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25 of the most covered songs in music history

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04.09.2021

Unlike movies, where it's rare that a second (or third) attempt at remaking a film can ever match—let alone top—the original, music is a different sort of creative beast. Just because The Beatles did a bang-up job on one song doesn't mean that Joan Baez or Elvis Presley couldn't do the same tune justice in their own unique way. Which is a very good thing, as The Beatles's catalog is one of the most copied in music history. While not an exhaustive list, here are 25 of the most covered songs.

1. "Yesterday" // The Beatles

"Yesterday" has been covered more than 2200 times, with Joan Baez, Liberace, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, En Vogue, and Boyz II Men among the many (many) artists to put their own spin on the song. Plus, you know you've made it as a band when even Daffy Duck gets in on the action.

2. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" // The Rolling Stones

This classic Rolling Stones song has been redone by a diverse array of artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Devo, and Vanilla Ice. It was also famously covered by Britney Spears at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards before she launched into "Oops! I Did It Again."

3. "Love Me Tender" // Elvis Presley

"Love Me Tender" was a hit long before Elvis and songwriter Ken Darby changed the title and the lyrics. The song became popular during the Civil War under the name "Aura Lee," but it was the version that was altered in 1956 that would go on to become covered by other musicians time and time again. The range of artists who have covered it—everyone from Julie Andrews and Johnny Cash to Jim Morrison—shows just how versatile it is.

4. "Billie Jean" // Michael Jackson

When "Billie Jean" was released in 1983, it became the first song to hit #1 on four pop charts simultaneously. The song is still one of MJ's most popular and most covered, with at least 143 recorded versions floating around out there. And yes, that includes the Chipmunks.

5. "Eleanor Rigby" // The Beatles

A somewhat surprising choice, considering The Beatles's other hits, but it's been covered 131 times by artists such as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Kansas, and Swedish industrial metal band Pain.

6. "My Way" // Frank Sinatra

The ironic part of Sinatra's "My Way" is how many of the artists who covered the song didn't do it Frank's way. But with at least 152 covers in existence, from country to punk, a little variation is to be expected. (Just avoid doing a karaoke........

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