Luke Combs scored his third Billboard Top 10 hit this week with his newest single, “Fast Car.” However, it is interesting to note that this is not the first time this song has graced the Hot 100. The original version, performed by Tracy Chapman, was a hit back in 1988. The song peaked at number six on the charts and cemented its spot on the year-end list. What will shock many is how many iconic songs throughout history have been covers this whole time. I learned about so many of them that it blew my mind. I wanted to share a few of these songs that surprised me, but this list could have been much longer. Without further ado, let’s begin!
“I’m A Believer” By Smash Mouth
I ordered this list from least surprising to most surprising. This song is on the ‘least’ side because the original version has many fans. The original “I’m A Believer” was released in 1966 by the pop group The Monkees. This initial version was more low-key and groovy in its presentation. It makes you want to bounce more than headbang, as the cover does. Smash Mouth’s rendition has around 100 million fewer streams than its predecessor. Despite all this, most people remember this song from the Shrek soundtrack featuring the cover. Whichever one you play, you can’t go wrong.
“Venus” By Bananarama
Here we have another case of the previous version being pretty close to the newer one. Ask anyone to play “Venus” for you; they will almost always play the one by Bananarama. This one is more rock-oriented, but the first iteration had its time in the spotlight. “Venus” was initially released by the Dutch rock band Shocking Blue in 1969. Not too long after this, the song managed to top the charts in nine countries. Like the last song, the original version provides more of a laid-back vibe. Regardless, the dance song rework cemented itself as a pop culture staple.
“Mickey” By Toni Basil
This song has resurged due to another reworking blowing up on Tik Tok. Baby Tate’s “Hey, Mickey!” samples the iconic chant of the original 80s classic. We can thank the mind of Toni Basil for that. However, we can’t technically call it the original. The first version of this song wasn’t even named “Mickey.” British pop group Racey first recorded the song under the title “Kitty.” Both songs feature the same amount of fun energy that will make anyone want to dance, even “Kitty” which excludes the chant mentioned above.
“Year 3000” By Jonas Brothers
I am sure you are all as shocked to see this here as I am. While this song was never a smash hit, many Gen Z adults consider it a classic. Young adults closer to my age love this song and have probably never heard of a band called Busted. Busted is the British pop rock band that first wrote “Year 3000.” Due to their similar styles, both bands’ versions sound the same, with one big difference. As a Disney Channel band, Jonas Brothers appealed to a much younger audience than Busted did. Because of this, the trio had to change many of the lyrics to be more kid-friendly. For example, they changed lines such as “triple-breasted women swim around town, totally naked” to “girls there, with round hair like Star Wars, float above the floor.”
“I Will Always Love You” By Whitney Houston
If the last entry surprised the Gen Z crowd, this entry would surprise everybody. While researching for this article, I showed my sister that this song was a cover. After telling her several times, she refused to believe it. This song is so iconic that it feels weird to know Houston did not create it. In reality, “I Will Always Love You” was first written and performed by country star Dolly Parton. She wrote it as a farewell letter to her former business partner when she wanted to go solo. It’s a sweet little country ballad with a wholesome story attached to it. However, Whitney Houston’s rendition is so powerful. That final chorus hits you like a truck with her sweeping vocals. It is undeniable.
I hope you enjoyed this list! I cannot guarantee the shock value of all of these, but I hope one surprised you. Let me know if I missed one of your favorites. I’ll see y’all next week.