Daily Top Five: Cover Songs You Like Better Than the Original

dixie-chicksSome cover songs pale in comparison to previous incarnations. Other attempts may come across as competent but disposable. But every now and then, a cover song comes along that just might rival or even replace the original in my listening rotation.

What are your top five cover songs that you like better than the original?

Here’s my list:

1. Dixie Chicks, “Landslide” (Fleetwood Mac)
2. Linda Ronstadt, “Blue Bayou” (Roy Orbison)
3. Alison Krauss & Union Station, “When You Say Nothing At All” (Keith Whitley)
4. Jo Dee Messina, “Lesson in Leavin'” (Dottie West)
5. Pam Tillis, “When You Walk in the Room” (Jackie DeShannon)


  1. Emmylou Harris- Making Believe (Kitty Wells)
    Reba- The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia ( Vicki Lawrence)
    Pam Tillis- When You Walk In The Room ( Jackie DeShannnon)
    Patty Loveless- Crazy Arms (Ray Price)
    Emmylou Harris-Too Far Gone ( Tammy Wynette)

  2. I agree with all yours, especially the Chicks over Fleetwood Mac. I didn’t know that “Lesson in Leavin'” was a cover.
    Here’s a few more:
    1. Amy Black – “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” (John Prine)
    2. Lisa O’Kane – “Am I Too Blue” (Lucinda Williams)
    3. Mavericks – “Here Comes My Baby” (Cat Stevens)
    4. Western Swing Authority – “Leavin’ and Sayin’ Goodbye” (Faron Young)
    5. Brooks & Dunn – “Husbands & Wives” (Roger Miller)

  3. 1. Conway Twitty/Sam Moore – “Rainy Night in Georgia” (Brooke Benton)
    2. Dwight Yoakam – “Suspicious Minds” (Elvis)
    3. Jamey Johnson – “Would These Arms Be In Your Way” (Keith Whitley)
    4. Dolly Parton – “Shine” (Collective Soul)
    5. Alan Jackson – “The Blues Man” (Hank Jr)

  4. Josh Turner- “Don’t Make Around With Jim”
    Josh Turner- “Lord Have Mercy on a Country Boy”
    Josh Turner- “I Wouldn’t Be a Man”

  5. 1. Sara Evans, “I Could Not Ask For More” (Edwin McCain)
    2. Alan Jackson, “Pop A Top” (Jim Ed Brown)
    3. Billy Dean, “Saturday Night” (Eagles)
    4. Trisha Yearwood, “You Can Sleep While I Drive” (Melissa Etheridge)
    5. Emmylou Harris, “To Daddy” (Dolly Parton)

  6. 1. George Strait – Amarillo By Morning (Terry Stafford)
    2. Oak Ridge Boys – Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight (EmmyLou Harris)
    3. Eddie Rabbitt – The Wanderer (Dion)
    4. Dwight Yoakam – Honky Tonk Man (Johnny Horton)
    5. Jerry Lee Lewis – Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Judy Garland – Jerry just made this sound like his own song)
    BONUS: While we are in the family…
    5.(B-Side) Mickey Gilley – Stand By Me (Ben E. King)

  7. 1. Dixie Chicks- Cold Day In July (Suzy Bogguss)
    2. Miranda Lambert- Stay With Me (The Faces)
    3. Jack Ingram- Lips Of An Angel (Hinder)
    4. Clint Black- Desperado (The Eagles)
    5. Julie Roberts- Break Down Here (Trace Adkins)

  8. 1) Sara Evans & Gavin DeGraw – Not Over You (Gavin DeGraw solo)
    2) Rascal Flatts – Life Is A Highway (Tom Cochrane)
    3) Kelly Clarkson & Reba – Because Of You (Clarkson solo)
    4) David Nail – I’m About To Come Alive (Train)
    5) Martina McBride – Independence Day (Gretchen Peters) – tho it’s debatable who recorded which version first. Either way, it’s Gretchen’s song and Martina does it better.

  9. Here’s my top five:

    1. Emmylou Harris, “The Boxer” (Simon & Garfunkel)
    2. Linda Ronstadt, “I Can’t Help it (If I’m Still in Love With You)” (Hank Williams)
    3. Trisha Yearwood, “Woman Walk the Line” (Emmylou Harris, Highway 101)
    4. Reba McEntire, “Fancy” (Bobbie Gentry)
    5. Alison Krauss, “Ghost in This House” (Shenandoah)

  10. Alan Jackson, “The Blues Man” (Hank Williams, Jr.)
    2. Travis Tritt, “Take It Easy” (The Eagles)
    3. Dwight Yoakam, “Suspicious Minds” (Elvis Presley)
    4. Rosanne Cash, “Tennessee Flat Top Box” (Johnny Cash)
    5. Rodney Crowell/Emmylou Harris, “Shelter from the Storm” (Bob Dylan)

  11. Linda Ronstadt – just about anything she wrapped that voice around. Her live version of Desperado was devastating.

  12. I may yet get skewered for these five, but here goes (LOL):

    1. CRAZY–Linda Ronstadt (Patsy Cline–one great female singer to another)
    2. BIG BOSS MAN–Elvis Presley (Jimmy Reed)
    3. RUBY (DON’T TAKE YOUR LOVE TO TOWN)–Kenny Rogers and the First Edition (Johnny Darrell; written by Mel Tillis)
    4. JACKSON–Johnny + June Carter Cash (Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra)
    5. I’LL BE THERE (IF YOU EVER WANT ME)–Gail Davies (Ray Price)

    I’m only going with the one cover of Linda’s, because she did many cover songs over many different styles, and choosing just one was tough enough. Besides, it never hurts to have variety (IMHO).

  13. 1. Seven Bridges Road – Dolly Parton (Eagles)
    2. Till I Gain Control Again – Crystal Gayle (Emmylou Harris)
    3. I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party – Rosanne Cash (Beatles)
    4. Make No Mistake, She’s Mine – Kenny Rogers & Ronnie Milsap (Kim Carnes & Barbra Streisand)
    5. Suspicious Minds – Dwight Yoakum (Elvis)

  14. 1. Feet Don’t Touch the Ground – Stoney LaRue (Brandon Jenkins)
    2. Wildfire – Aaron Watson (John Mayer) -give credit to AW I would never have known this was a cover
    3. El Cerrito Place – Kenny Chesney (sorry, Keith Gattis & Charlie Robison, Kenny gives it more emotion and I like the over-production)
    4. I’m About to Come Alive – David Nail (Train)
    5. Thunderbird Wine – Jason Boland & the Stragglers (Billy Joe Shaver… though he does sing on Boland’s version)

  15. 1. Hurt-Johnny Cash (NIN)
    2. Detroit or Buffalo-Amanda Shires (Barbara Keith)
    3. Landslide-Dixie Chicks (Fleetwood Mac)
    4. I’m Looking Through You-Steve Earle (The Beatles)
    5. Take it Easy-Travis Tritt (The Eagles)

    BONUS: Pancho and Lefty-Willie and Merle (Townes Van Zandt)

  16. “Elvira” – The Oak Ridge Boys (Dallas Frazier)

    It seems to me that many of the commenters probably went with the version they heard first, which with younger commenters, was he cover version

    I love Patty Loveless, but in no way shape or form is her version of “Crazy Arms” superior to the Ray Price original. Ditto for Ronstadt’s cover of “Crazy”, which I like . I agree that Emmylou’s version of “The Boxer” beats the S&G original which runs about two minutes too long

    The best version of “Husbands and Wives” was either Jack Jones mid-60s hit cover, or Neil Diamond’s album version of the song.

    BNy the way – the original of “Jackson” was neither Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra nor Johnny Cash & June Carter. They were both covers. The original version was by writer Billy Edd Wheeler with Joan Sommer, and their version is far better than either cover version (the covers made Billy Edd a lot of money, however)

  17. — Alan Jackson, “Tequila Sunrise” (Eagles)
    — Willie Nelson & Ray Price, “Faded Love” (Bob Wills)
    — Dixie Chicks, “Travelin’ Soldier” (Bruce Robison)
    — Linda Ronstadt, “Blue Bayou” (Roy Orbison) (good, no, GREAT call, Ben!)
    — Stoney LaRue, “Down in Flames” (Brandon Jenkins)

    Honorable Mention: Jason Boland and the Stragglers, “Hank” (Eleven Hundred Springs)

    Speaking of which…

    Thunderbird Wine – Jason Boland & the Stragglers (Billy Joe Shaver… though he does sing on Boland’s version)

    Yes, yes, YES. No disrespect to Shaver, but Jason Boland and the Stragglers really made that song come alive. It’s my favorite song from Somewhere in the Middle, and may well be my favorite Boland cut, period.

  18. — Willie Nelson, “Always On My Mind” (Elvis Presley)
    — Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (Don Gibson)
    — Ricky Van Shelton, “Statue Of A Fool” (Jack Greene)
    — Alan Jackson, “Blues Man” (Hank Williams Jr.)
    — Blake Shelton, “Home” (Michael Buble´)

  19. 1. The Boxer: EmmyLou Harris (Simon & Garfunkel)
    2. Always On My Mind: Willie Nelson (Multiple artists)
    3. Sweet Old World: EmmyLou Harris (Lucinda Williams)
    4. My Heart Skips A Beat: Dwight Yoakam (Buck Owens)
    5 (A). Don’t Think Twice: Dolly Parton (Bob Dylan)
    5 (B). C’est La Vie (You Never Can Tell): EmmyLou Harris (Chuck Berry)
    5 (C). Tennessee Flat Top Box: Rosanne Cash (Johnny Cash)

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