Sometimes the artist who authored a song does a bang-up job in the recording and you never need hear from the song again, except to hear it over and over and enjoy its overwhelming awesomeness. And sometimes an artist writes an incredible song and does an amazing job, and later on, some other awesome artist sees the song for its unexplored resources, and makes a killer or cover or remake. Which has happened! Several times! Let's check out the five best cover versions and remakes in all of Western music!
Original performed by Gloria Jones
Everything about this song is incredible. Gloria Jones is incredible. Not only was she an awesome soul singer, she sang and played keyboards for T. Rex and was Marc Bolan's girlfriend and then wife.
Cover by Soft Cell
Marc Almond heard it when he was a cloakroom boy at the warehouse. At the time, he'd done an EP of "doodly electronic stuff", and had a track out on a Some Bizarre comp. Clearly, none of these efforts were bearing fuit because he was still a cloakroom boy. When he heard "Tainted Love", however, he ran up to the DJ, and asked for a tape of the song. The rest is history.
Original by Nine Inch Nails"
Hurt was a track on Nine Inch Nails' 1994 release Downward Spiral, an album that was met with a torrent of praise and awards from both mainstream and "alternative" sources. The record was a concept album about despair and anger, and "Hurt" was later released as a single called "Further Down the Spiral".
Cover by Johnny Cash"
When Johnny Cash approached Trent Reznor about covering the song, he said that it sounded like something he could have written in the 1960s, and that 'There's more heart and soul and pain in that song than any that's come in a long time. I love it.' His own interpretation of the song was a stunning meditation on mortality itself.
Original Performed by Britney Spears
"Womanizer" only claimed one week at the top of the chart--this was back in October of 2008--which is not all that impressive for a major-label pop star until you realize that it debuted at #96. The fact that it catapulted upward so fast was nothing short of recordbreaking.
Cover by Franz Ferdinand
What seemed like a throwaway little pop song changes significantly when in the hands of Franz Ferdinand. The band covers it so effortlessly the song seems almost to have been written by them. Or at least, written by a rock band rather than a pop star. Watch them rock out to this tune as they perform live for the BBC.
"Hanging on the Telephone"
Original by: The Nerves
The Nerves were a foundational L.A. power pop band in the 1970s, with three phenomenally talented members: Paul Collins on drums, Peter Case on bass, and Jack Lee on guitar. They blazed trails for indie artists everywhere by putting together DIY shows and DIY tours, refusing to quit even when they quickly realized that a band in that time and that place couldn't get a gig without the help of a major label. Their four-song self-titled EP still sounds contemporary and relevant by today's standards.
"Hanging on the Telephone"
Cover by: Dávila 666
Yes, yes, Blondie covered it on Parallel Lines in 1978 and did such a fine job doing it hat it ended up on the "Best of Blondie" CD. But still, we have a soft spot for Puerto Rican garage band Dávila 666 who gives this already-awesome song a new angle by translating the lyrics--or the spirit of them anyway--into Spanish. Check it out above. (It gets rocking at about :41).
Original by: Otis Redding
Otis Redding--who died way too young at the age of 26--owned a publishing company, and a plane when few African-Americans did. And there is nothing wrong--and everything right--about Otis Redding singing "Respect". But what was a minor hit for Otis Redding became, in many ways, Aretha Franklin's signature tune.
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Cover by Aretha Franklin
Here's what's particularly awesome about Aretha's cover. The song itself is, of course, incredible, and so is Aretha's interpretation. But the gender thing adds an additional layer: when a man sings it, it's kind of sexist. However, Aretha's version of the same song is a feminist anthem.