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10 Covers That Were More Popular Than The Original Version

Wedding songs & playlists

Wedding songs & playlists

Ever heard of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by erm, Robert Hazard? We thought not. Here are 10 cover songs that were bigger hits than the (often obscure) original.

10 Covers That Were More Popular Than The Original Version

Since we're in the business of covers, we thought we'd take a look at a few function band staples which had their own precedents. Here are ten covers which were more popular than the original version. As for "better", we'll leave that to you.

10 Killing Me Softly - Fugees (1996)

Original by Lori Lieberman (1972)

Killing Me Softly was originally recorded by Lori Lieberman, notably covered by Roberta Flack in 1973, and then recorded again by hip-hop group, Fugees, in 1996. Fugees enjoyed 4 weeks at number 1 in the UK Charts with their modern take on this song featuring Lauren Hill's soulful vocal.

9 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper (1983)

Original by Robert Hazard (1979)

This was Cyndi Laupers first big single, but it was originally recorded 4 years previously by Robert Hazard, and has since been covered by over 30 other artists. A worldwide hit for Lauper that became known as a feminist anthem, this was originally written by Hazard from a male point of view. The lyrics were changed with his permission to create the popular version we all know.

8 Respect - Aretha Franklin (1967)

Original by Otis Redding (1965)

Originally written by Redding as a plea from a desperate man willing to give his woman everything she wants, with a few altered lyrics and a different musical feel, this became the feminist anthem by Aretha Franklin we know so well today. Franklin's version won two Grammy Awards in '68 for 'Best Rhythm & Blues Recording' and 'Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance' and it is number 5 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Quite an achievement!

7 Hound Dog - Elvis Presley (1956)

Original by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (1953)

Since its original release by Thornton in 1953, Hound Dog has been recorded over 250 times, but Elvis' version is the one we know best. Not only was Hound Dog Presley's best selling song, it is one of the best selling singles of all time. It was number 1 in the US for 11 weeks; a record Presley held for 36 years, and the song also appeared in many films such as Forrest Gump, Grease and A Few Good Men.

6 Valerie - Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse (2007)

Original by The Zutons (2006)

Written by indie rock band The Zutons for their second album, Valerie was later covered by Amy Winehouse on the deluxe edition of Back to Black. However it was the more uptempo version recorded the following year by Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse which became the most popular. This version peaked at number 2 in the UK charts, spent 19 weeks in the top 20 and is played by many of our wedding bands!

5 I Love Rock 'n' Roll - Joan Jett and The Black Hearts (1982)

Original by Arrows (1975)

Joan Jett originally recorded this song in 1979, having seen Arrows perform it on TV, and released it as a B-side to You Don't Own Me. She later re-recorded it with her band The Blackhearts to huge success. It was number 1 for 7 weeks in the USA and was certified platinum, selling 2 million copies.

4 The Beatles - Twist and Shout (1963)

Original by The Top Notes (1961)

Recorded in just one take by The Beatles for their first UK album, Please Please Me, Twist and Shout was the last song of a 13 hour recording session. It is said that John Lennon's memorable rocky and husky vocal was down to a cold, and you can even hear him coughing on the album. Peaking at number 2 in the US Charts, the only reason Twist and Shout didn't reach the top spot was because another of their songs, 'Can't Buy Me Love', was already there.

3 Proud Mary - Ike & Tina Turner (1971)

Original by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969)

Although both of these versions won Grammy Hall of Fame awards, we think Ike & Tina's may have the edge. Their version became one of their most famous signature songs, and we think it's the one most people would choose. We know it's certainly in lots of our bands' repertoires!

2 Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley (1994)

Original by Leonard Cohen (1984)

Hallelujah is commonly known as one of the most covered songs of all time. Amongst over 300 known versions, Jeff Buckley's stands out above the rest, although it was not an instant hit. It wan't released as a single until 2007 after Buckley's death in 1997, so he sadly did not live to see the true extent of this song's success.

1 I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston (1992)

Original by Dolly Parton (1974)

This smash hit by Whitney Houston, featured in The Bodyguard, and winner of The Grammy for Record of the Year was a number 1 hit around the world. While Dolly's version performed well in the UK Country Charts, it didn't enjoy the same mainstream success as Whitney's iconic version.

Listen to our top 10 covers that were more popular than the original on Spotify