I love a well crafted cover song.
By well crafted, I mean that the artist took enough time to put their own particular signature on a song while staying true to the original version, so that more often than not, it surpasses the original version of the song.
Some fine examples of this would be:
The Hooters "Boys of Summer". Whereas Don Henley's version was a bit poppish and somewhat upbeat, the version by The Hooters was far darker and in my opinion, true to the original intent of the lyrics.
The Mike Flowers Pop "Wonderwall". This version is done in a mixture of big band and swing, and definitely more upbeat then the original by Oasis. You don't hear much in the way of radio airplay for this song, unless you happen to catch it either on satellite or college radio.
Johnny Cash "Hurt". I am not a fan of Nine Inch Nails by any stretch of the imagination, and in my opinion the original version of this song sucked moose testicles. However, this excellent version by Johnny Cash evokes the anguish that the original did an epic fail on.
Johnny Cash w/Fiona Apple "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Forget about the bombast of the original by Simon & Garfunkel. This version with just piano accompaniment and acoustic guitar achieves the emotion and mental anguish that the original failed to do.
Metallica "Whiskey In The Jar". I always thought this was an interesting concept, a heavy metal band doing a cover of a Roger Whittaker song. But it actually works out pretty well, as it's one of the few cover songs that I enjoy listening to on rock radio.
But as you know, the bulk of cover that receive airplay today basically suck. For the most part, they done as a filler for a c.d. in the vain hope that somehow the cover will save a mediocr c.d.
Some bad examples:
Ugly Kid Joe "Cat's In The Cradle". A mediocre band whose only major hit was this cheesy remake of the Harry Chapin classic.
U2 "Everlasting Love". A live cut that was so crappy that the only reason why it got any airplay was that U2 performed it.
Billy Corrigan "Mudslide". A good musician doing a remake of a Fleetwood Mac song. Epic fail.
Motley Crue "Smokin' In The Boys Room". Hair metal meets rock & roll. Feh.
Lenny Kravitz "American Woman". Garbage designed to keep his name on the air while he turns into a modern version of Hollywood Rod.
There are scores of others that for the most part are confined to rock radio, because as you know, commercial rock radio is severely lacking in original thought and original programming, but for the moment, those bands names escape me.
So my question to you is this: Do you have any favorite cover songs that surpass the original? More importantly, do you have any examples of bad cover songs?