David Browne
August 13, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

With so many recent bad covers, has there ever been one you felt was better than the original? — John

Remakes that trump the originals are even rarer than perfect CDs. But consider Aretha Franklin’s ”Respect,” Jimi Hendrix’s ”All Along the Watchtower,” and the Monkees’ ”I’m a Believer.” More recently, I’d add Brit folkie Eliza Carthy’s version of Ben Harper’s ”Walk Away” and Nirvana’s ”Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” which scorches Leadbelly. But as substantial as that list appears, the lineup of superfluous covers is still far longer: More often, we’re subjected to everything from Tiffany’s tinny ”I Think We’re Alone Now” to Clay Aiken’s embalmed ”Bridge Over Troubled Water,” which only make me yearn to hear the originals.

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