Cover versions have the potential to completely revitalise a song and give it a new lease of life, or they can be kept plain and simple, making few changes. Here are eight covers from artists that took on the original, gave it their own stamp, and ended up getting more recognition than the originals.

'Nothing Compares 2 U'

Kicking off our list is one of the most un-Irish Irish songs ever created. Sinead O'Connor's 1990 version of The Family's 1985 release, was actually written and recorded by their founding member, Prince, in 1984. Prince's estate released the original version just last year, with never before seen footage as its music video.


'American Woman'

The Guess Who earned a lot of traction when they released their 1970's hit, receiving number ones around the world, including their home country of Canada. With the release of the second Austin Powers movie in 1999, 'The Spy Who Shagged Me', Lenny Kravitz created his own cover of the classic song, with notable success.


'I Will Always Love You'

Not many people know this, or tend to forget, but Dolly Parton is the original songwriter of Whitney Houston's biggest hit. The country track featured on Parton's 14th solo album, 'Jolene', and eventually became the title track from Houston's 'The Bodyguard' soundtrack. While the movie was critically panned, her soundtrack secured a number one in many countries worldwide, and has gone 18 times platinum in the States.


'Mad World'

As you'll notice throughout this list, many cover songs have the potential to become more popular than their original due to being featured on a movie soundtrack. 'Mad World' is another example of this, with the Tears For Fears version being sidelined for Michael Andrews and Gary Jules' more gothic and hypnotic take. Of course, it may be because we associate the song with 'Donnie Darko' that we still find it a little bit creepy.


'I Feel For You'

Another Prince entry here, but one that Prince actually did release first. 'I Feel For You' was originally featured on Prince's self-titled album in 1979; but Chaka Khan later brought out her own, more popular version in 1984. The cover song was such a success for the R&B star that she won two Grammy Awards and nabbed the number one spots in the US, UK, and Ireland.


'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'

Lauper released 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun' four years after American singer Robert Hazard, and the cover rocketed her to success. Her follow-up single 'Time After Time' also proved to be popular, and cemented her as an '80s icon. And let's be honest, Cyndi Lauper was the original dabber. If you don't believe us, check out her dance moves in the music video below.



Even though Nine Inch Nails' original version of 'Hurt' received a Grammy nomination, somehow Johnny Cash's version remains the more memorable of the two. Potentially, it may come down to Cash passing away not long after its release, and original NIN songwriter and performer Trent Reznor has even said "that song isn't mine anymore." The Johnny Cash version had a resurgence again in 2017, as it was used in Hugh Jackman's final Wolverine outing 'Logan'.


'Without You'

Leave it to Mariah Carey to take a 1970's song, and re-release it 24 years later to huge international success. Originally written by members of British band Badfinger, Carey's track might even be the most recognisable on our list. The power ballad has been recorded by over 180 artists, not forgetting the unstoppable "Ken Lee" version from 'Bulgarian Idol', which you can watch right here.


*Honourable mention* 'Dreams'

If you hadn't been familiar with Fleetwood Mac in the '90s (*gasp*) then you probably might have thought The Corrs has created this beast all on their own. Alas, 'Dreams' is a modern/Irish interpretation of the 1977 hit.