Editor's List of Top 10 Remakes/Alternate Versions of Successful Songs

Listed below are what are, in this editor's own personal opinion, 10 very pleasing tunes that were either remade, or as in one case, is the original version of a popular record that gets played on the radio on the Top 40 Oldies Stations, or the Classic Rock broadcasts.  This list is just a personal preference, and not intended to be declared as absolute.  I'm sure I've overlooked countless works of brilliance, but these are the 10 that jumped out at me when pondering the issue.  It was also very difficult to rank these from 1 to 10, but again, this is just my own personal preference.

Number 10:  Memphis (version by Johnny Rivers, remade from Chuck Berry's original).

Number 9:  Mr. Tambourine Man (version by The Byrds, remade from Bob Dylan's original)

Number 8:  Across the Universe (version by David Bowie, remade from The Beatles original)

Number 7:  Please Mr. Postman (version by The Beatles, remade from The Marvelettes original)

Number 6:  Without You (original version by Badfinger, which was later redone by Carly Simon)

Number 5:  Hey Joe (version by The Leaves, made before Jimi Hendrix's popular rendition)

Number 4:  It Ain't Me Babe (version by The Turtles, remade from Bob Dylan's original)

Number 3:  This Magic Moment (version by Jay and the Americans, remade from The Drifters original)

Number 2:  All Along the Watchtower (version by Jimi Hendrix, remade from Bob Dylan's original)

Number 1:  Just My Imagination (version by The Rolling Stones, remade from The Temptations original)


As you've probably noticed, there were 3 Bob Dylan original selections from the above list, all of which were excellent.  This is quite a testimonial to Dylan, as 3 giants of the 60's music era made successful attempts at recreating his original masterpieces.  The Badfinger selection, "Without You" was actually the original version of Nilsson's blockbuster rendition from the early to mid 1970's.  It was necessary to include this original work in this list of remakes simply to establish recognition to a song that a lot of people, including myself, didn't even know existed until recently.  Also of note, The Leaves did an outstanding job prior to the Hendrix landmark composition, "Hey Joe".  The Leaves' version is actually the 'original', and has a sound all its own, just as the Hendrix version does.  The Leaves version is still 'under the surface' as far as discovery of magnificence goes--it's one of those songs that's hardly ever been aired on the radio, but very pleasing to the 'rock and roll' ear upon first and continued listening.  Similarly, the Rolling Stones created a whole new sound to an already established 'icon of a song', when they remade "Just My Imagination" by The Temptations.  At the time, the Stones were very well-grounded during this second phase of their evolution as a rock band (and they've continued to evolve brilliantly as music eras have changed over the last 40 years).  Remaking a song that was perfect was a bold undertaking, and the version by The Rolling Stones is an outstanding example of all parts of the group functioning at their energetic best, giving the original classic a brand new, faster sound.  And even though the remade version can stand by itself as a rock classic, it still is a humble tribute to The Temptations original work of art by a high-profile and legendary group of performers.

Again, the above list and commentary is very much subjective, and based on personal opinion and preference.  It's not intended to be considered as fact--just a point of view.