Covering the queen, the king and the Prince of pop

To honor the birthdays of pop music icons Madonna, Prince and Michael Jackson (who all turn 50 this year), has put together a list of 150 cover songs of their material that other artists recorded over the years. They generously offer MP3s of each song, and some of the performers are favorite female artists and bands of bloggers and readers.

A few of the songs surprised me. For instance, did you know actress Rebecca Romjin recorded a version of Prince’s naughty “Darling Nikki” back when she was married to John Stamos? Others are a bit more familiar like Tegan and Sara’s version of “When You Were Mine.”

Michael Jackson songs:

“I Want You Back”: K.T. Tunstall, Nickel Creek

“Thriller”: Petra Haden

“Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”: Shivaree

“Beat It”: Amy Winehouse and Charlotte Church (Actually, it’s worth watching this train wreck.)

Madonna songs:

“Gone”: Juliana Hatfield

“Ray of Light”: Natasha Bedingfield

“Love Profusion”: Regina Spektor

“Who’s That Girl”: Sara Culler

“Borderline”: The Chapin Sisters

“Into the Groove”: Sonic Youth

“Like A Prayer”: Tori Amos

Prince songs:

“Purple Rain”: Kate Nash

“When Doves Cry”: The Be Good Tanyas

“Darling Nikki”: Rebeeca Romjin

“When You Were Mine”: Tegan and Sara

“When Doves Cry”: Ani DiFranco and Aimee Mann

I thought of a few more that didn’t make it to the Hyperful list:

Ashanti: “Rock With You” (MJ)

Chaka Khan: “I Feel For You” (Prince)

Mariah Carey: “Beautiful Ones” (Prince)

Aaliyah: “When Doves Cry” (Prince)

Dean & Britta: “I Deserve It” (Madonna)

Dame Shirley Bassey: “You’ll See” (Madonna)

My vote for the best interpretations goes to Petra Haden because she does such magical things with her voice. The worst? Oh, that’s easy: The horrid cover of “Beat It” by Amy Winehouse and Charlotte Church. If I were Charlotte, I would have kicked Amy for sabotaging what could have been a marvelous duet.

Are you familiar with any of these cover songs? Which one is your favorite? Do you have another one to add to the list?