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10 Songs That Should Never Be Covered Again

Wolf Parade fans — and that includes us — rejoiced when the band played a few shows this weekend. It remains to be seen whether these will turn out to be farewell performances or if they magically result in the end of the band’s indefinite hiatus, so we’ll try not to read too much into the cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” they played in Vancouver. It looks like it was a touching moment, and we love Wolf Parade, but we probably don’t need to hear any new bands tackle Dylan’s classic, which was also a big, weird hit for Guns ‘N Roses. The video got us thinking about other seminal songs that should never be covered again. Our top ten is after the jump.

Leonard Cohen — “Hallelujah” (1984)

Definitive cover version: Jeff Buckley (1994)

If we betting types, we might wager that most people who know the song “Hallelujah” don’t realize Leonard Cohen wrote it because it’s been covered so many times, and it’s been those versions that have most often popped up on movie and TV soundtracks. We like the Jeff Buckley version and understand why it’s more popular than the original, but for us, only Cohen’s gravelly growl does this dark love song justice. That’s not to say that subsequent covers, especially Rufus Wainwright’s, haven’t been good. We’re just sick of seeing a legitimately complex song become easy emotional shorthand for “a sad break-up happened.”

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