Nine songs that sound like they came from better-known musical artists

You think you might know who performed these songs, but maybe they just sound like some other band.
Greta Van Fleet in concert
Greta Van Fleet in concert / Buda Mendes/GettyImages
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THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH – “King of Spain” (2010)

I hesitated to include a Bob Dylan sound-alike on this list because, quite frankly, a thousand singer/songwriters have been compared to Dylan over the years, and none of them really sound like him. Even Bruce Springsteen was compared to Dylan when Greetings from Asbury Park appeared.

Many of its songs are influenced by Dylan. None of them could be mistaken for him. (Oddly, one Springsteen song that was under consideration for that debut album – “Song for Orphans” – was probably the closest Bruce ever came to sounding like Bob, but he would not release a version of that song until many decades later.)

Kristian Matsson (AKA The Tallest Man on Earth – not a literal description) is a Swedish singer-songwriter who admits he grew up trying to copy Dylan, along with a number of other folk rockers. Since Dylan’s voice has changed over his many years of singing, you could never mistake “King of Spain” for anything Dylan might have put out after Matsson was born in the mid-‘80s.

But "King of Spain” could have absolutely been on one of Dylan’s first several albums, when his voice was higher and brighter, though still with its trademark gravel. It even sounds like a song the master would have written. The only thing that doesn’t sound like Dylan is the guitar. It’s far better than Dylan’s playing. If that bothers you, sub in “The Gardener” from 2008 which also sounds just like early Dylan with a slightly simplified guitar part.

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GRETA VAN FLEET – “Safari Song” (2017)

From the very beginning, people have complained that GVF sounds exactly like Led Zeppelin. As if that is somehow a bad thing. It’s true that Joshua Kiszka sounds an awful lot like Robert Plant. His brother Sam has that melodious John Paul Jones bass groove. And drummer Daniel Wagner may not hit as hard as John Bonham did, but he comes pretty darn close. To my ears, the biggest difference is Jake Kiszka’s guitar. He’s a fine player, but I have not heard the genius of Jimmy Page yet.

Even so, “Safari Song,” the first track on their debut album, states their case quite well. GVF is going to play fast-paced, old-school hard rock and if it ends up sounding a lot like Zeppelin, so be it. You can hear a little more metal influence on the second track, but by the third, “Flower Power,” with its transition from a pastoral acoustic opening into hard electric rock, GVF is safely back in the Zeppelin camp. By the time we reach “Highway Tune,” with its echoes of “Communication Breakdown,” you might think Led Zeppelin is still alive. Again – not such a bad thing.

I was going to pick a tenth name for this list because I was raised to respect the decimal numeral system, but I kept running into problems. I mean, it’s true the Feelies sound a lot like R.E.M., but then again, R.E.M. also sounds a lot like the Feelies, and the Feelies came first. And I could mistake Jonathan Richman for Lou Reed if he didn’t have that Boston accent.

If you really want a tenth, I’ll just mention John Craigie’s “I Almost Stole Some Weed From Todd Snider” which sounds exactly like … wait for it … Todd Snider. But I wrote about that one recently so I’ll just leave you to search it out yourself, if so inclined.

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