The fabulous season one finale of “The Top Ten Revealed” aired last night (March 18) on AXS TV. Last week, ‘70s Hard Rock Hits were counted down. This week, ten of the most surprising “Hits That Were Covers” were ranked via a social media fan vote. Series host and music maven Katie Daryl led viewers through the list of iconic tracks that rose to fame as little-known covers by one artist that were originally written, recorded, and released by another. A rotating roster of music artists and experts also weighed in on the list. Spoiler Alert: Ranking picks are revealed below.
Who would have ever known Joan Jetts and The Blackhearts’ signature chart-topping single “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” was first released by the UK band The Arrows in 1975? Jett released her indelible re-recorded version in 1981 and Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1982. Her unique brand of female rock swagger was infectious on this track, which was also inducted into the Grammys Hall of Fame in 2016. It kicked off this week's “The Top Ten Revealed” list in the No. 10 position.
Talk about a jaw-dropper! The No. 9 pick, “Cocaine,” seems like an Eric Clapton original classic. But, it was originally written and recorded by J.J. Cale. Clapton’s version was obviously “rockier” and his huge international fan base still considers it one of his coolest tracks.
No. 8 may have arguably delivered one of the most shocking revelations on the list with UB40’s rocking reggae hit “Red Red Wine." Surprisingly, it was originally written, recorded and performed by Neil Diamond in 1967. The “Sweet Caroline” singer is admittedly a songwriting genius. But, UB40’s clever reggae twist on the track helped their version blast all the way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles charts in 1983.
It’s also crazy to think the late, great King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley's signature hit “Hound Dog” was originally a seven-week chart-topping single by Big Mama Thornton. Maybe even more surprising, is this No. 7 pick has been recorded more than 250 times. Presley’s 1956 version was the most widely-known and was also one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Diehard David Bowie fans may realize the late English rocker actually released a version of No. 6 on the list, “The Man Who Sold the World” in 1970. Bowie's original song was recorded over 20 years before Nirvana's popular 1993 unplugged version. Bowie also titled his third studio album after the song. The song was notably a favorite of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain. It’s rather bittersweet the Grunge band found success with it as a Top 10 Billboard Alternative Songs chart hit not long before Cobain’s tragic death in 1994.
Midway through the list at No. 5 is British rock band Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s Hot 100 chart-topping hit “Blinded by the Light.” They released their version in 1976 but “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen dropped his original version in 1973. Some rock fans could argue the distinctive, crazy-hot synth sound in Manfred Mann’s version just can’t be beat.
No. 4, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” is widely known as one of Guns N’ Roses most popular tracks. It was originally written and sung by songwriting icon Bob Dylan as a soundtrack song for a 1973 film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.” Dylan’s version peaked at No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. GNR’s version hit No. 2 on the UK Singles chart and No. 18 on Billboard’s U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart. Eric Clapton also did a popular version of the song.
Speaking of revered heavy metal covers, fans may be shocked Motley Crue’s rebel-rocking 1985 hit “Smokin’ in the Boys Room,” which made No. 3 on the list, was originally recorded by Brownsville Station in 1973. The latter version climbed as high as No. 3 on the Hot 100, while the former peaked at No. 16 on the same chart.
The No. 2 pick, “Cum on Feel the Noize,” was a head-banging success for American metal band Quiet Riot in 1983. However, the song was originally released as a No. 1 UK hit by British rock band Slade ten years earlier.. This week’s No. 1 list pick, “Black Magic Woman,” is well-known as one of Santana’s signature hits. However, many fans may not realize Fleetwood Mac released their original version in 1968. Santana’s 1970 cover was one of their biggest chart hits, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Find AXS TV on your TV and stay tuned to AXS for programming news and updates.