15 Best Cover Songs of All Time

RAY CHARLES, “GEORGIA ON MY MIND”: A Ray Charles signature song, “Georgia On My Mind” dates back much earlier to 1930, when it was originally released by Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra. Its lyrics ambiguous enough to raise the question of whether Georgia is a woman, or the actual state, when Charles recorded it, the connection to the state grew more concrete. A Georgia native, Charles performed it before the state legislature in 1979, and it was adopted as the state song a month later. Nearly two decades before that, however, it hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts, cementing it as a classic.

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  1. Lots of excellent choices here, in the original list and in the comments. I’d nominate Emmylou Harris’s version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty.” (And re. Hallelujah — I’ve always preferred Cohen’s understated original, but whatever version you prefer, plesae, I beg you, don’t add any more — let the poor song be.)

  2. I’ve got to say I love the covers that Cassandra Wilson has done; “Hellhound On My Trail” (Robert Johnson), “Death Letter” (Son House), “Harvest Moon” (Neil Young), “Tupelo Honey” (Van Morrison), “Last Train to Clarksville”, “If Loving You is Wrong”, just to name a few.

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