The submissions keep pouring in:
Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Light.” Very few people actually realize this song was originally written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen. Manfred‘s version is dramatically different:
I would like to nominate The Beatles cover of “Twist and Shout”, which was originally recorded by the Top Notes in 1961 and the by The Isley Brothers in 1962. The Beatles version changed the form of the original and John Lennon gives us one of the greatest vocal performances. The Beatles version has become the standard:
The Boys had the savvy to not only repeat the bridge and buildup but to parlay the latter into a slow-triplet-bound complete ending. This gives the overall thrust of the song a much greater sense of teleology, of having “arrived” somewhere; the Isleys sounds in comparison more like just static vamping.
(Alan W. Pollack’s Notes on Series)
Girl Talk? Alien Ant Farm? Give me a break. Everybody knows that the greatest cover ever is Joe Cocker’s awesome rendition of “With a Little Help from My Friends,” delivered, among other places, at Woodstock:
I think Cocker gets extra points for doing a Beatles cover, given how brutal the competition is.
Check out the growing number of nominees here. Update from a reader:
My friends and I enjoy passing around this “subtitled” version of Cocker singing that song at Woodstock: