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Cover version

A cover version of a pop song is a rerecording of that song by a different artist (compare with remake).

From early in the 20th century it was common practice amoung phonograph record labels that if any company had a record that was a significant commercial success, other record companies would have singers or musicians "cover" the tune by recording a version for their own label in hopes of cashing in on the tune's success.

In the early days of rock and roll, many songs originally recorded by African American rock musicians were rerecorded by white artists, such as Pat Boone, in a more toned down style that lacked the hard edge of rock and roll. These cover versions were considered by some to be more palatable to parents.

Over the years, cover versions of many popular songs have been recorded, sometimes with a radically different style, and in other cases the cover version is virtually indistinguishable from the original. For example, Jose Feliciano's version of "Light My Fire" was utterly distinct from the original version by The Doors; but Carl Carlton[?]'s 1974 cover of Robert Knight[?]'s 1967 hit single song "Everlasting Love" sounds almost identical to the original.

Punk music is known for deconstructing classic rock or pop songs by reinterpreting them in punk form. Bands like Me First & the Gimme Gimmes[?], The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, NOFX and Goldfinger are especially known for doing so. In recent years, several jam bands and related groups have begun covering hip hop songs, most frequently only live in concert. Perhaps the most famous such-cover recorded in a studio and released commercially is a bluegrass version of "Gin and Juice" by Snoop Doggy Dogg, as performed by the Gourds[?]. Other artists like Phish and Keller Williams[?] have covered "Rappers Delight[?]" (The Sugarhill Gang), "I Like Big Butts" (Sir Mix-A-Lot[?]) and other hip hop songs.

The Beatles have been covered more than any other band; "Yesterday" has been covered over three thousand times since its original release in 1965. Other songs which have been released many times as cover versions include the infamous "Louie Louie" by Richard Berry[?], "Free Bird[?]" (Lynyrd Skynyrd), "No Woman No Cry[?]" (Bob Marley & the Wailers) and many of the less recent works of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (as of December 31, 2002, there were at least 759 published cover versions of Cohen songs [1] (http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/test)).

Many popular bands have a tribute album, consisting entirely of covers of their songs performed by various other bands, often quite different from the original. The soundtrack to the film I Am Sam was a particularly popular example of this; it consisted of Beatles songs redone by various modern artists.

Jam bands such as Phish and The Grateful Dead are known for playing covers in concert, generally, and not on studio albums.

Some examples of commercially successful or otherwise notable cover versions are:

Song Original Artist, link to year in music Cover Artist, link to year in music
"Across the Universe" The Beatles, 1970 Fiona Apple, 1998 (from Pleasantville[?])
"After Midnight" J.J. Cale[?], 1965 Eric Clapton, 1970
Eric Clapton, 1988 (remake)
"Ain't That a Shame" Fats Domino, 1955 Pat Boone, 1955
"Ain't Too Proud to Beg" The Temptations, 1966 The Rolling Stones, 1974
"All Along The Watchtower" Bob Dylan, 1968 Jimi Hendrix, 1968
"Almost Cut My Hair" Crosby, Stills & Nash, 1970 The Dayglo Abortions, 1998
"American Pie" Don McLean, 1971 Madonna, 2000
"American Woman" The Guess Who[?], 1970 Lenny Kravitz, 2000
"Angel in the Morning" Merrilee Rush[?], 1968 Juice Newton[?], 1981
"Back in the USA" Chuck Berry, 1959 Linda Ronstadt, 1978
"Because the Night" Patti Smith, 1978 (cowritten with Bruce Springsteen) 10,000 Maniacs, 1994
"Black Magic Woman" Fleetwood Mac, 1969 Santana, 1970
"Blinded by the Light" Bruce Springsteen, 1973 Manfred Mann, 1976
"Blue Bayou" Roy Orbison, 1963 Linda Ronstadt, 1977
"Blue Suede Shoes" Carl Perkins, 1955 Elvis Presley, 1956
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" The Andrews Sisters, 1941 Bette Midler, 1972
"Boy From New York City" Ad Libs[?], 1965 Manhattan Transfer[?], 1981
"Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" Klaatu, 1976 The Carpenters, 1977
"Come Together" The Beatles, 1969 Aerosmith, 1978
"Da Doo Run Run" The Crystals 1963 Shawn Cassidy[?] 1977
"Dancing in the Street" Martha & the Vandellas, 1964 Van Halen, 1982
"Daydream Believer" The Monkees, 1968 Anne Murray, 1978
Shonen Knife[?], 1998
"Downtown Train" Tom Waits, 1985 Rod Stewart, 1989
"Everlasting Love" Robert Knight[?], 1967 Carl Carlton[?], 1974
"Everything I Own" Bread, 1972 Ken Boothe[?], 1974
Boy George, 1987
"Feelin' Alright" Traffic, 1968 Joe Cocker, 1969
"Get Ready" The Temptations, 1966 Rare Earth[?], 1970
"Gin and Juice" Snoop Doggy Dogg, 1993 The Gourds[?], 1998
"Gloria" Them (with Van Morrison), 1965 Shadows of Knight[?], 1966
"A Hard Day's Night" The Beatles, 1964 Goldie Hawn, 1998
"A Hazy Shade Of Winter" Simon and Garfunkel, 1966 The Bangles, 1987
"Heat Wave" Martha & the Vandellas, 1963 Linda Ronstadt, 1975
"Helter Skelter" The Beatles, 1968 U2, 1989
"Hey Baby" Bruce Channel[?], 1962 DJ Ítzi, 2000
"Hurt" Nine Inch Nails, 1994 Johnny Cash, 2002
"I Don't Like Mondays" The Boomtown Rats[?], 1982 Tori Amos, 2001
"I Got Rhythm" George Gershwin Broadway musical Girl Crazy[?], 1930 The Happenings[?], 1967
"I Got You Babe" Sonny & Cher, 1967 Cher with Beavis and Butthead, 1993
"I Hear You Knocking" Smiley Lewis[?], 1961 Dave Edmunds, 1971
"I Heard It Through The Grapevine" Gladys Knight & the Pips, 1967 Marvin Gaye, 1968
Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1970
"I Shot the Sheriff" Bob Marley & the Wailers, 1973 Eric Clapton, 1974
"If" David Gates, 1971 Telly Savalas[?], 1975
"I'm a Believer" Neil Diamond, 1966 The Monkees, 1966
Smashmouth[?], 2001
"I'm a Man" Spencer Davis Group[?], 1967 Chicago, 1970
"In the Midnight Hour" Wilson Pickett, 1965 The Rascals, 1967
"It Ain't Me Babe" Bob Dylan, 1964 The Turtles, 1965
"Jealous Guy" John Lennon, 1971 Roxy Music, 1981
"Knocking on Heaven's Door" Bob Dylan, 1973 Guns N' Roses, 1991
"Last Kiss" J. Frank Wilson[?], 1964 Pearl Jam, 1981
"The Letter" The Boxtops[?], 1967 Joe Cocker, 1970
"Light My Fire" The Doors, 1967 Jose Feliciano, 1968
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight" The Tokens[?], 1961 Robert John[?], 1971
Tight Fit[?], 1982
"Live and Let Die" Paul McCartney, 1976 Guns N' Roses, 1991
"The Locomotion" Little Eva[?], 1962 Grand Funk, 1974
"Love is All Around" The Troggs, 1967 Wet Wet Wet, 1994
"Love is Strange" Ian and Sylvia[?], 1958 Peaches and Herb[?], 1967
"Love Potion Number 9" The Clovers[?], 1959 The Searchers, 1964
"Lover's Cross" Jim Croce, 1972 Melanie[?], 1974
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" The Beatles, 1967 Elton John, 1974
"MacArthur Park" Richard Harris, 1968 Donna Summer, 1978
"Mr. Tambourine Man" Bob Dylan, 1965 The Byrds, 1965
"My Way" Frank Sinatra, 1969 Sid Vicious, 1978
"No Woman, No Cry" Bob Marley & the Wailers, 1974 Gilberto Gil, 1980
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" The Beatles, 1968 The Marmalade[?], 1968
"Only You" Yazoo, 1982 Flying Pickets[?], 1983
"Pinball Wizard" The Who, 1969 The New Seekers, 1973
Elton John, 1976
"Proud Mary" Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969 Ike and Tina Turner, 1971
"Rock and Roll Music" Chuck Berry, 1957 The Beatles, 1964
The Beach Boys, 1975
"Roll Over Beethoven" Chuck Berry, 1956 The Beatles, 1963
Electric Light Orchestra, 1973
"Ruby Tuesday" The Rolling Stones, 1967 Melanie[?], 1972
"She Came in through the Bathroom Window" The Beatles, 1969 Joe Cocker, 1969
"Somethin' Stupid" Frank & Nancy Sinatra, 1967 Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman, 2001
"Something in the Air" Thunderclap Newman[?], 1969 Fish, 1991
"Spanish Harlem" Ben E. King[?], 1961 Aretha Franklin, 1971
"Stay" Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs[?], 1960 Jackson Browne, 1977
"Stop Your Sobbing" The Kinks, 1964 The Pretenders, 1979
"Summertime" George Gershwin, from the opera Porgy and Bess, 1934 The Shake Spears[?], 1966
Janis Joplin, 1967
[2] (http://members.lycos.nl/summertimeweb/Summertime_covers)
"Summertime Blues" Eddie Cochran, 1958 The Who, 1967
Blue Cheer, 1968
"Suzie Q" Dale Hawkins[?], 1957 Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1968
"Suspicion" Elvis Presley, 1962 Terry Stafford[?], 1964
"Take Me To The River" Al Green, 1974 Talking Heads, 1978
"That'll Be The Day" Buddy Holly, 1957 Linda Ronstadt, 1976
"There She Goes" The La's[?], 1989 Sixpence None The Richer, 1999
"This Magic Moment" The Drifters, 1960 Jay and the Americans[?], 1969
"Time" Tom Waits, 1967 Rod Stewart, 1970
"Top of the World" The Carpenters, 1972 Shonen Knife[?], 1994
"The Tracks of My Tears" Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, 1965 Johnny Rivers[?], 1967
Linda Ronstadt, 1976
"Twist and Shout" The Isley Brothers, 1962 The Beatles, 1963 (rereleased 1986)
"Venus" Shocking Blue, 1969 Bananarama, 1986
"Walk This Way" Aerosmith, 1975 Run DMC, 1986
"We Can Work It Out" The Beatles, 1966 Stevie Wonder, 1971
"Wild Night" Van Morrison, 1971 John Cougar Mellencamp & Me'Shell NdegeOcello[?], 1994
"Wild World" Cat Stevens, 1970 Jimmy Cliff, 1970
"With a Little Help from My Friends" The Beatles, 1967 Joe Cocker, 1969
"Without You" Badfinger, 1970 Harry Nilsson, 1971
"Woodstock" Joni Mitchell, 1970 Crosby, Stills, and Nash, 1970
"You Keep Me Hanging On" The Supremes, 1966 Vanilla Fudge, 1968
"You Really Got Me" The Kinks, 1965 Brian Eno et al 1974, Van Halen, 1978
"You've Got a Friend" Carole King, 1971 James Taylor, 1971 [3] (http://www.superseventies.com/sw_youvegotafriend)

List of notable albums consisting entirely of cover songs:

An album consisting entirely of covers of the same artist is called a tribute album.

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