Cover songs that are better than the originals.

There is an active thread about terrible cover songs so I thought I'd start one about cover songs that are better than or have completely eclipsed the originals. I'll start:

Randy Newman wrote Momma Told Me Not to Come for Eric Burdon who recored it with the Animals and Newman recorded it too. I have the Newman version and like it but Three Dog Night really seem to capture the mood of the song best in my opinion.
Yes mic ,I have it and talk about Simon n Garfunkle .Thats a close race between them and Bob Dylan over who'a songs have been covered more .I guess the Beatles go in the mix .But as a single songwriter  I would think ,Bob Dylan wins.
Lots of good stuff here. But it seems like we're getting into some esoteric stuff in regard to some covering musicians.

Obviously music is a matter of taste and it is going to be common for someone to hear a cover by a band or artist and like the cover better than the original but other than that there isn't much to support the cover being better than the original. My example of Jerry Lee Lewis doing "Over the Rainbow". That pretty much just comes down to me since not many people have ever heard Lewis's cover of that song including Wikipedia.

So maybe we should narrow the field and rather than saying covers that are better than the original or that eclipsed the original, maybe we should say covers that are better than AND have eclipsed the original in terms of critical reception, sales, popularity etc.

I think the "AND" is important because there are notable covers that eclipsed the original but are still pretty awful..."The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by Joan Baez being a prime example. She made it a hit song but she also made it an awful song.
No doubt everyone is entitled to their opinion and maybe this "just comes down to me," but I don’t think so, since it was such a mega hit. Sorry, I disagree that Joan Baez "made it an awful song." My opinion is that her version IS better than the original.
I figured someone would say that. It was the most popular rendition after all. And yes, it does all come down to opinion so there are no right or wrong answers. 

My take on that particular song is that she polished a song that, by its nature and lyrics, was intended to be rough around the edges. That smooth polished performance is incongruous with the content.

Also, Baez singing in a voice that is so feminine does not fit either. I don't have a problem with the gender reversal per se. For instance, on Raising Sand I like Krauss singing "Through the Morning, Through the Night."

Maybe if Janice Joplin had done "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" I would have liked it better. It surely would not have been over polished or over produced.

But finally, what really blows it for me is that Baez makes the song over sentimental, almost saccharine. Levon Helms does not. His delivery has pathos and emotion without being sentimental.

Anyway, that's my take. It isn't any more valid than anyone else's.

In two places in the song Baez got the lyrics wrong. She sped up the song, destroying the Southern feel of The Band’s version, which was ideal for the song’s story. The song is about rural people; Baez's version is pure city slicker. And I really miss the horns (trombone, tuba) heard in the original, which were there for a reason. The huge vocal group heard in the chorus of the song in her recording, drenched in reverb, sounds completely out of place. And then there’s her warbling, extreme vibrato, which some people don’t care for. Other than that it’s fine ;-) .