Cover Songs – Better Than the Original? (Vol. 1)

I love a good cover song, especially the ones that you do not realise are covers straight away because their sound is so different from the original. Many of them are able to surpass the original, often becoming so popular that many people don’t realise that they are cover versions, a prime example being Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, initially written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974. As there are so many great cover songs out there I’ve decided to start a new feature on some of my favourites.

The first track in this selection is one that few people are aware is a cover, partly because it is so different to the electro original and also because unless you are familiar with the soundtrack to Drive, you may not have heard the original. Either way, both tracks are great in their contrasting ways. Taken from their debut album ‘If You Wait’, this is London Grammar with their cover of Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’.

Next up is a cover of a track that I wasn’t a big fan of, One Direction’s ‘Story of My Life’. However, with the stunning vocals of one of my favourite artists, Lissie, she takes the song to a whole new level. Lissie is one of my go-to cover artists as she makes each song truly magical, with stunning covers of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’ as well as Drake’s ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home.’ Her 2014 EP of cover songs ‘Cryin’ To You’ features that Drake cover as well as ‘Story of My Life’ and I would heartily recommend listening to them all, as well as her own work if you haven’t listened to her before!

Another artist to cover ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ is Swedish singer Lykke Li. Released only 2 weeks ago, this has to be my new favourite cover song, as it’s just so beautifully atmospheric and moody. I won’t go on about it too much, just listen!

My next choice fits the stripped-down style many people associate with covers. British folk band Bear’s Den demonstrate how to do a beautiful, gentle and pretty cover with their version of Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’. Their harmonies are gorgeous and while I hadn’t heard much of the band’s music before, it has definitely made me want to listen to more.

My final selection is a cover song that truly surprised me, partly because I’m pretty new to the artist myself and also because I now prefer his version to the original, perhaps a controversial opinion. I think the YouTube comment: ‘Loved the original but this is special’ sums it up for me. Have a listen to this, John Mayer with his take on Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’.

I hope you have enjoyed listening to these covers and I would love to hear your personal favourites!

I’ll be posting more of mine soon.

OL

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