2. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin
This song was actually originally recorded and released by Otis Redding, two years before Aretha’s iconic version came out. The lyrics are a tiny bit different, and so is the song’s message. Aretha’s is all about empowerment and getting respect from men, while Otis’s is a man’s declaration that he’ll do anything for women in return for ~respect~ (which is probably a euphemism). Also, the original doesn’t have the R-E-S-P-E-C-T in the chorus, so what’s even the point?
3. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper
While everyone (hopefully) knows that the Miley Cyrus version of this song is indeed a cover, not many people realise that it’s not a Cyndi Lauper original. It was first written and recorded back in 1979 by a DUDE named Robert Hazard. Which is a really cool name, though his version of the song kinda sucks.
5. “It’s My Life” – No Doubt
No Doubt released this song to promote their first greatest hits album. Because Gwen Stefani was also recording a solo album at the time, they chose to record a cover of “It’s My Life” instead of a whole new song. The original was from British band Talk Talk in 1984.
9. “Jersey Girl” – Bruce Springsteen
This iconic song is actually a Tom Waits original from 1980. For his version, released three years later, Springsteen changed the line “whores on Eighth Avenue” to “the girls out on the avenue” (which is fair), and also added a verse of his own. The two performed the song together live at a Springsteen concert.
10. “I Will Always Love You” – Whitney Houston
While it’s easy to associate this song instantly with Whitney and The Bodyguard, it’s actually a Dolly Parton original from 1974. Obviously, Whitney decided to lose the country twang and guitars from the song when she recorded her version.
11. “Hound Dog” – Elvis Presley
The original “Hound Dog” was released in 1952 by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. It’s been covered over 250 times, but the most popular version is obviously Elvis’s, which sold about 10 million copies globally and is still one of the highest-selling singles of all time.
13. “My Prerogative” – Britney Spears
This incredible Britney song, which came with a video featuring Britney dancing on a Porsche in a pool, is actually a cover of a 1988 Bobby Brown single. The two songs are musically pretty different, and a few lyrics were changed to fit a woman’s perspective.
15. “If I Were a Boy” – Beyoncé
This isn’t technically a cover, but it’s been pointed out that the song is very similar to the Spanish song “Si Yo Fuera Mujer” (If I Were a Girl) by Patxi Andión. The two songs have the same general theme, and they also have pretty similar melodies. Have a listen for yourself.
17. “Drift Away” – Uncle Kracker
This song is actually a 1973 track from some guy called John Henry Kurtz. It was made successful the following year by Dobie Gray, and then it was a major hit again in 2003, when it was recorded by Uncle Kracker and Gray. It’s also been covered by like a hundred other people.