Covers Of Classics That Ended Up More Popular Than The Original

With so many budding musicians and seasoned professionals on the market currently, new songs are being released every day for aficionados and fans to enjoy.

In some rare cases, these songs become iconic and are then an ingrained part of a national or even global cultural movement. 

Often, when this happens, new musicians rush to cover the songs and put their spin on this fan favourite. 

Cover songs are an enjoyable way to hear your favourite tunes sung in a new way. Across the music market, many classics get covered every day, but in some rare cases, the new version turns out to be more popular than the original. 

Here is a selection of some of the covers of classics that ended up being better received and more popular than the original. 


First written and performed by indie band The Zutons, Valerie didn’t truly become a global hit until it was covered by DJ Mark Ronson and late singer Amy Winehouse. Their version, released just a year after the original, made the number 1 spot in the UK charts and is still a hit with listeners around the world today. It’s now popular with cover artists, who use recording studios to create their own, unique versions. If you’re interested in showing the world how the song should be performed, then why not book yourself some studio time? You can sign up on to be the first in line for a free booking in their new LA studio. 

Make You Feel My Love

Bob Dylan wrote Make You Feel My Love for his 1997 album Time Out of Mind. The song has since been covered by a diverse range of performers, including Garth Brooks, Billy Joel and Neil Dimond, under both its original name and the title To Make You Feel My Love. However, it was singer Adele’s sombre version, released in 2008, which bought the melody back into the public eye. It was the only cover song included on her debut album, 19, and it was a resounding hit among many on the album. It has since been used throughout the film and television industries and remains a firm fan favourite for many Adele lovers. 

I Will Always Love You

This glorious song was written by country music icon Dolly Parton, as a goodbye ballad following her decision to leave her former partner and mentor Porter Wagoner in pursuit of solo success. The song was covered by Whitney Houston for her hit film The Bodyguard, and it is this dramatic version of the song that is now the most well-known. Houston used her powerful vocal abilities to create a stunning version of the song, which now epitomises the heartbreak of having to leave the one you love. 

Mad World

Pop-rock band Tears For Fears released Mad World in 1982, but the song didn’t become popular in the mainstream until Michael Andrews and Gary Jules covered it for the film Donnie Darko in 2001. The new version of the track was a UK number 1 hit and won awards for its starkness and bold vocals. 


Aretha Franklin’s incredible version of this beautiful song is so iconic that even avid music fans don’t realise that it’s actually a cover song. The original was by blues musician Otis Redding, but it didn’t include the spelling out of the word respect or any backing singers crooning ‘sock it to me’. Franklin’s version has become a power ballad that is loved by music fans from all genres, while, unfortunately, Redding’s version has fallen into obscurity. 

Lady Marmalade

Most people have heard of the Missy Elliott produced ensemble version of this suggestive song, which was released as part of the soundtrack for the popular film Moulin Rouge! What many people don’t realise, is that it is, in fact, a very old song first released in 1974 by Labelle. The song was later covered by girl band All Saints before it was again covered by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and Pink. This latest version is the one that many think of when they hear the name Lady Marmalade. 


Snow Patrol created this song in 2004, but it became a true classic when it was covered by X Factor winner Leona Lewis. Her mournful version spent 2 weeks in the UK’s number 1 spot in 2008, outpacing the original, which only reached number 5 in the charts. Lewis is renowned for her cover songs, but this is perhaps her most popular and well-known, while Snow Patrol will always be revered for their hit Chasing Cars. 


Originally a Nine Inch Nails song, Hurt was covered by renowned American country singer Johnny Cash in 2002. The cover was well-received and became one of his final hits before his death just a year later. The video for the song has become a cult hit, and although the song did not chart well at the time of its release, the cover has become a cultural phenomenon, with many regarding it as one of the great man’s best tracks.