Most covered songs of all time
Most covered songs of all time
If you agree with the old proverb that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then cover songs serve as tributes to their original artists. Sometimes, a cover version vastly outshined its original. Such is the case with “Summertime,” originally written for the 1935 George Gershwin opera “Porgy and Bess,” which Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong put a jazz spin on in 1957 to make it an international hit.
To learn more about the most covered songs in musical history, Stacker mined data from WhoSampled.com, whose goal is to build the most comprehensive database for music. The site features more than 653,000 songs and more than 215,000 artists as of Feb. 26, 2020. Aside from Beatles tunes, Christmas music accounts for a number of the most covered songs, including Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” in 1942: the second-most covered holiday song with more than 50 million copies sold internationally to date.
Along with each slide, you will find information about the song’s meaning, some of the more notable or unique covers, as well as reasons behind the song’s success. Beatles fans will enjoy going down “The Long and Winding Road” of the most covered songs, as the Fab Four of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr are featured prominently in this list.
In fact, The Beatles penned the basis for more than 4,000 cover versions of their songs through the years. One of their most popular, “Yesterday,” almost never saw the light of day because McCartney found it so easy to write, he thought he had stolen it from someone. It would go on to be covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye, and inspired a 2019 movie of the same name.
Continue reading to find out which songs are among the most covered of all time—and check out Stacker's playlist on Spotify, inspired by this story.
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#50. ‘Help!’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 118
“Help!” is off the 1965 soundtrack album of the same name, which was nominated by the Grammys for Album of the Year and produced by George Martin. The tune has been covered by a range of iconic artists including The Carpenters in 1970, Dolly Parton in 1979, and Tina Turner in 1984.
#49. ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ by Harry Reser & His Orchestra feat. Tom Stacks
- Covers: 118
From Ella Fitzgerald to a Kidz Bop cover, the quintessential Christmas song first released in 1934 has many do-overs. More than 100 artists have belted out the song since, including the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Justin Bieber, Natalie Grant, and Faith Hill. The song also served as the title for a 1970 film narrated by Fred Astaire, starring Mickey Rooney.
#48. ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen
- Covers: 119
Nearly four decades after the original 1984 release, “Hallelujah” has been covered many times over, from Bob Dylan performing it at a few shows in 1988 to Bono performing a tribute to Leonard Cohen in 1995. Other notable covers include Jeff Buckley in 1994 and Willie Nelson in 2006. Rolling Stone in 2019 marveled at Cohen’s ability to bring together concepts surrounding sex and religion into the song’s lyrics.
#47. ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ by The Harry Simeone Chorale
- Covers: 119
Since the 1958 original, this classic Christmas song telling the story of a poor drummer boy at the feet of baby Jesus had years of reprisals: It was featured in a rare Jimi Hendrix rendition in 1969 and found its way into dozens of holiday compilation albums from artists as wide-ranging as Whitney Houston in 2003 and Justin Bieber in 2011.
#46. ‘The Long and Winding Road’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 122
Off of the 1970 “Let it Be” Album, the Beatles classic “The Long and Winding Road” has been covered by the likes of George Michael, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles with Count Basie. Coincidentally, as the Beatles 20th and final #1 hit together, the song’s lyrics depict the long and winding road of a broken love story—much like the group’s end. Paul McCartney, who wrote the song, had Ray Charles in mind while composing and did not approve of track’s final take that included dozens of violins, cellos, harps, and trumpets. Nevertheless, Charles covered it in 1971 on his own.
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#45. ‘How Deep Is the Ocean?’ by Paul Whiteman
- Covers: 122
The title of this song, written by Irving Berlin, is one question of many pondered throughout the 1932 tune by the famous composer. Eric Clapton, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Liza Minnelli, Bing Crosby, and Pat Boone have all added their own touch to the tune since.
#44. ‘House of the Rising Sun’ by The Animals
- Covers: 123
While the ultimate meaning of ”The House of the Rising Sun” being a brothel or prison in this traditional 1964 folk song remains a mystery, artists continue to cover it decade after decade. “King and Queen of Folk” Bob Dylan and Joan Baez each recorded a solo version of the song, country legend Dolly Parton performed it with a twang, and Jimi Hendrix along with psychedelic band Frijid Pink lengthened the tune and put their own spins on it.
#43. ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 124
Written by Beatle George Harrison while reading the oldest Chinese text, "I Ching," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" features Eric Clapton on lead guitar. A year after the original 1968 recording, Harrison walked out of the recording studio and told his bandmates he was done with The Beatles. John Lennon immediately suggested swapping Clapton in to take Harrison’s place—a move that never happened as the band slowly dissolved over the next several years. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” has been performed in a variety of settings from a 1980 "Muppet Show" episode to the 2019 Carlos Santana version featuring India Arie and Yo-Yo Mama.
#42. ‘All My Loving’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 124
Paul McCartney first composed music and lyrics for “All My Loving” in 1963, when the band toured with Roy Orbison. It was also The Beatles’ debut performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," which notably kicked off the group’s stateside fame. Renditions of “All My Loving” range from Annette Funicello in 1964 to the Smithereens in 2007.
#41. ‘Amazing Grace’ by John Newton
- Covers: 126
Though professionally covered 126 times, the 1779 Christian hymn “Amazing Grace” is reportedly performed at least 10,000 times annually and has appeared on more than 11,000 albums. While some renditions of the song are considered superior, including the Harlem Gospel Choir, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Leann Rhimes, and Steven Tyler, other, less famous covers were recorded by the Dropkick Murphys, U2, and Willie Nelson. The song, written by an atheist slave trader named John Newton, ironically reemerged as a civil rights anthem and has been sung publicly by U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama.
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#40. ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson
- Covers: 127
Of the 127 “Billie Jean” covers, LA Weekly counted Coldplay, Chris Cornell, and Alvin and the Chipmunks in the strangest top 10. The autobiographical lyrics of the tune tell the story of a stalker who claimed Michael Jackson fathered her child.
#39. ‘Can't Buy Me Love’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 127
Paul McCartney said it was an honor for Ella Fitzgerald to cover “Can’t Buy Me Love,” a 1964 Beatles song about material possession. Since the tune’s release, which was co-authored by McCartney and John Lennon, renditions by The Supremes, Peter Sellers, Johnny Rivers, Count Basie, Kidz Bop Kidz, and even Michael Buble. The song title is also the name of a famous 1980s teen romance starring Patrick Dempsey and the late Amanda Peterson.
#38. ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’ by Porter Wagoner
- Covers: 127
Though a big hit for Tom Jones in 1967, “Green, Green, Grass of Home” actually comes from Porter Wagoner in 1965. The country tune tells the story of a prisoner longing for freedom in the lawn of his childhood home. “Green, Green, Grass of Home” was also famously covered by rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Bare, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and George Jones. Other, less widely known covers include those by The Grateful Dead, Merle Haggard, Joan Baez, and Kenny Rogers.
#37. ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ by Elvis Presley
- Covers: 128
There have been some unlikely duo covers of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” including Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman in 2006 and Neil Diamond and Kim Carnes in 1992. While famous solo covers of the song by Conway Twitty, Billy Joel, Connie Francis, Johnny Cash, Tanya Tucker, Lawrence Welk, and Ann Margret kept the tune alive since the 1957 release, band versions come from The Cramps in 1987, The Residents in 1989, Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1994, and the Grassmasters in 2006. Lyrics—including “I get so lonely baby I could die”—were reportedly inspired by a hotel suicide in 1955.
#36. ‘Winter Wonderland’ by Richard Himber & His Orchestra feat. Joey Nash
- Covers: 134
It may be a 1934 classic, but the 2015 rendition of “Winter Wonderland” by Snoop Dogg and Anna Kendrick in “Pitch Perfect 2” is one of the most popular versions of the Christmas tune today. But even that performance is second to some of the most classic covers by the likes of Perry Como, Buddy Clark, and Barry Manilow.
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#35. ‘I Remember You' by Jimmy Dorsey
- Covers: 134
While everyone else wanted to cover Beatles tunes, the Fab Four in 1977 took the time to deliver an epic cover of Jimmy Dorsey’s 1941 classic “I Remember You.” Other notable artists who put their own twist on the tune are Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Kenny Rogers, and Art Garfunkel.
#34. ‘Sunny’ by Bobby Hebb
- Covers: 134
The list for “Sunny” covers goes on and on with some of the most famous and unexpected voices emulating the 1966 tune, including Captain Spock (Leonard Nimoy) of “Star Trek,” Cher, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye. By 1976, German disco band Boney M. added a unique flavor to the song, which got remixed in 2000 and 2006. Along with the features in movies and television, “Sunny” has been sung by Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington, Bill Cosby, Bryan Adams, and TLC.
#33. ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra
- Covers: 137
Frank Sinatra may have done it his way initially, but dozens of artists did it their way following this son’s 1969 release. GQ reports that “My Way” was written by Paul Anka, who copied it from a French ditty on failing love. The prideful lyrics, also often heard in karaoke bars, was famously covered by Elvis Presley in 1977 and punk rock band Sid Vicious in 1978.
#32. ‘Over the Rainbow’ by Judy Garland
- Covers: 139
While no one will ever sing “The Wizard of Oz” theme like Judy Garland in 1939, many have tried—including Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli, who performed it at age 13 in 1960. Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole brought the song to new heights in 1990 when he mixed it with “What a Wonderful World.” Pink blew people away with her rendition of “Over the Rainbow” at the 86th Academy Awards in 2014, while Ariana Grande belted out her adaptation at the One Love Manchester Benefit Concert at Old Trafford on June 4, 2017.
#31. ‘Love Me Tender’ by Elvis Presley
- Covers: 147
The famous 1956 Elvis Presley melody “Love Me Tender” was adapted from a Civil War love song called “Aura Lee.” Presley’s tune has been covered by 147 acts that include Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, B.B. King, James Brown, Percy Sledge, Willie Nelson, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, Andrea Bocelli, and Amy Grant. Though several artists put their spin on the wartime song soon after Elvis, more recent covers include Stuart Sutcliffe in 2011 and Stereo Jane’s version in 2019.
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#30. ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!
- Covers: 148
Taylor Swift's Z100's Jingle Ball performance of “Last Christmas” in 2012 was ranked by Billboard as one of the top 10 covers the 1984 Wham! hit. The song was described in 2017 by the Guardian’s Rachel Aroesti as being about holiday heartbreak and "the cognitive dissonance of obsessive love." The fact that Wham!’s late lead singer, George Michael, wrote “Last Christmas” in his childhood bedroom makes the Christmas classic somehow even more perfect.
#29. ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ by Judy Garland
- Covers: 148
Of all the covers of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the song’s co-author Hugh Martin said Twisted Sister’s take on it was the strangest. Judy Garland’s opinion that the song’s lyrics were too somber led to some lines being cut for her performance of the piece in the 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Other artists who have performed the song since are Garth Brooks, Tori Amos, James Taylor, and Lady Antebellum.
#28. ‘Ain't No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers
- Covers: 148
Michael Jackson wasted no time covering Bill Withers 1971 “Ain’t No Sunshine,” recording it the same year for his debut album “Got to Be There” that came out in 1972. Withers found inspiration for the song in the 1962 film “Days of Wine and Roses,” about the unraveling of a man and woman from alcoholism. He wrote it while working a day job making toilet seats for 747s; when the song went Gold, rumor has it the record company gave Withers a congratulatory gold toilet seat. The long list of artists who have covered “Ain’t No Sunshine” include Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Al Jarreau, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, and Sting.
#27. ‘The Look of Love’ by Dusty Springfield
- Covers: 154
A variety of versions of the “The Look of Love,” written by iconic pop music composer and producer Burt Bacharach in 1967 for the James Bond spoof “Casino Royale,” have hit the radio since its 1968 release. From Dionne Warwick’s 1969 rendition to The Zombies' 1985 performance, artists including Isaac Hayes, Diana Ross, Susanna Hoffs, and Barry Manilow have covered the song that proves successful as either jazz and blues or easy listening and pop.
#26. ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 154
John Lennon wrote “Come Together” as a campaign song for famed psychologist psychedelic-drug-use-enthusiast Timothy Leary’s unsuccessful bid against Ronald Reagan as governor of California. Lennon called the song “gobbledygook,” but it was widely covered nevertheless by musical legends including Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, Ike and Tina Turner, Count Basie, Diana Ross, Soundgarden, and Godsmack. Lennon covered the Beatles' song in 1972 in his Madison Square Garden concerts, making it the last historic band ballad he sang live.
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#25. ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 157
Joe Cocker’s cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends” at Woodstock in 1969 sealed Cocker’s place as a musical legend. Though Cocker covered it best, the song—initially branded “Badfinger Boogie” and written solely for Ringo Starr—has dozens of different versions. Meanwhile, Count Basie, The Beach Boys, Ike and Tina Turner, Toto, Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees, Cheap Trick, Santana, and Puddle of Mudd each put their touch on the tune.
#24. ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ by Simon & Garfunkel
- Covers: 167
Rolling Stone reported a “stunning” rendition of the famous Simon & Garfunkel tune “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Idina Menzel in 2019, 49 years after the song’s original release. English music producer Simon Cowell’s 50-artist collaboration of the song, which raised money for Grenfell Tower fire victims in 2017, brought new meaning to the world-famous tune. Various other versions of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” have been produced by Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, Tom Jones, The Jackson Five, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, LeAnn Rimes, and John Legend.
#23. ‘The Fool on the Hill’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 168
The Beatles’ 1967 song about a sage mistaken for a fool is rumored to be inspired by an early morning encounter Paul McCartney had with a man who seemingly vanished in thin air. The most acclaimed artists to have covered “The Fool on the Hill” include Count Basie, Aretha Franklin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Lena Horne.
#22. ‘A Hard Day's Night’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 169
The 1964 song “A Hard Day’s Night” has been covered by a wide variety of artists. Recent renditions include one in 2017 from Giora Feidman and the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, and 2016 versions from Viennese guitarist Harri Stojka and guitarist Matt Johnson. Count Basie, The Supremes, Ella Fitzgerald, Otis Redding, Big Time Rush, Quincy Jones, and Kidz Bop put their own spins on the classic over the years. The title of the song can be directly attributed to Beatle Ringo Starr, who branded the phrase after the band’s first day filming a movie.
#21. ‘The Christmas Song’ by Nat King Cole
- Covers: 170
Since the title doesn’t appear anywhere in the lyrics, the Mel Tormé and Bob Wells tune is best known for its opening line, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” Wells had started writing the lyrics on a hot California day; when Tormé showed up, the two finished the song in less than an hour.
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#20. ‘In My Life” by The Beatles
- Covers: 171
Ozzy Osbourne, Bette Midler, and Crosby, Stills & Nash all took turns covering The Beatles hit “In My Life.” Written by John Lennon for the album “Rubber Soul,” rocker Dave Grohl counts “In My Life” as a particularly sentimental song after it was played at Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s funeral. Johnny Cash’s 2002 cover of the song ranked ninth among the best Beatles covers of all time, according to Paste Magazine.
#19. ‘O Holy Night’ by John Sullivan Dwight
- Covers: 171
John Sullivan Dwight’s 1855 song “O Holy Night” was the first English translation of an 1847 French song called “Minuit, chrétiens” (“Midnight, Christians”). The song has a stunning history, from halting the Franco-Prussian War for a night in 1871 to being the first song ever broadcast on radio, on Christmas Eve in 1906. Covers of the holiday classic have spanned multiple generations, from Johnny Mathis in the '50s to the 2000s with covers by Weezer and Luke Bryan.
#18. ‘Something’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 171
Frank Sinatra, who covered this Beatles' classic multiple times, once called “Something” the “greatest love song of the last 50 years.” The George Harrison composition was also covered by Ray Charles, James Brown, Isaac Hayes, and Norah Jones, among others. Harrison gave Joe Cocker the song for the first release, but Cocker’s version of “Something” didn’t come out until after “Abbey Road.”
#17. ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ by Traditional Folk
- Covers: 176
A Christian hymn written in 1757 by pastor Robert Robinson falls within the top 20 most covered songs of all time. Many of those renditions come from a variety of choirs. Kings Kaleidoscope, Adam Young, and Christian punk-pop band Eleventyseven have all covered the tune, as well. The Dynamics are credited with the first commercial cover of the song in 1974.
#16. ‘Jingle Bells (One Horse Open Sleigh)’ by James Pierpont
- Covers: 179
When James Pierpont, uncle to businessman JP Morgan, wrote “One Horse Open Sleigh” in 1857, he never intended it to be a Christmas song. The first song ever broadcast from space in 1965, renditions have ranged from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Korn and Henry Rollins. Gwen Stefani, Pentatonix, Dolly Parton, and Smokey Robinson have recorded some of the best versions of “Jingle Bells,” according to Billboard.
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#15. ‘What Is This Thing Called Love?’ by Elsie Carlisle
- Covers: 183
“What Is This Thing Called Love?” was composed by Cole Porter and performed for the first time by Elsie Carlisle for the 1929 musical “Wake Up and Dream.” Covers of the song have ranged from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Gwyneth Paltrow even performed the song as Kitty Dean in the 2006 Truman Capote biopic "Infamous."
#14. ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 189
George Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” with Eric Clapton following the death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who handled much of the business side of the band. Guardian writer Jon Dennis in 2014 dubbed Charles Wright’s 1972 cover of “Here Comes the Sun” as best, arguing Coldplay, Travis, and Bon Jovi all did less-than-stellar renditions. Paul Simon and Harrison came together for a performance of the song on “Saturday Night Live!” in 1976, and Simon teamed up with David Crosby and Graham Nash in 2010.
#13. ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 196
Paul McCartney wrote this song—originally titled “Hey Jules”— for John Lennon’s 5-year-old son Julian to help him with his parent’s divorce. Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, and Elvis Presley have all covered the song, as did Wilson Pickett, whose R&B version of “Hey Jude” made the Billboard charts while The Beatles were still #1. Rolling Stone rated “Hey Jude” eighth on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
#12. ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 196
The Beatles hadn’t even released the song “Let It Be” in 1970, and Aretha Franklin had already released a cover version on her album “This Girl’s In Love With You.” Billy Joel and Paul McCartney performed it as the final song ever played at Shea Stadium in 2008. Jennifer Hudson and Kris Allen both made the Billboard Hot 100 with covers of the tune in the 2010s.
#11. ‘White Christmas’ by Bing Crosby feat. John Scott Trotter and His Orchestra and The Ken Darby Choir
- Covers: 201
The best-selling single of all time, with more than 50 million units sold, “White Christmas” took just 18 minutes to record in 1942. One of the most famous covers came from Elvis Presley in 1957, although songwriter Irving Berlin, perhaps to drum up publicity, called it a “profane parody of his cherished Yuletide standard.” Others who took their chance “dreaming of a White Christmas” include Lady Gaga, Elton John, Iggy Pop, and Billy Idol.
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#10. ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 206
“Norwegian Wood” was John Lennon’s attempt to “write about an affair without letting my wife know I was writing about an affair,” and has the distinction of being the first pop song to use a sitar. Hank Williams Jr., Count Basie, and P.M. Dawn have all covered the song off the album “Rubber Soul.” English group Cornershop, who had a hit with “Brimful of Asha” in 1997, recorded the best cover of the song, according to The Guardian’s Jon Dennis.
#9. ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon
- Covers: 218
Rolling Stone declared “Imagine” the third greatest song of all time, with John Lennon finishing the piece in one session while sitting at his white grand piano in England. The song has been covered by a number of heavy hitters in the music industry for its uniting message, from Willie Nelson and Jack Johnson to Madonna and Ray Charles.
#8. ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 225
Paul McCartney credited the Beach Boys as part of the inspiration behind “Here, There and Everywhere,” off the “Revolver” album. Though John Lennon called it one of his favorites, the band never performed “Here, “There and Everywhere” live. McCartney played it live for the first time during an “MTV: Unplugged” installment in 1991. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour famously covered the song, as did George Benson, Celine Dion, Perry Como, and John Denver.
#7. ‘Blackbird’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 232
One of the biggest hits from The Beatles’ “White Album,” Paul McCartney wrote “Blackbird” about the Little Rock Nine, who faced discrimination when they enrolled at an all-white high school in Arkansas. Covers have ranged from Sarah McLachlan, Neil Diamond, and Phish to The Paragon’s reggae version “Black Bird Singing,” considered to be one of the best Beatles covers ever. Composed simply, “Blackbird” features just McCartney, his guitar, and a mysterious ticking noise that may have been McCartney tapping his foot.
#6. ‘Summertime’ by Helen Jepson
- Covers: 243
“Summertime” was adapted by soprano Helen Jepson from the 1935 George Gershwin opera “Porgy and Bess.” The song gained momentum as a cover when Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded it for a jazz album in 1957 and reached new heights of popularity when the Gershwin opera was treated to a film adaptation starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge in 1959. The opening lyrics “Summertime, and the living’s easy” lept into the rock/reggae genre when it was sampled on the 1996 single “Doin’ Time” by Sublime.
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#5. ‘Michelle’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 243
Remarkably, The Beatles won just four Grammy Awards during their active years, with “Michelle” returning one for Song of the Year in 1966. While not necessarily a cover version, McCartney sang “Michelle” in 2010 to first lady Michelle Obama after receiving the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Covers of the song have come from reggae (Ben Harper), funk (The Four Tops), rock (Diana Ross and the Supremes), as well as easy listening (George Martin).
#4. ‘Silent Night’ by John Freeman Young
- Covers: 254
John Freeman Young’s English translation of “Silent Night” comes from the Austrian version first sung as “Stille Nacht! Heilige Nach” on Christmas Eve in 1818. Christmas albums and specials have led to a number of covers through the years, including Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Stevie Nicks, and Frank Sinatra all taking turns at the Christmas classic. Bing Crosby, who had another holiday hit with “White Christmas,” recorded “Silent Night” in 1935 and sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.
#3. ‘And I Love Her’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 263
Upon its release in June 1964, John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s hit was covered 30 times before the end of the 1960s by the likes of John Denver, Lena Horne, and the Wailers. Smokey Robinson, Neil Diamond, Richard Marx with Vince Gill, and Barry Manilow all recorded their own versions of the song, with McCartney calling Esther Phillips’ “And I love Him” his favorite cover. While researching for the hit 2015 documentary “Montage of Heck,” Brett Morgen found an obscure cover of “And I Love Her” by late grunge rocker Kurt Cobain more than 20 years after his death.
#2. ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 349
Paul McCartney is credited with writing a majority of “Eleanor Rigby,” which borrowed the name Eleanor from an actress who starred in the band's video for “Help!” and the name Rigby from a store in Bristol, England, called Rigby and Evens Wine and Spirit Shippers. Musical legends Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and Joan Baez all covered the song, as did Alice Cooper in 2014, who said: “You can’t ever do it better than Paul McCartney.”
#1. ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles
- Covers: 422
A who’s who of music royalty has taken a stab at covering “Yesterday,” which came so easily to songwriter Paul McCartney he thought for months he had plagiarized it (later, he said he realized the song was about the death of his mother when he was 14). Elvis Presley, Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Boyz II Men, among others, all released covers of the song. The 2019 movie “Yesterday” envisions a world in which the Beatles never existed.
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