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Part 1: Which song is better—the original or the cover?

Everyone has a song they know and love, and that burrows into their head like an addicting little worm that won’t leave unt you hum yourself to sleep. What some may not realize, however, is that those songs may actually not be the original, but in fact covers of other just-as-great songs. Below are classic singles that have most certainly wormed their way into your brain at one point. In one corner are the original artists. Their opponents? The cover musicians. Who do you choose?


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'The Boys of Summer': Don Henley's original song vs. The Ataris' cover
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“The Boys of Summer” is a song that drips with nostalgia. The original composer would be one Don Henley of The Eagles fame, whose version reeks of driving with the top down in a Corvette, letting your '80s ‘do stream in the wind. In 2003, Indiana-based band, The Ataris, covered the tune and gave it a bumped-up energy of reminiscence. Which version is better? 

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'Sweet Dreams': Eurythmics' original song vs. Marilyn Manson's cover
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“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is an inherently creepy song. When first performed by British pop sensation, Eurythmics, it’s a slow synth burn that serves as an uncomfortable warning. With Marilyn Manson’s 1995 cover, the song seems to become what the original song was warning you about—a full-on nightmare of use and abuse. Which is better?

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'Kiss Me': Sixpence None The Richer's original song vs. New Found Glory's cover
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“Kiss Me” is a fairytale of a tune about meeting your love under the milky twilight and whatever. Sixpence None The Richer (who sounds like they would be British but who are, in fact, from Texas) first released the song in 1997, later recording one music video for the classic teen film, “She’s All That.” Then New Found Glory came along, and made a version of it, all of their own, which is beloved by emo kids everywhere. And your favorite is? 

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'Can’t Take my Eyes Off You': Frankie Valli's original song vs. Lauryn Hill's cover
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“Can’t Take my Eyes Off You” is one of the most romantic songs in the history of ever (even without Heath Ledger singing it on those bleachers). Its first ever iteration was by Frankie Valli, a version of the song that’s more appropriate for those who just got hit with that exciting burst of love. Lauryn Hill's cover is the song you listen to when you’re comfortably in a relationship—mulling over your love in sweet reverie. Which are you playing on repeat?

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'Teenage Dirtbag': Wheatus' original song vs. One Direction's cover
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“Teenage Dirtbag” is not about an utterance from adults to youth, but how one youth’s low self-esteem and shyness actually aren’t warranted. The original version as performed by Wheatus, who really captures the struggle (and eventual triumph) of awkward adolescence. One Direction takes that struggle and turns it into a shiny, attractive boy band pop single. And the winner is?

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'Smooth Criminal': Michael Jackson's original song vs. Alien Ant Farm's cover
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“Smooth Criminal” is a song that’s kind of all over the place, and we’re still not quite sure what Annie’s deal is. Michael Jackson released the single in 1988 and somehow made a pop song…edgy. Then Alien Ant Farm came in, and revamped the song to be a hefty mix of punk while still playing tribute to Jackson’s original work. Which has you moonwalking?