The 50 best covers

The Telegraph picks the best covers of songs that shine a new light on the originals, from Jimi Hendrix to the Happy Mondays.

Howling: Jimi Hendrix covered Bob Dylan in 1968
Howling: Jimi Hendrix covered Bob Dylan in 1968

By Neil McCormick, Helen Brown, Bernadette McNulty, Thomas H Green

Don’t Leave Me This Way – The Communards, 1986

orig. Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, 1975

It was camp enough to begin with, but Jimi Somerville and Sarah Jane Morris’s triumphant falsetto-basso profundo duet on this cover of the 1975 disco classic takes the phrase “row of tents” and flings it in the air like a glittery handbag on an underlit dancefloor. One suspects that the singers swapped voices for a laugh.

Key moment: The final, monumental “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah BABY!” just before the last chorus.

 

Going Back to My Roots – Richie Havens, 1980

orig. Lamont Dozier, 1977

Woodstock star Havens caused barely a ripple in 1980 with his impassioned rendition of a song first recorded by Lamont Dozier. But eight years on, it was rediscovered, becoming an arms-in-the air anthem to a million British ravers. As the battered Havens larynx pours out Dozier’s vision of the things that really count in life, the goosebumps take over.

Key moment: a truly storming piano intro.

 

Read the full list here at the Telegraph

For originals, and cover versions, of these and other classics, search the back catalogue at eil.com

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