"Lola" - The Raincoats
How can anyone do a Kinks song better than the Kinks? The Raincoats do a note for note replication, but the breathy, husky female voice that rings like Nico, adding a touch of camp, plus the pounding, tribal drums, make this song one of the best punk rave-ups of all time.
"Shipbuilding" - Robert Wyatt
Maybe I'm just a sucker for his high, wavering, emotional yet smooth vocals, but this version is superior to the one recorded by author Elvis Costello.
"Everybody's Talkin'" - Harry Nilsson
British folkie Fred Neil was an excellent songwriter, but other musicians seem to be able to breathe new life into his songs. This is one of the catchiest tunes ever.
"CIA Man" - Sun City Girls
Somehow these guys manage to make it raunchier, sloppier, more stoned-out sounding than the Fugs.
"Wichita Lineman" - Glenn Campbell
He did a number of Jimmy Webb songs, and this was the best of the lot.
"Wax Minute" - Michael Nesmith
How does he hit those high notes? Penned by Richard Stekol, who I know not a thing about.
"Zappa Medley" - Camper Van Chadbourne
Camper Van Beethoven teams up with Eugene Chadbourne to deliver this bad acid trip of a strung-out, strung together epic: particularly effective is their sampling of "Let's Make The Water Turn Black," propelled by Chadbourne's frenetic guitar and menacing elfin vocals. If you survive the full song without suffering a psychotic break, you're one of the lucky ones.
I have tons more, but I'm tired. What are some of your favorite covers? Are they better than the originals?