Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Covers of the Past Decade - Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Covers of the Past Decade

Your picks include Pearl Jam’s ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ and Cake’s ‘War Pigs’

Steve Thorne/Redferns via Getty Images

Our recent list of the best cover songs of the past decade got a lot of attention, though not everybody agreed with our selections. We figured the best course of action was to create a new list selected by our readers. Hundreds of votes poured in, though many people ignored the instructions that the songs had be released in the past 10 years. Tons of voted came in for Johnny Cash's "Hurt," Muse's "Feeling Good" and the White Stripes' "Jolene," but we had to throw them out since those hit before 2004. Click through to see the results from the past 10 years.

By Andy Greene

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10. Crystal Castles Featuring Robert Smith, ‘Not in Love’

Canadian electronic duo Crystal Castles had a fairly strong following in the mid-2000s, but it wasn't until they recorded a 1980s classic with a 1980s legend that they had a breakthrough hit. Their 2010 LP II features a cover of Platinum Blonde's 1983 classic "Not in Love." The Cure's Robert Smith agreed to record a vocal part, and the result was Crystal Castles' one-and-only hit. For an encore, they should have had Morrissey cover "Girls on Film." 

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9. Heart, ‘Stairway to Heaven’

The people behind the Kennedy Center Honors handed Heart a pretty tough assignment last year: cover Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" for a national TV audience with President Obama and the three surviving members of Led Zep in the audience. "No pressure or anything," said Ann Wilson. "Doing that song for Led Zeppelin was like being asked to recreate the Bible for the Pope."

Thankfully, Ann's "Crazy on You" shriek is largely undiminished from the 1970s. Backed by a crack band, string section, a choir and drummer Jason Bonham, they absolutely nailed it. It was the highlight of a pretty sensational show. Also, it was just about the closest that Robert Plant will ever get to that song again. 

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8. 311, ‘Lovesong’

50 First Dates is one of Adam Sandler's lesser movies, but it was a big box-office hit and the soundtrack had a pretty clever concept. Huge hits of the 1980s were covered by Jason Mraz, Wyclef Jean, Ziggy Marley, UB40 and others. 311 tackled the Cure's "Lovesong" and turned it into one of their biggest hits. It even shot to Number One the Alternative Rock chart. It's a good lesson for a band: if the hits start drying up, try a cover song. 

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7. The Killers, ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The Killers were in Europe promoting Sam's Town in February 2007 when they taped an appearance on Live From Abbey Road. Their brief set wrapped with a beautiful cover of "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits. Fans loved it and later that year, the band included it on their compilation album Sawdust

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6. Cake, ‘War Pigs’

Cake broke free from Columbia Records after the release of their 2004 disc Pressure Chief. They formed their own label, Upbeat Records, and their first release was B-Sides and Rarities. The set kicks off with a cover of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs." It's not as long or aggressive as the original recording, but the lyrics still sting and Cake added in horns and cool siren effects. 

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5. Green Day, ‘Working Class Hero’

A lot of great artists covered John Lennon classics for the 2007 CD Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur. Lenny Kravitz did "Cold Turkey," Aerosmith took on "Give Peace a Chance," Christina Aguilera wailed her way through "Mother" and U2 kicked it off with "Instant Karma." The most memorable cover, however, was Green Day's "Working Class Hero." Billie Joe Armstrong seemed to really connect with the lyrics, and a pumped-up arrangement brought the familiar song to new places.

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4. Pearl Jam, ‘Love Reign O’er Me’

VH1 put together a pretty stellar lineup for their 2008 salute to the Who. Foo Fighters took on "Bargain," Incubus did early singles "I Can See for Miles" and "I Can't Explain," the Flaming Lips did a medley of songs from Tommy and Tenacious D tackled "Squeeze Box." The Who themselves did a set at the end, but not before Pearl Jam came out for a couple of songs from Quadrophenia.

Eddie Vedder has long cited that 1973 double album as one of his very favorites, and the band really delivered on "Love Reign O'er Me." It's an enormously difficult song to sing, and he completely nailed it. Pearl Jam made it a semi-regular part of their stage show after this gig. 

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3. Jack White, ‘Love Is Blindness’

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of U2's Achtung Baby in 2011, Q magazine brought in huge names like Depeche Mode, the Killers, Garbage and Patti Smith to record covers on a disc called AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered. It wrapped up with Jack White's version of "Love Is Blindness." The original was a quiet moment on the record, partially inspired by the Edge's painful divorce, but White transformed it into a scorching screamer.  It later appeared on the soundtrack to The Great Gatsby. 

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2. Josh Krajcik, ‘At Last’

The American version of The X Factor didn't create nearly as much buzz as Fox and Simon Cowell had hoped for, but it did introduce the world to Josh Krajcik. The Ohio-born singer, who worked in a burrito restaurant before the show, wowed everybody with a smoking, husky-voiced cover of the Etta James classic "At Last." It became a YouTube sensation and was viewed over 10 million times. It wasn't enough for Josh to win the show, but he won many fans and is working on new music and touring right now. 

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1. The Killers, ‘Shadowplay’

Countless early-2000s synth-pop bands were influenced by Joy Division and New Order. Groups like Interpol were annoyed by the endless comparisons, but the Killers embraced them. They recorded a cover of the Joy Division track "Shadowplay" for the soundtrack to the 2007 Ian Curtis biopic Control. Later that year, they released it on their compilation album Sawdust and it became a regular part of their live show. This summer, New Order/Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner performed it with them at Lollapalooza. 

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