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Why do so many pro's do cover songs?


Jazzman

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This really is starting to get to me. In some cases the newer version has been really done well, and has a cool take on it.

 

I just listened to two songs in a row on our local Jazz radio station that were redone as cover songs. One thought is this may be a complement to the original artist, or they think their tune can better the song with their take on it. If the original song is good, why take the chance that your version may screw it up. Is it because the song was popular in the first place?

 

Anyway, the last song of the two was Careless Wispers. The new artist that copied the tune as a cover, made it sound exactly like the original version......WHY!!! They play these type of songs on this local Jazz station all of the time too. Which is another gripe of mine.

 

Why is it that we need to hear these same tunes over again on the radio when there are many new and unheard artists out there that could get a break and be heard. I think it is a waste of the air waves to have someone that is already on the radio repeat someone elses work with their take,IMHO. This last artist(don't know his name) sounded like he sang to a kareoke CD!! :freak:

 

This bothers me alot. Is it just me? Do you feel the same way too?

 

Jazzman :cool:

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Hi forceman, The Jazz station I'm refering to is V98.7. Too much talk, comercials, and thay play 1/3 Jazz. Then when they do, it is always repeated, all of the time. They need a new play list!

 

I just get in the groove of a slick Jazz tune then it is followed by a Pop song or some R&B.

 

When this station first got going, it had the coolest feeling to it. It seems that every time a new Jazz station comes on the air waves, it becomes tainted with other junk.

 

I would like to start my own station with nothing but JAZZ!!! That is why XM Radio is now popular. You would think they would learn.

 

Where's the beef.........right here!

 

Jazzman:

(George)

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Originally posted by Jazzman:

This really is starting to get to me.

I've always found a certain irony in the fact that to be considered good at, say playing chopin, you [to a certain extent] have to play a cover version identical to the original.

 

Whereas if you put the same dedication into recreating the composer's intentions in another genre [or even play another composer's pieces in the first place] that's considered a negative thing.

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Jazzman,

 

I pretty much totally agree with ya. Also in my mind, when a major artist does a re-make of someone elses song its almost like saying "im completly out of ideas so I'll just do covers"

 

Also no matter how well a re-make is done I rarely like the newer version better. I feel if it was a good original the best tribute is to reward the orginal artist by keep playing 'that' one, not playing someone elses version.

 

I also agree about giving all the 'unknown' artist out there more of a chance, instead of just 'giving' the well known artist 'all' the air time.

 

I think a good idea (gimic) for a radio station would be to only play 'unsigned' artist. Sort of a 'stepping stone' radio station. A musician's run radio station rather then a cooporate greed run station, might be a refreshing change.

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+1 for reinterpreted songs over "just like the original" covers.

 

There are certain exceptions where the cover actually becomes the definitive version. Think of "All Along the Watchtower" for instance. What comes to mind first: Jimi Hendrix or Bob Dylan? I'd be willing to bet that it's Jimi, even though Bob Dylan actually wrote the song. Dave Matthews has also made "Watchtower" a staple of his live shows, and it's a fan favorite. Three versions of the same song, all three are good, and all three sound completly different.

 

The way I see it, if you're going to play someone else's music, at least put some sort of personal stamp on it.

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The other side of the coin are the bastardizations. When someone takes a song and turns it into everything it is not, and not for the better. I agree that imitations are pointless, but at the same time, when a good song is raped because someone just decided that their "personal stamp" needed to go on something, I think that's equally annoying (and sometimes more so)... eg. all the "rap" versions of rock songs where they adopt the chorus and rap over the verses.

 

I guess I'm just saying there's no black and white. Some people get into conversations like this and come out thinking that just because they've "re-interpreted" something, it's worth listening to.

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never respected many remakes for release untill i heard the remake of "Big Yello Taxi" i think its called,that was fantastic thier own take on it.

Man now that is the first time a recorded remake impressed me.

otherwise i feel its too easy to use an established hit to make a new hit.

The new generations still think its new and they dont care if someone else in the past originally recorded it..

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Covers should be carefully chosen. There are certain songs that simply don't lend themselves to interpretation for whatever reason. It should also be noted that certain songs just aren't "compatible" with certain artists. Sheryl Crow doing "Sweet Child of Mine" and that Counting Crows version of "Big Yellow Taxi" come to mind as examples of an artist taking a good song and just ruining its whole vibe.

 

Oh, and how about Duran Duran doing Public Enemy's "911 Is A Joke?" And "American Pie" a la Madonna? All I can say is we gotta start a grassroots campaign against whatever drug they were on.

 

On the other hand, Johnny Cash doing "Hurt," Fiona Apple doing "Across the Universe," Led Zeppelin doing "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You," Santana doing "Black Magic Woman," and Gary Jules doing "Mad World" pop to mind as great cover choices that really worked.

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And who did this Careless Whisper cover? I doubt a smooth jazz cover sounds like the original with George Michaels singing.

 

I like the Rachel Z cover of Big Yellow Taxi, she played keys with the Brecker Brothers..

 

And why does an artist have to do only original music? That makes no sense. A good song is a good song.

 

I love hearing jazz players like Brad Mehldau, Monty Alexander and Herbie Hancock do covers. Or even Joe Sample and Bob James.

 

All of the old "standards" are old covers.

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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Did you really like the version of "Big Yellow Taxi" by Counting Crows, Aussiekeys? I thought it was really bad. I just saw that you posted your praise of the song while I was typing my own response.

 

I guess it just goes to show how subjective music really is! :)

yea mate I did.

I usually hate any remakes and this one really grabbed me.

i write a lot of original songs so find people covering songs [for recording] rather pointless but some how this cover was good for me.

And it was the only one of recent times that was on my mind so it must have made an impact on me.

And yes I loved the original very much too.

 

Just interesting that we were both typing at the same time about the same song but at different ends of the spectrum.

long live original music though.

cheers rusty

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When I was in high school I liked a lot of songs that turned out to be remakes. Once I heard the original I thought most of the remakes sounded better. My older cousins thought they sounded worse and preferred the original version. Once I got older and bands started remaking songs I loved my opinion changed. I guess we tend to like the version we grew up with.

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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It is a true rarity in this world to actually get to play your own music for people who will listen to it.

 

Ask the most talented virtuoso violinist in a condecending tone when he's "always playing someone else's music" and see what he says.

 

Ask the most bad-assest bass player in the hippest LA studio why he's "never recording his own songs."

 

Or the guys with the bomber chops playing 7 shows a week in a pit on Broadway. Or the guys on tour with Mariah Carey. Or Dave Horne.

 

Playing your own stuff and making a living at it is a luxury that only a select few get to experience. Of that group are the extremely talented, the extremely deticated, and the extremely lucky.

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Oh, and Jazzman, if you think the programming on your local station is lame, call them up and tell them so. Ask to speak the the Program Director.

 

Make all sorts of wild threats about switching to XM or Sirius. Even better, let him know that there are FREE internet streams such as shoutcast.com that are only a click away.

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I was buying clothes in a department store on Sunday and heard a reggae version of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe". I didn't much care for it.

 

Then I heard another reggae version of a cover.

 

Yuck.

 

I like reggae as much as the next guy, I guess. But covering an old Sonny & Cher tune? C'mon.

 

Luckily for me, after that tune was finished, a Steely Dan tune was played. It was kinda like cleansing the pallete between courses. :)

 

I wasn't real thrilled with Michael McDonald's album of Motown covers either. He's got a great voice, but I've heard those songs over and over and over again. It's tough to compete against tunes that were done well to begin with and are ingrained in your mind. Nevertheless, Michael can come over to my place and play piano any time he wants. No hard feelings. :)

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I prefer the "personal stamp" approach.

 

But I am friends with people who had an acoustic rock trio. Most of the time, they did the original rock tunes as close as possible to the original, but they did it beautifully and with a lot of feeling! And when they did go out on a creative limb, it worked well, because of the disciplined they learned in being good copiers!

 

The point being, sure, creativity is wonderful. In an ideal world, everyone would be able to write great music AND play it beautifully. But we don't live in Utopia, and, much as love creative artists, I'd rather hear someone do cover tunes or pieces well, than write and play crappy originals in a crappy fashion.. "BUT AT LEAST IT'S CREATIVE..."

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I think several of the views expressed here are a bit judgmental. There are lots of great covers, many of which I think are better than the originals. And there are many reasons for doing covers other than running out of your own ideas.

 

Take Joe Cocker, for example. I think he does a great job at remaking songs. Even Dave Mason (the original author) once stated he liked Joe's version of "Feeling Alright" better. And, while its difficult to claim that anyone can do a Beatles song better than they did it themselves, his version of She Came In Through the Bathroom Window is awesome - almost like an entirely different songs deserving of its own reward.

 

Tons of people have covered Dylan tunes, many better than he did them himself. Just as someone said that not all performers can be writers, not all writers can be performers.

 

Moreover, "covering" another tune is not just an escape for lacking song-writing creativity. Lots of artists "cover" songs as a tribute to their predecessors and because it is part of their genre. Take Dr. John, for example, who (along with many other artists) covered Prof. Longhair and other traditional 'Nawlins songs. I don't think he did it out of a lack of creativity. When in 'Nawlins, do as the 'Nawlins do!

 

The Grateful Dead and Phish both did a lot of covers. They wrote tons of their own great tunes, but, what's wrong with having fun and playing someone else's songs from time to time?

 

I could go on and on, but, the point is, I think, there are lots of good reasons to cover another artists songs. There may be bad reasons, but lets not let the bad remakes overshadow all the good ones!

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Originally posted by garrafon:

I think several of the views expressed here are a bit judgmental. There are lots of great covers, many of which I think are better than the originals. And there are many reasons for doing covers other than running out of your own ideas.

 

Take Joe Cocker, for example. I think he does a great job at remaking songs. Even Dave Mason (the original author) once stated he liked Joe's version of "Feeling Alright" better. And, while its difficult to claim that anyone can do a Beatles song better than they did it themselves, his version of She Came In Through the Bathroom Window is awesome - almost like an entirely different songs deserving of its own reward.

 

Tons of people have covered Dylan tunes, many better than he did them himself. Just as someone said that not all performers can be writers, not all writers can be performers.

 

Moreover, "covering" another tune is not just an escape for lacking song-writing creativity. Lots of artists "cover" songs as a tribute to their predecessors and because it is part of their genre. Take Dr. John, for example, who (along with many other artists) covered Prof. Longhair and other traditional 'Nawlins songs. I don't think he did it out of a lack of creativity. When in 'Nawlins, do as the 'Nawlins do!

 

The Grateful Dead and Phish both did a lot of covers. They wrote tons of their own great tunes, but, what's wrong with having fun and playing someone else's songs from time to time?

 

I could go on and on, but, the point is, I think, there are lots of good reasons to cover another artists songs. There may be bad reasons, but lets not let the bad remakes overshadow all the good ones!

Very true. It's just that this is a really touchy issue for most.
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Originally posted by Is There Gas in the Car?:

I was buying clothes in a department store on Sunday and heard a reggae version of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe". I didn't much care for it.

That was UB40 with Chrissy Hynde. I liked it, though I liked their collab on Dusty's Breakfast in Bed better.

 

I tend to prefer hearing artists put their own stamp on a tune. Kelly Clarkson's a decent singer, but hearing her cover Aretha's version of Respect, pretty much note for note and inflection for inflection, was a real drag. Still, it's getting airplay, for whatever reason.

 

My favorite covers go pretty far afield from the original: Spooky Tooth's I Am the Walrus, EWF's Got to Get You Into My Life, The Nice's She Belongs to Me. But there are exceptions - Little Feat's Rag Mama Rag isn't much different from The Band's original, but I still like it. And Mountain covering Jack Bruce's Theme For an Imaginary Western - well, Felix Pappalardi pretty much WAS Jack Bruce, but I dug it anyhow. Maybe it was all those Leslie West cliches mixed in there...

 

Daf

I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:

"Tower of Polka." - Calumet

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Originally posted by garrafon:

Take Joe Cocker, for example. I think he does a great job at remaking songs.

Tons of people have covered Dylan tunes, many better than he did them himself. Just as someone said that not all performers can be writers, not all writers can be performers.

Good call on Cocker. Great performer and stylist, just probably not a gifted writer.

 

The world whould not deprived of great artists who can put an entirely new spin on some old material. Some people just dont have a gift for coming up with new song ideas. But when these people have an existing framework to draw on they can be as creative as anyone.

 

I speak from experience. I could not write an original tune to save my soul. But I still consider myself a great musician with tons of ways to express myself musically.

Steve

A Lifetime of Peace, Love and Protest Music

www.rock-xtreme.com

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Dylan is also a good call. I remember reading the lable on a favorite Manfred Mann recording and seeing his name next to "The Might Quinn". Along with them it was also covered by Ian & Sylvia, Gotthard, The Hollies, Jerry Garcia, the Ventures and probably more. The Dylan and Manfred Mann versions are very different and I enjoy them both.

 

Robert

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My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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Originally posted by DafDuc:

Kelly Clarkson's a decent singer, but hearing her cover Aretha's version of Respect, pretty much note for note and inflection for inflection, was a real drag. Still, it's getting airplay, for whatever reason.

It's called payola. :)

It's sad, but radio airplay has absolutely nothing to do with how good a song is.

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Originally posted by Bridog6996:

Originally posted by DafDuc:

Kelly Clarkson's a decent singer, but hearing her cover Aretha's version of Respect, pretty much note for note and inflection for inflection, was a real drag. Still, it's getting airplay, for whatever reason.

It's called payola. :)

It's sad, but radio airplay has absolutely nothing to do with how good a song is.

That's true. It also raises an interesting idea that I heard not too long ago. It was being recommended to artists trying to "make it" to put a cover on their album (not an album cover, a cover song). Why? The song recognition might get people to listen in the first place (where they might otherwise not give your original the time of day) and if enough people like the version, they might actually listen to the rest of the tracks.

 

And, as for the Mighty Quinn. Great tune! TONS of people have covered that one.

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