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When the original (or at least early) version of a song refuses to be permanently dislodged from the public mind by subsequent covers, even if the covers might be briefly more popular. (The cover belonging to a Dead Horse Genre is often a contributing factor.)

The opposite of Covered Up, although the "first and foremost" version might itself have Covered Up the real original.

Examples of First and Foremost include:

  • Ugly Kid Joe's version of "Cat's in the Cradle" was a huge hit in 1993, but has long since faded back into being much less famous than Harry Chapin's 1974 original.
  • Guns N' Roses covers of "Live and Let Die" and (moreso) "Sympathy for the Devil" are significantly less well-known than the originals.
  • Sheryl Crow covered GNR's "Sweet Child O'Mine".
  • The Beatles "Yesterday" is statistically one of the most covered songs of all time.. but seriously can you name any cover it without consulting The Other Wiki?
  • Aerosmith and Michael Jackson covered "Come Together", and both versions, especially since the latter's death, still get airplay, but The Beatles' original is still the most popular.
  • The Beatles' everything, with the exceptions of Joe Cocker's version of "With a Little Help From My Friends." and (for the R&B/Soul crowd) Earth Wind and Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life." Other than that, nearly all of their songs have been covered many, many times, and all of them have remained, First and Foremost, Beatles songs.
  • Many, many, many rock bands have covered Chuck Berry but most of his songs are still primarily associated with him, with the possible exception of Johnny Rivers version of "Memphis, Tennessee".
  • Alien Ant Farm had a popular cover of "Smooth Criminal" but it still can't push out Michael Jackson's take.
  • Pat Boone covering Little Richard.
  • Madonna's version of "American Pie" did nothing to replace Don McLean.
  • Both D'Angelo and Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow did versions of Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'" that got a lot of airplay for a while. Nowadays, Smokey's back.
  • None of Marilyn Manson's covers had any significant staying power. His "Tainted Love" is more popular than the original (by Gloria Jones), but less popular than the Soft Cell cover.
    • Sweet Dreams is considered by some to be superior to the original.
  • The Cure's "Lovesong" has been covered by dozens of bands, including some major acts. None of these covers have been remembered like the original, even when some of the covers have been quite successful.
    • 311 still gets some play.
    • YMMV, as Adele's version is very well-known nowadays (but still can't match the original version).
      • Adele's version is very well known because she's popular at the time. The Cure's original is the one everybody loves, regardless of time.
  • Elton John's recording of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" sold over a million copies and hit #1 in Billboard while the original version was never even released as a single, yet it's the original artist who people continue to associate with the song. The fact that the song originated on The Beatles' iconic Sgt Pepper album is probably a factor.
  • Elton John's cover of Pinball Wizard, by The Who, similarly charted higher than the original recording, and even displaced it in radio play for many years before classic rock radio rediscovered the original.
  • Leon Ashley's "Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got)"; three separate covers were released in the month that his version was at #1, and two more followed in the next decade, but none were as big a hit as his. What makes this all the more impressive is that Leon promoted and distributed his version by himself, while all the other covers were on major labels.
  • Tori Amos' take on "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is one of the most well-known covers of all time, but of course, everyone still remembers Nirvana's original. Nirvana is one band that simply can't be Covered Up.
  • Similarly, you can try all you like but you just can't Cover Up Led Zeppelin.
  • The Shadows of Knight covered Them's "Gloria" and took it to the top 10 (the original didn't even make the top 40). Now every radio station plays the Them version instead.
  • Apparently, John Mellencamp's "I Need a Lover" was initially less popular than the Pat Benetar cover of it. However, classic rock radio kept the original alive while the cover is barely remembered even by people who actually remember that time period.
  • Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," which has been covered by Neil Diamond, the most commercially successful, and everyone else, but remains his song. "Hallelujah" has been less successful, even though most people know who wrote it, very, very few know what it sounded like before John Cale took out a verse and stitched in three from the cutting room floor.
    • And then Watchmen came out.
  • Many different artists have recorded "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother". However, the song is still associated with its original artist, The Hollies.
  • No Doubt had a hit in 2003 with their cover of "It's My Life," but nowadays it's more common to hear the original version by Talk Talk on the radio.
  • Nicki French had a Top Five hit with "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in 1995. However, within a year or two, radio stations were back to playing Bonnie Tyler's original version.
  • Numerous country singers have covered songs by Hank Williams, and while a few of them have become major hits (e.g. Charley Pride's covers of "You Win Again" and "Honky Tonk Blues" both made it to #1 in 1980), none of them have supplanted the originals in the public consciousness.
  • Many, many a musical theatre actor has covered the song "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from Les Miserables, which is popular as a standalone song. Nobody really cares; they're all busy listening to Michael Ball's version, he who first sang it in the original production in London in 1985.
    • Ditto with "Love Changes Everything" from Aspects of Love, the little-known Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
  • Everyone and their mother has covered "God Bless America." Not a one of them has managed to Cover Up Kate Smith, who sang it first and made it famous.
  • Remember the Ataris' cover of Don Henley's "The Boys Of Summer?" Well, it never remained more popular than the original for more than a year.
  • In 1990, MC Hammer's cover of the Chi-Lites' "Have You Seen Her" became a top 5 hit. Nowadays, the Chi-Lites' version gets all the airplay, especially since 99% of all MC Hammer airplay nowadays are for "U Can't Touch This."
    • Likewise is the case with Vanilla Ice's cover of "Play That Funky Music," which has faded into obscurity behind both Wild Cherry's classic and "Ice Ice Baby."
  • Several artists have had hits with covers of Tom Waits' "Downtown Train", most notably Rod Stewart, who took the song to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #10 in the UK. And yet, it is still the original Waits version that is most identified with the song and played on the radio.
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