The 10 best Radio 1 Live Lounge covers

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We just love BBC Radio 1. There’s many reasons for this, ranging from their incredible roster of DJs to an impeccable, always on-point playlist. But what we love the most about the station is the hallowed Live Lounge – where some of the biggest artists from around the world step out of their comfort zone to take on a daring cover version.  

So you could understand our joy when we discovered that September is Live Lounge Month at the station, with guests including Foo Fighters, Stormzy, Lorde, Jay Z and many more huge names. To celebrate, we’ve decided to take a trip down the Live Lounge archive to reveal our top ten performances!

If you agree with our choices, or think we’ve missed out a gem, comment below or on social media.

Arctic Monkeys – Hold On, We're Going Home (Drake cover)

When the world’s biggest indie group decided to take on a summer smash hit by the world’s biggest hip-hop star, we just knew sparks were going to fly! Alex Turner’s moves may be verging on ‘uncle at wedding’ territory, but Arctic Monkeys’ sultry spin on this Drake classic gives the original more than a run for its money.

Dizzee Rascal – That’s Not My Name (Ting Tings cover)

Just like the original, this cover by grime’s prodigal son from back in 2008 has the cunning ability to worm its way into your head for days on end. Adding a new set of urban lyrics to the mix, this tongue in cheek effort from Dizzee Rascal is bound to put a smile on your face.

Ed Sheeran – Dirrty (Christina Aguilera cover)

Ed Sheeran has quite the reputation when it comes to cover versions, but this one is easily our favourite. Armed with his guitar and a seriously tight backing group, he somehow transformed Christina’s scandalous 2002 single into a laid-back jam that just oozes with soul.

Slaves – Shutdown (Skepta cover)

Proving that punk and grime music share a similar DIY ethos, Slaves tore the roof off the live lounge with a bruising rendition of a Skepta anthem. The rapper was so impressed by the cover that he even joined the band for a live performance of the track at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2015.

Sam Smith – Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)

You could ask Sam Smith to sing the alphabet and it would still probably sound incredible. So when he decided to take on Tracy Chapman’s gorgeous, seminal track, it was essentially a match made in heaven.

Craig David – Love Yourself (Justin Bieber cover)

On his miraculous comeback path, the Fill Me In garage mogul, Craig David, drove the hype machine into a frenzy with his incredible take on a huge Bieber hit. While we all knew about his flawless singing talent, it was the quickfire rap verse that left us all completely floored!

Taylor Swift – Riptide (Vance Joy cover)

Showing that simplicity is sometimes key, Swift’s stripped-back performance lets her angelic vocals take centre stage. Revealing a vulnerable side to herself, the cover was a beautiful reminder of just how talented a performer the Shake It Off star is.

Jason Derulo – Royals (Lorde cover)

In a huge departure from his usually flamboyant style, Jason Derulo graced the Live Lounge with a pared back iteration of Lorde’s breakthrough track. Putting a real emphasis on his impressive vocals, without the assistance of autotune, he even somehow refrained from singing has name at the start!

Hozier – Problem (Ariana Grande cover)

In just under four minutes of pure genius, Hozier transformed an admittedly generic pop song into a mesmerising, gospel-tinged masterpiece. If that wasn’t enough, the Irish troubadour also managed to interpose a verse from Warren G’s old-school hip-hop anthem, Regulate.   

Kings of Leon – Dancing On My Own (Robyn cover)

These Nashville rockers know a thing or two when it comes to belting out an anthem, so it came as no surprise when they absolutely slayed this Robyn classic. With a brooding build-up of swooning guitars playing backdrop to Caleb Followill’s emotionally charged vocal rendition, this is a truly seismic performance from Kings of Leon.

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