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:
"If I Were a Boy"Reba McEntire
McEntire's tackled everything from Bobbie Gentry ("Fancy") to the Everly Brothers ("Cathy's Clown"), but it takes some guts and confidence to stare down a huge pop tune by Queen Bey and knock it out of the park. Boy or not, we'd kick it with you any time, Reba.
"Little Sister"Dwight Yoakam
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?).
"Rose Garden"Martina McBride
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.
"Life Is a Highway"Rascal Flatts
Originally by Tom Cochrane
The Flatts' turbo-charged version of this already ubiquitous pop smash became a pop and country hit all its own thanks to a little Disney movie called Cars. The song had also been covered by Chris LeDoux, but it's the trio's rendition of this road-trip favorite that never seems to run out of gas.
"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.
"Pop a Top"Alan Jackson
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.
Originally by Collective Soul
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.
"My Maria"Brooks & Dunn
Originally by B.W. Stevenson
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."
"When You Say Nothing at All"Alison Krauss
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.
Written by industrial rocker Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, the Man in Black's version of this tune came so near the end of his illustrious career -- and admittedly complicated life -- that it's difficult not to be stung by its disarming honesty.