15 Best Cover Songs of All Time

THE BEATLES, “TWIST AND SHOUT”:
By the time The Beatles got their hands on The Top Notes’ “Shake It Up, Baby,” it had already been covered and made a hit as “Twist And Shout” by The Isley Brothers. But The Beatles took it the extra mile, getting just a little bit wilder and rocking out a little bit harder. The last recording of the Please Please Me sessions, this is its only take — John Lennon had no voice left to sing it again. But the physical sacrifice paid off; it reached No. 2 on the charts and is the only Beatles cover song to reach a national Top 10 singles chart.

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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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