Best Live Covers of Songs

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There has long been the debate if covers of famous songs can be better than the original. Whilst our writers may not come to a conclusion on this, they do put forward suggestions of great covers. Check out their picks below:

‘Heart of Glass’

During the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Miley Cyrus effortlessly displayed her talents in genre-jumping as she paid tribute to Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’.

Like all good covers, this version was slightly different from the original as Cyrus gave it a heavier spin. She stunned audiences with her incredible vocal range and control over her voice, swapping Debbie Harry’s original falsetto tones for rockstar grunge.

Cyrus’ ability to control the stage is immense; her passion and energy lights up the room and shows how she has developed immensely as an artist who has the ability to pull off any genre, style, or concept. Adding to this is her hair, outfit, and makeup in this performance, which pays tribute to the original music video. The performance revives a certain sort of 70s flair with a modern twist and presents Cyrus as a performer that you simply can’t look away from.

Aside from Cyrus’ voice, the rest of the music cleverly doesn’t take many risks or stray very far from the original – the iconic opening beat is present and recognizable, and the rest of the instrumentation simply gives a modern lift to the original. Perhaps if Cyrus and her band had taken it to even further extremes and pursued the rockier side of the song more, the outcome may have been even more exciting. However, this can only make fans more excited for Cyrus’ future performances of her own music, which have recently pointed to new explorations of the genre. Overall, this cover displays Cyrus’ talents and innovative style and shows critics that she cannot be categorized. – Connie Seamer

‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’

As a big fan of Shania Twain, HAIM had a high standard to live up to with their cover of ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’. However, that smashed it out of the park and impressed me with their live singing as they performed the hit live on-air. From the stripped back sound to the harmonisation of their soft vocals, this is a very mellow tune. These ladies are constantly reminding us how the indie-pop scene can reinvent some of the most popular songs of the 90s for the late 2010s.

Although we at The Edge do love the original, HAIM live up to their reputation as indie queens and definitely is a tune for the warmer months. – Jo Lisney

‘Back to Black’ 

Sam Fender has made a name for himself since the release of his debut album Hypersonic Missiles last year. Earlier this year, he joined BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge and performed a session in which he took the challenge of covering Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’. It’s impossible to sum up just how incredible of a job he did – the cover is flawless. Covering Winehouse is incredibly difficult, with her distinct vocals being a very poignant feature of the song. However, Fender puts a mellow twist on the song which makes it one of the best covers ever.

Combining reverberated guitar and soft vocals, with a hint of brass instruments, Fender’s cover of ‘Back to Black’ is one of the easiest songs to listen to on repeat. With each listen, another beautiful aspect becomes obvious, and it’s utterly addictive. If you’ve not heard it, give it a listen and you’re guaranteed to fall in love with it.  Georgie Holmes

‘Passionfruit’

Paramore’s cover of Drake’s ‘Passionfruit’ gave the song a whole new level, the beat sounds quite similar but with an indie pop twist through the drum machine and the soft angelic guitar strums. The cover takes my breath away each time with Hayley Williams beautiful and power voice, she has so much control in her voice. The song also sees Williams show us a gentleness of her voice and adds a layer of heartbreak to the song. Whatever Paramore touches turns to gold, so it isn’t shocking that they absolutely smashed the cover. I can sit here for years and cry over the beauty of Paramore and Williams work however all you need to do is listen to the cover and fill the power of the song.  Morgan McMillan

‘Times Like These’

Back at Glastonbury just 5 years ago in 2015, Florence + the Machine held an ever-so impressive set on the infamous pyramid stage. The set included one of my favourite live covers of an existing song – a cover of Foo Fighters’ beautifully emotional track ‘Times Like These’ after Foo Fighters had to drop out of their headline Glastonbury set. The original is obviously an incredible tune, having been re-recorded recently by Foo Fighters and a wealth of other singers and songwriters to support the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic, but the cover done by the brilliant Florence is not one to be missed. Her voice shines through clearly and feels as though it was made to cover the rock ballad, turning it into a more dramatic and elegant piece. The cover is bright and melodic, and as much as I love the original, it’s a close call as to which is better! – Katie Evans

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Buzzing like a busy bee as the live editor 2020/21. You will often find me asleep when I should be doing my English degree. Oops!

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Live Editor 2019/20 & third year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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Editor 2020/21 and a History student with a Britney Spears addiction.

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