The Song With The Most Awesomely Cool Cover Versions Is…
Is it possible for a song to be so inherently good that no matter who does a cover version of the song it sounds great? If there was ever an argument for that theory it’s with the song we’re about to hear in multiple different versions…..All of them stunning.
The song is “Little Wing”, a track Jimi Hendrix wrote and recorded back in 1967 for his ‘Axis: Bold As Love’ album. Over the decades that would follow many would pay tribute to the song by recording their own version. Among those artists are Derek & The Dominos, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Def Leppard, John Mayer, Toto, Sting, Skid Row and even Chaka Khan.
In fact, if you were to do a search for "Little Wing" on YouTube you will likely be surprised at how many versions of the song there actually are.
I've put together my own top five list of "Little Wing" covers for you to listen to so turn the lights down low, light some incense and relax. You're about to take a walk through the clouds thanks to a handful of truly mind-blowing versions of this Hendrix classic.
This blistering version of "Little Wing" can be found on the enduring classic 'Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs' double album. As with the original Hendrix version, the emotion spills out of every note.
A year after Stevie Ray Vaughan's passing in 1990 the posthumous album 'The Sky Is Crying' was released featuring ten previously unreleased SRV tracks including an instrumental version of "Little Wing". Stevie Ray's version ended up winning a Grammy and it's no surprise why.
This elegantly-crafted version of "Little Wing" comes off of Sting's solo album 'Nothing Like The Sun'. Sting jazzes this one up nicely thanks to the great Branford Marsalis on the sax, some very funky bass work by Mark Egan and a blistering guitar solo from the late Jazz guitarist Hiram Bullock.
In 1999 the Irish folk rock band The Corrs recorded an episode of MTV's Unplugged and included this exquisite rendition of "Little Wing". Just as Sting put his own jazz lean to the song, The Corrs used their Irish folk roots to give this version a fresh and uniquely stunning sound.
One of Joe Cocker's last recordings before his passing came on this 2010 version of "Little Wing" which was included on Santana's album of classic rock covers 'Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All'. Nobody could do covers better than the late great Joe Cocker. And as for Carlos Santana: Who better to play a Jimi Hendrix song than him? The man is simply magical.