The 8 Best Covers of Hit Songs

By Elana Goodwin on June 19, 2014

Once you hear a song performed or sung by the original artist, it’s hard for anyone who goes on to cover the song to even come close to comparing to or being as good as the original, if not better. But it’s becoming more popular now for not only YouTube artists to cover hit songs, but for famous singers and bands to as well. Here are the eight best covers of hit songs by artists everyone knows about.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

1. Talented singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has covered several songs in radio station sessions and at concerts and one of the best covers he’s done is of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” which he sang for his The Sun Biz Session.

The redheaded Brit sang the song while playing the guitar in an acoustic session for UK newspaper The Sun’s website. Sheeran has also covered Nina Simone’s “Be My Husband,” Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love“ and more. His second studio album, “X”, comes out June 23rd, and the first single “Sing” reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

2. Most people forget that former “Hannah Montana” star turned twerking clothing-optional Miley Cyrus actually has a good voice, which isn’t all that surprising with songs like “We Can’t Stop” and the majority of “Bangerz,” her most recent album.

However some performances, like when she sang a cover of her godmother Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene,” which she did as part of a 2012 backyard session, remind us of the fact that she can really sing (she just chooses not to use her impressive vocals because there’s no need as many of her newer songs are more auto-tuned).

3. Popular piano rock band The Fray did a cover of Kanye West’s song “Heartless” in 2009 which placed at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Colorado-based group also included the song on the deluxe edition of their second album, “The Fray,” as well as on their third live album called “The Fray: Live from Soho,” both released in 2009. Their cover of the Kanye song turns it from a dark auto-tuned beat to a melancholy but beautiful stripped down ballad. Their most recent album, “Helios,” came out in February 2014.

4. British powerhouse Adele covered “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt in her 2011 set at the iTunes Festival in London and after getting rave reviews on her version of it there, opted to cover it once again at the Royal Albert Hall for her first live album, “Live at the Royal Albert Hall.”

Though it was never released as a single, it reached the top forty on the UK Singles Chart. Adele also covered “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan for her first album “19″ which went double platinum in the U.S. and also performed it at the iTunes Festival in London in 2011.

5. American Idol fifth season finalist Chris Daughtry, who is the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for his band, Daughtry, did an acoustic cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” in July 2009. Gaga’s original song is stripped down by a solo Chris with a guitar and turned into an awesome slow rock song.

Daughtry’s most recent album, “Baptized,” was released in November 2013 and featured the hit single “Waiting for Superman.”

6. Former “One Tree Hill” actress and singer-songwriter Kate Voegele covered Leonard Cohen’s hauntingly beautiful song “Hallelujah” in September 2008, releasing it as her second official single from her debut album “Don’t Look Away.” Her version of the song charted at number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was the first time any rendition of the song had cracked the Hot 100. Voegele has covered numerous other songs, including Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Wanna Be,” Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” and more.

7. British rock band Bastille covered Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” during their visit to the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge in September 2013. The group did a phenomenal job turning a pretty crappy party song into an edgier and better version of the tune and even managed to do a bit of a mashup/shoutout to Miley’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, by weaving in some of his song, “Achy Breaky Heart.” Bastille’s first studio album was released in March 2013 and the single “Pompeii” reached number five in the U.S.

8. Just last week, Demi Lovato covered “Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran in her session at the Capital FM studio in London. While Sheeran’s song is perfection by itself and when the ginger sings it, Lovato sung an amazing cover that was different enough from the original due to her unique take on the song and female vocals that lets her version somewhat stand alone.

Lovato’s flawless version will give you chills, especially when she reaches the bridge. Sheeran was impressed with Lovato too, and on June 17 they sang a duet of the song live on stage at the 104.3 MY FM Presents My Big Night Out in L.A.

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