Have you ever heard a song that captures you immediately and you wonder how and why that song didn’t come into your life sooner? Sometimes you don’t even realize it, but that song actually could have become part of your world long before it did. That is because several of our favorite country songs are actually covers, whether from this genre or crossed over from another. Wait. What?!
We have a few of our favorite remakes below; several of which we are still lifting our jaws up off the ground about because who knew?! Do any of these surprise you?
Blake Shelton “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking”
Before Blake Shelton took “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” to Number 1, Joe Nichols recorded the song for his 2007 album Real Things. Though Nichols didn’t release it as a single, the John Wiggins/Earl Lee Bud tune found individual chart success with Shelton.
Brooks & Dunn “My Maria”
Before Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn crooned about a lady named Maria, B.W. Stevenson had her all to himself. The Stevenson/Daniel Moore song saw its share of success on the pop and adult contemporary charts in the 1970s, peaking at nine and one, respectively. However, it was country duo Brooks & Dunn that took the song up the country chart in 1996.
Garth Brooks “Shameless”
That’s right. Before Garth Brooks was up in arms about the woman who has made him shameless, the piano man himself introduced the state of being to the public. Unfortunately for Billy Joel, the highest position his version of “Shameless” saw on the charts was Number 40, but he still was able to laugh his way to the bank when Brooks drove it up the country chart.
Garth Brooks “The Thunder Rolls”
Wait, what?! Yes, it’s true. Garth Brooks might have co-written his controversial 1991 hit, but before he recorded and released it, Tanya Tucker actually put her vocals on the track. The song, however, did not appear on any of Tucker’s albums until 1995 when she released a self-titled box set. And, yes. The not-so-secret-anymore third verse does appear on Tucker’s version!
Jo Dee Messina “Lesson in Leavin'”
In 1980, Dottie West taught a man a lesson in leavin’, and the whole world learned it along side him. While the song was a Number 1 hit on country charts for West, it was Jo Dee Messina who made it a staple on country radio, even receiving frequent airplay to date on stations that focus on 1990s and 2000s songs. In 1999, the fiery female carried her version to Number 2 on the charts and sat there comfortably for seven weeks.
Johnny Cash “Hurt”
In 1994, Nine Inch Nails front man, Trent Reznor, wrote and released “Hurt” on the rock band’s The Downward Spiral album. The Grammy nominated song was recorded in 2002 by the legendary Johnny Cash, who received much praise from the industry and Reznor (following the music video) for his interpretation. The track will now go down in history as one of Cash’s final hits prior to his 2003 death.
Rascal Flatts “Bless the Broken Road”
Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd, and Jeff Hanna likely didn’t imagine that their song “Bless the Broken Road” would gain so much traction when the three penned it, but what a road it traveled! The first in the long line of those to record the song was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1994; but it was country music trio Rascal Flatts that took it to Number 1 in 2005 and helped earn the songwriters a Grammy Award.
Reba McEntire “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”
This one plumb shocked us. Not only did we not realize (or we likely blocked it out to protect our sanity) that “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” was a cover song, but we were mind blown when we saw that “Mama” from Mama’s Family was the one who first recorded Reba McEntire’s song. Vicki Lawrence might have experienced better chart success than McEntire, but it is the Queen of Country who has claimed ownership of the dark and twisted track. ***Tanya Tucker also recorded this song in 1981 with altered lyrics to coincide with a movie of the same name.***
Which songs left you surprised when you found out they were actually covers? Let us know by leaving a comment here!