A friend of mine introduced me to one of the most magnificent covers by women I have ever heard…

And today’s post on PopRockNation is inspired by that discovery. The well-respected and long performing Seattle based band Heart is well-known for great original songs. But they’ve also done some great cover versions of classic songs. The other night, a Facebook friend posted a video from 2012, showing Ann and Nancy Wilson performing Led Zeppelin’s epic anthem, “Stairway to Heaven”. Listening to the Wilson sisters play Zeppelin made me think of all the women out there who have made magnificent cover versions of songs, turning them into something of their own.

They were joined by John Bonham’s son, Jason, who played drums.

This particular version of “Stairway to Heaven” brings tears to my eyes, just as it does the members of Led Zeppelin. And what a treat it is to watch the members of the audience react, too. I always knew Heart had a thing for Led Zeppelin’s music, having heard them cover “Rock and Roll” and “The Battle of Evermore”. They always do a wonderful job whenever they pay tribute to another band by covering a song. Heart has done some of the most magnificent covers I have ever heard.

Heart performs “The Battle of Evermore” live.

The other day, a YouTube friend in Scotland who makes musical videos sent me a video of him playing Sting’s “Fields of Gold” on acoustic guitar…

YouTuber shargram plays “Fields of Gold”.

That immediately made me think of the late Eva Cassidy, who performed her own magnificent cover version of Sting’s lovely “Fields of Gold”. I remember when figure skater Michelle Kwan turned this song into something truly inspiring when she skated to it years ago.

In 1991, Sinead O’ Connor covered Elton John’s hit, “Sacrifice”. The song appeared on the tribute album, “Two Rooms: Celebrating the Music of Elton John and Bernie Taupin”. I have owned that album since it first came out and Sinead’s version of “Sacrifice” is the most magnificent cover, in my opinion.

Sinead O’ Connor takes a song that was bordering on late 80s cheese and turns into something very meaningful and beautiful.

No offense to Sir Elton John, whose music has brought me much joy over the years, but I think Sinead O’Connor’s version of “Sacrifice” is superior to his.

Aretha Franklin’s magnificent cover of Carole King’s, Gerry Goffin’s, and Jerry Wexler’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” is still after decades the defining version of that song.

Aretha Franklin performs in concert.

This song was originally released in 1967 and Carole King later included it on her classic 1971 album, Tapestry. But if you were to ask someone whose song it is, it’s likely they’d tell you it belongs to Aretha. Frankly, as much as I respect Aretha Franklin and think her version of “Natural Woman” is one of many magnificent covers, I personally prefer Carole King’s more stripped down, intimate version.

Joan Jett is also a great rock star who has done some great covers. I can think of a few right off the top of my head, but the one that immediately comes to mind is her magnificent version of “Crimson and Clover”, a song that was originally made popular by Tommy James and the Shondells.

Watch Joan Jett flirt with the camera here… talk about a natural!

Alison Krauss has done her share of covers. One song that she and her band, Union Station, did that I really enjoy is her version of a song made famous by Dolly Parton, “But You Know I Love You”, a song that was originally a pop hit for The First Edition, a band that featured Kenny Rogers and the song’s author, Mike Settle.

As much as I love Dolly, I love what Alison Krauss has done with her hit.

Another artist who has paid tribute to Dolly Parton in a great way is Rhonda Vincent, who covered Parton’s monster hit, “Jolene”.

Rhonda Vincent is a bluegrass artist, but I think she’s got serious chops.

What about Dolly Parton herself? Well, like Heart, she’s also done a cover of “Stairway to Heaven”. The jury is out on whether or not this qualifies as a “magnificent cover”. In fact, months ago, I included this in my post about “horrible covers“. I actually like it, but then I like Dolly Parton and I like bluegrass. Led Zeppelin purists may not enjoy this song as much as I do…

Dolly Parton sings at Dollywood.

There are certainly other masterful, magnificent covers out there which I will eventually write about. For now, I just want to bask in the excellence that is Heart doing most any cover of Led Zeppelin. I think they get the prize today!