The majority of people assume if artists made cover other artists’ songs, they want to make a commercial profit and critical appeal in today’s music world. However, this situation didn’t the same in the ’50s. When musicians covered other musicians’ popular tracks in the ’50s, they make catchy versions of songs to gain a wider audience or reach a specific listener demographic. We can see this situation in history a lot. Especially, When white performers re-do the songs made by Black artists, they catch hype. One famous example in history is Elvis Presley‘s “Hound Dog” track helps skyrocket Elvis Presley‘s career. The song was first recorded by blues legend Big Mama Thornton.
Because of the popularity make cover songs, your favorite song can be a cover song. If want to find more cover songs more popular than the original, you can check out the list below. We listed ten covers that are more popular than the originals.
- Jimi Hendrix, “All Along the Watchtower(1968)
- Maneskin, “Beggin” (2017)
- The Clash, “I Fought the Law” (1979)
- The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
- Eric Clapton, “Cocaine” (1977)
- A cover makes a song legend: Nirvana, “The Man Who Sold The World” (1994)
- Judas Priest, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” (1979)
- The most popular cover: Santana, “Black Magic Woman” (1970)
- A cover brings success: Joan Jett, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1981)
Jimi Hendrix, “All Along the Watchtower(1968)
Bob Dylan performed his favorite track the “All Along the Watchtower” more than any other song in Bob Dylan’s concerts. If you had a chance to go to one of Bob Dylan‘s concerts in the ’70s, you must hear it. Because of this popularity, other musicians make dozens of covers for this Bob Dylan‘s favorite track. The most popular cover is made by Jimi Hendrix. This cover most listened to the song during Jimi Hendrix‘s tragic short career. If you wonder original version of “All Along the Watchtower,” you can listen below!
Maneskin, “Beggin” (2017)
If you constantly listen to old songs, you may not hear the Beggin before 2017. This song made by Frankie Valli & Four Seasons became popular with the Italian rock band Maneskin in the modern music world. This band also won Eurovision win in 2021 with their covers. Besides the Eurovision success, this song becomes viral on Tik Tok. Maneskin’s cover “Beggin” used more than ten million videos on TikTok. (You can listen original here)
The Clash, “I Fought the Law” (1979)
We do not know the original version of “I Fought the Law” was written by Sonny Curtis for The Crickets. Unfortunately, this song cannot catch popularity with The Crickets band. The “I Fought the Law” becomes popular on The Clash‘s EP The Cost of Living.
The Animals, “House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
Even if a track is made by an unknown artist, singers make covers for the song to reach the right audience. For example, musicians make tons of covers for the traditional folk song “House of the Rising Sun.” However, every musician cannot handle making good covers. For this song, the most successful version was made by “The Animals.” They make the song No. 1 hit in the U.K singles chart.
Eric Clapton, “Cocaine” (1977)
“Cocaine” always is drawn with “Cocaine Blues.” However, this song is different from the “Cocaine Blues.” Because it made for the warn listeners about fatal effects of cocaine. The song was written and recorded by J.J Cale. After the release of his song, Eric Clapton made his rendition. With this rendition, Eric Clapton charted on the Billboard Hot 100.
A cover makes a song legend: Nirvana, “The Man Who Sold The World” (1994)
This song is underestimated with David Bowie‘s third studio album. Maybe it is not targeted at the right audience. However, Nirvana place this song where it belongs too. Nirvana performed the song on MTV Unplugged in 1993 to meet a new and right audience. When Nirvana fans hear this song, fans freaked out. That’s why this performance becomes MTV’s most played video in 1995. You can listen to the original version of “The Man Who Sold The World” to understand what I mean.
Judas Priest, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” (1979)
The song is written for the rock band, Fleetwood Mac. However, this song does not match Fleetwood Mac fans’ expectations. That’s why The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown) had been forgotten until Judas Priest decided to remake it. Judas Priest remade this song with heavy metal essences. With this decision, Judas Priest catches commercial success beyond their expectations.
The most popular cover: Santana, “Black Magic Woman” (1970)
Fleetwood Mac‘s doest meet fans’ expectations with their songs. We see a similar example with The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown). However, with their songs, Fleetwood Mac helps other musicians to reach a wide audience. For example, The “Black Magic Woman” track was underestimated until Santana decided to remake it. After Santana covered it, everyone freaked out for this song. Santa’s “Black Magic Woman” stays 13 weeks on the Hot 100. This situation makes “Black Magic Woman” one of Santana’s biggest hits.
A cover brings success: Joan Jett, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (1981)
People assume that the “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” is belongs to Joan Jett. Because the “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” Joan Jett‘s track is the most popular. However, the song belongs to The Arrows band. Surprisingly, with this song, Joan gets platinum certification.