15 Best Cover Songs of All Time

OTIS REDDING, “TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS”:
It’s probably a foregone conclusion that more people have heard Otis Redding’s version of “Try A Little Tenderness” than that of The Ray Noble Orchestra, whose other best known track, “Midnight, The Stars And You,” was featured in The Shining. Redding turned this 1932 tune into a jaw-dropping Southern soul performance that sheds the old-timey charm for raw emotion. In fact, this just barely qualifies as a cover — Jon Crier borrowed it in Pretty In Pink, but Otis owns this one.

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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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