- Justin Vernon and Sean Carey – I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt
Recorded live at AIR Studios and released on YouTube in 2012. This song is one of my most favourite ever, in both original, and cover form. Listen, it doesn’t need explaining.
2. Angus Stone – River by Joni Mitchell
Recorded for the 2007 compilation album No Man’s Woman. A fresh, modern and emotional take on one of Mitchell’s most covered songs.
- John Mayer – Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
Included in the 2007 live album Where The Light Is, Mayer turned one of the most iconic air-punching singalongs ever into a tender ballad, all without losing the spunk of the song.
- Eva Cassidy – Songbird by Fleetwood Mac
Released on her posthumous compilation album of the same name which reached number 1 in the UK in 2001. A slowed down, slightly country sounding take on Christine McVie’s famous hit. Had a real affect on me during that melt your heart dance scene between the co-workers in Love Actually.
- Muse – Feeling Good from the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd, the song was made famous by Nina Simone.
From 2001 album Origin of Symmetry, it was also released as a single. Only Muse could manage to take one of the most covered soul songs of all time and turn it into a rock number which just makes you “feel good”. Especially during Matt Ballamy’s spine-tingling falsettos.
- Adele – Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan
From her 2008 debut album 19. Dylan’s version was sweet, but Adele’s version is epic.
- Ryan Adams –Wonderwall by Oasis
You know it’s a good cover when the author of the song -Noel Gallagher (who’s notorious for ripping on other peoples work) – says this about it:
“I went to see Ryan Adams in Manchester… So he’s playing away and he just does ‘Wonderwall’ right in the middle of the set. The fucking place went silent. It was so beautiful. I was just like, ‘Fucking Jesus Christ what a fucking song!’ Afterwards, I told him, ‘You can have that song, man, because we could never quite get it right.’
- Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird by The Beatles
One of the many beautiful covers from the I Am Sam soundtrack, which was made up entirely of Beatles music.
- Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
Always acknowledged as one of the best covers to ever exist, this take on Hallelujah is how I fell for this song and I know I’m not the only one. When do you ever hear Leonard Cohen’s original popping up on every radio station imaginable? Answer = never. Why? Because Jeff Buckley’s version is the go to.
- Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton
She recorded the song for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. It spent 14 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is one of the best-selling singles of all time. Is there anyone questioning why? I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love this song.
- Alex and Sierra – Gravity by Sara Bareilles
The American X-Factor duo and real life couple were favourites in the 2013 season. When you listen to this song you’ll no why, their take on this song is emotion invoking in every way.
- Neil Young – A Day in the Life by The Beatles
This has become a staple on every Neil Young set list. I’ve seen him twice in concert and both times I’ve been completely blown away by this amazing cover. He takes one of the most iconic songs of all time and blows it out of the water with his grungy take.
- Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse – Valerie by The Zutons
Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse took what was a funky little indie track by English rock band The Zutons, and turned it into a super hit in 2007. It’s on the playlist of every bar DJ and gets everyone on the dance floor singing along with each play.
- Ben Howard – Call Me Maybe by Carley Rae Jepsen
Performed in the Radio 1 Live Lounge in 2012. Only Ben Howard could take the girliest pop song of the year and turn it into a slow, crooning masterpiece. My friend and I used to laugh that Jepsen’s version is for the hitting the dance floor while Howard’s cover is there to help you recover from your hangover the next day.
- Ed Sheeran – In My Life by The Beatles
Performed as part of the 2014 tribute show The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A GRAMMY Salute. Sheeran takes a famous Beatles love song and puts his own delicate spin on it with this stripped back version that had Paul and Ringo nodding with pleasure in the audience.