I didn't include songs where the cover is more well known these days than the original, since that's probably a good topic in its own right. I also didn't include any artist or lead vocalist more than once. I also leaned toward covers that I have specific memories tied to, or out-of-genre covers because those are always fun. I'm going to briefly tell the story why I included some of these. Also, I've never been good with Spotify, so I'll just post a link to Youtube.
1. Seether - Careless Whisper: With all due respect to the Sexy Saxophone Guy, these lyrics really do make better dark rock than easy listening.
2. Hootie & the Blowfish - Losing My Religion: It's one of the most memorable voices of the early 90s, singing one of the most memorable songs of the early 90s... but it's the wrong voice with the wrong song. Weird. But awesome.
3. Steven Tyler - Piece Of My Heart: I always thought Steven's high raspy voice sounded curiously faithful to Janis' high raspy voice, despite Steven being a dude.
4. Great Big Sea - Run Runaway: I originally had GBS' End of the World on here, but then I realized that THREE of my picks were originally by R.E.M., and no other artist had more than one of the original songs, so I picked a different GBS cover to balance it out. (For those keeping score, that is a young Alan Doyle on vocals, so my streak of always having Alan Doyle in my playlists on this group continues.)
5. David Lee Roth - Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody: If you're in your 40s or 50s and you were watching MTV in 1985, and you don't remember this music video, go watch it
. I just put the audio on my playlist because the video has considerably long speaking-acting parts, not just the song. But the video has tons of references to other music videos of its era. (If I remember right, the other celebrities in the video are impersonated, except Willie Nelson really is played by Willie Nelson.)
6. Def Leppard - No Matter What: I don't normally think of Def Leppard as a cover band, but I always liked this one. Possibly better than the original.
7. Cheap Trick - Don't Be Cruel
8. Secondhand Serenade - Fix You: A band I associate with the original Myspace, so it belongs on this list.
9. Sixpence None the Richer - Don't Dream It's Over
10. The Ataris - The Boys of Summer
11. Billy Idol - Don't You Forget About Me: A little known fact is that this song was originally written for Billy Idol, but he didn't record it until many years later, as a bonus track on a greatest hits album, long after Simple Minds had a huge hit with it.
12. Hayley Orrantia & AJ Michalka (Erica and Lainey from The Goldbergs) - Tom Sawyer: This was performed on the show, when Erica and Johnny Atkins, the kid at school obsessed with Rush, had a brief fling that didn't work out. To get back at him, the girls formed their own Rush cover band.
13. The Petersens - Dreams: Nothing against her, she's quite talented, but Julianne's voice is my least favorite of the Petersens. I just don't really like that style of singing. But, that kind of voice works so well for this song vis-a-vis the original.
14. Carbon Leaf - Crazy Train
15. The Corrs - Everybody Hurts
16. Toad the Wet Sprocket - Rock And Roll All Nite
17. Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal: Another fun video for any of us who watched MTV in the 80s.
18. First to Eleven - Your Love: This is a cover band, and holy crap, Audra can wail, so I really could pick any of theirs. I picked this one because it's one I tend to click often when it comes up on YouTube recommendations, and the original song is a BSE.
19. Paul Anka - Smells Like Teen Spirit: Yes, you read that right.