8 Songs You Didn’t Know Harry Styles Covered

Harry Styles has never been afraid to wear his inspirations proudly. He regularly makes nods to his icons – the likes of Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel and Joni Mitchell – and his contemporaries in his original music and through covers.

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In the early days of his solo career (when he only had one album to his name), Styles often relied on covers to round out his set lists. Now, with three LPs under his belt, he still manages to find the time in his live shows to throw in a lively rendition of some of his favorite songs.

To mark the singer’s 29th birthday (February 1), we’re highlighting some of the best covers from his solo career thus far. From Tom Petty to Kanye West, find the best covers from Styles below.

1. “Ultralight Beam” (Kanye West feat. Chance the Rapper)

Starting off with a truly unexpected cover, Styles put his own spin on Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam” back in 2017. For his rockier version of The Life of Pablo track, Styles swapped West’s sparse beat and rattling off for an acoustic guitar and a high note or two. The best covers happen when an artist doesn’t try to emulate the original but, instead imbues something new into the mix. Styles hits that mark in spades here.

2. “Wild Thoughts” (DJ Khaled feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller)

He once again dipped into the hip-hop realm with a cover of DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” for Radio 1’s Live Lounge series. Like his “Ultralight Beam” cover, he makes the 2017 R&B hit feel like an indie rock banger. On paper, the cover doesn’t seem like it would work but, in practice, it rivals the original.

3. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks)

Styles has joined forces with Stevie Nicks on a number of occasions. While all of their duets are worthy of making it onto this list, we’ve chosen to highlight a performance from Nicks’ 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. To help fete the iconic singer, Styles momentarily stepped into the late Tom Petty’s shoes for a rendition of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Though no one could replace Petty, Styles held his own well enough to make this a viable rendition of such a classic.

4. “If I Could Fly” (One Direction)

Many ex-boy banders look back on their time as a group with disdain. They publicly denounce their past work, chalking it up to teenage naivety, and deem their solo work as a far more serious pursuit – not Styles. The singer routinely nods to his One Direction days with revamped covers.

In the past, he has put a rocky spin on “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Stockholm Syndrome” but the cover we’ve chosen is his lulling version of “If I Could Fly.” The track comes from the last 1D album, Made in the A.M. His solo rendition proves that Styles’ vocal chops have only gotten better with age.

5. “Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)

Styles has professed his love of country music a fair few times. While his favorite in the genre is undoubtedly Shania Twain (he has covered “Still the One” multiple times), he also covered this Little Big Town hit for Spotify’s Singles Series in 2017. With help from his backing band, he lives up to the four-part harmony found in the original version. He also performed the song on his debut solo tour and a BBC special.

6. “The Chain” (Fleetwood Mac)

It seems Styles is not just a fan of Nicks but of the entirety of the Fleetwood Mac crew. His original work has borrowed from the rock icons’ sound a number of times – namely his songs “Girlfriend” and “Ever Since New York.” As a nod to their invariable inspiration, “The Chain” has become a staple in his live shows.

7. “Toxic” (Britney Spears)

For “Harryween” – a special concert series on October 31, 2021 – Styles chose to cover Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” While dressed as a vaudeville clown (we’re still trying to figure out that decision as well), Styles put his own spin on the 2003 hit. The costume combined with the song choice is one of the weirdest combinations Styles has ever tried but, as always, he manages to pull it off.

8. “Sledgehammer” (Peter Gabriel)

Last but certainly not least, Styles tried on this Peter Gabriel classic for size while appearing on Howard Stern. Of all the covers on this list, this ’80s rock gem seems to be the most intrinsic to Styles. His vocals are as powerful here as they ever have been, resulting in a pitch-perfect cover.

(Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

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