1. Yesterday, the Beatles. It has been covered more than 3,000 times, including by Joan Baez, Liberace, Sinatra, Elvis, Daffy Duck, En Vogue and Boyz II Men.
2. Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles. It’s been covered 131 times by artists such as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Aretha, Kansas and Swedish industrial metal band Pain.
3. 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, Bjork, Merle Haggard and Olivia Newton John.
4. And I Love Her, the Beatles. Covered by Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, Sarah Vaughan, Barry Manilow and Vince Gill, among numerous others.
5. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones. Covered by Britney Spears, Jimi Hendrix, Cat Power and Vanilla Ice.
6. Imagine, John Lennon. Joan Baez’s cover of this is no surprise, nor is Ray Charles or Elton Johns. Some more unconventional versions have been done by Avril Lavigne, Dolly Parton and Queen.
7. Summertime, Abbie Mitchell. She’s the one who originally sangit in the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The Janis Joplin cover is probably the most well-known, but Sonny and Cher did a version as well, and so did REM.
8. Blackbird, The Beatles. Also performed by Dave Grohl, Phish, Bobby McFerrin, Eddie Vedder and Elliott Smith.
9. Over the Rainbow, Judy Garland. Cover versions include Willie Nelson, Patti LaBelle, Eva Cassidy, Eric Clapton, Chet Atkins, Tori Amos 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 the last few years.
10. The Look of Love, Dusty Springfield. Written by Burt Bacharach and originally sung by Dusty. Covered by The Zombies, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Shirley Bassey and Diana Krall.
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24 thoughts on “10 of the Most-Covered Songs Ever”
Hey, just wanted to point out that Summertime was originally written by the Gershwin brothers, despite Mitchell being the singer.
Also, another song that has been covered NUMEROUS times is “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers (1971). Some of the artists who have covered it are Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Kris Allen, Sting, Van Morrison, Tom Petty, and many others.
What about Hallelujah by Lenord Choen? There have been over 200 artist that have covered that song.
What about the Dylan classic knockin’ on heaven’s door? Do we have any stats on the song?
Me and Bobby McGee and Why Me Lord? by Kristofferson have been recorded by a ton of people.
Don’t forget So Happy Together by The Turtles
I think, for being so new, Rihanna – Umbrella has a potential to be on that list in some years.
what bout “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers..i think its been covered more than 150 times from the like of jackson 5,ja rule,jiggy marley,van morison and many more singers
Redemption Song…. I bet my life is number one played….. maybe not recorded
Check out Secondhandsongs.com. Huge database of information about songs that have been covered.
Missing Fever originally 1956 but Peggy Lee covered it in 1967 then since 109 other copies have been made.
What about Drift Away by Mentor Williams, originally covered by John Henry Kurtz and made popular by Dobie Gray. I know lots of people have done that one, like Roy Orbison, Bon Jovie, the Doobie Bros, Bo Bice, Kenny Chesney, Uncle Kracker, Waylon Jennings, Kid Rock, Bruce Springsteen and others.
I have to go with ‘White Christmas’ as the most played and most recorded song of all time.
What about any Robert Johnson song. There are countless versions of his song Cross Road Blues (Cream’s Crossroads is probably the most well known), not to mention other songs like, Sweet Home Chicago, I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom, and Traveling Riverside Blues.
All this is crap they forget like 29 songs they DEFINATELY toped yesterday. I like the beatles but don’t give credit to them for every little dam thing. I MEAN SERIOUSLY hallelujah? come on like 200 people covered that song and its not even on the chart.
what about johnny b goode ?
Something by the beatles (George Harrison) is the second most common covered song, following yesterday, so I’m sure that has to fit somewhere in this list
Most covered song guaranteed is the Star Spangled Banner.
Your absolutely right. I was going to say it had to be a christmas song but I forgot about the start spangled banner
Knockin on Heaven’s Door also had a TON of covers.
I don’t think there is any doubt that Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are is the most played and most improvised song of all time. It has been recorded thousands of times by all kinds of muscians – jazz, choral, orchestras, pop (Michael Jackson), opera singers etc. – and it is played every day throughout the world.
Written in 1939 for a Broadway musical that flopped miserably (Very Warm For May) it went on to be a huge success first on the pop charts and then into the jazz world. Indeed it is taught at every jazz school on the planet.
The fascinating thing about the song is that Kern wrote it as a lark. He wanted to see if he could write a song that had all 12 notes of the scale in it, and to make it even harder the main tonal centre is Ab. Not the easiest key for anyone to sing in. And yet despite the difficulty of the piece, he wrote a masterpiece of music that continues to be played over and over again.
Tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree,
has well over 1000 covers, I know
I was one of its writers
the most covered song is The house of the Rising sun, everyone has covered that song the first recordig is about 1930 i believe but people say the song come out of the 1800 en the ritme out of 1700
I am surprised Proud Mary and MacArthur Park missed this list. It seems like everyone recorded those tunes back in the day.