Lana Del Rey released a chill cover of Sublime’s hit “Doin’ Time” on Friday (May 17), serving as a great excuse to look back at the singer’s stacked resume of covers.
Every cover that Del Rey records (or performs live) — be it a Disney classic or a Nirvana banger — seems to receive as much care as she gives any of her originals, resulting in a lush assortment of tracks that fit right in with her own discography. Del Rey has contributed to advertising campaigns and movie soundtracks, but she’s also one to randomly perform a favorite song while she tours. Those special moments tend to live only as shaky, fan-recorded YouTube videos.
No matter the case, each cover benefits from her signature velvety vocals and dramatic delivery, often managing to exude a magnetism that arguably outdoes the original. Below, Billboard has rounded up the singer’s eight best covers, in alphabetical order.
Recorded in 2012 for the reissue of Del Rey’s debut album, Born to Die – The Paradise Edition, and then used in an H&M campaign, “Blue Velvet” is one of her moodiest covers. The H&M video has Del Rey playing a retro lounge singer, though she’s dressed in a fairly contemporary pink sweater. Eventually some guy pulls the plug on her performance, which is just so uncalled for — who would cut off Lana Del Rey?
“Chelsea Hotel No 2”
Del Rey published a flickering performance video of her covering the classic 1974 Leonard Cohen track on her YouTube channel in 2013. In 2017, following the death of the legendary singer-songwriter at age 82, she also performed the song with his son Adam at “Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen.”
Summertime, without the sadness: Del Rey’s Sublime cover is just that, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it appears to be getting slightly more attention than the actual documentary (which premiered to mixed reviews) that it was recorded for.
“Happy Birthday, Mr. President”
Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962, and damn it if Del Rey doesn’t do Ms. Monroe justice. Del Rey recreated the performance for the black-and-white beginning of her iconic “National Anthem” video, and even wore a similar dress.
Del Rey first covered Nirvana’s 1993 alt-rock fixture “Heart-Shaped Box” in 2012 while on tour in Sydney, Australia. Naturally, Courtney Love had something to say about it.
“Once Upon a Dream”
Originally penned for the 1959 Disney film Sleeping Beauty, Del Rey reimagined it for the much darker Maleficent in 2014. It’s dreamy, and most importantly just as sinister as the movie, basically screaming “Disney villain.”
Made famous by Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, Del Rey and Barrie-James O’Neill of Kassidy covered “Summer Wine” in 2013 (Del Rey dated O’Neill from 2011-14). She again uploaded it to her official YouTube channel, and the shaky, vintage camera work fits in the same universe as many of Del Rey’s other videos.
“You Must Love Me”
Del Rey put her haunting spin on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita composition “You Must Love Me” — performed by Madonna for the musical’s 1996 film adaptation — in 2018. “Andrew Lloyd Webber has been one of my primary inspirations in music, so to do a cover of one of his songs is a dream,” Del Rey said at the time. The cover appeared on an all-star compilation titled Andrew Lloyd Webber Unmasked: The Platinum Collection.