Remember the TV series "The Wonder Years"? Remember it's theme song? Yep, it was Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help of My Friends"... it sounds as dazzling as it did when he first performed it at Woodstock. One of the best covers of all time, no doubt. Of course, I'm assuming here that most everyone would know that this is a cover of a song Lennon & McCartney wrote for the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. No surprise there. However, there are my hit songs that are really covers of obscure songs or minor hits from one-hit wonders that time forgot. Can you tell me who sang the original version of I Love Rock'n'Roll?... nope, it was not Joan Jett... although Joan Jett's cover was the version that reached #1 for a bunch of weeks and became a world-wide phenomenon... You see what I'm getting at here?... If you do, then you'll find this list amusing and surprising. These are my Top 20 Songs You Probably Didn't Know Were Covers...
01. I Love Rock'n'Roll - The Arrows (not Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and certainly NOT Britney)
02. Bette Davis Eyes - Jackie DelShannon (not Kim Carnes)
03. Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – Klaatu (not The Carpenters)
04. The Tide is High - The Paragons (not Blondie)
05. Angel of the Morning - Marlee Rush (not Juice Newton)
06. Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Robert Hazard (not Cyndi Lauper)
07. Tainted Love - Gloria Jones (not Soft Cell or Marilyn Manson)
08. Me and Bobby McGee - Kris Kristofferson (not Janis Joplin)
09. Love Hurts - Everly Brothers (not Nazareth or Roy Orbison or Joan Jett or…)
10. A Groovy Kind of Love – The Mindbenders (not Phil Collins)
11. The Crying Game - Dave Berry (not Boy George)
12. Twist & Shout – The Isley Brothers (not the Beatles)
13. Always on My Mind - Brenda Lee (not Elvis or Willie Nelson or Pet Shop Boys)
14. Red Red Wine - Neil Diamond (not UB40)
15. Nothing Compares to 2 – Prince (not Sinead O’Connor)
16. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood - Nina Simone (not The Animals or Santa Esmeralda)
17. New York New York - Liza Minelli (not Frank Sinatra)
18. Blinded by the Light – Bruce Springsteen (not Manfred Mann)
19. Seasons in the Sun – Kingston Trio (not Terry Jacks or Westlife).
NOTE: Actually, the Kingston Trio version is the original version in English of the song "Le Moribond" by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, but that is fodder for another list.
20. Wimoweh - Pete Seeger (not “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” by The Tokens or Tight Fit or Robert John or the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King)
Note: This song is actually based on a 1939 South African song entitled “Mbube” (Zulu for “Lion”) and originally recorded by Solomon Linda.
Related Previous Postings:
Top 20 Cover Songs
Top 20 Forgotten Songs from the 80's
Top 20 Worst Covers Ever
Top 20 Great but Forgotten One Hit Wonders
Top 20 Minor Hits from Major Artists