They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That holds especially true in the case of cover songs. Here’s a list of 10 artists who’ve “covered” each other.
Bruce Springsteen and Gary US Bonds
The relationship between Springsteen and Gary US Bonds is special. Early on in his career, Bruce used to close his marathon-long shows with Bonds’ classic 1961 hit, often stretching the three-minute song to well over 10 minutes! Through a chance encounter in 1980, Bruce and band mate Steven Van Zandt sort of resurrected their idol’s career by writing and producing his comeback LPs Dedication and On the Line. The Springsteen penned This Little Girl even reached #11 on the pop charts in 1981! The two artists have performed together on several occasions, sometimes singing Bonds’ hit and others Bruce’s. Gary US Bonds is still making music and touring.
The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan
No other band has covered Dylan more than The Grateful Dead, not even The Byrds! It’s not like Dylan minded it:“The Dead did a lot of my songs, and we’d just take the whole arrangement, because they did it better than me. Jerry Garcia could hear the song in all my bad recordings, the song that was buried there. So if I want to sing something different, I just bring out one of them Dead records and see which one I want to do. I never do that with my records.” It’s All Over Now Baby Blue was a consistent encore hit at Dead shows as early as 1966. (Watch live clip here)
For his part, Dylan joined the Dead on tour in the late 1980s and released the critically loathed Dylan & The Dead live album. That collaboration inspired him to embark on The Never Ending Tour, which is still going on today! Dylan also performed a few Dead covers live. His performance of Friend Of The Devil is included on Stolen Roses, a collection of Grateful Dead songs recorded by other musicians. (Watch live clip here)
The Beatles and particularly McCartney were strongly influenced by Little Richard in their early recordings; often imitating Richard’s trademark falsetto calls “Wooo!” Long Tall Sally became a permanent fixture in the Beatles’ live performances. (Watch live clip here) Richard recalls when they were his opening act in 1962: “They would sit in my room and just stare at me and tell me how much my music meant to them. I love the rendition that the Beatles did of my tunes. I love it!” He returned the love in 1970 with a cover of I Saw Her Standing There. It wasn’t a big hit, but the song was later featured on The Beatles tribute album, Meet the Covers! (Watch live clip here)
The Rolling Stones and Otis Redding
Rolling Stones, Pain in My Heart (listen to it here). It’s a known fact the Rolling Stones’ early recordings mostly featured Blues and R&B covers by everyone from Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry to Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. It wasn’t until their 1966 Aftermath albumthat their releases mainly featured Jagger/ Richards compositions. This cover of Otis Redding’s Pain in My Heartturns the Soul classic into a fantastic bluesy rock song.
Otis Redding, Satisfaction (Watch live clip here).Before Satisfaction became heavily covered, Otis Redding recorded its first cover on his 1965 masterpiece Otis Blue album one month after the Stones release. Otis claimed he didn’t know all the lyrics to the song and made up his own! He also “souled– up” their classic by adding horns on the main riff, which is what Keith Richards originally intended.
Tom Petty and Roger McGuinn/ The Byrds
Legend says that Roger McGuinn heard American Girl in his car and thought it was one of his own songs. Ironically, he covered it very soon after Petty’s record came out. In this rare occasion, the “idol” performed the “fan’s” cover first! (Watch live clip here)Petty, whose repertoire features the Byrds’ jangly guitar sound on many of his recordings, has covered at least two Byrds songs: I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better and So you Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star. A live version of the latter appears on the excellent Pack Up The Plantation: Live! recording. Lead guitarist Mike Campbell put elements of Eight Miles High into the arrangement. Petty said he was pleased to see McGuinn play it in their arrangement afterwards. (Watch live clip here)