All Covered Up: The Potential Return Of The Top 40 Remake

Will they

Will they “Own” a piece of the pop chart?

In the next few weeks, and perhaps months, you might be hearing these two songs on your local pop radio station. They are “Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)” by DJ/producer Felix Jaehn and singer Jasmine Thompson, and “You Don’t Own Me” by singer Grace and rapper G-Eazy. The former release was a top ten hit in over a dozen European countries, while the latter hit was a big chart success in Australia and New Zealand. It just so happens that both of these solid singles are also remakes: the original “Ain’t Nobody” went to #20 on R&R’s radio chart in late 1983 for Rufus and Chaka Khan, while Lesley Gore‘s “You Don’t Own Me” nearly reached the top of the Hot 100, spending three weeks at #2 in February 1964. (Blame The Beatles and their hands…)

Having two covers go to radio at the same, especially two recognizable hits of different eras (and a third actually chart earlier this year) has become a rarity, with most artists and bands using samples of songs rather than covering them in full. Given the success of these two tracks in other countries, not only does that help in breaking the songs over here, but it may also help reestablish the cover song as not just something for a live audience or a one-off specialty show, but as an option for a promotional vehicle during the life of an album. There was one cover in the top ten this week in 2005, and there were two dance covers (plus a pop version of a country hit) this week in 1995. It’s certainly something to think about as a technique that’s worked in the past, but shouldn’t stay a concept of the past given the potential visibility to soak up (appearances, syncs, etc.)

With all that said, here’s a look back at how receptive (and not-so-receptive) the pop radio chart has been to remakes of prior hits in the 2000’s, with the biggest cover of each year featured, along with its original charted version. It is anyone’s guess as to where these latest two will land, but we’ll see how they do. (For more covers that landed outside the top 40, check out the new PGTC list on Spotify.)

NOTE: This list only includes cover songs of prior chart singles and not all covers period. All peaks are from the R&R CHR/Pop charts, except for those marked with a *, indicating a Hot 100 peak. Do we really care to remember that “We Are The World 25 For Haiti” still exists?

2000
“American Pie” by Madonna (#15, March)
Cover of: “American Pie” by Don McLean (#1 for four weeks*, January – February 1972)

2001
“Lady Marmalade” by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink (#1 for nine weeks, May – July)
Cover of: “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle (#3, March 1975)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Emotion” (#8, November) by Destiny’s Child (originally charted by: Samantha Sang)
“I’m A Believer” (#17, August) by Smash Mouth (originally charted by: The Monkees*)
“Smooth Criminal” (#13, October) by Alien Ant Farm (originally charted by: Michael Jackson)
“What’s Going On” (#25, October) by All-Star Tribute (originally charted by: Marvin Gaye*)

2002
“Heaven” by DJ Sammy, Yanou and Do (#4, August / #34, December in a separate chart run for the Candlelight Mix)
Cover of: “Heaven” by Bryan Adams (#1 for one week, June 1985)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Papa Don’t Preach” (#25, July) by Kelly Osbourne (originally charted by: Madonna)

2003
“It’s My Life” by No Doubt (#5, December – January 2004)
Cover of: “It’s My Life” by Talk Talk (#31, May 1985)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Big Yellow Taxi” (#30, May) by Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton (originally charted by: The Neighborhood*)
“Drift Away” (#10, July-August) by Uncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray (originally charted by: Dobie Gray*)
“I Drove All Night” (#27, March) by Celine Dion (originally charted by: Cyndi Lauper)
“Landslide” (#12, February-March) by Dixie Chicks (originally charted by: Fleetwood Mac*)
“The Boys Of Summer” (#10, September) by The Ataris (originally charted by: Don Henley)

2004
“Take My Breath Away” by Jessica Simpson (#8, May)
Cover of: “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin (#2, August 1986)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Angels” (#23, July) by Jessica Simpson (originally charted by: Robbie Williams)
“Behind Blue Eyes” (#25, March) by Limp Bizkit (originally charted by: The Who)
“My Prerogative” (#22, October) by Britney Spears (originally charted by: Bobby Brown)
“Our Lips Are Sealed” (#39, July) by Hilary and Haylie Duff (originally charted by: The Go-Go’s)
“The First Cut Is The Deepest” (#11, March) by Sheryl Crow (originally charted by: Keith Hampshire*)

2005
“Listen To Your Heart” by D.H.T. (#1 for one week, September)
Cover of: “Listen To Your Heart” by Roxette (#1, October 1989)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Axel F” (#36, August) by Crazy Frog (originally charted by: Harold Faltermeyer)
“More Than Words” (#15, October) by Frankie J (originally charted by: Extreme)
“These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” (#30, July) by Jessica Simpson (originally charted by: Nancy Sinatra)

2007
“She’s Like The Wind” by Lumidee featuring Tony Sunshine (#18, March)
Cover of: “She’s Like The Wind” by Patrick Swayze featuring Wendy Fraser (#2, February 1988)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Time After Time” (#28, August) by Quietdrive (originally charted by: Cyndi Lauper)

2008
“What Hurts The Most” by Cascada (#30, March)
Cover of: “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts (#24, September 2006)

2009
“Beggin'” by Madcon (#32, May)
Cover of: “Beggin'” by The 4 Seasons (#16*, April 1967)

Other notable covers that charted/peaked that year:
“Careless Whisper” (#40, July) by Seether (originally charted by: Wham! / George Michael)

2015 (so far)
“What I Like About You” by 5 Seconds Of Summer (#29, January)
Cover of: “What I Like About You” by The Romantics (#49*, March 1980)

What’s your favorite cover or covers listed above? Let me know! Follow the blog by using the button below or find PGTC on your social media service of choice by clicking on the “Get Social!” tab above.

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