Amy Mae Elliot and originally appeared on the Mashable blog.
If there’s one thing YouTube has always been good for, it is as a platform for the common man to express himself. That is the very basis of its user-generated “broadcast yourself” roots.
Music is one medium in which we do this particularly well, bringing our own personal touch to a song whether that’s via the use of an unusual instrument, changing the tempo or inflecting a different meaning through performance.
We’ve scoured YouTube for the best fan-made cover songs we could find — not by mega-famous artists covering tunes by other mega-famous artists — but from “ordinary” folk, YouTube familiar faces and rising stars in the online video world.
So, pop in your ear buds, or turn up the speakers, sit back, relax and enjoy our selection of some crazily creative covers.
1. Lady Gaga – Telephone by The Morning Pages
This reinterpretation of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” takes the song out into the country (well Central Park, technically) for a country-rock take on the pop song. With considerably less costume changes, and decidedly less Beyonce () (which may or may not be a good thing depending on your P.O.V.) it becomes a catchy little knee-slapping number.
2. 32 songs in 8 minutes by Freddie25
You want covers? Like the vocal version of speed dating here’s an amazing 32 in eight minutes from this talented young chap who sadly appears to suffer from a serious form of attention deficit disorder.
3. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy by Randy George & Co on the Theremin
If you thought nothing could top Cee-Lo Green’s vocals in Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” then you should be hitting play on the video above pronto. Somehow the theremin’s warbling pitch manages to perfectly capture the spirit of the original — but in the key of nerd.
4. Isaac Hayes – Shaft by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
The world’s least butch musical instrument takes on Isaac Hayes’ testerone-filled theme tune (“black private dick/who’s a sex machine/to all the chicks”) to great comedic effect — be sure to hang around until at least around 1:10, or so. The question is, can you dig it?
5. Rihanna – Umbrella by The Baseballs
Rihanna’s big hit “Umbrella” (or as we prefer to call it “Umberella“) may have been Marie Digby’s YouTube ticket to success, but she’s not the only one to cover it to great effect. Germany’s The Baseball’s rockabilly version works really well, especially backed up with this classy black and white video.
6. Michael Jackson Medley by Sam Tsui & Kurt Schneider
This clever “sextet” combine beat box with a Capella singing to create a great tribute to MJ. As well as looking alike, they’re all called Sam apparently. Must get real confusing back stage…
7. The Beatles – Hey Jude by Some Really Short Guy
We think this guy could have a future if he puts some pants on and learns the lyrics.
8. The Cars – Let’s Go with Tesla coil by Mark Smart and Steve Ward
Whilst most Tesla coil music on YouTube is (perhaps unsurpingly) uber-geeky this electrifying performance at least aims to the mainstream blending the coil’s cool, industrial sound with a The Cars’ classic Eighties track.
9. Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em – Crank That by JawKneeYeah
The lyrics to Souja Boy’s incomprehensible YouTube mega-hit are (a little disturbingly considering his tender years) made clearer by this JawKneeYeah cover, while the YouTuber’s jaunty acoustic style adds a slightly surreal angle to the song.
10. Lady Gaga – Telephone by Aston
We started with Lady Gaga so it seems appropriate to end there too, especially considering her YouTube-dominating status. Oz band Aston here give the “Telephone” tune a classical makeover adding some instrumental class to the track.
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