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Top 10 covers that completely reimagine their original versions

Last week we posted up the top ten cover versions of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know. Our list featured a number of re-workings that were quite the departure compared to the chart topping single.
With this in mind, we thought we’d turn our attentions this week to cover versions that take a totally different approach to their source material. Check out our list, compiled in no particular order, and tell us what you think in the comment box below.
1. You Got The Love (originally by Candi Staton covered by Florence And The Machine)

You Got The Love was the 2009 smash hit breakthrough single for Florence And The Machine but the track had originally been a hit for The Source and Candi Staton in 1986.
The song has also been covered by Joss Stone and remixed by Now Voyager, the version which currently appears on Sky Sports live football coverage.
2. Running Up That Hill (originally by Kate Bush, covered by Placebo)
Brian Molko and co’s version features a dark, sinister atmosphere that subverts the floaty yet dramatic synth vibes of this Kate Bush classic.
Another Kate Bush, Hounds Of Love, was reworked and released by The Futureheads in 2005.
3. Heartbeats (originally by The Knife, covered by Jose Gonzalez)
Jose Gonzalez’s gentle and restrained take on The Knife’s fuzzed up, punchy original entered the public consciousness after being featured on a memorable Sony Bravia advert in 2005.
This lead many people to believe the song was actually one of Jose’s pieces, although he certainly made his famous acoustic version his own. Perhaps it’s for this reason that his cover continues to be a favourite of radio stations, wedding receptions and mix tapes to this day.
4. Smooth Criminal (originally by Michael Jackson, covered by Alien Ant Farm)

At the height of the nu-metal craze in 2001, Alien Ant Farm unleashed their juddering cover of Michael Jackson’s pop classic from Bad.
Replacing the boxy eighties synth sounds with chugging, jagged guitars, the cover captured the sound of its day perfectly, whilst maintaining just the right about of wit to pull in fans from across the musical spectrum.
For more nu-metal pop crossover madness, be sure to check out Limp Bizkit’s smirking reconfiguring of George Michael’s Faith.
5. Valerie (originally by The Zutons, covered by Amy Winehouse)

It would be fair to say that The Zutons have been somewhat overshadowed by their own song following the release of Mark Ronson’s version, featuring vocals by Amy Winehouse.
Valerie became one of the singer’s signature tracks, pulling in new listeners to her music. Critical and popular success followed and soon Amy was a global music superstar.
6. What I See (originally by Black Flag, covered by Dirty Projectors)

Perhaps something of an obscure choice, but one that is definitely worthy of our list. Compared to the brooding, flattened out tension of the 1981 original, the Dirty Projector’s What I See is a near whimsical, airy vision of jangly guitars and arrogantly cool vocal decoration.
What I See features on Rise Above, Dirty Projector’s album-sized reimagining of Black Flag‘s Damaged.
7. Wonderwall (originally by Oasis, covered by Mike Flowers)

Gallagher fans lacking a sense of humour, look away now.
Mike Flowers’ take on Wonderwall is retro, camp, fun and tooth achingly sweet.
8. Raining Blood (originally by Slayer, covered by Tori Amos)
Tori Amos’ haunting reworking of Raining Blood, the song that arguably set Slayer on the path to becoming the thrash metal goliath that they are today, is a deeply threatening take on the band’s brutal calling card without feeling over physical or harsh.
Rather that charging down the listener into a brutalised sonic melee, Amos draws the song out in order to reach its full rumbling, foreboding potential.
9. We Can Work It Out (originally by The Beatles, covered by Stevie Wonder)

Who doesn’t enjoy hearing household names reworking each other’s material?
10. Rolling In The Deep (originally by Adele, covered by Dirty Loops)

Dirty Loops are a YouTube bebop cover version sensation. Hailing from Sweden, their exceptional musicianship and ridiculous re-arrangements of modern hits has raked in the hits and the fans.
With a debut album of original material in the works, hopefully we’ll soon be hearing the creativity of the trio fully unleashed.
Check out their other covers of Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Justin Bieber.
Did we miss any covers that you think should be on our list? What do you think of our choices? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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