Cover versions and remakes have a bad reputation for never being as good as the original. But the truth is, while there are some truly awful cover songs out there, there are also plenty that are just as good, if not downright better than the original.
There are, in fact, plenty of songs that we don't even recognize as being covers. They're so good, or they've become so popular, that most listeners just assume they're the original versions. The originals, on the other hand, often just fall by the wayside.
In the summer of 2004, I started putting together a mix CD of tracks like these, original releases of songs made popular by other groups. The more I researched the idea, however, the more it became clear that this wasn't going to all fit on one disc. And so the idea just grew.
And grew. And grew. And...well, four CDs later...
Here, then, are the songs I compiled -- plus some honorable mentions that I either couldn't procure copies of, or that I left off the mix for the sake of sanity and space. (I've also used this as an opportunity to correct some of the mistakes and omissions I made with the CDs.) In total, I came across roughly 100 songs in my research, far more than I expected when the idea for the mix first occurred to me. In putting together these tracks, I discovered some really good music, and I also developed a newfound respect for the art of the cover version, when it turned out that some of the originals weren't so good.
My hope is that this list will hold just as many surprises for you as it did for me, and that you'll be forced to take a new look at songs you thought you knew.
And if you know of any songs that should be here and aren't, please feel free to let me know. Thanks.
I am indebted to numerous sources of information, many without which this mix would never have gotten off the ground. The main culprits are: