August 3, 2007 at 9:00 am (music)

We were listening to 6Music today (through the powers of the internet) and from the bedroom I heard a song that I thought I recognised as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The more I listened, the more I realised that I was wrong; it turns out that it was Stevie Wonder’s ‘Higher Ground’, which (as I learned today) the Chili Peppers had covered. I didn’t ever know that the RHCP’s version was a cover but I’ve always thought that this song had something lacking (if you click on the links above and listen, I’m sure you’ll agree) and I now know why: it’s a cover. I’m not suggesting that all covers are bad, not at all, some are extremely effective but there are only a handful of covers that really work. Some of the successful and unsuccessful covers (in my opinion) are below:


  1. Alien Ant Farm – ‘Smooth Criminal’ – originally Michael Jackson
  2. Muse – ‘Feeling Good’ – originally Nina Simone
  3. Cake – ‘I Will Survive’ – originally Gloria Gaynor
  4. Eva Cassidy – ‘Fields of Gold’ – originally Sting and The Police
  5. Mike Flowers Pops – ‘WonderWall’ – originally Oasis


  1. Will Young – ‘Light My Fire’ – originally The Doors
  2. Emma Bunton – ‘What I Am’ – originally Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
  3. All Saints – ‘Under The Bridge – originally Red Hot Chili Peppers
  4. Westlife – ‘Uptown Girl’ – originally Billy Joel
  5. Atomic Kitten – ‘Eternal Flame’ – The Bangles

Correct me if I’m wrong?


  1. Blanche said,

    On the whole I agree, or at least I used to, but the more covers I hear the more I like. I agree with all the covers mentioned above (except cake… not a patch on Gloria!) but there are a few more that I really like.
    Maralyn Manson (sp?) sweet dreams by Annie Lennox
    Lily Allen (Mark Ronsan) Oh my God by Kaiser Cheifs
    Johnny Cash Rusty Cage by (someone like) Sound Garden
    and there are loads of bands doing covers now days. Have you heard the live lounge on radio one? Adam has the album and there are some really cool covers on there.
    My verdict is that generally if the new band does something different with the song and makes it their own then usually it works. Unlike Westlife who did a cover of More than Words by Extreme… one of my favourite songs of all time and not be messed with!!

  2. crunchcorner said,

    Yeah, I had forgotten about the live lounge stuff. That is excellent, but those bands haven’t released the song and tried to make any money out of it! I think there’s a difference, or maybe that’s the difference in my head!

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