Some cover versions of big hits actually manage what song purists would call the unthinkable – they charted higher than the original!
Remember, we’re not talking about sales – the only numbers that count here are those all-important chart positions. The higher you go, the better, right? That’s what the Official Charts are all about!
Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
Britain’s Got Talent star Calum Scott caused quite a stir when he released a slowed-down reimagining of Swedish popstar Robyn’s happy-sad misery-disco floorfiller Dancing On My Own in 2016. Calum’s ballad version had its critics, but it did outperform Robyn’s anatomic original, reaching Number 2 in comparison to Robyn’s Number 8 six years earlier.
Jonas Blue & Dakota – Fast Car
Lots of vintage tunes have been given a new lease of life thanks to dancefloor-focused cover versions, and the latest track to get the treatment is Tracy Chapman’s mournful Fast Car.
Tracy’s original has hit the Top 10 twice – in 1988 it hit Number 5, and a 2011 resurgence thanks to an appearance on Britain’s Got Talent saw it reach a new peak of Number 4. Along comes Jonas Blue, however in an even faster car. The 2015 cover version went turbo and overtook the original to peak (so far) at Number 3.
Florence and the Machine – You’ve Got The Love
The Source and Candi Staton’s version of You Got The Love – itself not the original version, and actually borrowing a backing track from Frankie Knuckles’ tune Your Love – first reached 4 in 1992. A remix improved on that by one place in 1997. A cover by Florence and the Machine – retitled You’ve Got The Love – made it to Number 5 in 2009, but it was You Got The Dirtee Love, a remake of the song with Dizzee Rascal, that finally beat the original’s chart position – it hit Number 2 in 2010 after an electric performance at the BRIT Awards. Basically, this song’s history is so complicated that it would be a nightmare organising a Christmas dinner for everyone involved in its success. Candi Staton’s version of You Got The Love made it into the Top 10 for a third time in 2006 – this time making it to Number 7. It seems we really do got the love for that tune.
Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah
X Factor winner Alexandra had a Number 1 with this cover of a Leonard Cohen track in 2008. The original had never charted but following an outcry by fans of the first version, it did reach Number 36 the same week Alexandra’s went to Number 1.
Another cover by the late Jeff Buckley sat right behind Alex’s, but the X Factor star won the race, selling over 1.2 million copies, and you can’t argue with a million-seller. Well, you could try, but they’d only throw all those zeros at you – and they always have more than you.
Fugees – Killing Me Softly
Fugees scored their first of four Top 10s with this cover of a song Roberta Flack took to Number 6 in 1973 under the full title Killing Me…