I was reading the thread on worst covers just now, which brought to mind good covers. I would like to submit David Bowie’s Wild is the Wind. I believe it was first sung by Johnny Mathis in the eponymous film, but there are at least two versions by Nina Simone that I admire.
Several genres figure covers, perhaps notably folk, especially Celtic tunes. Of these I particularly like Christy Moore’s Black is the colour, and Natalie Merchant’s crazy man Michael.
Prompted by the folk mention. Age is telling, I simply cannot remember who, the year was 1977, the event a monthly folk club, a group of at least half a dozen well known names, possibly including Toni Arthur, the evening was a mixture of Buddy Holly and music hall songs, mainly a capella, the encores were True Love Ways and You Are The Honey. Magical!
I recently mentioned The Imagined Garden version of Cum On Feel The Noize, which I am sure is going going to be a Marmite moment for anyone who listens.
I have a fondness for Dead Can Dance version of The Wind That Shakes The Barley.
Many versions of Walkin’ After Midnight especially The Cowboy Junkies and Carthy, Hardy, Farrell and Young.
Then many covers by Sandy Denny, Fairport and Eva Cassidy.
@Camphuw you could have restricted the thread just to cover versions of Wild is the Wind. A quick search of my collection and I have this song covered by Cat Power, George Michael, David Bowie, Nina Simone and Patty Waters - the latter can only be described as Yoko Ono wrestling a bull in a china shop!
The Beatles - You’ve Really Gott a Hold on Me. I think this is a tremendous cover of the Smokey Robinson track, and shows what a really tight covers band the Fab Four were before turning their creative juices up to eleven.
@BruceW - Agree about the Johnny Cash version of NIN’s Hurt - a really powerful interpretation of that song.
What a wonderful world, as covered by Nick Cave and Shane McGowan is pretty good. I like the deliberate take on the vocals which underlines the meaning subtly, but effectively.
I very much agree with Bruce W’s choices above. The Yo la Tengo album is worth its price for the Cure song alone. Johnny Cash did several outstanding covers on his American Recording albums. My favorites are “I see a Darkness” sung as a duet with Will Oldham, the original artist, the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Bridge over troubled Water” and “Thirteen “.