100 Notable Original Versions of Popular Songs

Edited By:

Dick Rosemont is recognized as one of the foremost experts on original versions of popular songs. For more information on original versions please visit his web site
"The Originals Project"
Criteria: These songs are ranked based on how surprising, how obscure and how good (or notably bad) each original version is and how interesting the story behind the song is, combined with how famous the subsequent versions of the song later became.

Legend: (under "Notes")
A - Good and/or interesting version
B - Notably bad version
C - Odd version
D - A surprise and/or obscure version
E - Interesting story behind it
F - A great/classic song

Notable Original Versions
of Popular Songs
1. The Bigger They Come The Harder They Fall
Original Artist: Jimmy Cliff (1971)
Remade By: Jimmy Cliff (1972)
Notes: C,D

2. I Put A Spell On You
Original Artist: Screamin' Jay Hawkins (1955)
Remade By: Screamin' Jay Hawkins (1956)
Notes: C,D,F

3. Misirlou
Original Artist: Tetos Demetriades
Remade By: Dick Dale
Notes: A,F

4. Magic Bus
Original Artist: Pudding
Remade By: The Who
Notes: C,D

5. I'm All Shook Up (aka All Shook Up)
Original Artist: David Hill
Remade By: Elvis Presley
Notes: B,D,E,F

6. Louie Louie
Original Artist: Richard Berry
Remade By: Kingsmen
Notes: A,F

7. Evil Ways
Original Artist: Willie Bobo
Remade By: Santana
Notes: A

8. Walk Don't Run
Original Artist: Johnny Smith
Remade By: Ventures
Notes: A,F

9. Caravan
Original Artist: Barney Bigard & Jazzopators
Remade By: Duke Ellington and others
Notes: A,F

10. Ring Of Fire
Original Artist: Anita Carter
Remade By: Johnny Cash
Notes: D,E,F

11. Wild Thing
Original Artist: Wild Ones
Remade By: Troggs
Notes: B,D,F

12. Hound Dog
Original Artist: Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton
Remade By: Elvis Presley
Notes: A

13. Baby Please Don't Go
Original Artist: Joe Williams' Washboard Blues Singers
Remade By: Them
Notes: F

14. Good Lovin'
Original Artist: Lemme B. Good
Remade By: Young Rascals
Notes: B,C,D,E

15. This Diamond Ring
Original Artist: Sammy Ambrose
Remade By: Gary Lewis & the Playboys
Notes: A,D

16. Walking After Midnight
Original Artist: Lynn Howard
Remade By: Patsy Cline
Notes: D

17. Back When My Hair Was Short
Original Artist: Gunhill Road (1972)
Remade By: Gunhill Road (1973)
Notes: C,D,E

18. Devil With The Blue Dress
Original Artist: Shorty Long
Remade By: Mitch Ryder
Notes: A

19. In The Mood
Original Artist: Edgar Hayes
Remade By: Glenn Miller
Notes: A,D,F

20. Dazed And Confused
Original Artist: Jake Holmes
Remade By: Led Zeppelin
Notes: D,E

21. Mr. Tambourine Man
Original Artist: Brothers Four
Remade By: Byrds/Bob Dylan
Notes: B,D,E

22. Rock Around The Clock
Original Artist: Sonny Dae & Knights
Remade By: Bill Haley & his Comets
Notes: C,D,E

23. I Fought The Law
Original Artist: Crickets
Remade By: Bobby Fuller Four
Notes: A,F

24. Jock-A-Mo (aka Iko Iko)
Original Artist: Sugar Boy Crawford
Remade By: Dixie Cups
Notes: A,F

25. Train Kept A-Rollin'
Original Artist: Tiny Bradshaw
Remade By: Yardbirds/Aerosmith
Notes: A,F

26. Lover Please
Original Artist: Rhythm Steppers
Remade By: Clyde McPhatter
Notes: C,D,E

27. Tobacco Road
Original Artist: John D. Loudermilk
Remade By: Nashville Teens
Notes: A,F

28. Sunny
Original Artist: Mieko Hirota
Remade By: Bobby Hebb
Notes: D

29. Just Dropped In
Original Artist: Jerry Lee Lewis
Remade By: First Edition
Notes: C,D

30. Apache
Original Artist: Bert Weedon
Remade By: Jorgen Ingmann
Notes: D,F

31. Sixteen Tons
Original Artist: Merle Travis
Remade By: Tennessee Ernie Ford
Notes: A,F

32. That'll Be The Day
Original Artist: Buddy Holly (1956)
Remade By: Crickets (1957)
Notes: D,E,F

33. Oye Como Va
Original Artist: Tito Puente
Remade By: Santana
Notes: A,F

34. Twist And Shout
Original Artist: Top Notes
Remade By: Isley Bros./Beatles
Notes: B,D,E

35. Wild World
Original Artist: Jimmy Cliff
Remade By: Cat Stevens
Notes: A,D,E

36. You Need Love (aka Whole Lotta Love)
Original Artist: Muddy Waters
Remade By: Led Zeppelin
Notes: D,E

37. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Original Artist: Louise Cordet
Remade By: Gerry & the Pacemakers
Notes: B,D

38. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
Original Artist: Big Maybelle
Remade By: Jerry Lee Lewis
Notes: A,D,F

39. Chelsea Morning
Original Artist: Fairport Convention
Remade By: Joni Mitchell
Notes: D,F

40. Last Kiss
Original Artist: Wayne Cochran
Remade By: J. Frank Wilson
Notes: D,E,F

41. Lady Marmalade
Original Artist: Eleventh Hour
Remade By: Labelle
Notes: C,D

42. Shakin' All Over
Original Artist: Johnny Kidd & the Pirates
Remade By: Guess Who/The Who
Notes: F

43. Sitting On Top Of The World
Original Artist: Mississippi Sheiks
Remade By: Howlin' Wolf/Cream
Notes: D,F

44. Drift Away
Original Artist: John Kurtz
Remade By: Dobie Gray
Notes: A,D

45. Route 66
Original Artist: King Cole Trio
Remade By: Rolling Stones
Notes: A,F

46. Mbube (aka Lion Sleeps Tonight)
Original Artist: Solomon Linda
Remade By: Tokens
Notes: A,D,E

47. Time Is On My Side
Original Artist: Kai Winding
Remade By: Rolling Stones
Notes: C,D

48. Can't Sit Down
Original Artist: Bim Bam Boos
Remade By: Dovells
Notes: D

49. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby
Original Artist: Rex Griffin
Remade By: Carl Perkins
Notes: D

50. Different Drum
Original Artist: Greenbriar Boys
Remade By: Stone Poneys
Notes: A,D,E

51. Hey Joe
Original Artist: Leaves (1965)
Remade By: Leaves (1966)
Notes: E,F

52. I've Got My Mind Set On You
Original Artist: James Ray
Remade By: George Harrison
Notes: C,D

53. Stranded In The Jungle
Original Artist: Jayhawks
Remade By: Cadets
Notes: F

54. Keep Growing Strong (aka Betcha By Golly Wow)
Original Artist: Connie Stevens
Remade By: Stylistics
Notes: D

55. Just Like Me
Original Artist: Wilde Knights
Remade By: Paul Revere & the Raiders
Notes: C,D

56. Me And Bobby McGee
Original Artist: Roger Miller
Remade By: Janis Joplin
Notes: D,E

57. Here Comes The Night
Original Artist: Lulu
Remade By: Them
Notes: D

58. Burning Love
Original Artist: Arthur Alexander
Remade By: Elvis Presley
Notes: A,D

59. It's All Over Now
Original Artist: Valentinos
Remade By: Rolling Stones
Notes: C,F

60. Can't You Hear My Heartbeat
Original Artist: Goldie & the Gingerbreads
Remade By: Herman's Hermits
Notes: D,E

61. Sing, Sing, Sing
Original Artist: Louis Prima
Remade By: Benny Goodman
Notes: A,F

62. Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
Original Artist: Joan Baez
Remade By: Led Zeppelin
Notes: C,E

63. Crazy Arms
Original Artist: Kenny Brown & Marilyn Kaye
Remade By: Ray Price
Notes: D

64. Comin' Home Baby
Original Artist: Dave Bailey
Remade By: Herbie Mann
Notes: D,F

65. Mustang Sally
Original Artist: Sir Mack Rice
Remade By: Wilson Pickett
Notes: A,F

66. That's How Strong My Love Is
Original Artist: O.V. Wright
Remade By: Otis Redding
Notes: F

67. Young Love
Original Artist: Ric Cartey
Remade By: Sonny James/Tab Hunter
Notes: D,E

68. Who Do You Love
Original Artist: Bo Diddley
Remade By: Woolies/George Thorogood
Notes: A,F

69. Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Original Artist: Nina Simone
Remade By: Animals
Notes: A,F

70. After Midnight
Original Artist: J.J. Cale
Remade By: Eric Clapton
Notes: A,F

71. Moritat (aka Mack The Knife)
Original Artist: Harald Paulsen
Remade By: Bobby Darin
Notes: C,D,F

72. Riders In The Sky
Original Artist: Burl Ives
Remade By: Vaughn Monroe/Ramrods
Notes: A,F

73. Harlem Nocturne
Original Artist: Ray Noble
Remade By: Johnny Otis/Viscounts
Notes: D,F

74. Girl Of My Best Friend
Original Artist: Charlie Blackwell
Remade By: Ral Donner
Notes: B,D

75. Black Magic Woman
Original Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Remade By: Santana
Notes: A,F

76. Morning Dew
Original Artist: Bonnie Dobson
Remade By: Tim Rose/Jeff Beck
Notes: D,F

77. Tainted Love
Original Artist: Gloria Jones
Remade By: Soft Cell
Notes: A,F

78. The Tide Is High
Original Artist: Paragons
Remade By: Blondie
Notes: A,D

79. Little Bit O' Soul
Original Artist: Little Darlings
Remade By: Music Explosion
Notes: D

80. You Got What It Takes
Original Artist: Bobby Parker
Remade By: Marv Johnson/Dave Clark 5
Notes: D,E

81. On Broadway
Original Artist: Crystals
Remade By: Drifters
Notes: C,D,E

82. That's All Right
Original Artist: Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
Remade By: Elvis Presley
Notes: A,F

83. Rave On!
Original Artist: Sonny West
Remade By: Buddy Holly
Notes: D

84. Pale Faced Indian (aka Indian Reservation)
Original Artist: Marvin Rainwater
Remade By: Don Fardon/Raiders
Notes: D

85. Scarborough Fair (aka Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Original Artist: Gordon Heath & Lee Payant
Remade By: Simon & Garfunkel
Notes: C,D,E

86. Pass The Kouchie (aka Pass The Doutchie)
Original Artist: Mighty Diamonds
Remade By: Musical Youth
Notes: A,D,E

87. Willin'
Original Artist: Johnny Darrell
Remade By: Little Feat/Linda Rondstadt
Notes: D,F

88. Homeward Bound
Original Artist: Chad & Jeremy
Remade By: Simon & Garfunkel
Notes: D,E

89. Call It Stormy Monday
Original Artist: T-Bone Walker
Remade By: Bobby Bland and others
Notes: A,F

90. Rich Woman
Original Artist: Li'l Milet & His Creoles
Remade By: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Notes: A,D,F

91. Get It While You Can
Original Artist: Howard Tate
Remade By: Janis Joplin
Notes: A

92. Mystery Train
Original Artist: Junior Parker
Remade By: Elvis Presley
Notes: A,F

93. Let's Get Together (aka Get Together)
Original Artist: Kingston Trio
Remade By: Youngbloods
Notes: C,D

94. Angel Of The Morning
Original Artist: Evie Sands
Remade By: Merilee Rush/Juice Newton
Notes: D

95. Down Under
Original Artist: Men At Work (1979)
Remade By: Men At Work (1982)
Notes: C,D

96. Goin' Down
Original Artist: Moloch
Remade By: Freddie King/Jeff Beck
Notes: C,D,F

97. I'm Henry The VIII
Original Artist: Harry Champion
Remade By: Herman's Hermits
Notes: C,D

98. Night Train
Original Artist: Jimmy Forrest
Remade By:Buddy Morrow/Viscounts
Notes: E,F

99. She Cried
Original Artist: Teddy Daryll
Remade By: Jay & the Americans
Notes: D

100. Is That All There Is
Original Artist: Dan Daniels
Remade By: Peggy Lee
Notes: C,D,E

Last Updated: 2011-10-25