Want to know 10 acoustic covers of pop songs? Acoustic covers of pop songs range from sentimental renderings of techno-based hits like Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” to soft passionate covers of popular classics like The Cranberries’ “Zombie ” and are just a memorable as the original songs, sometimes working to outshine the original or, in some cases, bringing the original songs back into the mainstream.
- “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by Damien Rice A number one single on the Billboard charts, this song from U2’s 1987 album “The Joshua Tree” was covered acoustically by Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice. Performed in concert, most notably at 2006’s Electric Picnic Festival in Ireland, the cover features Rice’s intense and emotional vocals along with stirring guitar, creating one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song.
- “Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Reaching number 10 on the Pop 100 charts of 2007, “Face Down” was released acoustically on the 2007 deluxe re-release of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ debut album, “Don’t You Fake It.” A sharp contrast from the album version, the cover features Ronnie Winter’s almost haunting vocals along with fast guitar and accompanying bongo drums.
- “Mad World” by Gary Jules Written by British pop rock band Tears for Fears, “Mad World” was the band’s first major hit in 1982. Two decades later, singer-songwriter Gary Jules released a piano acoustic version of the song for the 2001 film “Donnie Darko.” A complete turnaround from the techno-infused original, Jules cover is dark, moving and poignant and features nothing more than solo piano accompaniment.
- “Hand in my Pocket” by Alanis Morissette 10 years after the success of 1995’s “Jagged Little Pill,” Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette released an acoustic version of the entire album. A pop radio sensation in 1995, “Hand in my Pocket” was re-released as a single for the acoustic album and became a hit for the second time, making it one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song ever done.
- “The Only Living Boy in New York” by Chris Burns Performed live at a concert in Orlando, Florida by California singer-songwriter Chris Burns, this acoustic cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s 1970 classic from their album “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is as stirring and emotional as the original. Featuring Chris Burns’ impressive vocals and guitar, the song is one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song.
- “Ramble On” by Train Released as a single in 2001 by rock band Train, the song encouraged producer Brenden O’Brien to release Train’s 2001 album, “Drops of Jupiter.” The Led Zeppelin cover features outstanding vocals by Pat Monahan and incredible acoustic guitar riffs by Rob Hotchkiss, making it undoubtedly one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song ever performed.
- “Zombie” by The Cranberries Backed by soft violin and featuring amazing vocals by Dolores O’Riordan, “Zombie” was a hit for The Cranberries when it was released in 1994. The acoustic cover of the song was performed on “MTV Unplugged” and did away with the heavy guitar of the original. Passionate and harrowing, the acoustic version of “Zombie” is definitely one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song.
- “Wonderwall” by Oasis A staple of their “MTV Unplugged” set, Oasis lead singer Noel Gallagher played the hit single from their 1995 album “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” solely on acoustic guitar. The cover is just as passionate as the original and showcases Gallagher’s impressive mastery of the acoustic guitar as well as his seldom used vocal styling.
- “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John An acoustic piano rendition of the 1974 hit from his album “Caribou,” the cover was performed at a Live Aid concert in 1985. As light and uplifting as the original, the song is one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song and features John’s signiture piano accompaniment.
- “Free Fallin’” by John Mayer Featured on his 2008 album “Where the Light Is,” “Free Fallin’” was performed live and was a major hit for Tom Petty when he originally released the song in 1989. Mayer’s version is one of the best acoustic covers of a pop song with, gradually rising guitar riffs and Mayer’s dry, impassioned vocals.
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