Five songs you (maybe) didn’t realise were covers

Elvis Presley

Sometimes, the cover version becomes more famous than the original. It might simply be better, a fresh take, or it might be that it was performed by a bigger, yet not necessarily better artist (One Direction are simply not better than Blondie, sorry). However, occasionally a cover song can dwarf its original to the extent that people no longer realise which version came first. Here are five of those.

1. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

Okay so most people might know this one. A Google search for the word “Hurt”  returns a video of singer-songwriter Johnny Cash’s performance of the depressing tune. Johnny Cash made a career of covering other people’s songs – this is one of his most critically acclaimed covers, originally recorded by alternative rock band Nine Inch Nails.

2. “Twist and Shout” by The Beatles

Who wrote “Twist and Shout”? Not the Beatles. This widely covered banger was actually first recorded by unheard-of band Top Notes. It is also strikingly similar to 1958 tune “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens.

3. “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

I was watching The Voice the other day and a woman (with some stupid pink hair swag) sang a version of this. Her mistake, aside from the hair, was in crediting the song to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, when actually the original was sung by lesser know band The Arrows. She didn’t progress any further in the competition, thankfully.

4. “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley

This hit put “the King of Rock and Roll” on the musical map. However it was originally recorded by r&b legend Big Mama Thornton. The fact her version isn’t as well known is in my opinion a massive injustice – it’s a much more soulful take.

5. “The Tide Is High” by Atomic Kitten?

This song was made famous first by Blondie, who had a number one hit with it in. Their success was then replicated by pop group Atomic Kitten. However, the (far superior) original is by reggae legend John Holt, performed with band The Paragons. This number has been covered so many times by so many international artists, but one of my favourite foreign covers is by German reggae band Seeed.

Know any other cover songs that are more famous than the original? Why not comment them below.

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