Top 10 Garth Brooks Cover Songs
Garth Brooks new box set ‘Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences’ adds about four dozen new covers to his recorded catalog. During live shows, he’s always paid tribute to the men and women who charted his musical journey, and even covered a few for radio singles. This list of the Top 10 Garth Brooks Cover Songs includes known hits, and ToC staff and reader favorites from the new box set.
‘Stand By Me’
The blue-eyed soul disc contains the most satisfying covers on ‘Blame It All on My Roots.’ This seems to be where Brooks would have ended up had he grown up in the Motor City rather than the plains of Oklahoma. Like so many songs on this 11-track disc, his version stays true to Ben E. King’s original while leaving the tiniest bit of space for creative interpretation, which Brooks takes full advantage of.
‘All Right Now’
Brooks’ version of Free’s 1970 hit highlights the classic rock disc on ‘Blame It All on My Roots.’ The country singer gets to show off his falsetto and take a few chances that there aren’t opportunities for on the other 10 tracks. We also like the liberal use of cow bell.
‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’
Maybe you’d never think of comparing Garth Brooks to Marvin Gaye, but the country singer does the soul singer justice in his version of ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine.’ Now the question becomes: does Brooks have the stage moves of so many of the soul singers he covers?
Every cover found on ‘Blame It All on My Roots’ stays true to the original, and most are better for it. It’s impossible to think of a unique way to approach this 1974 hit for the Doobie Brothers. Brooks’ voice matches Patrick Simmons, but with a little more soul.
‘Workin’ for a Livin’ (Feat. Huey Lewis)
This was a Top 20 hit for Brooks in 2007. The classic rocker gave his stamp of approval by playing harmonica and singing alongside the country legend. It’s difficult to send a well-known cover all the way up the charts, but the jolt of electricity the song created every time it came through the radio gave it a pretty good shot.
The disc of country classics holds a number of fine covers, but the Oklahoman’s take on George Jones‘ 1959 hit is the most fun. Production elements and that wildman accent Brooks adds to his rowdiest songs helps make this cover one of his 10 best.
‘Don’t Close Your Eyes’
Stuck between ‘White Lightning’ and ‘Jambalaya’ on the country classics disc of Brooks’ 2013 box set, Keith Whitley’s ballad is easy to overlook. It’s a major slow down indeed, but the country legend is patient, delivering one of the standout performances of the collection.
Brooks’ version of this Billy Joel song is more well-known than the original. Joel had just recorded it a few years before Brooks, and it didn’t saturate the market quite like everything the country icon released in the early ’90s. The two have performed the song together on a number of occasions, but it’s the solo version that packs the most punch.
‘After the Fire is Gone’ (Feat. Trisha Yearwood)
Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks have natural chemistry (to say the least), and it comes through on this remake of Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn‘s 1971 hit. The two voices stand out on Brooks’ box set collection, setting the tone for the nine country covers that follow. Brooks reaches way back to include some legendary songs.
‘To Make You Feel My Love’
This is not only his best cover, but a fan favorite for his best song of all time. Billy Joel and Adele are other artists who have covered this late ’90s cut by Bob Dylan, but Brooks’ version is the only song to reach No. 1. The vulnerable lyrics are haunting and beautiful. It’s more than a song, it’s an emotional experience.