For those of you who have read the first part of this then no introduction is needed, for those that haven’t then read on.
It is surprisingly quite common for a cover version to chart higher than the original ever did. Here we will look at 25 of those such songs that not only charted higher but managed to work their way to the top of the charts in the UK. Some of these covers you will be familiar with and others you won’t be and no matter if you think that the original was so much better, the fact remains that these cover songs did chart higher than the original.
It’s Raining Men
Originally a number two hit for the Weather Girls in 1984, it was taken to number one in 2001 by Geri Halliwell (Otherwise known as Ginger Spice from the Spice Girls).
Itsy, Bitsy, Teeny, Weeny, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
In the year 1960, Bryan Hyland released this song, peaking at number 8 in the charts. 30 Years later it was the turn of Bombalurina to release it, taking it to the top of the charts. The 1990 version had kids TV presenter, Timmy Mallet singing.
One of John Lennon’s more honest and emotional songs, it was not released as a single during Lennon’s life but when it was released in 1988 it reached number 45 in the UK. Roxy Music had taken their version of the song to number 1 in 1981, just a couple of weeks after Lennon was murdered.
Killing Me Softly
A song written about Don McLean, it was Roberta Flack’s version that charted highest, reaching number 6 in 1973. Only until the Fugees released their version in 1996, taking it to the very top of the charts.
A song by Ritchie Valens (who died in the same plane crash as Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper in 1959) it wasn’t until 1987 that it was released as a single, peaking at number 49. The reason it was released that year was because the band Los Lobos had just released their version which raced up the charts right to the very top.
Arguably one of the most famous songs to contain some French lyrics (another being Michelle by the Beatles) it was a number 17 hit for LaBelle in 1975. The All Saints released their version in 1998 and reached the top of the charts. But wait there is more. In 2001 the song reached number 1 again after featuring in the film Moulin Rouge. The last version was sung by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink.
Light My Fire
A song by the Doors, originally released in 1967, peaking at number 7. It has been taken into the charts on many different occasions. Jose Feliciano hit number 6 with it in 1968, Amii Stewart reached number 5 in 1979, Mike Flowers Pops hit number 39 in 1996 but it wasn’t until 2002 that it hit the coveted number 1 spot after Will Young (winner of Pop Idol) released it as his second single.
Under The Bridge
Originally by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it reached number 13 in 1992. Six years later it hit the top spot after the All Saints released their version (they seem to be quite good at taking other peoples stuff to number one; see Lady Marmalade above).
A relatively early hit for the Bee Gees in 1968, peaking at number 8, it was taken to the top spot by Boyzone in 1996. Quite common for Boyzone to have major hits with other people hits (not always doing better than the original though). They also released a version of the Osmonds song Love Me For A Reason, Cat Stevens song Father and Son, Tracy Chapman’s Baby Can I Hold You and Billy Ocean’s When The Going Gets Tough. NB: At least it was the writers of the songs that received royalties.
You Can’t Hurry Love
A number 3 hit for the Supremes in 1966, it was taken to the top of the charts in 1982 when Phil Collins released his version.