I can think of a bunch of songs that have spawned many covers... sometimes too many. But which song has had the most covers / versions (including the original, if it charted) that have themselves hit the charts ? (These could be straight covers, or lyrical re-workings).
Yesterday - The Beatles
Yesterday is one of the most recorded songs in the history of popular music; its entry in Guinness World Records states that, by January 1986, 1,600 cover versions had been made.
The song has been covered by an eclectic mix of artists including Cilla Black, Aretha Franklin, Marianne Faithfull, Tose Proeski, The Mamas and the Papas, Barry McGuire, the Seekers, Joan Baez, Donny Hathaway, Michael Bolton, Royce Campbell, Bob Dylan, Liberace, Bill Champlin, Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Daffy Duck, Jan & Dean, the Sylvers, Wet Wet Wet, P. P. Arnold, Plácido Domingo, The Head Shop, Billy Dean, Wing, En Vogue, LeAnn Rimes, Muslim Magomayev, Andy Williams, and Boyz II Men.
The trouble is, I can't find a list of chart positions for these covers, so this remains speculation.
I think Shocking Blue - Venus. It's been covered a number of times successfully:
- Stockley Sisters (1976)
- Yōko Nagayama (1986)
- Bananarama (1986)
- Seduced (2004)
Arguably, the two most famous are the original and the Banarama cover.
'Unchained Melody' seems a potential winner with the following UK chart successes
- Jimmy Young (1955)
- Al Hibbler (1955)
- Les Baxter (1955)
- Liberace (1955)
- Righteous Brothers (1965 & 1990)
- Robson & Jerome (1995)
- Gareth Gates (2002)
and, as can be seen from the above linked Wiki page, a raft of other successful versions (notably appearing on US genre charts).
However, 'Everlasting Love' at least matches 'Unchained Melody' in terms of UK hit versions
- Love Affair (1968)
- Robert Knight (1968 and 1974)
- Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet (1981)
- Worlds Apart (1993)
- Gloria Estefan (1995)
- The Cast From Casualty (1998)
- Jamie Cullum (2004)
and also had a string of US successes, not least by Carl Carlton (1974) reaching the Billboard Hot 100 top 10.
I Think imagine by John Lennon has made many hits throughout the years up until now.
The song have been recorded each and every year and it has made many hits in the charts.
Title Performer Release date Info Imagine John Lennon October 8, 1971 First release Imagine Ray Conniff January 1972 Imagine Carl Wayne February 1972 Imagine Joan Baez May 1972 Imagine Andy Williams June 14, 1972 Imagine Susan Shirley October 1972 Imagine Sarah Vaughan 1972 Imagine Franck Pourcel et son Grand Orchestre 1972 Imagine Ray Sanders 1972 Imagine The Terry Baxter Orchestra and Chorus 1972 Imagine Clodagh Rodgers 1972 Imagine Merl Saunders 1972 Imagine Springbok 1972 Imagine Diana Ross June 22, 1973 Imagine The Larry Page Orchestra and Chorus 1973 Imagine Vince Hill 1973 Imagine Nana Mouskouri 1973 Imagine Danny Williams 1973 Imagine Wigwam April 1975 Imagine Mae McKenna 1975 . . . Imagine Artichoke July 30, 2017 Peace & Love Medley Anthem Lights September 8, 2017 Imagine Free Souffriau November 17, 2017 Imagine The Radish Friends December 18, 2017 Imagine Malia April 13, 2018 Imagine Gems April 2018 Imagine Rayshun LaMarr May 14, 2018 Imagine Thomas Quasthoff - NDR Bigband May 18, 2018 Imagine Shan Ako October 20, 2018 Imagine / What a Wonderful World Barbra Streisand November 2, 2018 Imagine Peter Hollens December 28, 2018
Although Yesterday is indubitably the most recorded song, I haven't seen any evidence that it has hit the charts multiple times, perhaps because the original version is so definitive.
Blue Moon, however, according to its Wikipedia article, has hit the US charts at least four separate times, in very different versions (as well as having additional iconic versions, such as the one by Elvis, that didn't chart), reaching #1 in the Marcels' version. An additional version charted in Canada.
The Loco-Motion hit #1 twice and by Little Eva and then Grand Funk Railroad and then hit #3 by Kylie Minogue. For big hits charting multiple times I do not know of any more successful cover versions of any song.
In the United States, as of November 2016, the song "Hallelujah", written by Leonard Cohen, has seen 8 different versions enter the Billboard Hot 100, with 3 of those reaching the Top 40. I'm not sure whether this is the U.S. record for this particular feat, or whether any additional versions of the song have charted since then. On edit, Leonard Cohen's original version, recorded in 1984, hit the chart on Dec. 3, 2016, shortly after his death, at no. 59 for one week. So that means that as of that week, there have been 9 versions to hit the Hot 100.