There are so many talented female songwriters out there. What’s interesting is that sometimes, a cover version of a song gets more notoriety than the original version. Here are some songs that were written by women and covered by men. There are many more songs than this playlist includes but this gives you a start to maybe start researching who wrote your favorite songs.
“Running Up That Hill” (by Kate Bush) Placebo– Their cover of this song is extremely creepy. Kate Bush’s lyrics are a little unsettling anyway but Placebo’s version takes it to a whole new level. I’ve heard Placebo’s version in movie soundtracks and TV shows but I still like the original version better.
“Ring of Fire” (by June Carter Cash) Johnny Cash– When you hear “Ring of Fire” you probably first think of Johnny Cash but it was actually June who wrote the song. When you enter Johnny Cash’s website this is the song that starts playing. I would guess this is one of the most covered songs of all time.
“99 Red Balloons”- (orig. “99 Luftballoons” by Nena) Goldfinger– Nena’s version is still the better known version of this song but it was cool of Goldfinger to cover this back in 2000 and their version did get some attention, especially in the pop punk world.
“Jolene” (by Dolly Parton) The White Stripes– When The White Stripes covered this it was really cool. It was definitely Jack White giving a big nod to Dolly Parton and it’s no secret he loves women in country music. Their version of this is pretty heartbreaking and amazing. **Learn more about why we love Dolly Parton here.
“You’ve Got a Friend” (by Carole King) James Taylor– Did you know Carole King wrote this iconic song? In fact, Carole King is probably the queen of writing hits for other people. Her career is beyond prolific.
“Sister Morphine” (by Marianne Faithfull, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) The Rolling Stones– Marianne Faithfull co-wrote this song with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and actually released it two years before The Rolling Stones did. However, most people probably wouldn’t know she had anything to do with the song.
“Till I Gain Control Again” (by Emmylou Harris) Willie Nelson– A great classic country song written by Emmylou Harris. Lots of people have covered this song, including This Mortal Coil. Willie’s version is probably the most well-known.
Be sure to check out Francis’ article on Big Mama Thornton! And continue checking “A Little Slice of History” for more information on famous rock women who have had a huge part in songwriting classic songs.