Music is an entirely personal affair. What some people might stow on a pedestal, others might try and bury alive; it's entirely subjective, relevant to our own memories and feelings. We all have favourite artists, tracks and records that we hold close to our hearts: maybe it was a track that soundtracked a first kiss, or maybe a particular LP got you through some tough times. Maybe a certain band reminds you of a simpler time. We've all got opinions on what's the top album of all time, and 99% of the world is just bound to disagree. But that's fine. There are no right answers.

This weekly feature (though we'll be taking a break in December) will see the 405 staff contribute their opinions and argue the case for what they think is the best music. It's also a handy way to get some recommendations of music you may not have experienced before - perhaps you'll create some new memories thanks to these delicious noises. It's not just the staff we want to hear from though; we want to know what you think. We'll ask around on Twitter and Facebook for suggestions and whack 'em in for the world to see. There might be a playlist or two as well slotted in for good measure. It's going to be a chunky collaborative periodical where we can all discuss how and why our favourite music is our favourite.

With all this in mind, here are the greatest cover songs of all time, as chosen by The 405's staff and our readers.

  • The Specials

    The Specials - 'Enjoy Yourself' (Guy Lombardo Cover)

    [1980]

    This slice of nice, originally penned in 1949 and a Top Ten hit for Canadian big band leader Guy Lombardo the next year, has been covered by a diverse list of artists since, including Hollywood actress and singer Doris Day, crooner Bing Crosby with The Rhythmaires, world musician, producer Manu Chao and British boogie woogie bluesman Jools Holland.

    Whilst Jamaican Blue Note legend Prince Buster first gave the song some serious rocksteady treatment in 1963, leading to numerous half-decent attempts by half-decent ska bands, it's the 2-Tone heroes who really took 'Enjoy Yourself' and made it into one of the best covers of all time.

    The bouncing beat, a bold and brassy bar-room chorus and tongue-in-cheek lyrics make this an absolute staple of my party, Top 100 and feel-good playlists. Even Terry Hall cracks a smile when this comes on - that's how cheery it is. Reports the NHS are considering prescribing it as an anti-depressant to the masses are so far unsubstantiated...

    Lyle Bignon

  • James Blake

    James Blake - 'A Case of You' (Joni Mitchell Cover)

    [2011]

    Joni Mitchell's 'A Case of You' is one of my favourite songs of all time. Beautifully written and sung, hauntingly melancholy yet full of life and love and yearning, it's the kind of song I would be inclined to have played at my funeral... if... that were something I had any control over. Whatever. More to the point, to call James Blake's version of 'A Case of You' my favourite cover of all time is really saying something. The bar for excellence in my head is set so high by the original; many have taken their own cracks at the song, and while it's hard to screw up such a gorgeous song, it's also evidently hard to transcend.

    With his sparse and gentle cover of the song, James Blake both captures Joni's intended mood and creates something of his own. His vocal delivery on the record is stunning, which is saying something when you're holding it up to the likes of Joni Mitchell. It crackles and bends in just the right places, and seeing it live is a treat unto itself. I saw Blake plays this as a first encore last year, and I actually had to remind myself to breathe. It's a classic tune made current, but it doesn't lose its soul, its core for a second.

    Stephanie Vance

  • Dirty Projectors

    Dirty Projectors - 'As I Went Out One Morning' (Bob Dylan Cover)

    [2010]

    Bob Dylan is one of the most covered artists ever and Dirty Projectors have done plenty of covers, including a couple of other Dylan songs and a whole album of Black Flag reinterpretations, so it's no big surprise this exists. 'As I Went Out One Morning' is one of my favourite Dylan songs and Dirty Projectors manage to not only pay justice to the original but also add their brand - graceful female backing harmonies, Dave Longstreth's idiosyncratic lead vocals and malleable instrumentation. The success of this cover is surely a testament to Dylan being the greatest songwriter of all time.

    John Morrison

  • Tom Waits

    Tom Waits - 'Somewhere' (from West Side Story)

    1978

    Originally written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story (in which it was sung by soprano Reri Grist), 'Somewhere' is a song that depicts the naïve dreaming of two teenagers planning to run away together; or else risk being torn apart by a bitter war. Of course, West Side Story being an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, that most famous of tragedies concerning star-cross'd lovers, it was to be just a dream, nothing more. A point made clear as it is reprised at the end of the musical when a devastated Maria cradles Tony as he dies from a bullet wound.

    Decades later and it was covered in suitably shambolic style by Tom Waits. Opening Blue Valentine with grandiose strings, Waits splutters and slurs his way through 'Somewhere' removing any of the teenage wistfulness and twisting it into the anthem of America's dispossessed. It's even clearer here that Wait's vision of a place of "peace and quiet and open air" is completely unobtainable, despite whatever optimism the trumpets suggest. It's fitting then, that Blue Valentine's closing track seems to return to the protagonist of 'Somewhere'. Now a barfly haunted by an old lover, its allusions to Tony's attempt to flee in West Side Story (also Romeo's exile) and references to "blood stained hands" bring everything full circle and point to a potential alternate ending to the tragedy from which the singers of 'Somewhere' are forever longing to escape.

    Robert Whitfield

  • Dutch Uncles

    Dutch Uncles - 'Slave To The Atypical Rhythm' (Grace Jones Cover)

    [2013]

    Dutch Uncles, you say? Channeling their inner disco queens? Count me in. You see, the Duncles are one of our most consistent British bands at the moment, but not many seem to realise it. Thankfully, the Marple five-piece unleash a stonking cover every so often (check out Duncan Wallis embracing a mean Stevie Nicks on their cover of 'Go Your Own Way', too) to catch the eye, and ear, of the naysayers. Bloody hell, it's infectious.

    Lee Wakefield

  • Crystal Castles

    Crystal Castles - 'Not In Love' (Platinum Blonde Cover)

    [2010]

    Absolutely no contest here. As my favourite song of all time, and most played if we're going by iTunes, 'Not In Love' transcends simply being a great cover, but a phenomenal masterpiece of aural ambrosia full-blimmin'-stop - it's one of those rare reworkings that all-consumingly overshadows the original to the point you kinda wish there was no original (Johnny Cash's 'Hurt' and Alien Ant Farm's 'Smooth Criminal' are the only other two that spring to mind [yeah, I said it]).

    Glacial stiletto-sharp synths hack into a deliriously defiant beat, marching opiate-addled and drooling ever onwards, still determined to hit the finish line like a marathon runner in the throes of death; it's a beautiful cacophony, the kind only Glass and Kath can conjure. It brazenly stampedes away from the new wave power balladry of the original, opting for distortion, devastation and a gasping, weeping, bawling, heart/gut/mind-wrenching glut of nerve-wracked anxiety tantrums. One of the only songs that will consistently move me to tears, it's emotional pull - especially with Robert Smith on vocal duties - is unassailable.

    Larry Day

  • Hole

    Hole - 'Clouds' (Joni Mitchell Cover)

    [1991]

    It's not quite 'Yesterday' where covers are concerned, but Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides, Now' has had some serious mileage in the forty-five years since its release; the track's Wikipedia page provides an indication of just how little its popularity with other artists has waned. The primary aim of covering any song is to put your own stamp on it, and you can't accuse Courtney Love of having shirked that responsibility with the incendiary take on 'Both Sides, Now' that closes the first Hole record, Pretty on the Inside.

    Under the title 'Clouds' - after the Mitchell record on which it first appeared - it's unrecognisable next to the saccharine Judy Collins recording; howled vocals and screeching guitars battle for prominence over solemn, marching-band percussion, making for a deliciously dark counterpoint to the innocuous original.

    Joe Goggins

  • Selebrities

    Selebrities - 'Everywhere' (Fleetwood Mac Cover)

    [2013]

    This my not be necessarily my favourite cover of all time (hey my memory's shot and I don't have the time to plunge and prod the dingy abandoned depths of my no-longer fecund mind), but it's certainly my most memorable cover of 2013. Actually one of my tracks of 2013 full-stop. Just when your thought Fleetwood Mac couldn't get any more pleasurable, along come Brooklyn-based trio Selebrities and deliver a stupendous feel-good take that may inspire you to strip off and run wildly down the street and hug everyone in the face. Yeah yeah Fleetwood Mac are the trend du jour for covers, karaoke's and playlists for your modern music lover; but this really is ace.

    Tim Boddy

  • James Blake

    James Blake - 'A Case of You' (Joni Mitchell Cover)

    [2011]

    I had to pass up a lot of sassy Taylor Swift and Craig David covers for this but it had to be done. The first time I heard it was on a Radio 1 session - live, no less - and it totally killed me dead. As a general rule, I would normally say, "Do whatever, but don't fuck with Joni", but in this case I'm so glad he went there and he went real damn hard, lemme tell ya.

    The arrangement is a little more complex than the original, with unreasonably stunning piano lines that could only come from someone classically trained and that voice... Oh brother, that voice. I don't think anybody needs to read the level of graphic detail I could go into to explain how I feel about James Blake's voice, but basically if he read the shipping forecast I would tune in every night.

    I would go as far as to say I love this version more than the original, which is no light statement when it comes to Joni Mitchell, who, before you raise an eyebrow, has a legacy that reaches far beyond middle-aged women with a lot of emotional baggage and questionable knitwear a la 'Love Actually'. If anything, this cover highlights just how universal her songs are. Having said that this will almost definitely make you do a cry so make sure you have something to wipe your nose on like a person who is wearing a soft cardigan for instance. .

    Emma Garland

  • Jimi Hendrix

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience - 'All Along The Watchtower' (Bob Dylan Cover)

    [1968]

    For the record, I love it when a band can take someone else's song and make it their own. And there's plenty of great examples out there, but for me, it doesn't get any better than 'All Along the Watchtower'. Hendrix took Bob Dylan's straight-ahead folk song and completely overhauled it, adding feedback-drenched electric guitar, odd meter passages, and plenty of swagger. Not to take anything away from Dylan, but, to me, this is one of those rare instances where the cover bests the original.

    John Faulkner

  • Galaxie 500

    Galaxie 500 - 'Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste' (Jonathan Richman Cover)

    [1988]

    This was written by Jonathan Richman. I remember that John Peel decided to put together a show featuring only cover versions and that is where I heard this for the first time. I had never heard the original. There is a version on Galaxie 500's debut album and also on their collected Peel sessions, and I think it's the latter that I prefer. It sounds more abrasive and Dean Wareham's snaky guitar runs dominate the whole seven minutes, giving it a psychotic, psychedelic edge..

    A few years later I was record shopping and I found an old album by the Modern Lovers with a sleeve I hadn't seen before. It was just called the Original Modern Lovers. I flipped it over to check the tracklisting, and sure enough, amongst the likes of 'Roadrunner' and 'She Cracked' there it was - 'Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste'. I played it as soon as I got in, and was surprised to find that it was a raw recording of Jonathan Richman singing unaccompanied. It clocked in at just under two minutes.

    The reason that Galaxie's version is one of my favourite covers is not just because it is brilliant, but it's because they have recreated the song from scratch. Richman's melody and words are the outline but fifteen years later Galaxie 500 coloured it all in and made it their own.

    Jonathan Greer

  • Woman's Hour

    Woman's Hour - 'Bleeding Love' (Leona Lewis Cover)

    [2013]

    There have been some pretty decent covers like Ella Fitzgerald's cover of The Beatles 'Here Comes the Sun' and Aretha Franklin's cover of Redding's 'Respect'. Then there are some wonderfully bad ones - here's looking at you David and Mick as you dance badly in the street. There are so many to choose from it's bonkers.

    I copped out here and have chosen a cover I heard recently that I really like. Woman's Hour's slowed down synthy cover of 'Bleedin(g) Love' resonates with me because Fiona Jane sings it in a hushed northern accent and one that's regionally very similar (North West) to my own. It's comforting and homely to hear someone using short a and dropping consonants all over the show. Bloody gud innit.

    Kerry Flint

  • The Doors

    The Doors - 'Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)' (Brecht/Weill Cover)

    What defines a great cover, in my opinion, is the artist's ability to appropriate the track in such a way it sounds like it had always belonged to them in the first place. That's exactly what happens with The Doors' version of Brecht/Weill's 'Alabama Song', initially composed as part of their Mahagonny operetta. Although I'm a big Lotte Lenya fan and adore most of Weill's stagework, I must admit that The Doors' approach portrays the captivating, obscure side of the '60s wonderfully.

    Ray Manzarek's keyboards provide us with wicked, circus-like atmosphere, full of fin-de-siècle freaks and trapeze artists whose numbers will eventually go wrong one night. Morrison's voice borrows fatalism and sends us to a decadent Berlin cabaret, where a gypsy stands in its darkest corner predicting the most bizarre future.

    Ana Leorne