What is a cover song?

By Chris Moore:

If you enjoy hearing your favorite songs played by different artists, then you enjoy cover songs. Likewise, if you enjoy hearing your favorite artists and performers play songs by other songwriters, then you enjoy cover songs. A cover song is a track played by a performer other than the original songwriter.

Some famous covers include Peter, Paul, and Mary’s cover version of Bob Dylan songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind.” This 1960s folk classic, although written by legendary songwriter Bob Dylan, is best known when played by the aforementioned trio. Another Dylan song, “All Along the Watchtower,” was transformed from a country ballad to a searing electric rocker by Jimi Hendrix. After Hendrix released his cover song version, even Dylan began playing it like Hendrix.

In a sense, American Idol is largely based on cover songs, as judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul tend to hear contestants’ renditions of more established, popular songs. (And when contestants perform their own songs, the witty insults and glares of disgust tend to be all the stronger…)

The best cover songs are those that are faithful to the original, but transformed into the performer’s own version. For instance, the early Beatles albums included old standards, but John, Paul, George, and Ringo brought new life to them and really made the Beatles songs that were covers sound like they had written them themselves.

When are you most likely to hear cover songs? If you have been to a concert, then you know that many performers and bands enjoy playing songs by their own favorite artists. Both Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and the Beach Boys, although they have countless hit songs of their own, have played their favorites 1950s rock classics live in concert; the Beach Boys have even recorded cover songs of tunes such as “Barbara Ann.”   Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker songs and Beach Boys songs are only a few examples of possible covers.  When an artist performs acoustic music, the likelihood that they will try out a classic song increases. While independent music tends to be based purely on original songs, even indie songwriters make references to other bands (most often obscure ones) and perform cover songs in concert.

Video blogs like the Laptop Sessions are devoted to releasing acoustic covers of the best songs ever written. In a sense, the unplugged cover songs of the Laptop Sessions offer a chance to see classic songs as new music – at least as new performances.

Now you know what a cover song is, so Click HERE to visit the Laptop Sessions homepage and watch our latest cover song videos!

And Click HERE if you want to browse our categories of bands and videos.

Below are Jim Fusco’s cover song music videos on YouTube:

Country Air (Beach Boys cover songs)

I’m So Lonely (Beach Boys cover songs)

Girl Don’t Tell Me (Beach Boys cover songs)

Let It Be (Beatles cover songs)

Laughing (The Guess Who cover songs)

I Told You (The Thorns cover songs)

I Dreamed Last Night (Blue Jays cover songs)

Honey Don’t (The Beatles and Carl Perkins cover songs)

Do You Want To Know A Secret (The Beatles cover songs)

You and Your Heart (Jack Johnson cover songs)

Sweet Talkin’ Woman (E.L.O. cover songs)

San Francisco (Brett Dennen cover songs)

Crackerbox Palace (George Harrison cover songs)

I’d Have You Anytime (George Harrison & Bob Dylan cover songs)

The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles cover songs)

Palisades Park (Freddy Cannon cover songs)

Lightnin’ Strikes (Lou Christie songs cover songs)

Real Love (Beatles cover songs)

Private Eyes (Darryl Hall and John Oates cover songs)

Dream Angel (Brian Wilson cover songs)

Baby I Need Your Loving (Four Tops cover songs)

Heaven (Brett Dennen cover songs)

Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead cover songs)

Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot cover songs)

Maybe Baby (Buddy Holly cover songs)

Dream Lover (Bobby Darin cover songs)

Iris (Goo Goo Dolls cover songs)

Ding Dong Ding Dong (George Harrison cover songs)

Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley cover songs)

Holiday (The Bee Gees cover songs)

If You Wanna (Paul McCartney cover songs)

Stand By Me (Ben E. King & John Lennon cover songs)

The Trader (The Beach Boys cover songs)

The Fool On the Hill (The Beatles cover songs)

You Can Do Magic (America cover songs)

A Day In The Life (The Beatles cover songs)

If I Fell (Beatles cover songs)

Eight Days A Week (Beatles cover songs)

Two Of Us (Beatles cover songs)

It Ain’t Me Babe (The Turtles & Bob Dylan cover songs)

It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over (Lenny Kravitz cover songs)

Lahaina Aloha (Beach Boys cover songs)

It’s Too Late (Carole King cover songs)

Dancing In the Moonlight (King’s Harvest cover songs)

Walk Away Renee (Left Banke & Four Tops cover songs)

Boom Boom Pow (Black Eyed Peas cover songs)

Forgetful Heart (Bob Dylan cover songs)

Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers cover songs)

Here Without You (The Byrds cover songs)

Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) (The Looking Glass cover songs)

Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Elvis Presley cover songs)

Listen To the Music (Doobie Brothers cover songs)

Woman (John Lennon cover songs)

Brilliant Disguise (Bruce Sprinsteen cover songs)

Do You Wanna Dance? (Beach Boys cover songs)

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John cover songs)

Carry On (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young cover songs)

Shoe Box (Barenaked Ladies cover songs)

Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffett cover songs)

A Night Away (Original songs)

People Are Strange (Doors cover songs)

(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight (Cutting Crew cover songs)

Where I Find My Heaven (Gigolo Aunts cover songs)

Working My Way Back To You (Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons cover songs)

Second That Emotion (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles cover songs)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours (Stevie Wonder cover songs)

Blue World (Moody Blues cover songs)

Livin’ With A Heartache (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Baby I Love Your Way (Peter Frampton cover songs)

House of the Rising Sun (The Animals cover songs)

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Darlene Love cover songs)

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) (John Lennon cover songs)

Burning Love (Elvis Presley cover songs)

Run Rudolph Run (Chuck Berry cover songs)

Please Come Home For Christmas (Eagles cover songs)

Runaway (Del Shannon cover songs)

Last Christmas (Wham! cover songs)

Live Let Live (Brian Wilson cover songs)

Jungle Love (Steve Miller Band cover songs)

Teenager In Love (Dion & The Belmonts cover songs)

San Francisco (Scott McKenzie cover songs)

Shine (Trey Anastasio cover songs)

You Showed Me (The Turtles cover songs)

Happy Together (The Turtles cover songs)

Just Once In My Life (Righteous Brothers cover songs)

Come See About Me (Diana Ross & the Sumpremes cover songs)

America (Simon & Garfunkel cover songs)

Disney Girls (1957) (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Tuesday Afternoon (The Moody Blues cover songs)

Searching For A Heart (Warren Zevon cover songs)

Bad Moon Rising (CCR cover songs)

Can’t You See (Marshall Tucker Band cover songs)

Behind Blue Eyes (The Who cover songs)

Do It Again (Steely Dan cover songs)

You’re Sixteen (Ringo Starr cover songs)

I Can’t Stand It (Eric Clapton cover songs)

I’m Into Something Good (Herman’s Hermits cover songs)

Blueberry Hill (Fats Domino cover songs)

Runaway Feeling (The Thorns cover songs)

New Kid On The Block (Barenaked Ladies cover songs)

I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You (Bee Gees cover songs)

Little Willow (Paul McCartney cover songs)

Don’t Know A Thing About Love (Ringo Starr cover songs)

Wednesday Morning (America cover songs)

Surrender To Me (McGuinn, Clark, Hillman cover songs)

Depending On You (Tom Petty cover songs)

Maybe Katie (Barenaked Ladies cover songs)

Time (Ben Folds cover songs)

The Girl I Knew Somewhere (The Monkees cover songs)

Sweet Dream Baby (Roy Orbison cover songs)

Let It Grow (Eric Clapton cover songs)

Let It Ride (Bachman-Turner Overdrive BTO cover songs)

Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley cover songs)

Temptation Eyes (The Grass Roots cover songs)

A Simple Game (Moody Blues & Four Tops cover songs)

Come and Get It (Badfinger cover songs)

Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen cover songs)

You and I (Dennis Wilson- Pacific Ocean Blue cover songs)

Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles cover songs)

That’s Not Me (Beach Boys cover songs)

Unchained Melody (The Righteous Brothers cover songs)

Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (Bob Dylan cover songs)

These Eyes (The Guess Who cover songs)

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing (Jack Johnson cover songs)

You Got It (Roy Orbison cover songs)

That Was Then, This Is Now (Monkees cover songs)

Take Your Mama (Scissor Sisters cover songs)

It’s Now Or Never (Elvis Presley cover songs)

Drive (The Cars cover songs)

A Hard Day’s Night (The Beatles cover songs)

All Things Must Pass (George Harrison cover songs)

Congratulations (Traveling Wilburys cover songs)

These Apples (Barenaked Ladies cover songs)

Wouldn’t It Be Nice (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Slip on Through (The Beach Boys cover songs)

My Brave Face (Paul McCartney cover songs)

The Way You Do The Things You Do (The Temptations song cover songs)

(Just Like) Starting Over (John Lennon cover songs)

If You Leave Me Now (Chicago cover songs)

The Girl With No Name (The Byrds cover songs)

You May Be Right (Billy Joel cover songs)

‘Til I Die (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Cowgirl in the Sand (Neil Young & the Byrds cover songs)

How Good It Can Get (The Wallflowers cover songs)

The Night Was So Young (Beach Boys cover songs)

Things We Said Today (The Beatles cover songs)

Sour Girl (Stone Temple Pilots cover songs)

A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You (The Monkees cover songs)

Everything I Need (Wallflowers cover songs)

Let Us Go On This Way (Beach Boys cover songs)

Great Day (Paul McCartney cover songs)

To Be Alone With You (Bob Dylan cover songs)

Set You Free This Time (Byrds cover songs)

Soulful Old Man Sunshine (Beach Boys cover songs)

Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues cover songs)

Garden Party (Ricky Nelson cover songs)

Goin’ South (Beach Boys cover songs)

So You Say You Lost Your Baby (Gene Clark cover songs)

Evil Woman (Electric Light Orchestra cover songs)

You Just May Be The One (Monkees cover songs)

If This Is It (Huey Lewis & the News cover songs)

Sister Golden Hair (America cover songs)

This Is Love (George Harrison cover songs)

You’re So Good To Me (Beach Boys cover songs)

Dark of My Moon (Gene Clark cover songs)

Young Boy (Paul McCartney cover songs)

The Voice (The Moody Blues cover songs)

Brian Wilson (Barenaked Ladies cover songs)

Busy Doin’ Nothing (Beach Boys cover songs)

Question (The Moody Blues cover songs)

Travelin’ Man (Ricky Nelson cover songs)

Surfer Girl (The Beach Boys cover songs)

It’s Up To You (Moody Blues cover songs)

Handle With Care (Traveling Wilburys cover songs)

Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms cover songs)

I’ll Be Home For Christmas (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Run Rudolph Run (Christmas cover songs)

Too Little Too Late (Barenaked Ladies cover songs)

Somewhere Near Japan (Beach Boys cover songs)

Here, There, and Everywhere (Beatles cover songs)

Do They Know It’s Christmas? (Band-Aid Christmas cover songs)

Elf’s Lament (Barenaked Ladies Christmas cover songs)

Same Old Lang Syne (Dan Fogelberg cover songs)

If You Belonged To Me (Traveling Wilburys cover songs)

Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan cover songs)

The Other Side of Life (The Moody Blues cover songs)

Christmas Morning (Original Christmas Song by Jim Fusco)

The Lonely Sea (The Beach Boys cover songs)

The Warmth of the Sun (The Beach Boys cover songs)

And I Love Her (The Beatles cover songs)

Farmer’s Daughter (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Blow Away (George Harrison cover songs)

And Then I Kissed Her (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Wishing You Were Here (Chicago cover songs)

Night Time (Brian Wilson cover songs)

Never Comes The Day (The Moody Blues cover songs)

The Man With All The Toys (The Beach Boys cover songs)

Good Timin’ (Beach Boys cover songs)

Have You Here (Original songs)

Home (Original Songs)

Our Love Doesn’t Translate(Original songs)

On For Miles (Original songs)

Exception (Original songs)

Halfway There (Original songs)

Only A Dream (Original Music)

Christmas Evening (Original songs)

What An Outsider Sees ((Original songs)

Winning You Over (Original songs)

That Was The Day (Original songs)

I Need (Original songs)

I’m Just Waiting (Original songs)

Strummin (Original songs)

It’s You (Original songs)

Happy Tears (Jim Fusco)

Worlds Apart (Original Music)

For Real (Jim Fusco Music)

Sober (Original Song by Jim Fusco)

The Red, White, and Blues (Original Songs)

What Not To Do (Jim Fusco Original Songs)

Don’t Be That Way (Original Songs)

Looking To You (Original Songs)

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