Top 50 Cover Songs Of All Time

The list of the Top 50 cover versions was chosen by Daily Telegraph music critics with Jimi Hendrix's reworking of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" being named the best cover version of all time. Recorded in 1968, it appeared only one year after Dylan wrote and recorded the original on his album John Wesley Harding. The Telegraph says Hendrix's version of a 'so-so track' from Dylan completely outgunned the original. "A light, scampering ballad re-emerged as a mini-epic of foreboding with Hendrix's heavy three-chord intro hanging like a thundercloud and Dylan's lyrics sounding an ominous epitaph for the 1960s," it said. Second on the poll were the Pet Shop Boys for their 1987 version of Elvis Presley's "You Were Always on My Mind" with Sid Vicious's version of "My Way" at #3. Also in the Top 10 were Soft Cell’s 1981 hit "Tainted Love" which brought synthesizers to the 1964 Gloria Jones original, The Byrds 12-string janglely version of another Dylan song, "Mr Tambourine Man" and from this year "Comfortably Numb" by the Scissor Sisters, which turned Pink Floyd’s 1979 ode to isolation and fear into a glam disco track. Other tracks include Johnny Cash’s version of U2’s "One", Ryan Adams’ take on Oasis’ "Wonderwall" and The Vines’ version of Outkast’s "Ms Jackson". To qualify, a song had to be well established by one artist, then given a new lease of life by another.

The full Top 10 was:

01. "All Along the Watchtower" - Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968, orig. Bob Dylan, 1967

02. "You Were Always on My Mind" - Pet Shop Boys, 1987, orig. Elvis Presley, 1972, who covered Brenda Lee, 1971

03. "My Way" - Sid Vicious, 1979, orig. Frank Sinatra, 1969, who covered Paul Anka, 1969

04. "Hallelujah" - Jeff Buckley, 1993, orig. Leonard Cohen, 1984

05. "Respect" - Aretha Franklin, 1967, orig. Otis Redding, 1965

06. "Tainted Love" - Soft Cell, 1981, orig. Gloria Jones, 1964

07. "Mr Tambourine Man" - The Byrds, 1965, orig. Bob Dylan, 1964

08. "Twist and Shout" - The Beatles, 1963, orig. the Isley Brothers, 1960

09. "Comfortably Numb" - Scissor Sisters, 2004, orig. Pink Floyd, 1979

10. "Mr Bojangles" - Nina Simone, 1971, orig. Jerry Jeff Walker, 1967

The complete list can be found here.

Top 50 Cover Songs Of All Time