Daily Top Five: Gender Swap

Merle Haggard Willie Nelson Pancho & LeftySome of the most interesting country covers are ones where the artist doing the cover is of a different gender than the artist that recorded the original.

What are your five favorite “gender swap” covers?

Here’s my list:

  1. Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson, “Pancho & Lefty” (Original Artist: Emmylou Harris)
  2. Sammi Smith, “Help Me Make it Through the Night” (Kris Kristofferson)
  3. Patty Loveless, “When the Fallen Angels Fly” (Billy Joe Shaver)
  4. Merle Haggard, “No Time to Cry” (Iris Dement)
  5. Reba McEntire, “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands” (Lee Greenwood)


  1. 1. Carrie Underwood, “I Told You So” (Randy Travis)
    2. Sara Evans, “I Could Not Ask For More” (Edwin McCain)
    3. Patty Loveless, “Crazy Arms” (Ray Price)
    4. Reba McEntire, “Please Come To Boston” (Dave Loggins)
    5. Anne Murray, “Danny’s Song” (Loggins & Messina)
    6. Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are” (Hayes Carll)

    1. John Berry, “Your Love Amazes Me” (Tanya Tucker)
    2. Luke Bryan, “Too Damn Young” (Julie Roberts)
    3. Garth Brooks, “Mom” (Bonnie Tyler)
    4. Garth Brooks, “Night Rider’s Lament” (Suzy Bogguss)

  2. I don’t know if it was the intention of this post, but my favorite/the most interesting gender swap songs aren’t just when somebody of the opposite gender covers a song, but when the lyrics have to be changed in order to fit the opposite gender that’s covering it. At the moment, I can’t think of five along this vain, but I do really like Reba’s cover of Kenny Roger’s “Sweet Music Man.”

  3. Hi Leann, I love Dolly’s version of “Sweet Music Man” from 1977 or so. Did Reba keep the lyrics exactly the same as Dolly? I will have to listen to both again. Can’t remember for sure.

  4. 1. Baillie & the Boys, “A Fool Such As I”, (Hank Snow – first version I ever heard was by Elvis)
    2. Kellie Coffey, “Dance with My Father Again”, (Luther Vandross)
    3. Amy Black, “Still Learning How to Fly”, Rodney Crowell
    4. Lorrie Morgan, “Don’t Worry Baby”, Beach Boys
    5. Linda Ronstadt, :Desperado”, Eagles

  5. Sweet music Man–Reba
    Tennessee Flat top Box–Roseanne Cash
    Travelin Soldier–the Dixie Chicks, remade from Charlie Robison’s original
    Ring on her Finger–Reba
    Danny’s Song–Anne Mrray

  6. 1. Stupid Boy – Keith Urban (Sarah Buxton)
    2. Words I Couldn’t Say – Leighton Meester (Rascal Flatts)
    3. There Is A God – Lee Ann Womack (Trent Willmon)
    4. Bye Bye -Phil Vassar (Jo Dee Messina)
    5. Break Down Here – Julie Roberts (Trace Adkins as “I’d Sure Hate to Break Down Here”)

  7. Right away, I thought of two Patsy Cline songs:
    1. Crazy
    2. He Got You (Hank Cochran)
    and Anne Murray’s
    1. Danny’s Song (Kenny Loggins)
    2. He Still Thinks I Care (George Jones)

  8. OK, I’m being dyslexic today.
    “He Thinks I Still Care”
    …which, by the way, has been covered more times than your average motel bed.

  9. Dolly Parton – “Mule Skinner Blues” (Jimmie Rodgers)
    Anne Murray – “He Thinks I Still Care” (George Jones)

  10. Emmylou- The Boxer (Simon andGarfunkel)
    Reba-Cathy’s Clown (The Everly Brothers)
    Sweethearts of The Rode- I Feel Fine (The Beatles)
    Gail Davies- Singing The Blues (Marty Robbins)
    Juice Newton- Hurt (Roy Hamilton)

  11. — Lorrie Morgan, “A Picture of Me Without You” (George Jones)
    — Tanya Tucker, “Would You Lay With Me” (David Allen Coe)
    — Patsy Cline, “Crazy” (Willie Nelson)
    — Carrie Underwood, “I Told You So” (Randy Travis)
    — Tanya Tucker (again), “Texas (When I Die)” (Ed Bruce)

  12. My answer is the Chicks’ version of Travelin’ Soldier, but…

    I do feel that it bares mentioning that Townes Van Zandt recorded Pancho and Lefty 5 years before Emmylou Harris covered it. Emmylou is the gender-swapper, here.

  13. My five:

    1. POOR POOR PITIFUL ME–Linda Ronstadt (Warren Zevon)
    2. TUMBLING DICE–Linda Ronstadt (Rolling Stones)
    3. YOU WON’T SEE ME–Anne Murray (Beatles, from 1965’s Rubber Soul)
    4. I WAS CRUEL–Caitlin Rose (Felice Brothers)
    5. CRY ME A RIVER–Joe Cocker (Julie London)

    As a sidenote re. Linda: She not only recorded so many songs originally either recorded or written by men, she did do such songs often with only minimal changes in the lyrics. In fact, with her very first hit, “Different Drum”, in 1967, written by Mike Nesmith, the lyrics weren’t changed at all.

  14. 1. Leann Rimes – “Good Hearted Woman” (Waylon Jennings) (Or really any of her Lady and Gentlemen album, which was great. I’ll limit the list to one, though.)

    2. Reba – “Ring on Her Finger” (Lee Greenwood)

    3. Carrie Underwood – “I Told You So” (Randy Travis)

    4. Mandy Barnett – “Blue, Blue Day” (Don Gibson)

    5. Jamey Johnson with Merle Haggard – “I Fall to Pieces” (Patsy Cline)

    BONUS: They’re not really country, but…
    6. Adele – “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” (The Steeldrivers)

    7. David Nail – “Someone Like You” (Adele)

    On a related note, you should do pairs of different songs with the same name (that you like both songs).

  15. A lot of Anne Murray’s songs have been listed but don’t forget:
    “Daydream Believer” (Davy Jones and The Monkees)

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