Cover Ups: 10 Artists whose biggest hits weren’t there own

Here are some of the biggest musical ‘cover ups’. 10 hits recorded by artists known for writing (or co-writing) their own material, but whose biggest hit was a cover or written by someone else…


10. Barry Manilow – I Write the Songs (1975)

Except of course he didn’t! This track was written by Bruce Johnstone (of The Beach Boys) and was originally recorded by The Captain and Tennille.


9.   Jimi Hendrix – All Along the Watchtower (1968)

Written and recorded by Bob Dylan a year earlier, this was Hendrix’ biggest hit single in the US and was his only top 20 single there.


8.  James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend (1972)

Written and originally recorded by Carole King. The song appeared on albums by both King and Taylor in the same year, 1972.


7.   Johnny Cash – A Boy Named Sue (1969)

Cover of Shel Silverstein’s Boy Named Sue. Both singles were released in 1969, with Cash’s being hugely more successful.


6.   The Monkees – I’m a Believer (1966)

Written by Neil Diamond, the song is one of under 40 singles that have sold more than 10 million physical copies worldwide.


5.   Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes (1972)

Written by David Bowie as an attempt to stop the band splitting up due to their lack of commercial success.


4.   Simple Minds – Don’t You, Forget About Me (1985)

Written by producer Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff (guitarist and songwriter from the Nina Hagen band), the song was originally offered to Bryan Ferry, Billy Idol and The Fixx, who all rejected it. Simple Minds also rejected the song, but eventually recorded a rearranged version.


3.   The Bangles – Manic Monday (1986)

Originally written by Prince as a duet for the band Apollonia 6’s self-titled album, he pulled the song and two years later offered it to the Bangles.



2.   Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares 2 U (1990)

Written by Prince and originally recorded in 1985 by The Family, one of his side project bands, the song did not fare well until O’Connor revived it five years later.


1.   Happy Mondays – Step On (1990)

Cover of John Kongos’ 1971 single He’s Gonna Step On You Again. Originally recorded to commemorate 40 years of the Elektra record label, the band felt it was too good to waste and instead released it as a single, recording Kongos’ Tokoloshe Man for the album instead.



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