5. Florence + The Machine – Flakes
It isn’t uncommon for up and coming artists to cover songs when trying to make a name for themselves, and Florence Welch is no exception. Before her debut album, Lungs, came out in 2009, Florence had many covers on YouTube including ‘Oh Darling!’ by The Beatles and ‘The Rat’ by The Walkmen. But her best cover has to be of a lesser known Mystery Jets song, ‘Flakes’. The fairly minimal use of instruments gives Florence the opportunity to showcase her beautifully smooth yet powerful voice. It’s quite a change from Blaine Harrison’s soft vocal and Florence makes it her own.
4. Amy Winehouse – Monkey Man
Another song originally sung by a male, yet transformed by a woman. It’s no secret that Amy had an eclectic taste in music, so a Ska cover would be right up her street. Her deep soulful voice works so well with the upbeat, jumpy music. It took her out of her comfort zone of slower, heartfelt ballads like ‘Back To Black’ and showed a more high spirited side to her musical talents
3. Frank Ocean – Strawberry Swing
Strawberry Swing is a song originally made famous by the band everyone loves to hate, England’s very own Coldplay. But what happens when you give it a sweet R&B vocal from Frank Ocean? You get a classic cover. It isn’t the most expected cover version you’d expect, but this is what makes it great. Chris Martin’s vocal features at the end of the song to tie it all together and is one of the best songs to remind you of summer.
2. Arcade Fire – Maps
The best thing about BBC Radio 1 easily has to be their Live Lounge. This gives artists the opportunity to cover a song, usually from the Top 40. Arcade Fire covered Yeah Yeah Yeah’s ‘Maps’ way back in 2005, and blew the original out of the water. The song is sharper, they use a wider range of instruments, and has the advantage of two singers. The harmonising between Win and Régine seals the deal and gives us a beautiful cover.
1. Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
Is there a more perfect cover than this? The world and its mother have covered Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, but none quite like Jeff Buckley. Buckley’s cover is so popular that some even think that it is his own song, as opposed to a cover version. The song is so simplistic – just Buckley’s voice and guitar – and so beautiful. Nearly everyone has some sort of connection to the song, and has probably cried at it too!