15 Best Cover Songs of All Time

THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, “ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER”:
Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” – a Bible-referencing highlight from 1967’s John Wesley Harding – is a great song. Hendrix’s cover version is better. Taking the basic blueprint and amplifying the song into a more intense, powerful anthem, Hendrix spent months on it, re-recording tracks until the finished product was flawless. And the version released on 1968’s Electric Ladyland is exactly that. From the moment its four acoustic chords ring out, there’s a clear signal the listener is in for something epic. Dylan, himself, was so impressed with it that, in concert, he has since only played it Jimi’s way.

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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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