'SNL,' Backyard Sessions and Beyond: The 28 Best Miley Cyrus Covers (Critics' Picks)

Miley Cyrus and Billy Joel
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Miley Cyrus and Billy Joel perform at Madison Square Garden on September 30, 2017 in New York City.

Miley Cyrus has never been one to shy away from covering some of her favorite artists. From inserting covers into concert set lists to starting her own series of acoustic covers through Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions, Cyrus has a large repertoire of cover tunes.

From Cyrus' cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" on Saturday Night Live in April 2020 to her fan-favorite Backyard Sessions series and everything in between, Billboard has compiled her best covers below (in no particular order).

This article has been updated.

"Believe" – Cher

As part of Miley's Stand By You Pride special for Peacock in June 2021, she tackled queer icon Cher's Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 smash "Believe," imbuing the undeniable dance-pop anthem with a vocal grit in place of the original's trend-setting Auto-Tune.

"Nothing Else Matters" – Metallica

In June 2021, Cyrus pulled together an all-star team for her take on Metallica's Black Album hit "Nothing Else Matters," recruiting WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Metallica's Robert Trujillo and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith for a moody version of the hard rock ballad.

"Zombie" -- The Cranberries

Cyrus did the late Dolores O'Riordan proud when she took on The Cranberries' 1993 hit live from L.A.'s Whisky a Go Go on Oct. 17, 2020, for the Save Our Stages benefit show.

"Gimme More" -- Britney Spears

Cyrus took the Princess of Pop's dance tune and gave it a dark twist, transforming it into an aching acoustic ballad for a special edition of MTV Unplugged's "Miley Cyrus Backyard Sessions" on Oct. 16, 2020.

"Wish You Were Here" -- Pink Floyd

Cyrus took on Pink Floyd's classic with producer Andrew Watt on acoustic guitar during the April 25, 2020, episode of Saturday Night Live (at-home edition).

"My Future" -- Billie Eilish

Returning to BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, Cyrus took on Eilish's 2020 track "My Future," giving it a laid-back rock twist.

“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” -- Roberta Flack

Cyrus performed this cover during BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge at her very own Malibu Rainbowland Studios.

“No Freedom” -- Dido

Two years prior to enlisting Adam Sandler to cover the song with her on The Tonight Show, Cyrus performed the song for her Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions. The song was revived recently to honor the victims of the Oct. 1, 2017, terrorist attack on Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas.

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” -- Crowded House

Cyrus and Grande snuggled up in animal onesies to perform this cover. During the benefit following the terrorist attack on Ariana Grande's Manchester concert, the duo covered the song once again.

“Androgynous” -- The Replacements

Cyrus showed off her punk side as Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and Joan Jett joined her during Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions for their take on the classic.

“I’ll Take Care of You” -- Etta James

Deep into the Bangerz era, this Australian performance forcefully reminded the world that Cyrus can absolutely wail. Watch through the end for some of the biggest notes you'll ever hear the singer let out.

“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” - The Beatles

The Flaming Lips enlisted Cyrus and Moby for this cover on their album With a Little Help From My Fwends. Miley keeps the verses super low-key before the chorus opens up with almost crunchy effects placed on the iconic hook.

“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” - Arctic Monkeys

Cyrus killed this cover on MTV Unplugged back in 2014 when still promoting Bangerz. She absolutely blew the crowd away when she took the last chorus up the octave as she stomped around the stage.

“Lilac Wine” -- Jeff Buckley

This cover started the entire Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions series off oh-so-well. Cyrus surrounds herself with her acoustic band, the standup bass thumping along and pulling the set together with her country roots.

“Happy Together” -- The Turtles

Cyrus' strong alto range lent itself well to her melancholy take on this hit. Her smiley face body suit and matching earrings only make the positive message seem even more sinister, but in the best way.

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" -- Brenda Lee

Both songs that Cyrus covered in 2017 for her exclusive holiday Spotify Singles pack are great, but it's her take on Brenda Lee that's really swell.

“Jolene” -- Dolly Parton

Cyrus returns to her godmother's classic track time and time again, but the stripped down version from the first installment of Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions absolutely takes the cake.

“Rebel Yell” -- Billy Idol

Dressed in full-Billy-Idol-adorned garb, Cyrus held her own as she took to the stage with Billy Idol. The audio alone could easily convince listeners that Cyrus had been a rock 'n' roll star of yester-year in an alternate universe.

“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” - Bob Dylan

An oldie but a goodie, Cyrus performs this Bob Dylan classic as part of Amnesty International's 50th year celebration back in 2012. Cyrus is joined by Johnzo West on background vocals and guitar.

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” -- Paul Simon

The melancholy mood stays strong during the second installment of Happy Hippie Presents: Backyard Sessions, at least until the chorus when Cyrus cracks a smile and the groove really gets going on this Paul Simon track.

Summertime Sadness” -- Lana Del Rey

It's almost as if Cyrus' voice was meant to parallel the original. Stripping the track back to acoustics only improves this BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge performance.

“Landslide” -- Fleetwood Mac

Even in the early days Cyrus was performing classics on tour. She did the song justice plenty of times on tour, including during her 2011 tour in Australia.

“The Scientist” -- Coldplay

Nobody said compiling a list of Cyrus' best moments covering other huge artists would be easy, and her incredibly wide range in music taste proves this task most difficult. Cyrus played it a bit more current during the Bangerz tour with her rendition of "The Scientist," putting her usual up-the-octave twist on the end to wow the crowd.

“Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” -- Led Zepplin

Another rock standard that Cyrus absolutely kills. Not exactly the first song one would expect to hear on the Bangerz tour, but by the time Cyrus is screaming into the mic a little over four minutes in, it's impossible not to be entirely sold on this performance.

“New York State of Mind” -- Billy Joel

Stay tuned until the second verse to hear Cyrus belt her love for the Big Apple, much to the crowd's delight. Billy Joel and Miley Cyrus is a collaboration the world didn't know it needed, but deserved.

“These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” -- Nancy Sinatra

Fringe and sparkles top of Cyrus' full circle return to country during the 2017 iHeartRadio festival. Cyrus played much more closely to the original on this number, only amping up the backing band, and it definitely paid off.

“Baby I’m in the Mood For You” -- Bob Dylan

The Roots joined Cyrus during a performance on The Tonight Show. Cyrus played showrunner, taking a break in the middle of the song to talk to the crowd and calls out to host Jimmy Fallon. "Let's all give it up for our host who is always so much fun, unless you're Donald Trump, and then don't even think about messing with my hair. I'm serious," Cyrus asserted.

"Heart of Glass" -- Blondie

Miley Cyrus rocked out to Blondie's No. 1 hit "Heart of Glass" during the 2020 iHeartRadio Music Festival, and after "popular demand," she released the cover to streaming services in late September 2020. Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry also gave the cover the stamp of approval, writing, "We think @MileyCyrus nailed it."