10 Greatest Rock Cover Songs Of The 1980s

These bands took someone else's song and made it their own.

Walk This Way

Whilst some covers should be locked up for crimes against humanity, there have been plenty of others that have actually surpassed the original in terms of popularity. Amy Winehouse's Valerie, Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You, and Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah immediately come to mind.

The following ten covers might not be "better", per se, but they are certainly good enough to stand out on their own and have carved out a legacy completely independently from their source material.

What makes a good cover? It's a question music critics have been asking since the dawn of time (or at least since the late 1960s) with the debate still raging on. For this countdown, it's all about how the song compares to what its copying; does it just steal from the original? Or does it try and bring new ideas to the table?

Of course, overall quality and impact on the business as a whole will also be considered.

To be clear, this is a list of songs released in the 1980s that were originally recorded by someone else, not covers of famous '80s songs. That's another topic for another time.

10. Alone - Heart

If you're in the mood for a big, soaring 1980s power ballad (and let's face it, who isn't?), you could do much worse than to stick on Alone by Heart.

Beginning with a soft section about how desperate one lover is to confess their feelings to another, the song comes to life in the chorus, when the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, dazzle with their impressively powerful vocals. It's as cheesy as it comes, but it really does scratch a certain itch.

The Wilsons were not the first to tackle this material, nor were they even the second. Alone was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, who performed it under the name i-Ten.

That version came out in 1983 and, one year later, it was covered by actors Valerie Stevenson and John Stamos on the sitcom Dreams.

Heart's attempt was released three years after that, in 1987, and has since become the definitive version. It went to number one in the US singles charts and even got nominated for a Grammy.

Not bad for a song that could have gone down as a bit in a sitcom.


Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.