Great cover songs hand-picked by the musicto community
Get ready to discover the musicto community’s 16 top cover songs! Our April playlist features a diverse range of pop, rap, disco, punk, and rock covers, each offering a unique and creative interpretation of the original. From beloved classics to modern favorites, these amazing covers showcase the artistry and talent of the performers as they breathe new life into the songs of yesterday. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to fall in love all over again with 16 original tunes and their unforgettable covers.
Top 16 cover songs from the musicto social network
Original: La-Di-Da-Di – Doug E Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew, Slick Rick
Covers in hip-hop are both integral and taboo. From one perspective, hip hop was born from sampling and playing existing records in a new way (definition of a cover song). From another perspective, hip-hop is based on lyrical originality and talent and the thought of copying someone else’s verses (definition of a cover song) is worse than a comedian stealing jokes. You can’t buy a blue check in hip hop, authenticity is non-negotiable, and ghostwriting has been one of the most controversial topics discussed in scholarly circles of the genre.
So when a rapper covers another rapper’s song, it needs to be executed flawlessly to be accepted, much less revered. And when you take a classic rap song like Lodi Dodi, you better have a top 5 dead or alive producer (Dr. Dre) and a Hall of Fame rapper (Snoop) in control of the transformation.
This cover is iconic because Snoop tweaks the lyrics ONLY enough to bring it from the Bronx to Long Beach. From 1985 to 1993. From Polo to Cool Water cologne. And the beat evolves from Doug E. Fresh beat boxing to Dr. Dre G-Funk.
From La-Di-Da-Di to Lodi Dodi. A classic begat a classic. This is the way covers should be done. This is the ONLY way Hip Hop covers CAN be done.
Cover: Lodi Dodi – Snoop Dog
Original: Just Like Heaven – The Cure
What makes a cover song stand out to me is if it sounds like a whole different song from the original one. The Lumineers changed the whole feel of The Cure’s Just Like Heaven. It’s as if you can’t compare the two because they’re just so different. The cover turned the song into this slow, heavenly, and reminiscent feeling that somehow hypnotizes you. Plus, the vocals of the lead singer make the song even more meaningful. I’m all for the original, but this one hit in such a creative and surprising way.
Cover: Just like Heaven – The Lumineers
Original: The Great Curve – The Talking Heads
The first track I’d like to add is “The Great Curve” covered by Angelique Kidjo from her album Remain in Light, in which she covers a selection of tracks from the Talking Heads album of the same name. I’ve chosen this track firstly because it’s a brilliant song from a brilliant artist, but also because it really speaks to the West African influences that the Talking Heads incorporated into Remain in the Light. The whole album manages to simultaneously celebrate the Talking Heads whilst bringing new life and meaning to the songs.
Cover: The Great Curve – Anjelique Kudjo
Original: Al Green – Take me to the River
Speaking of the Talking Heads, I think their cover of Al Green’s ‘Take me to the River’ should also go on. The original is unbeatable, but this cover is undeniably excellent. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz get you moving while Jerry Harrison on organ harkens to the soul/gospel roots of the original. David Byrne’s vocals, in stark contrast to Al Greens smooth confident tones, give the song a sense of urgency and liveliness. He also contributes much to the song’s wonderful ending, which is akin to finally jumping into a river and becoming fully immersed in Byrne’s wild vocalisations and Weymouth’s pulsing base guitar.
Cover: Talking Heads – Take me to the River
Original: Boyz-N-the-Hood – Eazy-E
I love how ridiculously far away from the original this cover is. I’m pretty sure there are people singing along who, while maybe slightly confused by the colloquialisms, have no idea that it’s an N.W.A track. But my favorite thing about this version is just what an amazing song they turned it into. The melody, the new verse-chorus structure, and the splash cymbal at 2:10 accentuates a particular part of the lyrical message. But it’s the breakdown at 2:30 that consistently blows me away. The simple acoustic guitar, the ascending chord structure, and then those exquisite harmonies! Amazing.
Cover: Boyz-N-the-Hood – Dynamite Hack
Original: I Want to Dance with Somebody – Whitney Houston
David Byrne’s cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ live from Austin TX. Is it the most famous/best cover of this song? Probably not, but I still think it should go on, because it embodies the surprising and oddly joyful nature of David Byrne, as well as having an excellent string section).
Cover: I Want to Dance with Somebody – David Byrne
Original: Cactus – Pixies
The live edition of David Bowie’s cover of the Pixies’ song ‘Cactus’ from the Reality Tour album is a brilliant cover of an already brilliant song. And the live version really shows off Bowie’s voice and the amazing rhythm section combo of Gail Anne Dorsey on bass and Sterling Campbell on drums. Not to mention Earl Slick on guitar.
Cover: Cactus: David Bowie
Cover: Living with Unemployment – The Newtown Neurotics
Solitary Confinement by The Members was a 1979 punk song from their album At The Chelsea Nightclub about being trapped in the mindless treadmill of working in a big city. Four years later, when The Newtown Neurotics released their debut album, being part of the rat race seemed like a pipe dream for the young people in their grey, concrete hometown, Harlow in Essex. In that brief period, the unemployment rate had doubled and more than 10% of British people aged 16 or over were out of work. Thus, Steve Drewett’s revised lyrics tell a tale not of “working all day long” but “sleeping all day long”; not “travelling on a tube train” but “bunking the tube trains”. Living With Unemployment takes a catchy song and elevates it to a great one with words that are gritty, honest and driven by a desire for change.
Original: Solitary Confinement – The Members
Cover: The Outdoor Type -The Lemonheads
Evan Dando worked with co-writer Tom Morgan on around half the songs on The Lemonheads’ hit 1993 album Come on Feel the Lemonheads and so it’s perhaps no surprise that three years later he chose to cover this wonderfully witty track by Morgan’s Aussie indie pop band Smudge on the follow-up album, Car Button Cloth. The original was so little known outside Smudge’s small, homegrown fanbase that most Lemonheads fans never knew it was a cover at all, but thanks to Dando the rest of us got to hear this wry slice of musical observational comedy featuring the classic line: “I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend. What if something’s on TV and it’s never shown again?”
Original: The Outdoor Type – Smudge
Original: Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner
Tom’s Diner is a song that was originally released in the 80s by Suzanne Vega, was remixed in 1991 by DNA, and then more recently well known to be covered by AnnenMayKantereit and Giant Rocks in 2019.
I enjoy listening to the original and the remix, however this latest version of the song is worth mentioning. I remember hearing this cover the first time while scrolling through TikTok. I immediately stopped scrolling as soon as I heard that recognizable melody.
Millions of people including myself fell in love with that brief clip of the band covering “Tom’s Diner” and I have been listening to the full cover on repeat ever since. I enjoyed the indie/alt sound they brought to the song as they incorporated more instruments and added their unique soul to give it an edge. For me, there was something in the modern approach to this cover that brought even more life to the track, and not to mention those vocals are definitely something that I haven’t been able to get out of my head.
Cover: AnenMayKantereit, Giant Rooks – Tom’s Diner
Original: Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
Miriam Makeba’s cover of Buffalo Springfield’s ‘For What It’s Worth’, from her album ‘Keep Me in Mind’ is such a brilliant cover. It keeps much of the menace and command of the original, yet injects a different kind of depth. The almost plaintive guitar adds a hint of nostalgia, calling back to the 1960s wiry guitar sounds, which gives the song a sense of continuity, a line drawn connecting past and present troubles.
Cover: Miriam Makeba – For What It’s Worth
Original: Promised Land, Joe Smooth
In 1964, Gloria Scott released her debut record under the production of Sly from Sly and the Family Stone. Notably, she was also part of the Ikettes and subsequently released multiple singles on Casablanca with the production expertise of Barry White. In 2022 she was signed to Acid Jazz Records and a brand new LP followed ‘So Wonderful’.
Considering her illustrious career, it’s evident that she possesses the necessary credibility to re-imagine and revitalize a timeless house music classic like Joe Smooth’s ‘Promised Land’ it’s a song that transcends generations.
The song that has shaped many of our lives, serving as an iconic anthem. This house track is unparalleled and stands out as one of the most significant contributions to the genre. It established a benchmark for meaningful lyrics and song arrangement, which has yet to be surpassed even after four decades.”
From the moment the first notes of the song hit the speakers, it’s clear that this is no ordinary recording. There’s a sense of raw emotion and pure energy that permeates every aspect of the track, from the pounding drums to the soaring vocals. It’s the kind of song that grabs you by the soul and refuses to let go.
But what makes “Promised Land” so special? Why does this recording stand out amidst a sea of other great songs from the time? To answer those questions, we have to dive into the essence of the song itself.
At its core it is a song about hope and perseverance. It’s a call to action, urging listeners to keep pushing forward and striving for something better. This message is driven home by Gloria Scott’s incredible vocals, which manage to convey both pain and optimism in equal measure.
But it’s not just the lyrics that make it so powerful. The instrumentation is also top-notch, with a driving beat that keeps the song moving forward at a breakneck pace. And the backing vocals, provided by the legendary Waters family, add an extra layer of depth and richness to the track.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the song however, is the sense of authenticity that permeates every note. There’s a palpable sense of honesty and vulnerability in Gloria Scott’s performance, as if she’s baring her soul to the listener. This rawness is what sets the song apart from so many others of its time, and what gives it its enduring power.
It’s a song that manages to capture the essence of an entire era, while also remaining timeless and relevant to this day. Whether you’re a fan of soul, funk, or just great music in general, this is a must-listen. So put on your headphones, turn up the volume, and let Gloria Scott take you to the Promised Land.
Cover: Promised Land – Gloria Scott
Original: MGMT – Electric Feel
Electric Feel” by MGMT is a very well-known track that has quite a distinctive sound and was a breakout indie track. Henry Green’s rendition of the song slowed it down and re-popularized the track 6 years later. His cover opened up the opportunity for the song to be taken into the electronic realm to be reworked by Kygo. I really enjoy this cover because it shows how different the two tracks can sound, while both holding their own. The electronic cover by Kygo also was also a launching point at the start of his career with mass followings on Hype Machine.
Cover: Henry Green – Electric Feel
Original: Green Grass – Tom Waits
Tom Waits’ “Green Grass,” from his 2004 Real Gone album, is a soulful and bluesy track that features his signature gravelly voice and poetic lyrics that speak of the fleeting nature of life and the inevitability of death. Cosmo Sheldrake’s cover version, released in 2020 as part of Wake Up Calls, retains the original’s haunting beauty, but takes it to a whole new level. The song was recorded in Fingringhoe Wick, a nature reserve in Essex, UK, and the only instrumental accompaniment to Sheldrake’s voice are water splashes, rustling leaves, and the birdsong of the reserve’s nightingales.
Cover: Green Grass – Cosmo Sheldrake
One more original and cover song just for fun
Original: Toxic – Britney Spears
Cover: Toxic – Mark Ronson, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Trigger
And if you want more collaborative musicto community playlists then read and listen to these: 10 Songs to Stargaze, 6 Songs for the Future, 7 Misheard Songs, Censored, 15 Great Songs for your Vampire Ball, 11 Powerful Songs in Flim, and 7 Top Cowbell Songs!