It’s no wonder why Glee is such a wildly popular show. It combines the hilarious comedic talent of actors like Jane Lynch and Heather Morris with deliciously unrealistic portrayals of high school life (i.e. a cheer coach regularly getting away with abusing students).
Oh, not to mention that some of the most beloved pop songs, rock anthems and show tunes of all time are featured in each episode. In fact, the Glee cast now has more than 110 hit singles to its name — more than any other artist or group in history!
The only bewildering aspect of the whole thing is why it took producers so long to create a musical television show.
So, in ode to the genius that is Glee, I have compiled a list of the top seven Glee covers every music lover should know about. And, as a side note, let’s just say this wasn’t easy (I mean, I find myself buying at least one song from every episode off iTunes).
“Don’t Stop Believin'”
This Journey cover is just a given. It has basically become the television show’s theme song. Any Glee cover list would feel incomplete without mentioning the song that kicked off the craze.
Aired at the end of the pilot episode, the song features a duet between Rachel (Lea Michele) & Finn (Cory Monteith) and gives the audience a solid taste of the magic to come in following episodes and seasons.
The theatrical style that guest star Gwyneth Paltrow (as substitute teacher Holly Holliday) lends to this already-solid Cee Lo song is what makes it so spectacular. Not to mention her funky, fun dance moves; anybody else catch the robot in there? Listen for the part where she sings, “Why? WHY?” infusing her acting ability into the music.
“Umbrella/Singin’ in the Rain”
Every once in a while, Glee will artistically combine two completely different songs, normally of competing genres, into one epic creation in what is termed a “mash-up.” This mash-up covers Rihanna’s hit song “Umbrella” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” a song made popular by Gene Kelly in the movie of the same title. Glee’s version features Holly Holliday and Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison).
The brilliant part of this mash-up is how so entirely opposite the original two songs are but how they fit so beautifully together, sounding as if they were made to be written as one. And who doesn’t love the creative choreography in the performance?
“This is a Man’s World”
Glee is known for covering controversial issues in its episodes. In its first season, queen bee cheerleader Quinn (Dianna Agron) becomes pregnant. Her raw, soulful rendition of James Brown’s “This is a Man’s World” is one of the most under-appreciated songs from the television show. Notice the part where she rasps, “But it would have been nothin’, NOTHIN’, without a woman, or a girl.”
Die hard fans were a little wary of The Warblers to begin with. I mean, they stole Kurt away from New Directions! Wariness turned to intrigue when The Warblers’ first song on the series went big, taking on the popular song “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry. Within the first few seconds, though, the harmonizing “dum dum dum”‘s and Blaine’s (Darren Criss) lead vocals had won fans over. We’re still in love with this all-boy a capella choir.
This cover of the wildly energetic song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show was marvelously redone in the second season of Glee. Pay special attention to when Kurt (Chris Colfer) starts the song off in an eery, monotone narration and Quinn lends her sweet vocals in a featured solo.
When bad boy Puck (Mark Salling) reveals his endearing singing voice in this Neil Diamond cover, hearts all over America melted. Not to mention how cute he looks serenading Rachel — one of the most pleasantly surprising moments of the show so far.
With Glee now performing some original songs on its shows, beginning with the Regionals episode appropriately titled “Original Song” on March 15, 2011, there may soon be reason to create a “Top Seven Glee Original Songs” list.