To celebrate Miley Cyrus' 28th birthday on November 23, we ranked 20 of her best covers.
As her career evolved, Cyrus embraced the cover and regularly performed them during concerts, awards shows, and perhaps most famously, in her own backyard.
"Jolene" was one of Cyrus' first covers and is likely the song she's covered the most. In her 2012 Happy Hippie Backyard Sessions, she pours her heart into an emotional rendition.
Cyrus' performance of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Festival was so good, fans immediately demanded she post it to streaming services.
Miley Cyrus has given us original hits like "Wrecking Ball" and "The Climb," but she's also no stranger to the cover. Over the course of her career, some of the singer's best performances have been covers of other artists' songs.
In the past decade, she's performed dozens of other artists' songs, including stellar cuts of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" to The Cranberries' grunge hit "Zombie," proving that no one genre defines her and she can do almost any track justice on her own.
In celebration of Cyrus' 28th birthday on November 23, Insider ranked 20 of the singer's best covers.
20. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" is not Cyrus' strongest cover, but it sure is unique.
I love the Flaming Lips but this cover of The Beatles' classic featuring Cyrus and Moby from the album "With a Little Help from My Fwends" is just a bit too experimental for me to be spinning recreationally.
Compared to the original version's cheery psych hook, the choruses are an absolute explosion of distorted noise that weigh the track down.
The saving grace? Cyrus' voice shines during the verses and saves the chorus from being totally unlistenable.
Song highlight: Never in my wildest dreams would I have predicted a Miley Cyrus-Flaming Lips crossover. Even if it's not their strongest work, the fact that this even exists is enough to be included on this list.
19. "Happy Together" is the perfect mellow tune to relax to.
On first listen, this cover of the Turtles' 1967 hit "Happy Together" from Cyrus' 2015 Happy Hippie Backyard Sessions sounds empty without the backing horns that helped give it its iconic sunshine rock vibe.
But it's hard to deny that Cyrus' singing is some of her best. It's mellow and sometimes her country twang slips through, but it's the perfect vibe for a backyard shindig.
Song highlight: The chorus — it's impossible to listen without smiling.
18. "Wish You Were Here" isn't supposed to be so emotional, but Cyrus really went there.
Performing an acoustic version of this song takes guts and Cyrus' original approach here won big.
The "SNL" home performance from April is vulnerable and emotional in ways Pink Floyd's original recording isn't.
She loses a few points for singing a bunch of "Na na na's" in place of David Gilmour's guitar solo — I know, what else are you supposed to do? It just sounded a bit too poppy.
Song highlight: Approximately 1 minute and 26 seconds into the video Cyrus sings, "Did you exchange /A walk on part in the war / For a lead role in a cage?" The way she sings the first two phrases so powerfully contrasted against the more gentle third phrase perfectly captured the emotion behind these heavy lyrics.
17. "Rebel Yell" shows Cyrus has the grit to sing more than country and pop.
Cyrus brings a surprising swagger to her singing on this cover, proving she can hang with just about any artist from any genre. Idol lets her take care of the verses and joins back in for an extra punchy chorus.
Song highlight: Cyrus really digs into this performance, especially when she screams. She sounds the part and you can tell she's having a blast.
16. "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High" is an even more laid-back take on the original.
Cyrus' swanky cover of the Arctic Monkeys' hit during her 2014 "Miley Cyrus: MTV Unplugged" performance is really fun to listen to, thanks largely in part to the way she slurs the vocals together in some of the wordier runs and messes with their inflection.
Song highlight: Two minutes into the song, Cyrus comes in for the final chorus and belts out an insane vibrato that's a pleasant contrast from the otherwise mellow cover.
15. On "Sweet Jane" Cyrus gives us a dreamy slow-burner.
During her 2020 "MTV Unplugged" Backyard Sessions, Cyrus performed a stripped-down version of Lou Reed's classic Velvet Underground tune "Sweet Jane" — perfect for the laid-back backyard setting.
Song highlight: When Cyrus transitions into some smoky, attention-grabbing vocals.
14. On "Androgynous," Cyrus sits back and watches two of her icons go to work.
Unlike other covers on this list where Cyrus wows us with a new take on a classic or some impressive vocal run, she plays it cool on her version of "Androgynous."
She lets her guests, Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace, have control of the verses and chorus and chimes in to support them when needed.
Song highlight: Seeing how happy Cyrus is to be on stage and singing with two legends of the rock world.
13. "Take It to the Limit" packs an emotional punch and is just as good, if not better, than the original.
Cyrus' performance of this Eagles classic tune from the BBC Live Lounge in September packs the same emotional punch as her early music but in a much more mature package.
It's impossible to do anything but close your eyes and nod along as she absolutely kills it on this song.
Song highlight: Cyrus pours out this emotional ballad with such ease, yet her conviction is so powerful.
12. "Summertime Sadness" gives her the chance to show off her vocal range.
Cyrus lulls us along with this hypnotic rendition of Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness."
She absolutely slays the high notes without pumping in too much emotion as to erase the song's somber undertone.
Song highlight: For the first minute of the song, Cyrus is on her own, no backup vocals and no band. It shows just how refined her voice is on its own.
11. "Peace Will Come (According to Plan)" is one of Cyrus' most tender performances.
Cyrus originally covered this song back in 2012 but got a chance to team up with the original artist, Melanie Safka, for her 2015 Happy Hippie Backyard Sessions to really do it justice.
Cyrus and Safka both have their moment to sing alone, but it's when the duo sings together that the beauty of this song truly shines through.
Song highlight: Safka's weathered voice mixes so beautifully with Cyrus' smooth vocals.
10. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" showcases Cyrus' country roots.
In this mournful acoustic cover featuring Johnzo West for Amnesty International's 50-year celebration, Cyrus reminds us of the ease with which she can emotionally belt out folk and country songs.
Song highlight: This is the potential Cyrus had for folk and country without her "Hannah Montana" Disney kitsch.
9. "Roadhouse Blues" proves Cyrus can sing anything she wants and hit it out of the park.
Cyrus carries this staple from The Doors with ease, conjuring a dirty-blues voice that would make Jim Morrison proud.
Song highlight: When, just before the two-minute mark, Cyrus walks over to Doors guitarist Robby Krieger and starts to nod along as he solos. It's a beautiful moment that proves music transcends all ages and genres.
8. On "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," Cyrus changes course from folk-rock to stomp-your-feet Southern rock.
Song highlight: The power of her Southern twang as she sings the final chorus of the track.
7. The beautiful singing on "Don't Dream It's Over" will put a smile on your face.
Cyrus and Ariana Grande may look goofy in their animal onesies, but they absolutely go to work on this cover of Crowded House's hit single.
Grande's sweet vocals are the perfect counterpart to Miley's lilting singing.
Song highlight: The sweet, unguarded moment when Grande misses her entrance back into a verse because she was busy talking with Cyrus and their band.
6. "New York State of Mind" showcases Cyrus' impressive vocal range.
Cyrus' navigation of the peaks and valleys of this song during a 2017 performance at Madison Square Garden is about as impressive as it gets.
She nails the verses in her own right, but when she and Billy Joel team up for the occasional phrase or verse, it's purely triumphant.
Song highlight: Every time Cyrus croons the phrase "I'm in a New York state of mind" it gives me goosebumps. Her vibrato is on par with that of Whitney Houston or Celine Dion.
5. "Tiny Dancer" is a beautiful duet that highlights Cyrus' restraint.
Miley belted out a beautiful rendition of "Tiny Dancer" while performing with Elton John during the 2018 Grammy Awards.
She nailed all the high notes and the duo's playful interactions made the performance especially enjoyable to watch.
Song highlight: Once John handed her the vocal reins, Cyrus could have run away with the song and made it her own. But the pair work perfectly in tandem here, choosing to share the spotlight and stay true to this iconic song's form.
4. "My Future" is better as a Miley Cyrus song than a Billie Eilish song. There, I said it.
Cyrus' cover of Eilish's "My Future" at BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge starts out almost like a cocktail hour jazz duet between the piano and the singer.
As the song progresses, Cyrus hits beautiful runs that showcase her ability to switch between powerful belts and tender restraint in the blink of an eye. She owns this song and gives us a rare instance of a cover besting the original version.
Song highlight: I really enjoy the first half of this cover before the band comes in. Cyrus' voice reminds me of a young Natalie Merchant — I could listen to it for hours.
3. "Zombie" shows that Cyrus' singing has no boundaries.
This performance from October's Save Our Stages benefit show proves that Cyrus is held down by no genre. Country? Yup. Folk? No problem. Classic rock? Mhmm. Grunge? Add it to the list.
Cyrus did an outstanding job emulating the late Dolores O'Riordan on this one, good enough that I'd support a reunion show with her behind the mic (fingers crossed).
Song highlight: Just how heavy the cover is. From Cyrus' head-banging to her absolutely belting the chorus around the three-minute mark, this is a stroke of excellence from the singer.
2. "Jolene" is Cyrus' most famous cover and one of her all-time bests.
Cyrus has covered Dolly Parton's megahit "Jolene" so many times it wouldn't be surprising if younger fans think the song is one of her own.
There are solo performances and duets with Parton but if I had to pick one that reigns supreme, it'd have to be the version from her 2012 Happy Hippie Backyard Sessions.
For almost the entire song Cyrus has her eyes closed like she's entranced by the music. It's obvious the singer is pouring her heart into the cover, trying — and succeeding — to do her godmother's hit justice.
Song highlight: At 1:52, the band drops down, letting Cyrus absolutely nail the most vulnerable section of the song.
1. "Heart of Glass" was such a good live cover, fans demanded Cyrus release it on streaming services.
Cyrus could have flexed her pop muscles and mimicked the sweet '80s vocals on "Heart of Glass" during her cover at the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Festival.
But from the drum fill that opens the song to the first punchy vocal Cyrus delivers, you know you're in for a rocking version of Blondie's iconic song.
The sheer power behind each lyric sounds awesomely angry, like Cyrus is out to squash whoever broke Debbie Harry's heart.
The version was so good that Harry tweeted, "We think @MileyCyrus nailed it."
Song highlight: I love her decision to play with the form of the song a bit and extend a lot of the notes. Her vocal range and breath control really shine on this one.
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