So todays list is my top ten cover versions. My criteria for this list is quite simple. This is that I like the version, prefer it to the original and that I consider the cover to be more well known. Of course this is purely subjective.
1. Tainted Love by Soft Cell. This is a truly awesome track and established Marc Almonds career. I do like Gloria Jones original, but Almond takes the song to a new level and injects a whole new meaning to the song
2. Blue Suede Shoes - Elvis Presley. Elvis takes Carl Perkins song and takes it to a new level. There are probably very few songs that Elvis wouldn't improve, but this song is sublime when performed by Presley. Again Carl Perkins original is a great track but when it comes down to it, Presley's is the definitive version
4. All along the Watchtower - Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix takes Bob Dylans classic track and makes it into a rock standard. Hendrix was such a special talent. He was a true genius and this song exemplifies everything that was great about Hendrix. It is often argued that Dylan is a better song writer than artist, I don't necessarily agree, because the covers of his songs that we love, such as this are reqorked by people of awesome talent.
5.Black Magic Woman - Santana
Now here's an argument. Is Carlos Santana a better guitarist than Jimi Hendrix? I can't think of anyone elese I'd even begin to make that suggestion about? Santana makes a guitar sing in a way that no one else does. Any song he plays, he injects such soul and passion into. He takes a fairly pedestrian Fleetwood Mac song and transforms it into a song that is erotic, sensuous and at the same time quite disturbing.
6. Valerie - Amy Winehouse
When I first heard this song by The Zutons, I thought "That's a pretty decent pop song". When I heard Amy Winehouse cover it, I realsied that it was an awesome song. Winehouse is yet another artist who was without peers. As far as I am concerned, everything she did was sprinkled with Stardust. This song is perhaps the finest example of how she could take a song and build it into something unique and quite amazing.
7. Ever Fallen in Love - The fine Young Cannibals
I love the Buzzcocks and I think Pete Shelley is a genius. However, I think that the FYC's version of this song is awesome because it demonstrates a depth and meaning in the song that I'd completely missed in the Buzzcocks punk thrash. It is transformed from a song you jump aroudn to, into a song which moves your heart. I hated it when I first heard the cover, thinking "How could they do that to a Buzzcocks song". After a few listens, I changed my mind and realised what a great cover it is.
8. After the Goldrush - Prelude
I've no idea what this song is about, but it is perhaps the most beautiful piece of music that has ever been recorded. This is perhaps the first single I bought after hearing the song on the radio. For years, I considered it a guilty pleasure, as friends would always say "Prelude ruined a Neil Young classic". I disagree and think this version is a million times better.
Respect - Aretha Franklyn
If Aretha Franklyn had not done this cover, I would have argued till my dying breath that no one could better a song by Otis Redding, but this veersion wins hands down. Franklyn puts soul and passion into this song, which is simply not there in the original. I am genuinely not sure who I think is a better singer, Aretha or Amy? What I do know is that no one else is really in the same league.
10. Who Do You Love - Quicksilver Messenger Service
I just love this version. As a guitarist, this has it all. A great groove, great blues licks and a reinvention of a rock and roll classic. It always amazes me that this song isn't considered as one of the great rock and roll classics. The Bo Diddley version is great, but this wins hands down. The album version is 25 mins long. I used to play it to the kids as a treat when they were little. We'd have a picnic in the front room and when the track finhsed, they'd go to bed. So it has all manner of sweet memories for me!