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    These 12 Popular Cover Songs Are Actually OG Bops

    This is for the Editorial Fellowship.

    Some songs are so iconic that you immediately know if someone is performing a cover of the original. It’s unmistakable. Think: “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, or “Let It Be” by the Beatles.

    But there are a TON of songs out there right now being covered and remixed and sampled by popular artists… let’s give some credit where credit is due, and see if YOU knew where these chart-toppers came from.

    1. “ily” by Surf Mesa

    (Frankie Valli 1978 Photo: .MCA Records / Curb Records) / Via

    If you’re on TikTok, you’ve most likely heard this ethereal song being used as audio for heartwarming, wholesome videos. "ily" even reached #23 on the Billboard Charts in June of 2020. But did you know what it’s based on? Bingo! “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons. If you haven’t heard the original one yet, do yourself a favor & make sure to blast the chorus!

    2. “Physical” by Dua Lipa

    Music Choice / Via

    This pop star has been on a hot streak for quite some time, and her 2020 rendition of this 80’s classic keeps the integrity of the original version pretty intact! "Physical" was originally released by Olivia Newton-John in 1981. (Perhaps you know her as Sandy from the movie-musical, "Grease"?) Lipa even paid tribute to the original music video, recreating bits of the workout masterpiece for a brand new generation. Newton-John would surely be proud of this particular execution.

    3. “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele

    The Telegraph / Via

    Any Adele fan would be in their feels listening to this cover. That stunning voice carries so much depth. But what iconic musician and songwriter is responsible for "Make You Feel My Love"? That’s right, Bob Dylan! To make things a little more complicated, Billy Joel actually also covered the song a month before Bob Dylan released his single in 1977. (Don’t worry - it was with Dylan’s permission).

    4. “Higher Love” by Kygo and Whitney Houston / Via

    There are a few layers with this one too! “Higher Love” was originally written and performed by Steve Winwood in 1986, and covered by Whitney Houston in 1990. Kygo’s version is a remix of Houston’s cover, but it wasn't necessarily his idea! In 2019, the Houston estate reached out to Kygo with the collaboration request. Since Houston's passing in 2012 (rest in peace), this is the first time her voice has been remixed for something new. All parties involved were proud at the opportunity to honor her legacy, and excited at the chance to bring her voice back into popular music.

    5. “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande

    Ariana Grande / Via Giphy /

    This one *might* be the most obvious, depending on how much you know about the classic movie, “The Sound of Music.” Released in 2019, this song is a spicy spin on the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical show tune, “My Favorite Things.” A commercial success? Yes. Financially? Not so much. Grande has to give 90% of the song's earnings to the Rodgers and Hammerstein estate. Who knew a sample could be so expensive?!

    6. “Blood On The Leaves” by Kanye

    Jason Persse / CC BY 2.0 / Via Wikimedia Commons /

    There’s always a lot to unpack with Kanye's music, and this song is no different. Let's get into it! The female vocal is sampled from the 1939 Billie Holiday original, “Strange Fruit.” What was first a poem-turned-into-song, Holiday sings an incredibly melancholy piece about graphic scenes of lynching, and the brutality of racism. The song and the performance by Holiday both hold a heavy history, one that Nina Simone sought to embrace. Simone's cover in 1965 then became the sample for West’s 2013 hit.

    Though this particular artistic choice was quite controversial at first, Kanye is not the only rapper to have sampled Nina Simone’s material. Jay-Z & Lil Wayne have also used her in their work. PS: Kanye actually has 2520 samples, 244 covers, and 169 remixes used throughout his discography.

    7. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

    Dolly Parton / Via Giphy /

    If you didn’t know this already, buckle up. Whitney Houston is definitely responsible for putting this song on our radar, but it was originally written and performed by Dolly Parton. Parton wrote and recorded "I Will Always Love You" in 1973, which was then covered by Houston in 1992 for the movie The Bodyguard, in which she played the romantic lead. This song got Parton two Grammy nominations in 1982, and 1995; and Houston a Grammy win in 1993.

    8. “Jackie Chan” by Tiesto

    Tiesto / Via Giphy /

    This beat is a whole vibe. Released in May of 2018, "Jackie Chan" was featured on most summer playlists - and rightly so. But the instrumental is sampled from “Summer Is Our Ecstacy” by Axero.

    9. “Swingin Party” by Lorde

    Krists Luhaers / CC BY 2.0 / Via Wikimedia Commons /

    Originally written and recorded by The Replacements in 1985, "Swingin Party" about social anxiety and vices was covered by Lorde in 2013 on her album “Pure Heroine.”

    10. “All Along The Watchtower” by Jimi Hendrix

    Jimi Hendrix / Via Wikimedia Commons /

    Yes, Hendrix definitely made "All Along The Watchtower" famous. But it’s another Bob Dylan original! Though their versions are similar, Hendrix pretty much turned the song into a staple for rock music. With a new edge, and an extra two minutes of guitar shredding, it's definitely one of a kind. Both fans of each other, Dylan was thrilled to see the song take on a new life under Hendrix's wing.

    11. “If I Were A Boy” by Beyonce

    Rita Almeida / Via Giphy /

    A bit shell shocked to learn that this iconic Beyonce song wasn’t actually a Queen B original? Same! “If I Were A Boy” was actually written by artist BC Jean. The way it all went down seemed a bit shady, with claims that Beyonce’s team sort of “stole” the song from Jean… but that’s all water under the bridge now. Jean was given credit for the song, which, to this day, remains as one of Beyonce’s most well known pieces.

    12. “The Wellerman” by Nathan Evans

    Duncan1890 / Getty Images / Via

    Random?? Maybe! But if you’ve made it to #SeaShantyTikTok, you know what we’re talking about. With 10.1 MILLION VIEWS (and counting) Nathan Evans, the 26-year-old postman from Scotland, went viral after posting a video singing in a capella the catchy, mystical song, “The Wellerman.”

    But he wasn’t the first to bring the sea shanties back to life. In 2019, “The Wellerman” was recorded by The Longest Johns, a Bristol-based folk band. But wait, there’s more. Sea shanties date back to the 15th century and were actually used for the rhythm! When conducting manual labor on the ship, these sailors would sing sea shanties to keep in sync. This song in particular dates back 180 years!

    It’s probably fair to say that the sailors who originated the sea shanty could not anticipate 21st-century folks enjoying their labor laden tunes for casual pastime.

    Surprise Bonus: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin - or was it?

    Jim Summaria / CC BY 3.0 / Via Wikimedia Commons /

    Potentially the most well known rock song of all time was in a court battle for years. In fact, it wasn’t until March of 2020 that the dispute was finally settled. Basically, the band Spirit claims that Zeppelin stole the intro guitar riff to “Stairway to Heaven” from Spirit’s song “Taurus.” The two bands did tour together in 1968 pre-Stairway-To-Heaven, but the jury sided with Zeppelin, ending the lawsuit and giving Zeppelin the win. Officially no stealing took place in the making of this rock anthem.

    Whether it's an original, a cover, remix, or sample...

    There's something to be said for artistic influence. It's everywhere! And it's totally cool when done respectfully (and legally). Find out who your favorite artist is inspired by, and you'll see what I mean - inspiration springs eternal!