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silverfly's avatar

Which song remakes are better than the original?

Asked by silverfly (4025 points ) April 27th, 2010

I’ve found that most of the time, an original song is always better than any remake or cover. For example: “Land of Confusion” by Phil Collins is way better than Disturbed’s version. “Careless Whisper” by George Michael was better than Seether’s version. “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John was better than Ben Fold’s version.

But sometimes, a remake can be better. For example, I really like this version of “Hey Ya” originally done by Outkast.

I also like a lot of the Me First and the Gimme Gimme cover songs.

Can you jellies think of any songs that are better than the original versions?

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63 Answers

CMaz's avatar

None. And I think it is a cheat.

Snarp's avatar

Janis Joplin’s version of Me and Bobby McGee is definitely better than Roger Miller’s version, and Arguably better than Kris Kristofferson’s version.

Snarp's avatar

Jimi Hendrix’s version of All Along the Watchtower.

silverfly's avatar

@ChazMaz I don’t think it’s a cheat unless you get famous from covering a song. Limp Bizkit did this with covering “Faith” by George Michael. But if you’re a badass band and you just want to cover a song, I think it’s okay once in a while. But the band has to be badass… did I mention that? :)

wonderingwhy's avatar

I won’t call it better but Johnny Cash doing Hurt is on par with Trent’s original. It’s not necessarily about if a remake is “better” but, for me more or less, if the artist can make it something worthwhile of their own.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I also won’t call it better, but The Tavares’ version of Hall and Oates’ She’s Gone is pretty good!

Lightlyseared's avatar

Jeff Buckley’s arrangement of Hallelujah is much better than Leonard Cohens.

silverfly's avatar

@Snarp Who did the original to that one?

Snarp's avatar

@silverfly Which?

All Along the Watchtower is Bob Dylan.

Me and Bobby McGee was first recorded by Roger Miller, written and later recorded by Kris Kristofferson

rebbel's avatar

Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor in my opinion is better then Prince’.

silverfly's avatar

@Snarp Oh okay, Hendrix covered Bob Dylan. I’ll take Hendrix over Dylan any day. I can’t stand his streets of Seattle song one bit! “Heeeyyy, mama… Is this the eeeeend?” UGH!

@rebbel Agreed! – didn’t know Prince did that first. It’s actually kind of sad to find out how many songs are not originals!!

Snarp's avatar

@rebbel I’ve never heard the original, but I find it hard to believe Sinead O’Connor could do any song better than Prince.

Snarp's avatar

One could also make a case for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s version of Blinded by the Light, a cover of Bruce Springsteen.

deni's avatar

That cover of “Hey Ya” surprised me. I do like it, but not as much as Hey ya, because the whole great thing about that song is how much energy is in it. So it’s like they’re in two different categories and you can’t really compare them, i think. Both good!

@Snarp yeah, hardly anyone even knows Bruce ever did that song, ha

gemiwing's avatar

Jamie Cullum Please, Don’t stop the music It’s slower and more of a ‘dirty piano’ groove.

silverfly's avatar

@deni Yeah, it’s amazing that the original of Hey Ya is so happy and energetic. Yet, when it’s sung with a much lower tempo and more vocals and a guitar, it’s almost a totally different song. Good stuff!

wonderingwhy's avatar

Sheesh, talk about something that got stuck in my head…

Let’s add the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams remade by Marlin Manson, Zeppelins Knockin’ on Heavens Door remade by GNR, Fats Domino remaking Blueberry Hill from Gene Autry, Gloria Jones Tainted Love remade by Soft Cell, B.B. King remaking See That My Grave is Kept Clean from Blind Lemon Jefferson…

deni's avatar

@wonderingwhy FATS DOMINO ASLDJFALKSDFJSDKLJFDK i have never heard the original, I don’t think….but i’m already certain it can’t be better than fats’ version. duh.

Snarp's avatar

@wonderingwhy Now you’ve started the controversy. No way Marylin Manson’s version is better than the Eurythmics, and the definitive version of Knockin on Heaven’s door is by Clapton, but that’s a cover of Bob Dylan once again. The GNR version is not better.

Snarp's avatar

Actually let’s go with this: any competent performance of a Dylan song is better than the original.

wonderingwhy's avatar

oh my, and how could I forget this

john65pennington's avatar

Aprisimnil…........i really never thought to compare Shes Gone with these two artists, but i just listened to both and i agree with you. both are excellent recordings of the song, but i believe i like the Traveres version a little better. it appears this song was recorded in a much better studio(Traveres) than the Hall and Oates version. generally, the original song is always better. but, comparing these two versions of Shes Gone is really a close call.

Snarp's avatar

Also, I hesitate to call any blues song “better” than another version, Blind Lemon and B.B. King are just too different to really call one version “better”. Would you say that Keb Mo’s version of “Come on in my kitchen” is “better” than Robert Johnson’s? It would be like sacrilege. Both are very different, but is one better?

Snarp's avatar

@liminal No cover of a Beatles song is better than the original.

liminal's avatar

@Snarp Beatles fans tend to think that.

deni's avatar

i personally like CCR’s version of Heard it Through the Grapevine better than any of the previous versions of it. I just love the way he says “heard”....more like “huuuuyyerrrrdd”

Snarp's avatar

@deni Definitely.

liminal's avatar

Cyndi Lauper improved herself She Bop

Snarp's avatar

@liminal I have listened to your suggestion, and I stand by my statement.

softtop67's avatar

I Shot the Sheriff originally done by Bob Marley and remade by Eric Clapon

El_Cadejo's avatar

Hotel California by the Gipsy Kings

deni's avatar

oh! and “Last Kiss”...i really like both versions, can’t recall who did the original but it’s really good…but Eddie Vedder’s voice just goes with that song perfectly.

ps this is a fun question lol

Snarp's avatar

Ray Charles’ version of “Georgia on my Mind”.

liminal's avatar

@Snarp I do agree with you and @deni about CCR’s Grapevine

edit: Ray Charles, thumbs up

Snarp's avatar

@uberbatman I was going to argue with you about Hotel California until I listened to it. You are clearly right. I never even realized that that version so clearly inspired the version the Eagle’s did on Hell Freezes Over.

Snarp's avatar

@softtop67 Only if you really don’t like Reggae. I think both versions are great.

Shecky_Johnson's avatar

Almost anything covered by Julia Nunes. Youtube her. She’s pretty awesome.

liminal's avatar

@Snarp At the least, Simone brings out another dimension to the song that deftly highlights Harrison’s excellent writing.

El_Cadejo's avatar

that cover of here comes the sun was painful….

deni's avatar

@uberbatman i agree. i tried to enjoy it but it didn’t happen.

liminal's avatar

Some would actually scoff at me for calling it a cover rather than a rendition.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Im quite fond of this cover of Im Yours :P

mrentropy's avatar

“We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” by D.O.A and Jello Biafra
“Sounds of Silence” The Dickies
“Silent Night” The Dickies
“Theme From Banana Splits” The Dickies

liminal's avatar

Who says the Beatles can’t be covered: Hey Jude. Thank you @uberbatman, you just made my day!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Do not stone me, fellow Bealtes fans!

But I am ever so sorry, Sir Paul: Earth, Wind and Fire’s version of Got to Get You Into My Life? Runs rings, RINGS, I say, around yours. Yours is jaunty, no doubt, but theirs brings the swing and soul.

deni's avatar

@aprilsimnel you are wise. I love…so much….Earth Wind and Fire. they brighten my life.

silverfly's avatar

@liminal Awesome “Hey Jude” cover! So cute.

JFKFC's avatar

“Suspicious Minds” by Fine Young Cannibals.
“Ziggy Stardust” by Bauhaus.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

“Crazy Train” by Bullet for my Valentine
Just about anything off the Punk Goes… collections
“Hit the Lights” by Black Tide
“Paranoid” by Avenged Sevenfold

Factotum's avatar

I’ve found that the first version I hear of a rock tune tends to be ‘the best’ to me but this is not always so.

That said, I am very much into jazz which frequently involves interpreting a ‘standard’ which is generally a pop song from many decades past. The pleasure of it is hearing a tune done differently, perhaps even to the point that you are surprised. Sort of like born-again music, if you will.

Within more current music, cover tunes reintroduce songs to a younger generation (sometimes five years younger but if you only just stopped listening to Barney cds and started listening to top 40 radio you’re unlikely to have experience of the original music).

One of the things I look for in rock remakes is a new approach. If it sounds too much like the original I’m usually bored.

emergence's avatar

I like Jesse Malin’s cover of Niel Young’s “Helpless” ... But better? Idk.

silverfly's avatar

@Factotum Like MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This” from “Superfreak”?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

The remake of Mad World by Gary Jules is way better than the original Tears for Fears version.

deni's avatar

@DrasticDreamer GOOD ONE. i love that song.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Judas Priest-Diamonds and Rust and Better By You, Better Than Me
/DO IT

evandad's avatar

Gary Jules version of “Mad World” is better than the Tears for Fears version. Someone else just wrote that. I agree with them.

Jude's avatar

Which one is better? Liz’s version? Or, Tim Buckley’s version?

silverfly's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I love Tears for Fears. I will say that I do think it’s better, but not way better. :)

Snorkledorf's avatar

@Snarp Bear McCreary’s All Along the Watchtower manages to beat Hendrix’s, admittedly by being pretty much a totally different song… :)

And Kate Bush doing Sexual Healing!

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

I like some of Glee’s remakes

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