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Nicole's avatar

Weirdly frequent point of contention in my household - the song I Will Always Love You.

My husband maintains Dolly Parton's original is best (and I love Dolly Parton) but clearly Whitney Houston's is the iconic version.

Stella's avatar

Yes whose version is the best is a big point of contention in my family too!

I think Dolly Parton's version is a lot more tender and wistful, which I like because a lot of Dolly's music leans into the epic power ballad that Whitney Houston was going for.

Whitney Houston is definitely the most iconic and memorable! I think that shows in the fact that that version is the most famous.

K

This comes up in discussion in my house frequently as well, which similar to you is weird.

We've narrowed it down to Dolly's version is more 'sweet' (if that makes sense). And it is the best version. When Whitney did it, it was the right time to pair it with the right movie to make it iconic.

Stella's avatar

Another I forgot (and perhaps my hottest take?) is Fly me to the moon by Frank Sinatra. Bobby Womack's cover has so much soul and grit to it that I can't help but prefer it over Sinatra's original!

Thomas's avatar

Baby It's You - Written by Burt Bacharach and originally performed by The Shirelles and then The Beatles, but the version by Smith is my favourite. It was also featured in Tarantino's Death Proof.

I also feel fairly comfortable saying that the Jimi Hendrix version of All Along The Watchtower is a big improvement on the original Dylan song.

I think probably the best example of a cover that's better than the original is Sinead O'Connor's version of Nothing Compares 2 U. I love Prince, but I straight up don't like his version where Sinead's is fantastic.

Alex Sinclair's avatar

Talking of grunge covers, I really like Nirvana's 'In the Pines' / 'Where did you sleep last night?' cover; it gives me chills. But, I'm going to have to nominate this. Cooke has beautifully transformed Bob Dylan's pensive classic into a beautiful bop you'd want to skip down the road to on a sunny day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBDdLgBO0Nw&ab_channel=TheAim666

K

Bonnie Raitt- Angel from Montgomery is much better than John Prine's version. Now a big wrench in that is the live version that is performed by both Bonnie and John together, lol.

Aerosmith- Big Ten Inch Record. I had no idea it was a cover until recently. Bull Moose Jackson did the original in 1952 and I just don't care for it.

No Doubt- It's my Life. Talk Talk's version isn't bad, but No Doubt just owned with their sound

Wings's avatar

Proud Mary! For a long time I didn't even know Tina Turner was the cover. CCR was good but Tina was better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gciy9oG5678

Stella's avatar

wow I didn't even know this was a cover!

Roo's avatar

The obvious one has got to be Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah surely?!

My favourite, which I must've listened to 200 times since I found it in December, is Circus Trees' cover of Go Home - originally an understated album closer by boygenius's Julien Baker

I cannot recommend it enough

https://youtu.be/TzDuXwWXrSQ?feature=shared

Horror and Cats's avatar

Chase Holfelder’s minor key cover of Animal (originally Neon Trees) will make all your hair stand on edge. Basically all of his covers I enjoy more than the originals, but that one is truly spectacular.

Damien Mason's avatar

I'm a big fan of Chase Holfelder's All I Want for Christmas in minor key. Makes it sound something that's half-horror, half-James Bond anthem.

Horror and Cats's avatar

Like I said, I think basically ALL his covers are superior. I never made that Bond connection, but now I’ll not be able to to think of anything else haha. That’s a great observation.

Damien Mason's avatar

Better than the original (in my opinion):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmwRQqJsegw

Not to bash Nina Simone, but the rocked up version is more my taste and I feel Muse put their own stamp on it superbly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOV7mm3zHZ4

Perhaps it's a controversial one because The Who are legendary, but I feel Limp Bizkit's version has a fuller sound. I do gravitate towards modern sounds rather than classic, though.

https://youtu.be/-M7vOnlcLbo

Much like Muse, Korn put such a distinct stamp on Word Up! Cameo's original is just as good, though, and credit to Gun for paving the way to Korn. They're all great.

Not better, but fun:

https://youtu.be/M58IJO7N32s

This is a bit Inception-y, given that it's obviously a cover of Natalie Imbrulia's version, which itself was a cover of Ednaswap. I love the Aussie accent in it, though, and it is my favourite of all the versions.

https://youtu.be/y2F2zyb6A18

Once again, it's more a preference because of genre-hopping, but I can't slight Sia and say this is better.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

And, of course, it's not a covers discussion without Disturbed's surprisingly great cover of The Sound of Silence. Better? Perhaps not, but incredible either way.

Roo's avatar

So much nostalgia! My teenage self would have been backing you to the hilt on these but I have to say, as my music taste has aged, I've started to prefer the more understated originals of Behind Blue Eyes and Sound of Silence. I think Muse's Feeling Good still wins out though - Nina's best track has to be Sinnerman anyway 👌

Damien Mason's avatar

It's totally fair to prefer originals. I think for a lot of people, it's the order in which they heard something, too. For example, I heard Pandulum's version of Voodoo People before The Prodigy, and I prefer the former as a result. Familiarity plays a big factor to me, it seems.

Rich's avatar

Fantastic picks here. Big plus ones to Muse, Korn, and Disturbed, who I believe were even complimented on it on Twitter by Paul Simon.

Lanah Tyra's avatar

Still loving you. Of course the original from Scorpions is amazing, but somehow the dynamics of the Sonata Arctica version just works better for me, I feel like it gives hope and strength to carry on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgpJPJ7MAZ0

Retro Stu's avatar

Oh boy! I adore cover songs when done well!

In terms of better than the original though, oof, now you're asking. I'm not sure I can pick any off the top of my head!

If you ask Trent Reznor though, he said about Hurt, following Johnny Cash's cover of it "that song isn't mine anymore" after praising it so much. Me though, I still love the original.

EveOnlineTutorials's avatar

I read your title and was going to answer you did for me

"The man who sold the world - was originally by David Bowie, but I prefer Nirvana's cover of it. I think the grunge sound more effectively conveys the mood of this song"

So Im stealing your sentence as I agree 100%

Rich's avatar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boanuwUMNNQ

Metallica's version of Whiskey in the Jar.

The song itself has a very complicated history. It's a traditional Irish song (Wikipedia cites a folk music historian who reckons it originated in the 17th century), the Dubliners' version of which is probably the most authoritative. Thin Lizzy's cover in 1972 was an extensive rearrangement of that, and Metallica's version is basically a cover of the Thin Lizzy version. While fully recognising Thin Lizzy did most of the hard work, I still prefer Metallica's cover - Hetfield's vocals and the thicker, more textured sound is just perfect, at least to millennial ears.

Boomer's avatar

Opeth's cover of Bridge of Sighs is so much better in my mind!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmveJkoUAWo

Here's Robin Trower with the original.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06lWmDg7i7Q I also think the vocals on Kamchatka's version of Whipping Post blows the Allman Brothers Band out of the water!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2epoincnuc

The original for comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfrSIUE3iAE

K

Firstly, I love the variety of music in these replies!

For me, it's RAIGN's cover of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak. Love the song, and think it suits her voice really well.

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