Top 10 Cover Songs in Country Music
Remakes, also commonly known as cover songs, go all the way back to the earliest days of popular music and have stretched across myriad musical genres.
Songs written and recorded by country legend Hank Williams, for instance, have been covered by Tony Bennett, Beck and Bob Dylan, to name just a very few. Plus, the White Stripes, Miley Cyrus, Ellie Goulding and many others have churned out covers of Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene.” And, just like artists like to cover great country songs, country singers like to cover their peers’ hits every once in a while.
From the most glaringly obvious to the entirely unexpected, The Boot counts down 10 of our favorite more recent cover songs in country music.
The King only had a few gazillion hits, so there are Presley cover tunes a-plenty. Still, it’s tough to beat the rumble of this high-octane rocker with tasty guitar licks courtesy of Pete Anderson and a few well-placed hoots and hollers (courtesy of Yoakam’s painted-on jeans?).
It’s tough to pick a favorite track from McBride’s Timeless album. It is, after all, loaded with country classics delivered by one of the genre’s most powerfully expressive voices. But, like her most memorable performances, this one opens up to reveal a thing of rare beauty.
“Landslide” was written by Stevie Nicks while coping with a number of personal and professional issues, and the Chicks’ version, which showcases their shimmering harmonies, was released not long before the trio faced a landslide of their own. It still packs an emotional wallop worthy of any natural disaster.
A natural to kick off the release of Jackson’s outstanding covers album, cleverly titled Under the Influence, this tune’s a bouncy one, but the tale of “a row of fools on a row of stools” should come with a “Drink — and Listen — Responsibly” warning label.
The number (and scope) of tunes that Parton has covered is impressive. But what she does here, aided by the members of Nickel Creek, is nothing short of miraculous, turning an alt-rock anthem into a Grammy-winning bluegrass gospel masterpiece.
A Top 10 pop hit for Texas-born singer-songwriter Stevenson (who died in 1988), this country-tinged AM radio favorite was a natural two decades later for Ronnie Dunn‘s heart-melting falsetto. Listen just once and see if your soul isn’t “set free like a ship sailing out to sea.”
The song that made Whitley a legend also turned a young bluegrass phenom (Krauss) into a country superstar. His version became his second of five No. 1 songs, and hers earned a CMA Award for Single of the Year. Both are stunningly beautiful and unforgettable.