Have you ever been in a discussion with people who claim that Joe Cocker wrote the song “With a Little Help From My Friends”? Or even better: have you ever seen the expression on the face of a Marilyn Manson fan when he finds out that “Tainted Love” is a cover? There are actually a lot of great hits that weren’t written by the artist that you think wrote them. That’s why we uncover a few of them.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Now that we’re talking about the king of covers – Joe Cocker had his big breakthrough with The Beatles’ song “With a Little Help From My Friends.” The track was released in 1964 and was the singer’s second single. His debut song was “I’ll Cry Instead” which wasn’t a great success, but also a Beatles cover. https://youtu.be/75Oct1Qv8x0

If I Were a Boy

Not only hippies from the sixties do covers. Nowadays it can even be found in genres like hip-hop and R&B. For example, the song that was originally written by BC Jean has become a Beyoncé number one hit. The story goes that BC Jean offered her version of “If I Were a Boy” to different labels. Nobody wanted it. A year later, Beyoncé’s song was released, which was a literal cover of the song written by BC Jean. https://youtu.be/KSBhtSRDIMw

All Along the Watchtower

Depending on which generation you’re addressing, people will have their own view on “All Along the Watchtower.” Where one labels John Mayer as the author of the song, someone else will overturn this fact with the knowledge that Mayer has clearly covered the track from Jimi Hendrix‘s 1968 album Electric Ladyland. What most people won’t tell you is that Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan wrote and recorded the track one year earlier in 1967. https://youtu.be/TZMUcRjnem0


Amy Winehouse is a legend. At the age of 27, the young pop star died as a result of what can be described as a demanding lifestyle. With songs like “Valerie,” Winehouse scored high in the 2006 pop charts. Still, against all expectations, the track is a cover. Indie-rock band The Zutons from Liverpool released the original song in the same year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3xpmfJp0Xc

Hound Dog

It is a well-known fact that Elvis Presley directly copied many of his songs from the R&B charts. This was very common in the fifties and sixties. Different groups listened to very defined musical styles. The song “Hound Dog” from 1969 is actually a cover of a Big Mama Thornton track from 1953. https://youtu.be/wxoGvBQtjpM

Tainted Love

Anyone who claims that “Tainted Love” is a track by Marilyn Manson is right. The shock rocker released the song on his record The Golden Age of Grotesque in 2003. It is also a cover of… no, not Soft Cell. She conjured up the song in 1981, but this was also a cover. The original track is by Gloria Jones. Jones released the song in 1964. https://youtu.be/NSehtaY6k1U


Do you remember that video clip from the nineties by the Australian pop star Natalie Imbruglia? Natalie is standing in the center of a film set where the video is being recorded. Each time she has to adapt to the situation. Sometimes because the director wants her to, other times because something goes wrong. “Torn” marked Imbruglia’s breakthrough, however, it is a cover of the American grunge band Ednaswap. https://youtu.be/9OoEdfB7l18


Country singer Johnny Cash scored his last big hit with “Hurt” in 2002 just before his death. The song goes through bone and marrow, because you hear Cash sing his life story. A life of pain, sorrow and love. It is therefore difficult to acknowledge that the track was written eight years earlier in 1994 by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails for the record The Downward Spiral. Yes we know, it hurts. https://youtu.be/kPz21cDK7dg

Jam along!

Did you get inspired by the fact that the songs mentioned above are actually covers? Time to jam along and create your own version. Now you can even enlighten your audience with the truth behind “All Along the Watchtower,” “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “Hurt,” Take a moment in between songs to feed your listeners some paradigm breaking trivia. Pay particular attention to how people react when they find out that “Torn,” “Tainted Love,” “Valerie,” “Hound Dog and “If I Were a Boy were not written by the artists they had in mind. Happy jamming!

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Teo creates content, which means he writes, a lot, about music, and all things interesting. When it comes to jamming, his weapon of choice is the bass guitar.