Which songs have been covered better by artists who didn't originally sing them?
Joe Cocker's classic Woodstock rendition of "A Little Help from my Friends" accomplished the amazing feat of improving upon the Beatles, and did it at the height of their popularity.
Few artists have so completely made a song their own, with such a distinctly different take on the original arrangement.
I also confess a particular fondness for the Shiny Toy Guns cover of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)". Yes, the one from the car commercial. Shut up.
I've always liked Schilling's original, but I think this band has the surreal spaciness nailed. The male vocalist doesn't quite click for me, but those haunting, resonant, slightly-processed female vocals on the chorus ... ooh.
And, call me a heretic, but ... I've always preferred Bonnie Tyler's take on "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" over the Creedence Clearwater Revival original. It irks me that this version never gets any airtime on the radio. Yes, I still listen to the radio. Shut up.
Finally ... I have the deepest respect for Jim Steinman as a composer and a lyricist, but any song he's released by himself has always sounded better when Meat Loaf sings it. I'm not just counting the songs Mr. Steinman wrote for Mr. Aday personally; I'm talking about the albums full of songs that later showed up on Bat Out of Hell 2 & 3. The only person who can handle Steinman's operatic bombast nearly as well as Meat Loaf is, in fact, Ms. Bonnie Tyler, featured in the above video with a non-Steinman song.
I would dearly love to see Mr. Aday and Ms. Tyler perform Mr. Steinman's classic duet, "Total Eclipse of the Heart".