.
  • New Found Glory have covered Arrested Development's "Tennessee", Gorilla Biscuits's "No Reason Why", Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time", and Warrant's "Heaven", alongside their CoverAlbums.
  • The idols from The Idolmaster regularly cover songs, with all of the 765 All Stars having covered several each, and the Cinderella Girls Master collection providing covers for the Jewelries series.
  • In The With Voices Project, there's Something Stupid, as sung in the angry, super-raspy voice of Kcalb.
  • The specialty of Peter Hollens.
  • Billy Idol covered the song L.A. Woman by The Doors.
  • In the film Sing Street, Conor and his band Sing Street starts out by doing covers of popular songs during that time such as Rio by Duran Duran. Brendan thinks they stink and gives the Rock n Roll is a risk speech to convince him to drop covers and develop an original style.
  • DragonForce did a speed metal version of "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash.
  • "Tainted Love" is a song with a history. People tend to forget that it was originally a 1960s soul song by Gloria Jones, because the most popular version was by Soft Cell. (In fact, Soft Cell recorded their version of the song back-to-back with another 1960s cover — "Where Did Our Love Go?", originally recorded by the Supremes.) It has also been given a hard rock treatment by Marilyn Manson and a rockabilly treatment by Imelda May, among other covers — some of which seem to be covers of the Soft Cell version rather than the original.
  • Ice-T and Body Count did a superb cover of the Suicidal Tendencies song "Institutionalized", turning the focus of the song from a disaffected teenager to a grown man who faces situations that cause him to rage out.
  • Splatoon:
  • Cross Counter: It's possible to pull this off with any encounter, but the most direct example is when two Roller users charge each other head on, immediately splatting each other.
  • Anthony Vincent has a variation on this on his YouTube channel "Ten Second Songs". He takes a popular song and then sings it, constantly switching between 20 or so different styles and his impersonations of singers. The first style is typically his impersonation of the original. Notably, his version of Linkin Park's "In the End" was endorsed by Chester Bennington, a member of the band.
  • Australian band Spiderbait is best known for two covers: "Black Betty" (a folk song made famous by the Ram Jam Band in The '70s, Spiderbait's version was used in Need for Speed: Underground 2 and several movies including Without a Paddle and The Hitman's Bodyguard) and "Ghost Riders in the Sky" (from the Ghost Rider (2007) movie).
  • NateWantsToBattle likes to do cover versions. He has made two full Cover Albums and several stand-alone covers, including:
  • Florence + the Machine made a hauntingly beautiful Award-Bait Song cover of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" for Final Fantasy XV.
  • CLW Entertainment: Collin makes several of these on his channel. His most popular covers are his ones of Sonic the Hedgehog and Doraemon songs.
  • Erasure's covers EP "ABBA-esque" was a big hit in its own right, but also provided a major Colbert Bump to ABBA themselves, leading directly to the release of ABBA Gold and a lot of people rediscovering the group (or discovering them for the first time).
  • Long suffering hippy Neil Pye released "Neil's Heavy Concept Album", which had seven cover songs, including a lounge version of Sex Pistols song "God Save The Queen".
    • Some of the covers on the album verge on Song Parody, with the idea being that Neil is such a Butt-Monkey that the plot of the song would turn out differently if he were the one narrating: Caravan's "Golf Girl" is a Silly Love Song about flirting with a girl who serves drinks on a golf course, and Neil's version starts with much the same premise - but this time it's heavily implied the "golf girl" doesn't feel the same way he does, and his flirting eventually extends to deciding to get naked on the golf course, so he ends up being beaten and arrested by cops.
  • Industrial band Front Line Assembly have recorded several covers with guest vocalists, including:
  • Decoded Feedback covered The Frozen Autumn's "Again" for their Bio-Vital album, and in turn TFA covered the title track of said album. The Frozen Autumn have also covered David Bowie's "Loving The Alien", and their own song "Wait For Nothing" with Froxeanne on vocals.
  • Carmella Girls, the group formerly known as Caramell, have covered Aqua's "Barbie Girl" as "Candy Girl", and Alice Deejay's "Back In My Life".
  • Norwegian multi-instrumentalist and frontman of Frog Leap, Leo Moracchioli has built his entire Youtube channel around making metal covers of non-metal songs (and even a couple of the opposite); totalling the better part of four hundred songs as of late November 2021. Gorillaz, Elton John, Adele, Die Antwoord, Imagine Dragons, Avicii, Peter Gabriel... the varied list of artists/groups he's covered would take a page of its own.
  • Radio Tapok has built a career covering Western pop, rock, and metal songs in Russian. He's done everything from Rammstein to Disturbed to Foo Fighters to Twenty One Pilots. His Breakthrough Hit in the west was Sabaton's "The Attack of the Dead Men", which they helped him produce in a cross-promotion that dropped the day before The Great War came out.
  • This is the concept behind utaite, a primarily Japanese trend that involves making covers of Vocaloid music but performed by humans.
  • BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! is famous for these. Virtually every VOCALOID song in the game featured in the game is a cover version performed by the game's voice actresses and set to a rock band-style arrangement.
  • Similarly to the above, this is the whole point of Project SEKAI, with the difference being that it is an actual Licensed Game that features Hatsune Miku in it. About half the songs in the game have cover versions, and those covers even have solo and duo versions you can buy separately. Unlike BanG Dream!!, the original instrumentation or a pitch-shifted version of the original instrumentation is almost always used (barring one exception).
  • C. W. McCall: A couple of McCall's songs are covers, including "The Battle of New Orleans" (originally sung by Johnny Horton), "City of New Orleans" (originally sung by Steve Goodman) and "Hobo's Lullaby" (originally sung by Goebel Reeves). Inverted with "Roses for Mama" — McCall is the original singer, but Red Sovine later did a cover version.
  • Zucchero:
    • In 2006, he made a cover of "Broken", a 2003 remix by Junkie XL which in turn was a B-side taken of the song "Just the Way I'm Feeling" (originally conceived by Feeder earlier that year).
    • In 2007, he made a cover of "Wonderful Life", originally conceived by Black in 1987 for the album of the same name.
  • The Canadian singer and songwriter, Rachel Hardy does covers from shows (The Witcher (2019), The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Game of Thrones), movies (The Lord of the Rings) and covers from different singers.
  • Stereophonics: Their version of "Handbags and Gladrags" by Rod Stewart. They also recorded The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down" for i am sam.
  • Jet Lag: The Game featured a punk cover of The Okaihau Express during the end credits of Season 5.
  • Three songs were covered for Digimon Adventure 02: The Beginning; "Target", "Brave Heart" and "Beat Hit", used respectively on the opening segment, the Digivolution sequences and the DNA Digivolution sequences.

    From a brief lookthrough of Who Sampled's list 
As mentioned above, WhoSampled has a chart covering the most popular covers with commercial releases. Among the themes you quickly pick up on, going through songs that have been covered more than 100 times:
  • What seems like The Beatles' entire catalog, with of course "Yesterday" leading the pack; almost half of the songs with 100+ covers are Beatles songs.
  • Second to Beatles is Christmas songs.
  • A few pre-WWII showtunes (notably, "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess)
  • A few Elvis songs and a couple of Frank Sinatra songs (including, of course, "My Way")
  • A few other 60s and 70s classics are heavily covered, such as Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water", Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine".
  • The most recent songs are from the 80s. Among them: "Time After Time" by Cindy Lauper, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and two George Michael songs, "Last Christmas" and "Careless Whisper", and "Everybody Wants To Rule the World".

Alternative Title(s): Cover Song



Dr. Darling does his own version of the MUD song "Dynamite" to urge Jesse on.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / CoverVersion

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