Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

Are Covers Better Than the Originals?

There’s not nearly enough guitar music in the universe to make me happy, and I’ve been missing the old school sound lately. Maybe this is a sign that I’m getting older, but I feel compelled to say, “They don’t play guitar solos like they used to.”

I’ve been listening to a lot of cool covers lately, some of them for original songs I wasn’t that familiar with. It’s gotten me to thinking, especially with the two songs below — Are cover songs sometimes better than the originals?

First, let’s start with the original. I’ve been enjoying “Entertainment” by Phoenix the last few weeks since its debut. It’s not quite as Phoenix-ish as their previous hits, and that makes it easier for me to enjoy. When “1901” and “Lisztomania” were in heavy rotation, it made me want to gnaw on my steering wheel. But their latest single “Entertainment” is rather, well, yeah, you know what I’m going to say, so just push the button and listen already, entertaining.

And now onto the cover of “Entertainment” by Dinosaur Jr. The guitar solo at the end gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. I thought I was in love when I listened to Banks last week. That was a pale shadow to how much I adore this song. Look, I know I have a problem. I fall in love with almost every good song I meet. I promise I’ll get help for it, but enough about me, just push the damn button already.

Are there any cover songs that you like more than the originals?

Or are there cover songs you consider to be crimes against music and should not be allowed to exist?

Also, I’m almost done with the next section of Life of a Foundry Moth. Will share soon, I promise!!

13 comments on “Are Covers Better Than the Originals?

  1. greenembers
    March 25, 2013

    I love Bob Dylan songs, but almost every cover of his songs is better. (Almost there are a few exceptions). I think sometimes it has to do with the first version you hear. If you hear the cover first you might prefer it more than the original. Just my two cents.

    • dfsalvador
      March 26, 2013

      Definitely agree with this. I love Dylan covers way more than the originals. He was a brilliant songwriter.

  2. VarVau
    March 25, 2013

    Not exactly related to covers, but you may like Rodrigo y Gabriella. They specialize in acoustic guitar music.

  3. Janna G. Noelle
    March 25, 2013

    Sometimes I like the cover version at least as much as the original (the Pet Shop Boys version of “Always On My Mind” is a good example of this).

    However, on a philosophical level, I think it’s kind of impossible for the cover to be “better”, for were it not for the original, the cover wouldn’t even exist. The singer doing the cover owes the original artist a debt of gratitude for laying the groundwork and giving him/her something to build upon – groundwork which, regardless of whether you like what the originator did with it or not, will always belong to him/her, and always his/her vision for how the song was meant to be.

    • ericjbaker
      April 2, 2013

      Love that Pet Shop Boys cover!

      Hey, are we allowed to chat on someone else’s blog?

      • tracycembor
        April 2, 2013

        Hell yeah, discussion is allowed.

      • Janna G. Noelle
        April 2, 2013

        I’m pretty sure it’s within acceptable parameters. ;)

      • ericjbaker
        April 2, 2013

        Ha! It’s just funny running into you on someone else’s blog, as if our lengthy discussions elsewhere were not sufficient.

        Thanks, Tracy!

  4. Przemek Kucia
    March 28, 2013

    Does anyone remember original of “Bang, bang” by… Cher? I like the most this version Also “Death letter” by Son House (the original) with all the respect to the piece itself not in my mood as live version by The White Stripes (you can check it here

    This post will definitely land in spam section (because of links) xD

  5. Pingback: I’ll Try Anything Once | tracycembor

  6. ericjbaker
    April 2, 2013

    I’m addicted to classic soul music, which was a era of rampant covering, and I think a lot of covers improve upon the originals. Not always, but often.

  7. 9000mah行動電源
    June 21, 2013

    how did you come up with? that? because after i read your comment i cant help but picture him walking all shaky with a liquor bottle in his hands singing the hook…

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on March 25, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

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About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
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