10 of the Most Covered Songs in Music History
Unlike movies, where it's rare that a second (or third) attempt at remaking a film can ever match—let alone top—the original, music is a different sort of creative beast. Just because The Beatles did a bang-up job on one song doesn't mean that Joan Baez or Elvis Presley couldn't do the same tune justice in their own unique way. Which is a very good thing, as The Beatles's catalog is one of the most copied in music history. While not an exhaustive list, here are 10 of the most covered songs.
1. "YESTERDAY" // THE BEATLES
"Yesterday" has been covered more than 2200 times, with Joan Baez, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, En Vogue, and Boyz II Men among the many (many) artists to put their own spin on the song. Plus, you know you've made it as a band when even Daffy Duck gets in on the action.
2. "(I CAN'T GET NO) SATISFACTION" // THE ROLLING STONES
This classic Rolling Stones song has been redone by a diverse array of artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Devo, and Vanilla Ice. It was also famously covered by Britney Spears at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards before she launched into "Oops! I Did It Again."
3. "ELEANOR RIGBY" // THE BEATLES
A somewhat surprising choice, considering The Beatles's other hits, but it's been covered 131 times by artists such as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Kansas, and Swedish industrial metal band Pain.
4. "CRY ME A RIVER" // JULIE LONDON
This jazzy number from 1955 has been covered by a huge range of people, including Barbra Streisand, Joe Cocker, Aerosmith, Rick Astley, Björk, Merle Haggard, and Olivia Newton John.
5. "AND I LOVE HER" // THE BEATLES
The original song is from one of The Beatles's earlier albums, A Hard Day's Night, and has since been reworked by Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, Sarah Vaughan, Barry Manilow, and Vince Gill, among numerous others.
6. "SUMMERTIME" // ABBIE MITCHELL
Abbie Mitchell is the person who originally sang "Summertime," in the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, but Janis Joplin's cover is probably the most well-known version. But Sonny and Cher did a version, too, and so did R.E.M.
7. "IMAGINE" // JOHN LENNON
Musical stalwarts like Joan Baez, Ray Charles, Elton John, David Bowie, and Queen have all given their own personal touch to "Imagine." And in recent years, the likes of Pink, Lady Gaga, and Avril Lavigne have joined the list of artists who have attempted to make the John Lennon classic their own.
8. "OVER THE RAINBOW" // JUDY GARLAND
One of the most frequently performed songs during American Idol auditions has also been covered by plenty of musical greats. Non-Idol cover versions include Willie Nelson, Patti LaBelle, Eva Cassidy, Eric Clapton, Chet Atkins, Tori Amos, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. That last version is the Hawaiian rendition that's mixed with "What a Wonderful World" that has gotten a lot of play in recent years.
9. "BLACKBIRD" // THE BEATLES
Another one of the prettiest Beatles songs, and another one of the most covered. Recently, Dave Grohl covered it during the 2016 Oscars, but there are also versions from Phish, Jesse McCartney, Bobby McFerrin, Eddie Vedder, and Elliott Smith.
10. "THE LOOK OF LOVE" // DUSTY SPRINGFIELD
Written by Burt Bacharach and originally sung by Dusty Springfield for the first Casino Royale soundtrack in 1967, "The Look of Love" has been covered a lot. The Zombies, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Shirley Bassey, and Diana Krall are just a few of the artists who have made it their own.