Greatest Cover Songs and Remakes of the 1980s


Criteria: These cover songs/remakes of the 1980s are ranked according to their initial and lasting popularity, influence and acclaim, as well as their cultural impact. The greatness of an original record is not taken into consideration. To qualify as a cover version, the song has to be neither the first recorded nor the first released version of particular song.

Legend: Song - Original Artist with first recording (year) | Great Cover Version/Remake (year)
Cover Songs 1980s
1. Walk This Way
Aerosmith (1975) | Run-D.M.C. (1986)

2. I Love Rock 'N' Roll
Arrows (1975) | Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (1982)

3. Tainted Love
Gloria Jones (1964) | Soft Cell (1981)

4. I Feel for You
Prince (1979) | Chaka Khan (1984)

5. La Bamba
Traditional | Los Lobos (1987)

6. Every Time You Go Away
Daryl Hall and John Oates (1980, "Everytime You Go Away") | Paul Young (1985)

7. The Greatest Love of All
George Benson (1977) | Whitney Houston (1985)

8. That's What Friends Are For
Rod Stewart (1982) | Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder (1985)

9. Bette Davis Eyes
Jackie DeShannon (1975) | Kim Carnes (1981)

10. Mony Mony
Tommy James (1968) | Billy Idol (1987, live)

11. The Tide is High
The Paragons (1966) | Blondie (1980)

12. Gloria
Umberto Tozzi (1979) | Laura Branigan (1982)

13. Venus
Shocking Blue (1969) | Bananarama (1986)

14. If You Don't Know Me By Now
Harold Melvin & Blue Notes (1972) | Simply Red (1989)

15. Red Red Wine
Neil Diamond (1968) | UB40 (1984)

16. Mickey
Racey (1979, as "Kitty") | Toni Basil (1980)

17. Lean on Me
Bill Withers (1972 ) | Club Nouveau (1986)

18. Alone
i-Ten (1983) | Heart (1987)

19. I Didn't Mean to Turn You On
Cherrelle (1984) | Robert Palmer (1985)

20. Always Something There to Remind Me
Lou Johnson (1964) | Naked Eyes (1983)

21. Harlem Shuffle
Bob & Earl (1963) | Rolling Stones (1986)

22. Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley
Peter Frampton ("Baby, I Love Your Way", 1975) and Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Free Bird", 1973) | Will To Power (1988)

23. I Want Candy
The Strangeloves (1965) | Bow Wow Wow (1982)

24. You Keep Me Hangin' On
The Supremes (1966) | Kim Wilde (1986)

25. Puttin' On The Ritz
Leo Reisman and His Orchestra (1930) | Taco (1982)

26. Always On My Mind
Brenda Lee (1971) | Pet Shop Boys (1987)

27. China Girl
Iggy Pop (1977) | David Bowie (1983)

28. I'm Free
Rolling Stones (1965) | Soup Dragons (1989)

29. Sukiyaki
Kyu Sakamoto (1961) | A Taste of Honey (1980)

30. Obsession
Holly Knight & Michael Des Barres (1983) | Animotion (1984)

31. Got My Mind Set on You
James Ray (1962, "I've Got My Mind Set On You" | George Harrison (1987)

32. Higher Ground
Stevie Wonder (1973) | Red Hot Chili Peppers (1989)

33. A Groovy Kind of Love
The Mindbenders (1965) | Phil Collins (1988)

34. Cum On Feel The Noize
Slade (1973) | Quiet Riot (1983)

35. Self Control
Raf (1984) | Laura Branigan (1984)

36. It Must Be Love
Labi Siffre (1971) | Madness (1981)

37. Don't Leave Me This Way
Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (1975) | Communards (1986)

38. Peter Gunn
Henry Mancini (1959) | Art of Noise & Duane Eddy (1986)

39. How Am I Supposed to Live Without You
Laura Branigan (1983) | Michael Bolton (1989)

40. Hazy Shade of Winter
Simon and Garfunkel (1966) | Bangles (1986)

41. Sea of Love
Phil Phillips (1959) | The Honeydrippers (1984)

42. California Girls
The Beach Boys (1965) | David Lee Roth (1985)

43. Unchain My Heart
Ray Charles (1961) | Joe Cocker (1987)

44. I Think We're Alone Now
Tommy James (1967) | Tiffany (1987)

45. Shipbuilding
Robert Wyatt (1982) | Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1983)

46. Caravan of Love
Isley-Jasper-Isley (1985) | The Housemartins (1986)

47. I Heard It Through the Grapevine Part I
Gladys Knight and the Pips (1967) | Roger (1980)

48. Angel of the Morning
Merrilee Rush & The Turnabouts (1968) | Juice Newton (1981)

49. You Can Leave Your Hat On
Randy Newman (1972) | Joe Cocker (1985)

50. You Can't Hurry Love
The Supremes (1966) | Phil Collins (1982)

51. Jealous Guy
John Lennon (1971) | Roxy Music (1981)

52. Dirty Old Town
Ewan MacColl (1952) | Pogues (1985)

53. Dancing in the Street
Martha and the Vandellas (1964) | David Bowie & Mick Jagger (1985)

54. I Got You Babe
Sonny and Cher (1965) | UB40 with Chrissie Hynde (1985)

55. Money's Too Tight (to Mention)
The Valentine Brothers (1982) | Simply Red (1985)

56. Love of the Common People
The Four Preps (1967) | Paul Young (1982)

57. Real Wild Child
Johnny O'Keefe (1958, as "Wild One") | Iggy Pop (1986)

58. I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down
Sam & Dave (1967) | Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1980)

59. Song to the Siren
Tim Buckley (1970) | This Mortal Coil (1983)

60. They Don't Know
Kirsty MacColl (1979) | Tracey Ullman (1983)

61. Crimson and Clover
Tommy James and the Shondells (1968) | Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1981)

62. Sweet Jane
Velvet Underground (1970) | Cowboy Junkies (1988)

63. Come Back and Stay
Jack Lee (1981) | Paul Young (1983)

64. Queen of Hearts
Dave Edmunds (1979) | Juice Newton (1981)

65. Let's Stay Together
Al Green (1971) | Tina Turner (1983)

66. Wild World
Cat Stevens (1970) | Maxi Priest (1988)

67. Money Changes Everything
Brains (1978) | Cyndi Lauper (1983)

68. Downtown Train
Tom Waits (1985) | Rod Stewart (1989)

69. State of Independence
Jon and Vangelis (1981) | Donna Summer (1982)

70. Dear Prudence
Beatles (1968) | Siouxsie and the Banshees (1983)

71. A New England
Billy Bragg (1983) | Kirsty MacColl (1984)

72. Smokin' In The Boys Room
Brownsville Station (1974) | Motley Crue (1985)

73. In the Army Now
Boland & Boland (1981) | Status Quo (1986)

74. Love Buzz
Shocking Blue (1969) | Nirvana (1988)

75. Police on My Back
The Equals (1968) | The Clash (1980)

76. Pretty Woman
Roy Orbison (1964) | Van Halen (1982)

77. Wherever I Lay My Hat
Marvin Gaye (1962) | Paul Young (1983)

78. Your Mama Don't Dance
Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina (1972) | Poison (1988)

79. Iko Iko
Sugar Boy and His Cane Cutters (1953, as "Jock-A-Mo") | The Belle Stars (1982)

80. Something's Gotten A Hold of My Heart
Gene Pitney (1967) | Marc Almond and Gene Pitney (1989)

81. Shadows of the Night
Helen Schneider (1981) | Pat Benatar (1982)

82. All Fired Up
Rattling Sabres (1987) | Pat Benatar (1988)

83. Our Lips Are Sealed
Go-Go's (1981) | Fun Boy Three (1983)

84. Spirit in the Sky
Norman Greenbaum (1969) | Doctor and the Medics (1986)

85. Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody
Standard | David Lee Roth (1985)

86. Ziggy Stardust
David Bowie (1972) | Bauhaus (1982)

87. I've Done Everything for You
Sammy Hagar (1978) | Rick Springfield (1981)

88. Kiss
Prince (1985) | Art of Noise feat. Tom Jones (1988)

89. You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Righteous Brothers (1964) | Daryl Hall and John Oates (1980)

90. You Better Run
The Young Rascals (1966) | Pat Benatar (1980)

91. Pink Cadillac
Bruce Springsteen (1984) | Natalie Cole (1988)

92. Superman
The Clique (1969) | R.E.M. (1986)

93. Suspicious Minds
Mark James (1968) | Fine Young Cannibals (1985)

94. Don't Be Cruel
Elvis Presley (1956) | Cheap Trick (1988)

95. Can't Get Used to Losing You
Andy Williams (1963) | The (English) Beat (1980)

96. Thing Called Love
John Hiatt (1987) | Bonnie Raitt (1989)

97. Eight Miles High
Byrds (1966) | Hüsker Dü (1984)

98. Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)
Van Morrison (1972) | Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)

99. Going Down to Liverpool
Katrina & The Waves (1982) | The Bangles (1984)

100. In the Ghetto
Elvis Presley (1969) | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1984)




Last Updated: 2022-04-07
Newly added names are in Red

Definition: The term "cover version" originally referred to a rival version of a tune recorded to compete with the recently released version of a song. Eventually it went on to have a more general meaning including any performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer of a previously recorded, commercially released song. For sake of this list, versions of songs which fit the newer definition of cover version but not the original one are referred to as remakes.