Five covered songs you totally didn't know were covers themselves

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"California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain/Honolulu Starbright—the song remains the same."

—Led Zeppelin

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what do you call an imitation of an imitation? In the business world, they call it a Xerox (or they used to, anyway). In the meat-processing industry, it's called Spam.

Some of our favorite musicians have scored huge hits over the years by covering other songs we know...or at least we thought we knew. It turns out that even the biggest chart toppers are sometimes copies of copies that we weren't aware existed. Sometimes, the original cover (how's that for an oxymoron?) grows so popular that people consider it the standard-bearer.

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Here now are five covered songs you totally didn't know were covers themselves:

"Tainted Love"

Was covered by: Marilyn Manson (2001)



They were covering: Soft Cell (1981)

At one time you probably thought it was by: Depeche Mode

It was actually recorded by: Gloria Jones (1964)

"The Ghost of Tom Joad"

Was covered by: Rage Against the Machine (1997)

They were covering: Bruce Springsteen (1995)



Your 12th-grade English teacher would snobbishly point out that the title character is from: The Grapes of Wrath

It was actually inspired by: Woody Guthrie (1940)

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"All Along the Watchtower"

Was covered by: Dave Matthews Band (a concert staple)



They were covering: The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1968)

It was actually written by: Bob Dylan (1967)

Total time between the Dylan version and the Hendrix cover: 180 days

"When the Levee Breaks"

Was covered by: A Perfect Circle (2004)

They were covering: Led Zeppelin (1971)

Band Led Zeppelin tried to sue for sampling their opening drum riff: The Beastie Boys

It was actually written by: Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie (1929)

"Amen"

Was covered by: Every hip-hop, rap and jungle act in the 1980s

They were covering: The Winstons' song "Amen, Brother" (1969)

Total amount of time covered and looped: Six seconds

It was actually written by: Jester Hairston for the film Lilies of the Field (1963)

Amount of money both Hairston and the Winstons made for spawning three different genres: $0

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