A cover allows an artist to reinvent another artist’s song. Sometimes these recordings are celebrated in smaller followings, and other times, they have the potential to grow into bigger hits than the originals. Let’s take a look at a few of the original songs behind their more popular re-imaginings.
“Valerie”: Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse (2007) — Originally by The Zutons (2006)
A year following the song’s original release, Mark Ronson released his take on “Valerie,” featuring Amy Winehouse. Their cover reached number two on the U.K. charts. “Valerie” was a single originally released by English rock band, the Zutons, in 2006.
“Dancing on My Own”: Calum Scott (2016) — Originally by Robyn (2010)
Calum Scott performed, “Dancing on My Own,” in 2015 for his “Britain’s Got Talent” audition, and went on to release the studio version in 2016, which eventually reached number two on the U.K. Singles Chart. Swedish singer, Robyn, released the original “Dancing on My Own” as the lead single off her album, “Body Talk Pt. 1” in 2010.
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”: Cyndi Lauper (1983) — Originally by Robert Hazard (1979)
Cyndi Lauper released her version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” in 1983 as the lead single off her album, “She’s So Unusual.” Lauper’s take on the track soared to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and became one of her signature songs. The song was originally recorded in 1979 by Robert Hazard.
“Tainted Love”: Soft Cell (1981) — Originally by Gloria Jones (1965)
English duo, Soft Cell, released their version of “Tainted Love,” in 1981. Recording the cover took only a day and a half, and they even ended up using the first vocal take in the final cut. Their version spent over 40 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was originally released by Gloria Jones in 1965, and featured more of a Motown sound than the popular cover.
“Same Ol’ Mistakes”: Rihanna (2016) — Originally by Tame Impala (2015)
Rihanna covered the Tame Impala track on her 2016 album, “Anti.” The band commented on her cover, saying they were happy with how her version turned out. Originally titled, “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” the song was released in 2015.
“Lady Marmalade”: Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya, P!nk (2001) — Originally by Labelle (1974)
In 2001, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and P!nk recorded their version of “Lady Marmalade,” for the “Moulin Rouge!” soundtrack. The song was originally recorded by the group, Labelle, and released in 1974. Both the original and cover versions of the song reached the number one spot on the U.S. charts.
“I Will Always Love You”: Whitney Houston (1992) — Originally by Dolly Parton (1974)
Whitney Houston recorded her version of “I Will Always Love You,” in 1992 for the film “The Bodyguard,” which sat at number one of the Billboard Hot 100 for 14 weeks. It was originally released as a single in 1974 by country singer, Dolly Parton, and also was a success in hitting number one of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
“I Love Rock N Roll”: Joan Jett (1982) — Originally by The Arrows (1975)
Joan Jett saw London-based band, The Arrows, play “I Love Rock N Roll,” while on tour with her band, The Runaways, in 1976, and went on to record her own version in 1982. Her cover went on to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The original song by The Arrows was released in 1975.
“You Don’t Own Me”: Grace, G-Eazy (2015) — Originally by Lesley Gore (1963)
Australian singer, Grace, covered “You Don’t Own Me,” as her debut single featuring G-Eazy, and released it in 2015. The original song was released by Lesley Gore at the age of only 17 in 1963. Quincy Jones produced both the Lesley Gore version, as well as the Grace version 52 years later.
“Hound Dog”: Elvis Presley (1956) — Big Mama Thornton (1953)
Elvis Presley’s cover of “Hound Dog,” released in 1956, was his best-selling song, and went down in history as an essential part of rock and roll. The original song was recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton and released in 1953. Though the original often lives in the shadow of Presley’s cover, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and named one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”
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