While it has been said that there's nothing quite like the original, that doesn’t mean variations of songs can’t be unique and spectacular in their own way. Artists recognize other artists and what better way to show their appreciation for a particular song than performing it using their own voice.
For this list, only one song per band or singer will be listed, which unfortunately for the Beatles, (who are responsible for writing most of the popular songs frequently covered throughout history) means they will only be featured once.
Here are some of the most covered songs in history.
“Yesterday” by The Beatles
Undoubtedly the most covered song in history, “Yesterday” has racked up approximately 2,200 variations since it was released in 1966. It seems that almost every genre of music has a version of “Yesterday,” from classical orchestras to country stars such as Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard putting their southern twang on the tune, no one wanted to miss out on this infinite classic. Other big names who couldn’t resist this song's hopeful and calming melody include Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin.
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
One of the most beloved religious songs of all time, this powerful tune has been covered by a number of different artists, religiously related or not. Despite being written by Leonard Cohen, the most famous version of this song is sung by *Jeff Buckley in *1994, winning multiple awards and being included on multiple greatest songs lists.
“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones:
Toward the top half of the most covered songs throughout musical history, “Satisfaction” has approximately 400 different recordings strewn across streaming platforms everywhere. Released in 1965, jam bands like the Grateful Dead to all female groups such as The Shirelles have given this tune a try. Even The Beatles, the band with the most commonly covered songs, have played this track throughout their career, earning The Rolling Stones some serious bragging rights.
“My Way” by Frank Sinatra
This song is originally a French song about a man who had become sick with his marriage, which had been destroyed by the boredom of everyday life. This song was heard by the ears of Paul Anka, a popular singer-songwriter throughout the '60s and '70s, who rewrote the lyrics and pitched the idea to Frank Sinatra, who eventually recorded it, releasing the tune in 1975. This song has been covered by some of the greats such as Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr. and even Seth MacFarlane on the popular TV show Family Guy.
“Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg, sung by Judy Garland
“Over the Rainbow '' is a song written for the movie The Wizard of Oz, and sung by Judy Garland as her character Dorothy in 1939. One of the most famous covers of this song, arguably more famous than the original, is sung and performed by Hawaiian artist Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. In Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of the song, he mixes it with “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, giving it a unique and catchy sound that blends well with Garland's “Over the Rainbow.” Other covers of this tune include Eric Clapton, P!nk, Trisha Yearwood and Frank Sinatra.