Gibson’s 10 All-Time Greatest Covers Albums makes the point that great songwriters can also do very well covering material by other artists, thank you very much. It contains the likes of Lennon, GNR, Bowie, Def Leppard, Patti Smith and Metallica.
The article points out that sometimes these recordings are just throw-aways; contractual obligations and so on, and I can think of a few examples where you can tell either the effort wasn’t there or heart wasn’t in the job.
But the list illustrates the passion and respect the artists felt for those that had come before. After all, you don’t write songs before you’ve learned how to play, so you start by learning someone else’s songs. And so these albums are also insightful in terms of influence.
One I would have added, by the way, is Run Devil Run by Paul McCartney, a great covers album that rivals Lennon’s – and that’s saying something.