Cover songs rule. They rule because it's cool to hear a band you like, playing a song that you already know the words to, but haven't heard them play a million times before. I don't understand why bands like the '80's cover band The Molly Ringwalds haven't become the most popular thing ever. Basically, when you do a cover song, you can go one of two ways:
1) You can try to sound as much like the original as you possibly can.
2) You can try and totally go your own way with the song and drastically reinterpret it in your style.
Both options are equally perilous. I personally prefer for bands to go the first route, because there's a reason the song was great in the first place. If you try to mess with it too much, you can really piss people off about what you did with their favorite song (see U2/Jars Of Clay - All I Want Is You). Grrr.
Anyway- I have compiled a list of my favorite cover songs, and decided to include them here for you. There's a bunch. Look through these and see which ones you've heard, haven't heard. Perhaps there are some versions of your favorite songs here that you didn't even know existed. Perhaps there are some you know of that I didn't list. As I said, this is a list of my favorites, which means it is highly subjective, and necessarily limited to the catalog of songs I am actually aware of. If it's not here, it's probably because I either don't know about it, or know about it and don't really like it all that much. Still there are bound to be some I just didn't think of. This is where comments come in. I would love nothing more than to hear your opinions on my list, and your own additions/amendments to it. FIRE AWAY!
These are listed in an Original Artist/Cover Artist - Song Title format.
In some cases, the cover actually surpasses the original. These cases will be identified by bold print.
Stryper/ Steve Hindalong – To Hell With The Devil
Stryper/ Klank – The Way
Stryper/ The Blamed – Soldiers Under Command
Stryper/ Deliverance – Surrender
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/ Marilyn Manson – I Put A Spell On You
The Rolling Stones/ The Sundays – Wild Horses
The Cure/ Anberlin/ 311 – Love Song
David Bowie/ Deliverance – Beauty And The Beast
David Bowie/ Nirvana – The Man Who Sold The World
Bloodgood/ Mortification – Black Snake
Bloodgood/Tourniquet - The Messiah
Trouble/Tourniquet – The Tempter
U2/Echo Hollow/ Pillar – Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Five Man Electrical Jam/ Tesla – Signs
The Tremoloes/ The Mavericks – Here Comes My Baby
Pete Townshend/ Audio Adrenaline/ Pearl Jam – Let My Love Open The Door
U2/Starfield/dcTalk – 40
U2/ Tobymac – Mysterious Ways
U2/ Tait – One
U2/Grits – With Or Without You
U2/ Chris Tomlin – Where The Streets Have No Name
U2/ P.O.D. – Bullet The Blue Sky
Charlie Peacock/ dcTalk – In The Light
Terry Taylor/ Deliverance – Sanctuary
Paul McCartney/ U2 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Clash/ One Bad Pig – Rock The Casbah
Petra/ Galactic Cowboys – Not Of This World
Petra/ Die Happy - All Over Me
XTC/ Sarah McLachlan – Dear God
Deep Purple/ Vengeance Rising – Space Truckin’
TV/ Relient K – Charles In Charge
TV/ Matthew Sweet – Scooby Doo, Where Are You?
TV/ Sublime – Hong King Phooey
Radney Foster/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Fine Line
Led Zeppelin/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?
R.E.M./ Hootie and the Blowfish – Driver 8
New Grass Revival/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Let Me Be Your Man
The Smiths/ Hootie and the Blowfish – Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want
The Doors/ Stone Temple Pilots – Break On Through
The Doors/ Aerosmith – Love Me Two Times
The Doors/ Days Of The New – The End
Rich Mullins/ Reflescent Tide – Hold Me Jesus
Veggie Tales/ The Channelsurfers – God Is Bigger
The Police/ Blackball – Message In A Bottle
Imperials/ Atomic Opera – Water Grave
Billy Joel/ Garth Brooks – Shameless
Bob Dylan/ The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man
*edited 8-15-05 to add:
Bob Dylan/Billy Joel/ Garth Brooks - To Make You Feel My Love
Simon and Garfunkel/ The Lemonheads/ Pennywise - Mrs. Robinson
Mark Cohen/ Cher - Walkin' In Memphis
Rufus Wainwright/ Jeff Buckley/ Kmax - Hallelujah
also, check out this site for their list of the 100 greatest cover songs of all time.