The B Flat Blog | The Best Covered Songs of all Time

Taking a song that isn’t yours and turning it into something better. That’s what makes this odd corner of the music industry so interesting with covered songs getting more attention or praise as opposed to the original composers.

Below is a list of what we at Matt and The B Flats consider the best covers ever.

Nine Inch Nail’s [1995] Hurt covered by Johnny Cash [2002]

Hurt is just as much owned by Johnny Cash as Trent Reznor after he released the song at 70 years old. Cash took a song of mental and physical duress and warped into a song reveling in Cash’s own realization of his mortality.

Reznor described the cover in a 2004 interview with Alternative Press,

“It really made me think about how powerful music is as a medium and art form. I wrote some words and music in my bedroom as a way of staying sane, about a bleak and desperate place I was in, totally isolated and alone. [Somehow] that winds up reinterpreted by a music legend from a radically different era/genre and still retains sincerity and meaning – different, but every bit as pure.”

Johnny Darrell’s [1967] Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town covered by Kenny Rogers [1969] and later The Killers [2007]

During the show we spoke as though Kenny Rogers had written the original and we didn’t find out until a week later that it was originally written by Mel Tillis and performed first by Johnny Darrell in 1967.

Otis Redding’s [1965] Respect covered by Aretha Franklin [1967]

The difference between Aretha Franklin’s Respect coming from a woman’s voice as opposed to a man adds a whole extra layer of the late 1960s women’s feminism movement.

Betty Hutton’s [1951] It’s Oh So Quiet covered by Bjork [1995]

The Beach Boys’ [1965] Do You Wanna Dance covered by The Ramones [1977]

Creedance Clearwater Revival’s [1969] Proud Mary covered by Ike and Tina Turner [1971]

Nico’s [1967] These Days covered by Jackson Browne [1971]

Bob Dylan’s [1965] All Along the Watchtower covered by Jimmy Hendrix [1968]

Junior Muvin’s [1976] Police and Thieves covered by The Clash [1977]

Tyler, The Creator’s [2017] See You Again covered by The Suds [2017]

King’s of Leon’s [2008] Sex on Fire covered by The Wayward Strangers [2017]