Best Ever Songs (the ones that nobody else did better!)

edited August 2021 in General
I was looking at the "Awesome Cover Versions" discussion and it occurred to me that there are some songs where nobody else ever comes close!

A really great example to start the discussion, to my mind, is "Waterloo Sunset" by Ray Davies and The Kinks.


  • edited August 2021
    This has always been one of my pet subjects, though it seems like it might be a bit all-encompassing for a forum thread. So... are you more interested in songs that nobody else even attempted to cover (presumably because the original was so good), or songs that have been covered extensively but never all that successfully? Or both (i.e., does it matter)?
    It's probably both, so personally I'd suggest something like "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul & Linda McCartney — it's probably my favorite song from the early 70s that wasn't recorded by Bowie or Roxy Music, and the few cover attempts since then (nearly all by obscure artists, except for Buddy Rich) have been almost universally pathetic, like this one for example. There was a rumor once that XTC was going to do a version with John Cleese doing the "kettle's on the boil" part, which is probably why I'm mentioning it (XTC is my favorite band), but I guess Cleese wasn't available when they were considering doing it.
    As for "Waterloo Sunset," I actually prefer the Cathy Dennis version, but I understand that I'm going to be distinctly in the minority in that regard (though she did get some very positive Youtube comments, at least). Still, I have to say that nearly everything the Kinks recorded during the Shel Talmy era (i.e., their first five albums) is almost unlistenable to me — due to what I see as the enormously tragic gulf between the really high quality of the songwriting and the near-execrable production sound Talmy inflicted on them. But again, that's a personal thing, I don't expect to get much agreement there, other than on the fact that Talmy was almost objectively bad at recording music, even given the technological limitations of 1960s recording studios.
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