The 10 Greatest Soulful Cover Versions

They say you can’t improve on the truth but everything else has scope to get better. Tweaking the prototype can have some enjoyable results as this list of 10 soulful covers shows.
Publish date:
Updated on

Everything is a cover version. You’re a cover version of your parents; Pasta is a cover version of noodles and shirts for men are cover versions of lovely women’s blouses. Even motorbikes – or hogs – are cover versions of those twatty fixed-gear things. The list is endless. A fact that links seamlessly to this little list of my favourite cover versions of songs by other people, thrown together in no particular order. Please feel free to add your own, or slag off mine for being a bit too soul-music-heavy, in the comments section…

Ike and Tina Turner – Whole Lotta Love

The problem with Led Zeppelin’s version is that it got totally overplayed as the theme tune to Top of the Pops, so would subliminally send images of Bruno Brooks to your mind’s eye. Either way, Ike and Tina’s take on it still probably rocks just that little bit harder. Tina Turners second finest hour after THIS.

Lou Rawls – For What It’s Worth

The Buffalo Springfield version is absolutely perfect if you’re the kind of person who likes to get high and pop flowers into the ends of loaded guns. Plus you probably have a beard. The Lou Rawls one adds just a whiff of gruff soul menace.

Phil Upchurch – Crosstown Traffic

Most Hendrix tracks are impossible to improve on, and he boasts a couple of stella covers himself. But Upchurch makes a bloody good fist of things as he takes this one to the dance floor for those in the mood for tops-off and a funky freak out.

In the Ghetto – Candi Staton

Probably Elvis Presley’s greatest song made even better by one of soul music’s finest. Just hearing the opening chords can result in a hysterical tearful explosion.

That’s the greatest UK soul voice of all time doing a song by the best one in The Beatles by far. A decent combo.

Patti Smith – Gloria

Featured in the Brat Pack movie reimagining of what street gangs would be like if everyone went to stage school – namely The Outsiders – the Van Morrison take on Gloria is great. But not quite a good as Patti Smith’s more hairy-armpitted version which comes with added poetry.

Lee McDonald – We’ve Only Just Begun

Made famous by the The Carpenters, who were like Same Difference, only (more) deeply deeply disturbed. This version has long had vinyl trainspotters tapping their feet and clicking their fingers out of time, with a pocketed hand containing the swelling in their conkers. Wicked track.

Dennis Brown – Wichita Lineman

Glen Campbell’s version makes you want to stare out at the sunset gently sobbing to yourself. This one has exactly the same impact, only you want to do all of that whilst slowly inserting yourself into your woman/man.

The Faces – Maybe I’m Amazed

There’s little to separate this from the Paul McCartney version, which is also really good. But this one features Rod Stewart on vocals. That’s the greatest UK soul voice of all time doing a song by the best one in The Beatles by far. A decent combo.

Labelle – Wild Horses

Basically, if Carlsberg did the X Factor.

Delaney's Rhythm Section– Rebel

A cover version of Rebel Without a Pause by Public Enemy. It’s possibly not quite as good as the original. But to some people, it might bring back fond memories of sitting around in a pair of cords pretending to enjoy eating revolting hash cakes. Great times.

The Doors: The Seedier Side Of The Sixties Dream

Kreayshawn's White Girl Mob: Is It Ever OK To Say "Nigger"?

Love Hip-Hop's Golden Era? Then Check Out The New Kids

Waterpistol by Shack: The Greatest Album You Don’t Own

Click here for more Music stories.

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter

Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook