FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Music may be a universal language, but it's nigh impossible to find a song with lyrics that apply to everyone.

Sex is quite possibly the most common barrier. Many songs, (particularly ones about love or sex), are unambiguously addressed to a woman or a man, or specifically sung from a male or female perspective. While it's not uncommon for musicians to perform songs "in-character" rather than as themselves, some people can't accept an artist singing from the viewpoint of a different gender or sexual orientation than their own. So, when covering a song that was originally sung by a member of the opposite sex, what's a singer to do?

Change the lyrics, of course! Most of the time this will entail no more than switching a couple of pronouns or changing "boy" to "girl" (or vice versa) but in some cases it can require a much more extensive rewrite. Another common way of doing this is giving the song a Perspective Flip - i.e. "then he kissed me" becomes "then I kissed her."

This can work well in many cases, while sometimes it can seem forced and awkward, sometimes becoming more of a distraction than it would've been if the artist had simply used the original lyrics. It can also come across as Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?, especially if the original version is particularly well known.

For obvious reasons, the trope is almost always averted by openly gay artists - and frequently averted by still-closeted ones as well. Not to mention gay artists putting a Gender Flip on the object of a song that is traditionally sung by their gender, in order to accommodate their sexuality.

See also The Cover Changes the Meaning, Gender Flip, and Perspective Flip. Double Standard may or may not be involved.



Female perspective changed to male

  • Elvis Presley performing Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" turns out pretty well, since there's no specific pronouns used. But regardless of gender it does come of with some Ho Yay subtext.
  • Tony Bennett did this all over his album For the Ladies which was entirely covers of songs made famous by female singers or written for female singers. This is averted in his live shows, however where he feels the original song is more important than the pronouns. And really trying to make "Black and Blue" about anything other than the colorism black women experience doesn't work.
  • Frank Sinatra performed "The Man That Got Away" as "The Gal That Got Away." (Aside from pronouns and such, the only difference in the lyrics was changing "A one-man woman" to "A lost, lost loser.") However, this was averted in Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright's versions. (Then again, Rufus Wainwright is openly gay, so that's not surprising)
    • Sinatra also recorded "The Girl Next Door," an alternate-pronoun version of another song originally done by Judy Garland, "The Boy Next Door" from Meet Me in St Louis.
  • Used by The Beatles ("my girl says when I kiss her lips...") in their cover of The Shirelles' "Boys." It's still full of Ho Yay, though.
    • Another Beatles example: the obscure girl group song "Devil in His Heart" was changed to "Devil in Her Heart."
    • Not to mention their cover of The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman."
  • Vanilla Fudge's cover of Sonny And Cher's "Bang Bang" is sung from the boy's perspective rather than the girl's.
  • The Beach Boys remade the Crystals song "Then He Kissed Me" as "Then I Kissed Her."
  • Counting Crows' cover of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" turns "a big yellow taxi took away my old man" to "a big yellow taxi took my girl away." This stands out as it is in no way clear that the "old man" in question is, in fact, a love interest. It could as easily be the artist's father.
  • Neil Diamond covered "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables, changing the pronouns.
  • All of the various "I Kissed A Guy" covers on YouTube.
  • Used for the French song "Mon amant de la Saint Jean": the original is sung from the point of view of a woman ("I loved him.") When it was covered by a male singer, the lyrics were changed to the point of view of an outsider ("She loved him.")
  • Soft Cell's cover of Gloria Jones' "Tainted Love" changes the line "all a girl could give" to "all a boy can give."
  • In their cover of Queen's "Sleeping on the Sidewalk", Los Lobos changed the lyric "Now I'm sleepin' like a princess" to "Now I'm sleepin' like a ki-ing". Not only did the change throw off the rhythm, but it changed the meaning of the lyric. The intent is to show that, like the protagonist of the fairy tale "The Princess in the Pea", the singer has become so spoiled that he would notice if there were a pea under his mattress.
  • "Mr. Sandman" was originally performed by The Chordettes with the desired "dream" (a.k.a. love interest) being a "he." In The Four Aces' version (it is this version which is heard in Back to The Future), the "dream" is a "she."
    • This is also the case on the Blind Guardian cover. This is made somewhat weirder in the music video, in which the band's singer is dressed in drag. Of course, according to the video the (not-so-desired) "dream" is apparently a bunch of Monster Clowns.
  • An interesting variation: Damien Rice's "The Professor" is originally entirely sung by him, but there is a recording in which Lisa Hannigan sings the second half, changing the pronouns so that she is singing as the woman who the first half is talking about, so that the song is about both perspectives.
  • The Jonas Brothers' cover of "Poor Unfortunate Souls" removes the singer's gender ("I'm a very busy person/And I haven't got all day.") It also replaces the gendered term "witch" with "kind of strange".
  • Parodied heavily in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, in which a male singer does a cover of "Papa, Don't Preach," in which he sings "She's keeping my baby!" while pregnant showgirls pose on stage. It's every bit as sexist and disturbing as it sounds.
  • Shaun Cassidy did a male version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" - "her name was Jill" instead of "his name was Bill," and so forth.
  • The Doors' cover of "Alabama Song" (or "Whiskey Bar") changed "Show us the way to the next little boy" to "Show me the way to the next little girl." Originally, the song was sung from the perspective of prostitutes.
    • David Bowie covered the same song about a decade later again changing "boy' to "girl" but keeping a verse that the Doors dropped entirely.
  • In Moulin Rouge, "Like a Virgin," sung by Zidler to the Duke (who joins in later), explaining why Satine wasn't there for an arranged rendezvous.
  • "When She Loved Me" was originally sung by Sarah McLachlan for Toy Story 2 from the point of view of the doll Jessie, which makes perfect sense in context. Michael Crawford and a few other male singers have covered it, which makes a whole lot more sense if you think of it as a song about lost romantic love. The funny thing is, there's still female singers covering it, like Jordan Pruitt on Disneymania 5.
  • Bruce Springsteen wrote "Because The Night" from a male perspective, but couldn't make it fit with the rest of Darkness on the Edge of Town. He ended up giving it to Patti Smith, who recast it from a female perspective. Springsteen released a live concert recording of the song, however, and he included a studio version of it on The Promise, his 2010 album of Darkness outtakes.
    • Springsteen also used to sing the aforementioned Crystals song "Then He Kissed Me" in live shows as "Then She Kissed Me."
      • Kiss also recorded a version of this song.
  • "Bachelor(ette)", originally recorded by Björk, is covered by Voltaire with the point of view changed.
  • Tobias Sammet's Avantasia's cover of "Lay All Your Love on Me" by ABBA changes the "Now every woman I see" to "Now every man that I see."
  • Alan Jackson's cover of Charly McClain's 1981 hit "Who's Cheatin' Who" changes the pronouns so that it's a male singing about a female, instead of vice versa. (Yes, Charly is a female.)
  • Most songs on Masaaki Endoh's cover series ENSON. These range from the still-working (Wing of Destiny], Eternal Blaze) to the... less so (God Knows, Sousei no Aquarion).
  • They Might Be Giants played this straight with their cover of "Maybe I Know" by Lesley Gore (best known for "It's My Party").
  • ("You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" has been covered by Rod Stewart as "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man"
  • The Sunset Takeover are a group who explicitly exist to cover female-sung pop hits into male-sung rock songs. Many, although not all (like their cover of "Circus"), use this (such as their cover of "I Kissed a Girl"). Though one song, "Poker Face," starts off like this in the first verse, averts it in the second, and uses it in the chorus... because the original song was allegedly a meditation on bisexuality.
  • "Caught a Lite Sneeze" by Tori Amos as covered by Evans Blue. The lyrics were changed to "You're on my left/right side" and "I'm in the middle" instead of "Boys" which made the last line of the chorus make a lot less sense ("And you're not here." Wait, aren't "You" on my left and right sides?)
  • Danyl Johnson did this in his cover of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls, prompting a sarcastic comment concerning whether it was necessary by one of the show's judges, effectively outing him on live TV. The Internet Backdraft has been... significant.
  • The Mika version of "Poker Face" (it's all downhill from here, folks) changes the intermittent "she's got me like nobody" (fast version, referring to Lady Gaga)/"he's got me like nobody, she's got me like nobody" (slow version, referring to her lovers) to the more neutral "you've got me like nobody," and replaces some of the uses of "he" in the lyrics with "you" to match...some.
    • The same for Daughtry's version, which does change the word "he" to "you" or "she" every time.
  • The rock band A New Found Glory (now known as simply "New Found Glory") recorded two albums of covers of songs from movies called From the Screen to Your Stereo. The second one features a cover of "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer (which is featured in She's All That). One lyric originally goes, "You'll wear those shoes and I will wear that dress"; NFG's version appropriately changes it to "I'll wear those shoes and you will wear that dress".
    • It's worth noting that "Kiss Me" was written by a man (Matt Slocum, who writes many of Sixpence's songs).
  • The Kingston Trio's cover of "Someday Soon" is gender-flipped, and makes a lot more sense once you know that.
  • Westworld's cover of Alanis Morissette 's "Uninvited." It helps that the singer Tony Harnell is a high-octave singer.
  • Joe plays this trope straight in his cover of Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" as "Before I Cheat"
  • This happens a lot when male artists cover Lady Gaga: Greyson Chance's cover of "Paparazzi" as well as both Daughtry and You Me At Six's covers of "Poker Face" are examples.
    • And let us not forget the Artist vs. Poet cover of "Bad Romance."
  • In Easyworld's cover of Olivia Newton-John's "Hopelessly Devoted to You," singer David Ford changed nouns and pronouns accordingly. However he later sang Candi Staton's "Young Hearts Run Free" in its original form, and even Carole King's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman". At least in his Easyworld work, he had a voice that could sometimes be confused for female anyway.
  • Used by Forever The Sickest Kids in their cover of Taylor Swift's "Love Story."
  • Boyce Avenue did a Perspective Flip of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and turned it into a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming:

  "I will get your heart racing, if that's what you need, in this teenage dream tonight. Let you rest your head on me, if that's what you need, in this teenage dream tonight."

    • He's done the same thing with Rihanna's "Only Girl".
  • Madness's cover of "Money, Money, Money" by ABBA changed "If I got me a wealthy man" to "If I were a wealthy man," among other changes.
  • Bowling for Soup's cover of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time" changed "boy you've got me blinded" to "girl you've got me blinded".
    • Hilariously, in their cover of Fergie's "London Bridge", the line "I'm such a lady but I'm dancing like a ho" was kept intact (although Jaret replaced "Fergie-Ferg" with his own name).
  • One odd example is the Naked Eyes version of "Always Something There To Remind Me." While it was first released by a male singer (Lou Johnson), it was popularized by female singer (Sandie Shaw), and the original lyrics are completely gender neutral. However, Naked Eyes changed them slightly just to make it clear that the song is addressed to a girl.
  • Played with by Mark Weigle, who invoked a Gender Flip with the subject of Tommy Tutone's "867-5309/Jenny," even though the singer stayed male. He's remarked that this changed the song's tone in more ways than its sexual orientation, as it hints that "Jenny's" Spear Counterpart "Jimmy" wrote his own number on the men's room wall.
  • This Lady Gaga medley by Sam Tsui and Kurt Hugo Schneider changes any gender-specific pronouns to "you."
  • Strangely done by two Har Mar Superstar songs originally intended for other artists: he wrote "Girls Only" and "Tall Boy" with the intention of giving them to The Cheetah Girls and Britney Spears respectively. When both declined, he put out his own versions without any lyrical changes. The former is about a girls' night out and finds him singing about having "the cutest little cuticles". The latter is technically about large cans of beer, but it's also very innuendo laden ("where's my tall boy?/ to satisfy my needs/ feel like drinking/ so come on get inside of me").
  • Stevie B and Alexia Phillips' duet remake of Jaya's "If You Leave Me Now" gender-flips Stevie's sections.
  • Meat Loaf did this on Bat Out Of Hell III, kinda. The song It's All Coming Back To Me Now, previously sung by Celine Dion, is here a duet by Meat and Marion Raven. Although Meat did say it sums up his relationship with the song's writer Jim Steinman, so, you know. Take from that what you will.
  • W.A.S.P. have a cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" in which Blackie switches the one gender-specific line to "your eyes, I say your eyes may look like hers," which makes it no longer rhyme with the next line.
  • An odd case is Example covering Beyonce's 'If I Were A Boy', which is about a changed gender perspective. The original is about a woman promising to herself that she'd be a better boyfriend than her past lover, and lamenting the difference between the hearts of men and women. Example's is about a man looking back and seeing how he ruined his relationship with a girl who faithfully loved him, and that though he promises to do better, it's in his nature to let her down.
  • The Eurobeat song "Hot Vampire", originally by Go Go Girls, was gender-flipped by Go2.
  • "House of the Rising Sun" is often gender-flipped, despite the fact that doing so completely obscures the fact that the house in question is a brothel.
  • Actor-singer Christian Kane covered Tracy Chapman's signature "Fast Car" on his 2011 album The House Rules, changing the subject of the song to a guy instead of a girl.

Male perspective changed to female

  • The aria "Sposa, son disprezzata" from Vivaldi's opera Bajazet, which was about a wife raging over her husband's infidelity. The original libretto, "Sposa, non mi conosci", from Geminiano Giacomelli's opera "Merope", was originally sung by the husband, who was denying his infidelity.
  • The Cowboy Junkies cover of The Beatles' "Run for Your Life" does this, to mixed results: It does jarringly break the rhyme scheme at times ("you'd better run for your life if you can little boy / hide your head in the sand, little boy / catch you with another woman, that's the end"), but it's still sort of interesting to see their Obsession Song receive a Gender Flip.
  • Sarah Brightman's genderflipped version of "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera is a tad creepy, simply because Miss Brightman was the original Christine in that musical.
  • Alison Moyet's cover of "Windmills of Your Mind."
  • Kate Rusby has covered a few folk songs that were written from a male perspective. And she wrote one ("Game of All Fours") with a male narrator.
  • Bonnie Raitt turned Skip James's "I'd rather be the devil than be that woman's man" into "that man's woman."
  • Ashley Tisdale's cover of "Never Gonna Give You Up," which had already gotten tons of Internet Backdraft, replaced the lyrics "Any other guy" with "Any other girl," which doesn't really rhyme with "I."
  • The Bow Wow Wow cover of "I Want Candy" is a straight-up gender flip, but it does make the line "I like candy when it's wrapped in a sweater" sound a bit odd-- we don't have a Sweater Boy trope.
  • DEV2.0 flipped the genders on Devo's "Girl U Want" to result in "Boy U Want." They didn't change any other words though, so you had a pre-teen girl sing a song about sexual arousal. Hilariously wrong.
  • Heart's cover of "Black Dog" by Led Zeppelin changes some pronouns from third-person to second-person ("started telling your friends you gonna be a star") and others from first-person to second-person ("tell you no lies, make you a happy man").
  • In the Robots in Disguise cover of "You Really Got Me," all references to "girl" (i.e., "Girl, you really got me now") are changed to "boy".
  • Sheryl Crow's cover of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" changes she/her to he/his ("he's got a smile that it seems to me...").
  • On her most recent album, Quiet Night, Diana Krall sings "The Boy From Ipanema".
    • Which is still way better than the grammar bending in Astrud Gilberto's version "But each day when she walks to the sea, she looks straight ahead, not at ... he."
    • She actually sings "not at hiiiiim." It's more evident on the album version (same take, but on the single the vocals are cut off by the repositioned saxophone solo).
  • The Bangles' cover of Jules Shear's "If She Knew What She Wants" changed the perspective from first person ("I'd be giving it to her") to third person ("He'd be giving it to her").
  • "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was originally written from the male point of view by songwriter Robert Hazard before Cyndi Lauper recorded it.
    • The song "I Drove All Night" was written for Roy Orbison, but went to Lauper instead. Orbison ended up doing his own cover of it later on.
  • The Girls Aloud cover of "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus flips the gender, and breaks the rhyme scheme. "Dick" rhymes with "kick". "Bitch" doesn't.
    • The Scala cover, on the other hand, averts this.
  • Pandora's Box's recording of It Just Won't Quit, a song originally written for Meat Loaf (their version was released first, though). It actually works out quite well, changing 'There used to be every hope in the world' to (slant) rhyme with 'girl', to 'There used to be every hope, every joy'.
  • Reba McEntire did this twice. First, she changed her cover of the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown" to third person, so that she is a woman singing about someone else named Cathy. Oddly, her cover of Lee Greenwood's "Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands" was changed to first person, but kept the original title.
  • In Kirsty MacColl's cover of Billy Bragg's "A New England" the first verse changes "People ask when will I grow up to be a man/But all the girls I loved at school are already pushing prams" to "People ask when will I grow up to understand/Why all the girls I knew at school are already pushing prams" and "I put you on a pedestal, they put you on the pill" to "I put you on a pedestal, you put me on the pill". The line in the chorus "I'm just looking for another girl" becomes "Are you looking for another girl?"
  • Lydia Lunch's version of Classic IV's "Spooky" changes the lines "spooky little girl" and "when a fella looks at you" to "spooky little boy" and "when a girl looks at you." (Daniel Ash's version also uses the "when a girl looks at you" variation while keeping the "spooky little girl" line to add a bit of Les Yay.)
  • Shirley Bassey's cover of Ben E. King's "I Who Have Nothing" is another perspective-flipped example.
  • Used in Cat Power's version of "Satisfaction", but averted in Bjork and PJ Harvey's version.
  • Toni Basil's famous cover of Racey's "Kitty" was changed to "Mickey," though retaining the line "Anyway you want to do it. I'll take it like a man."
  • Joss Stone covered The White Stripes' "Fell in Love With a Girl" as "Fell in Love With a Boy," despite the fact that it doesn't fit with the song's rhyme scheme.
  • Tiffany covered the Beatles with "I Saw Him Standing There."
  • The cover of Public Enemy's "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" by Tricky uses a female vocalist and doesn't change the lyrics, leading to Martina Topley-Bird repeatedly referring to herself as "a brother" and "a black man".
  • Blondie's more famous version of "The Tide Is High" by The Paragons does this ("I'm not the kind of man that gives up just like that" becomes "I'm not the kind of girl...", for instance)
    • For that matter, Denis is a cover of a song originally called Denise.
  • Conway Twitty's "Lost Her Love on Our Last Date" became "Lost His Love on Our Last Date" when Emmylou Harris covered it.
  • The Lady Gaga version of "Viva La Vida" leaves the gender the same in the first few verses, but she eventually screams "who would ever want to be...QUEEN!" and even changes "St. Peter" to "St. Mary" at a few points. Lady Gaga being Lady Gaga, these are some of the more normal changes.
  • Aretha Franklin's feminist hit "Respect" was originally written and performed by a man by the name of Otis Redding. If you read the lyrics from a male point of view, it begins to sound a little bit... hmmm
    • On the other hand, the "Sock it to me!" part definitely sounds harsher being sung by Franklin....
  • Odetta Sings Dylan. Most of the political stuff is gender-neutral, but some of the personal songs needed some pronoun tweaking.
  • Minor Contemporary Christian example: Near the end of D.C. Talk's career, they released a song called "In the Light" which would be covered several years later by Sara Groves. For obvious reasons, a couple of lines were slightly changed, but otherwise remains the same ("I am the king of excuses" changing to "queen of excuses"; "...That I'm still a man in need of a Savior" substitutes "girl" for "man")
  • In her cover of "You Can Leave Your Hat On", the magnificent Etta James tells her man to "take off (his) vest" instead of the original "dress". It rhymes very neatly with the following "yes, yes, yes"es.
  • The popular George Michael Christmas song "Last Christmas" has been covered by many. When a female artists covers it, the lyric is almost always changed from "a man on a cover" to "a girl on a cover but you tore her apart". Except for Michie Tomizawa singing it as Sailor Mars in another one of the Christmas CDs for Sailor Moon, who left it as is entirely in broken English.
  • There is a cover version of Luis Miguel's song "La Incondicional" by Edith Marquez. Since articles, adjectives and nouns are gendered in spanish pretty much all the song is song is changed while remaining the same; the most notable change however, is the line "tu cuerpo de mujer" for "mi cuerpo de mujer".
  • All female covers "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Wanna Be Right" change the point of view from the cheating husband to the other woman.
  • Across the Universe featured a cover of The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" sung by a woman. Only it was about being a lesbian.
  • A country singer named Sunday Sharpe covered Paul Anka's "(You're) Having My Baby" as "I'm Having Your Baby".
  • A strange variation occurs with the country music song "Don't Go Out." The song was originally recorded by Foster & Lloyd, a male duo. When Tanya Tucker and T. Graham Brown covered it, they alternated the lead vocal on the verses. Tucker's lines were changed to a female perspective, while Brown kept the original male perspective.
  • Scala & Kolacny Brothers' cover of Puddle Of Mudd's "She Hates Me" (which, of course, became "He hates me)"
  • "Fire," written by Bruce Springsteen and originally recorded by Robert Gordon, was made much more famous by The Pointer Sisters who sang it with a Perspective Flip.
  • XTM's Speedy Techno Remake of the Olsen Brothers' "Fly on the Wings of Love" is sung by a woman, but still has the line "she's the greatest love I've ever had", making it a lesbian relationship.
  • "Different Drum" was written by Michael Nesmith and contained this verse: "Well I feel pretty sure you'll find a man/who can take a lot more than I ever could or can...". When Linda Ronstadt recorded it, the whole verse was eliminated, probably because there was no way to change "man" to "woman" without changing the rhythm/syllables.
  • Most vocal versions of "I Can't Get Started" were for male singers (the original was written for Bob Hope). Ira Gershwin created a female version for Nancy Walker.
    • Speaking of Gershwin, there are male versions of "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "The Girl I Love."
  • Corrinne Bailey Rae's cover of Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" changes "them other boys they don't know how to act" to "them other girls...", but leaves the "come here, girl" parts alone (probably to appeal to a certain demographic).
  • Judy Collins covered The Incredible String Band's "First Girl I Loved" as "First Boy I Loved."
  • Shawn Colvin recorded a song titled "Every Little Thing (He) Does is Magic."
  • Alanis Morissette's cover of The Police's "King of Pain" for her MTV Unplugged' album. Notably, even though she changes the lyrics to "but it's my destiny to be the queen of pain", the title remains the same.
  • Twisted Sister's cover of "Leader of the Pack" reverses both the singer's identity and the relationship's outcome, having Betty die in a car crash rather than Jimmy wipe out fatally on his motorcycle.
  • Savage Garden's songs are for the the most part very much gender neutral so long as it's not a song with a plot (such as To the Moon and Back and Two Beds and a Coffee Machine). Truly Madly Deeply was covered by Cascada.
  • Mario Winans' plaintive R&B ballad "I Don't Wanna Know" - the 2004 single which, due to copyright law dealing with sampling of other tracks, hilariously co-credits both P. Diddy and Enya - is sung by a man who suspects his girlfriend is cheating and just prays that she keep it secret because if he discovered it for sure it would break his heart. Shola Ama came back with a devastating response from the woman's perspective called "You Should Really Know," the gist of which was that if the guy was so in tune with the woman and so invested in the relationship he should know her damn well enough to know that she's not cheating. Oh, snap.
  • A rather neat version, the female cover of "Kiss from a Rose" as sung by Katherine Jenkins. "There is so much a man can tell you...," becomes "There is so much someone can tell you...,".
  • For Mamma Mia, the song "Does Your Mother Know" is sung in a female perspective, while the original ABBA version is in a male perspective.
  • Rockell's version of "The Dance" changes "king" to "queen", which interrupts the rhyming.
  • Billie Holiday and other female singers have done "She's Funny That Way" as "He's Funny That Way," though the earliest female versions are "I'm Funny That Way."
  • In Donna Summer's version of "MacArthur Park", "Spring was never waiting for us, girl" became "Spring was never waiting for us, till (it ran one step ahead)"
  • Amii Stewart's cover version of Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood" has her telling the partner rather than herself to knock on wood. Mary Griffin's version, featured in the film Studio 54, leaves the lyrics unchanged.
  • Max A Million's and Unique II's covers of Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride" both used a female singer, and thus "she said" became "you said", and the bridge changed from "another girl like you" to "another boy/guy like you".
  • Dusty Springfield's cover of "Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa".
  • David Guetta and Akon's "Sexy Bitch" was covered by Leah, who changed any instance of female pronouns into first-person pronouns (including changing "Yes, I can see it" to "Yes, boys can see me"). So it's changed from the male singer talking about a girl he finds sexy to a female singer bragging about how sexy she is.
  • Tori Amos did an entire Concept Album (Strange Little Girls) based on this trope.
  • Cristina's cover of "Drive My Car" gives the song a Perspective Flip, which really only requires the changing of a few lines - For instance "Asked a girl what she wanted to be" becomes "He asked me 'Girl, what do you want to be?'".
  • Sarah Brighton's cover of Scarborough Fair changes "she once was a true love of mine" to "he was once a true love of mine."
  • Alina's version of "When You Leave" (aka "Ma Ya Hi" aka "Numa Numa" aka "Dragostea din Tei") replaced "Picasso" with her own name and "your duke" with "your babe".
  • Dandoo's cover of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) perspective flips and completely changes the verse lyrics.
  • In recent years, since Ashley Tisdale did a cover of "Kiss The Girl" in 2006, it's become common for that song to be sung by women. Before that, in The Nineties it was a rarely covered song and it was done by men, but look on YouTube and you'll find cover songs of "Kiss The Girl" done by women outnumber those done by men by about 20 to 1. It's gotten to where people forget that it was sung by Sebastian and not Ariel in The Little Mermaid. The unusual thing is, the words entirely remain the same, but the connotations completely change, when sung by a man it's always a third person urging to just follow his heart and kiss the girl he loves, when sung by a woman it becomes a not-so-subtle hint to the guy she likes that she's growing impatient with his hesitation.
  • Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make It Through The Night" from 1971 was originally intended to be sung by a man.
  • Mickey's Dance Party Cover of I'm Blue by Eiffel 65 changes the gender of the "blue" person to a woman, meaning Goofy says "Yo listen up, here's the story About a little Gal that lives in a blue world"


Multiple flipflops

  • Sufficiently old folk songs can go either way. "Black Is The Colour" by... whichever bloke it was originally by has been covered by Cara Dillon, who left it straight, and The Corrs, who flipped it.
  • "Me And Bobby McGee" (Kris Kristofferson, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash)
  • "House of the Rising Sun" is an interesting case. Originally written from the perspective of a woman who falls for a drunken gambler and ends up becoming a prostitute, many male artists have altered it to be from the gambler's perspective. Some versions, however, juggle the narration between both characters, and some male artists like Bob Dylan averted this trope altogether and used the original female lyrics.
    • No one is sure which version came first, or even who made the first version. Another variation is the version by The Animals, which is probably one of the best known, and is actually from the view of the gambler's son.
  • "(He/She) Thinks I Still Care" has been covered by several country music artists of both sexes, with the title getting changed accordingly.
  • "I Heard It through the Grapevine" is another odd case. Originally written by Motown hitmakers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, it was first recorded by the Miracles and the Isley Brothers, but never released. The gender was changed for Gladys Knight's version, which was released and became a number one single... only to be Covered Up a year later by Marvin Gaye's iconic recording, which used the original male lyrics.
    • Subsequently semi-flipped, semi-averted by The Slits, who retain the male lyrics for added weirdness.
  • "I'm Just Wild About Harry" (which is still remembered mainly due to Looney Tunes), is interchangeable with "I'm Just Wild About Mary."
  • "Scarborough Fair" (aka "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme"). Depending on the choice of pronouns, the lyrics can be addressed to a man or a woman, or the singer can switch halfway through so that both lovers asking each other to do various impossible tasks.
  • Many old songs from musicals were written to be sung by characters of both genders, by means of a second chorus or a reprise. "Hey There" from The Pajama Game is one example of this; the female version preserves a rhyme by substituting "like a mother" for "like a brother."
  • The verse of "I've Got A Crush On You" was written as a boy-girl duet, and is typically altered in male and female solo versions that don't omit it.
  • An Older Than Radio example, "How'd You Like To Spoon With Me" was originally from a Jerome Kern play that was meant to be a duet between a man and a woman, but as most of the sung is either a duet or sung by the woman, it wasn't a stretch to remove the male part and just sing everything else, Corrinne Morgan did it in her cover in 1906.


Aversions

  • Averted in Irish and Scottish Traditional Music, where the genders are never flipped because - well - that's the way it's done.
    • Female singers are quite happy singing Burns songs, despite "the lassies" being one of Rab's favourite subjects.
    • Sinéad O'Connor's rendition of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave."
    • Any version of "Danny Boy" sung by a man. It's sometimes suggested that the speaker is changed to Danny's father rather than his lover without altering the lyrics.
    • Also, The Pogues' version of "I'm A Man You Don't See Everyday" from Rum, Sodomy And The Lash. Considering their usual singer is male, and it's the only song performed by bassist Cáit O'Riordan, it would appear they did it solely to enforce this aversion.
  • Averted twice on Sonic Youth's Ciccone Youth's The Whitey Album, with Kim Gordon's cover of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and Thurston Moore's cover of Madonna's "Into the Groove"; the album itself is a tongue-in-cheek "tribute" to 80's music and pop culture.
  • Kaki King adverts this with her cover of Justin Timberlake's "Lovestoned." Also might be an example of The Cover Changes the Meaning, it goes from being just an infatuation song to a song about discovering one's Closet Key.
  • While not originally sung by a member of the opposite sex, J Mascis & The Fog's cover of The Smiths' classic "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" manages to turn it into a particularily bad example of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?.
    • On the other hand, this trope was averted by Morrissey himself when covering songs like "I Want a Boy for My Birthday," "Give Him a Great Big Kiss," and "Golden Lights." However, his version of Bradford's "Skin Storm" leaves out the line "when it's wet and warm", making the song gender neutral rather than specifically heterosexual.
  • Averted, probably on purpose, with Los Campesinos!'s cover of Heavenly's famed duet with Calvin Johnson of Beat Happening "C Is the Heavenly Option". That is, Calvin Johnson's part is sung by the female Aleksanda Campesinos!, and Heavenly guitarist Amelia Fletcher's part is sung by the male Gareth Campesinos!.
    • Gareth has said in an interview that it was mainly because he wanted to do Amelia's spoken/rapped breakdown
  • The Sisters of Mercy averted this trope with their version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene."
  • The White Stripes' version of "Jolene."
  • It's also averted in the Sisters Of Mercy cover of... ABBA's '"Gimme Gimme Gimme," of all songs.
  • Averted in Emily Picha's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2," which adds a whole new level of meaning to "You told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception."
  • Averted by Max Vernon's cover of "I Kissed A Girl": he kept the lyrics, which changed the meaning of the song.
  • Apparently there was a time when it was illegal due to copyright law to change the lyrics of a song, even pronouns- Art Deco released an album called "Can't Help Lovin' that Man" featuring many gentlemen (including Bing Crosby and Ukulele Ike) singing songs intended for women.
  • Similar to the Los Campesinos! aversion, the Future Bible Heroes cover of "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League has Claudia Gonson singing the male verse and Stephin Merritt singing the female verse (complete with the line "I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar"). And Chia Pet's version of the same song is a duet between two female vocalists, also without changing any lyrics.
  • The Dan Band bases their entire existence around subverting this trope. This all-man band covers nothing but songs originally sung by female artists and never change the gender, but they do throw in gratuitous swearing for fun.
  • Most times Blixa Bargeld sings the female part of "Where the Wild Roses Grow" with Nick Cave, there seem to be no pronoun changes from when it was a borderline-Soprano and Gravel duet with Kylie Minogue . Or differences in how the two act when on stage. It makes it either a little more confusing or a little more Ho Yay. (Though it would work fairly well as a song between two men if it weren't for the fact that a major part of the chorus is "for my name was Eliza Day".)
    • This is partly due to Bargeld having sung the female part on the original demo track and the song and Bargeld being such fan favourites that there was no issue performing it like this live. Also, it follows the traditional folk song convention of not changing pronouns.
  • Smith's semi-cover of Van Morrison's "Gloria" leaves the gender unchanged.
  • Averted by Mr Bungle performing the Portishead song "Glory Box", with Mike Patton leaving the lyrics (such as "I just wanna be a woman") unchanged.
  • Averted by Richard Cheese, who has no problem asking his bandmate to "lick his pussy", in his cover of My Neck, My Back (originally by Khia).
  • In "Shaken And Stirred: The David Arnold Project", a James Bond theme song cover album, about half of the songs are done by opposite gender singers with none of the lyrics changed, including a Ho Yay-licious male version of the very feminine "Diamonds Are Forever", with lyrics "unlike men, the diamonds linger/ men are mere mortals who are not worth going to your grave for" left intact.
  • Averted, or rather ignored altogether in the name of camp, in Erasure's cover of ABBA's "Lay All Your Love on Me" and "Voulez-Vous" from the Abba-esque EP. The lyrics "I wasn't jealous before we met/Now every woman I see is a potential threat" and "I still don't know what you've done with me/A grown-up woman should never fall so easily" from "Lay All Your Love on Me" and "I know what you think/The girl means business, so I'll offer her a drink," originally sung by a woman, are sung unchanged by male singer Andy Bell.
    • And don't forget "Gimme gimme gimme (a man after midnight)".
    • They've done this with several non-Abba covers, namely The Partridge Family's "Walking in the Rain" and Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High". It's rather amusing to hear a man sing "When I was a little girl, I had a rag doll/The only doll I've ever owned"...
  • Averted in Blixa Bargeld's cover of Peggy Lee's "Johnny Guitar" which uses the same lyrics as the original. As a result, it sounds like a love song from one man to another.
  • Bluntly averted by The Killing Moon's cover of Alanis Morissette's rather explicit song "You Oughta Know." Which brings us lines like "Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?" sung by a man. The end result is much like a guy being left by his boyfriend for a woman and being seriously pissed off about it (that he's singing about his girlfriend leaving him for another girl gets unlikely with the lines "Would she have your baby?" and "Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity?").
    • 1,000 Mona Lisas did the same with their cover, which was something of a novelty hit in the 90's.
    • Jonathan Coulton did this as well, but with less pissed-off and more being heartbroken.
  • Amusingly averted in The All American Rejects cover of "Womanizer"
  • Averted hard by Me First And The Gimme Gimmes' Are A Drag, an entire album of non-gender-flipped covers of originally female songs.
  • John Barrowman's cover of "You're So Vain" averts this trope, leaving in lines like "All the girls thought that they'd be your partner".
  • The trope was averted more frequently in years past, which is (probably) the reason Dolly Parton did so when she covered "Rocky Top." ("Once I had a girl on Rocky Top, half-bear the other half cat/Wild as a mink but sweet as soda pop; I still dream about that.")
  • Patricia O'Callaghan covered Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" without changing the lyrics at all, turning a fairly standard love song into a wonderfully lesbian love song.
    • Which has since been used as an epic background song for an International Femmeslash Day music vid.
  • Averted by Marissa Nadler's musical treatment of Poe's "Annabelle Lee," giving the tale a new Les Yay flavor.
    • Her cover of Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" averts this as well.
  • It probably goes without saying that Pansy Division averted this in their version of "Son of a Preacher Man," since that was the whole point of them covering the song in the first place.
  • Averted by The Cardigans cover of Restless Heart's "The Bluest Eyes in Texas", turning a sad country song about leaving your woman into... well, the same thing, only now with lesbians!
  • Averted by Sarah Blasko in her covers of "Flame Trees" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." Yes, she sings "this boy's too young to be singing the blues."
  • Averted by Cyndi Lauper when she covered Prince's "When You Were Mine". Given the image she was trying to cultivate, this may have been intentional.
  • Sixpence None the Richer's cover of "There She Goes" kept the original gender pronouns, leading to lots of comment wars on Youtube over whether lead singer Leigh Nash was a lesbian or not. She isn't, she just didn't want to change the lyric.
  • Averted by Tori Amos in her covers of "Famous Blue Raincoat", "Angie", "I'm On Fire", and many other songs.
    • Of course the whole point of her Strange Little Girls album was to take songs originally written by men and to cover them from a female perspective.
  • Averted in the Save Ferris cover of "Come on Eileen". Which is pretty natural, given a female name is in the title. "You in that dress/Oh, my thoughts, I confess/Verge on dirty..."
  • Averted in the Anne Murray cover of "You Won't See Me" by The Beatles. The few occurrences of "girl" are merely omitted, which does not significantly alter the song.
  • Averted by The Watson Twins' cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven". All the original feminine pronouns are kept intact.
  • Averted by Joan Jett in her Les Yay-filled cover of "Crimson & Clover"...although played - er, straight - in her cover of "I Love Rock and Roll."
  • Averted with Amy Winehouse's cover of "Valeri.e"
  • Anya Marina's version of T.I.'s "Whatever You Like" averts this: The original is mostly addressed to someone in the second person anyway, but she does keep lines like "My chick can have what she want" and "I know you ain't ever had a man like that". The only thing that is a minor change is "Tell them other broke brothers be quiet".
  • Andrew Huang's version of Rihanna's "Only Girl" is an aversion.
  • Freek de Jonge's cover of "Peter" plays this for comedy. At the end of the song, he reveals that "Peter" is the name of a girl from Suriname.
  • Oddly enough done by The New Pornographers to themselves: Carl Newman had written the love song "Go Places" for himself to sing, but he thought it sounded better in Neko Case's voice, so she sang it instead, without changing the line "Good morning, Christina".
  • the brilliant green, whose vocalist is the very female Tomoko Kawase, did a cover of The Kinks' "All Day and All of the Night" for their single "Blue Daisy," without changing the repeated line "Girl, I want to be with you."
  • KT Tunstall's cover of the Jackson5's "I Want You Back" has her singing "Let me show you girl/that I know wrong from right" to the apparent delight of many female fans, especially following her Eye to the Telescope album on which she's wearing a pair of rainbow suspenders/braces and sings endlessly about loving women.
  • Averted in Shiny Toy Guns' cover of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)," which still has the line "Give my wife my love" despite having a female singing the song. Though this is less relevant to this trope than other examples, as the song is a third-person narrative, so it's more like the female singer is quoting a male astronaut.
  • Roxette's "How Do You Do" originally had alternating male and female singers. Cascada's version is solely from the girl's point of view, without any change in lyrics.
  • Alison Krauss averts this twice on Raising Sand: once with "Through the Morning, Through the Night" and once with "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson."
  • Averted by Pet Shop Boys in "Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man)," "In Private," and "If Love Were All". As a result, "Try It" has its premise changed to that of Incompatible Orientation.
  • Notably averted when Swedish folk artist Sofia Karlsson recorded the album Black Ballads, singing songs written by Dan Andersson. His lyrics are so male-centered that the album is mostly known for the fact that a woman actually sings them unchanged.
  • Often averted by English folk singer Kate Rusby. Subverted with the title track from the album "Awkward Annie," since she wrote the song that way on purpose.
  • Sonny Charles & The Checkmates' "Black Pearl" was originally about a love affair with a black woman (when segregation was the norm), but Kandystand's version turns it into a lesbian relationship, also resulting in The Cover Changes the Meaning.
  • The Cub cover of The Hollies' "You Know He Did" leaves it intact, suggesting the subject would be happier not merely with the singer as opposed to her newly former boyfriend, but abandoning men entirely.
  • The Lemonheads version of "Different Drum" leaves the lyrics as Linda Ronstadt sang them.
  • Clara Moroni's cover of Michael Sembello's "Maniac".
  • Luther Vandross averted this in his cover of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song."
    • Al B. Sure, on the other hand, played it straight.
  • Jawbox didn't alter the lyrics when they covered Tori Amos' "Cornflake Girl". Hearing J Robbins sing it borders on surreal.
  • Zebrahead's cover of Avril Lavigne's make's no attempt to switch around the genders... in fact, EVERYONE is a guy in their video
  • Thoroughly averted in Madison's cover of Lil Wayne's Lollipop.
  • In The Gun Club's version of "My Man Is Gone Now" from Porgy and Bess, male singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce doesn't change any of the lyrics. Interestingly, Pierce was straight.
  • Anna Nalick's cover of "Breaking the Girl" begins with the line "I am a man," which you would think would make it clear that she's singing from a male perspective, but a number of listeners got confused nonetheless. This may be because the lyrics aren't exactly explicitly clear even knowing the speaker is male.
  • Gigi d'Agostino did a solo version of his most famous hit, "L'amour Toujours (I'll Fly With You)", previously a duet.
  • Patty Griffin's version of Bruce Springsteen's "Stolen Car" preserves the line "I met a little girl and I settled down" unchanged.
  • Me'Shell Ndegéocello's cover of Bill Withers' "Who Is He and What Is He to You" changes few of the lyrics, with the exception of "You tell me men don't have much intuition" to "Now you think I'm one not much for intuition." So it's either a woman singing to a woman about an affair that woman had with a man, or a woman singing to a man about an affair he had with a man.
  • Averted by Electrelane in their Les Yay cover of "I'm On Fire".
  • Joan Baez made several changes to "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (originally by The Band), but kept the line "Back with my wife in Tennessee, and one day she said to me ..."
  • Blondie have a couple of examples of playing this straight, but have also averted it with their cover of Buddy Holly's "I'm Gonna Love You Too". Granted, the only line in the original that mentioned gender was "after all, another fella took ya", but leaving that in does change potential interpretations of the song: in the Buddy Holly version it's "another fella" as in "a man other than me", but having a woman sing that line makes it sound like both the subject of the song and the person he's currently with are men.
  • Averted by Claudette's cover of Billy Joel's Only the Good Die Young. This is also an example of The Cover Changes the Meaning, as the song goes from being about a young man trying to get with a Catholic girl by suggesting that she not take religion too seriously to being about a girl encouraging a potential girlfriend to embrace her true self (Come out, Virginia.), not to let her faith get her down about it (The stained glass curtain you're hiding behind never lets in the sun.) and become part of the queer community that already accepts her. (I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.)
  • Xiu Xiu have a habit of covering songs without changing any of the pronouns. Considering singer Jamie Stewart is quite camp (and has written many songs of his own sung to men, both from male and female perspectives) this is almost always the least troubling example of The Cover Changes the Meaning in their versions however.
    • Their version of Don't Cha by the Pussy Cat Dolls is a particularly notable effort. Instead of playing up on the joke of covering a dodgy pop song, he sings it entirely straight and turns it into a kind of moving - and deeply disturbing - tale of a man refusing to let his bisexual lover leave his wife for him.
    • They even do it to their own songs, releasing two different versions of Helsabot, one sung plaintively by regular singer Jamie Stewart and the other by (now ex) musician Caralee Mc Elroy, who has quite a sweet, girlish voice. Though they don't change the lyrics, considering the song deals with the antics of a violent alcoholic robot, lines like "I did something bad, I got in a fight, about drugs, kicked him in the neck" they have wildly differing contexts.
    • Though Fast Car, originally by Tracey Chapman, doesn't really gender the narrator, they still manage it. The song changes from being a blue collar couple escaping for a better life elsewhere, to a young homosexuals dream of leaving for the big city.
  • Linda Eder's "Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)" averts this completely. She sells it anyway. Complete with blazing soprano note at the climax.
  • Subverted by jazz singer Patricia Barber, who sang a cover of Tom Jones' "She's a Lady" and doesn't change a single word.
  • Inverted by Incubus' "Promises, Promises"; Brandon Boyd, male, sings an original song from a woman's point of view.
  • Bon Voyage (a female-fronted Starflyer 59 side project) covered The Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma" and didn't change a word.
  • The Sucker Punch soundtrack is mostly female singers doing songs by male artists (The Beatles, The Smiths, Jefferson Airplane) - but the lyrics are unchanged (the most blantant is "Seek and Destroy", which is still "I'm the world's forgotten boy...").
  • Judy Garland averts this completely when she sings "For Me and My Gal."
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.