Radley Balko and his readers have been coming up with lists of the best-ever cover versions of songs.
I don’t have much to add to that, but if you want to have a nice hearty laugh, do yourself a favor and pick up Putumayo’s Cover The World collection: a dozen or more popular songs covered by “world music” artists. Some are great, some are so-so, but most all of them will give you a chuckle. And they might inspire you. Standouts: Albert Pla’s strange yet irresistible flamenco version of Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” (with a gypsy chorus replacing the soul singers), French rapper Yannick (yes, such a beast does exist) making delightful hay of Frankie Valli’s “Oh, What A Night”, and last but not least the Okinawan girl group Nenes taking a stab at Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, which is somehow both hilarious in its incongruity, and oddly moving for its sheer sincerity.
Oh, and Bonnie Raitt’s cover of John Hiatt’s “A Thing Called Love” is a classic, although I still prefer the original.