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View Full Version : Covers where they didn't change the gender.


Biggirl
08-05-2011, 06:02 PM
What I mean are songs originally song by a person of one gender with lots of gender specific pronouns that were redone by a person of the other gender without changing the 'she's to 'he's and vice versa.

I'm not explaining this well, am I?


Here's Me'Shell Ndegeocello (hope I spelled that right) doing Who Is He And What Is He To You (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0ov9082a1c) as an example. Links to youtubes always appreciated.

Simplicio
08-05-2011, 06:08 PM
Not exactly a pronoun, but I head a cover of Leonard Cohen's Chelsea Hotel a few days ago by a female artist that kept the line "giving me head, on the unmade bed..".

california jobcase
08-05-2011, 06:22 PM
Joan Jett singing Crimson and Clover?

Biggirl
08-05-2011, 06:28 PM
Joan Jett singing Crimson and Clover?

Great example!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdhonK8NMm8

Peremensoe
08-05-2011, 06:39 PM
Of course, there's no internal reason "Crimson & Clover" couldn't be from a woman to a woman. Rendered by Joan Jett, there's no external reason either.

On the other hand, even without pronouns, Joan Baez is explicitly singing a male character in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." It always seemed odd.

DxZero
08-05-2011, 06:40 PM
White Stripes cover of Jolene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULVROplV07g) maybe?

Ephemera
08-05-2011, 06:41 PM
The White Stripes' cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene, and I love it for it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4rYaLBUpLA&ob=av2n

DxZero
08-05-2011, 06:42 PM
The White Stripes' cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene, and I love it for it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4rYaLBUpLA&ob=av2n

Hehehe...beatcha to it

Ephemera
08-05-2011, 06:44 PM
Yeah, but my link beats your link.

Tangent
08-05-2011, 07:31 PM
Lyle Lovett singing Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXHvJDv9GM0)

Swords to Plowshares
08-05-2011, 07:38 PM
When Relient K covered "Manic Monday", they didn't change the "Kissin' Valentino by a crystal blue Italian stream" line.

Laggard
08-05-2011, 07:42 PM
Sleater Kinney's ridiculous cover of CCR's Fortunate Son.

Claire Beauchamp
08-05-2011, 07:45 PM
Melissa Etheridge singing Maggie May. Of course, it makes sense for her.

John Prine singing Angel from Montgomery. Of course, that's not a cover, he wrote the song in the female voice.

Oh, and there's that quasi-Indigo Girls recording of the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack where Amy Ray sings the part of Jesus.

Biggirl
08-05-2011, 07:48 PM
Lyle Lovett singing Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXHvJDv9GM0)

Wonder if he did that before or after his divorce from Julia Roberts.

RealityChuck
08-05-2011, 07:55 PM
Wonder if he did that before or after his divorce from Julia Roberts.Before.

xenophon41
08-05-2011, 09:04 PM
Lizzie West covering Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man (http://new.music.yahoo.com/lizzie-west/tracks/im-your-man--2039188)

koeeoaddi
08-05-2011, 09:41 PM
Joan Osborne's cover of Spooky (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhZAG7uVjmE).

elfkin477
08-05-2011, 10:21 PM
Kaki King's cover of "I Think She Knows (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQdo_UrnO9w)"
Anya Marina's cover of "Whatever You Like (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KYrml5IC48)" (due to not changing lyrics it's really weird at the end...)

DooWahDiddy
08-05-2011, 11:43 PM
Linda Eder does the most amazing version of "Man of La Mancha" I've ever heard. Prepare to be blown away (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWP7l0OTXJI).

Bad News Baboon
08-06-2011, 02:20 AM
Nothing compares 2 U/Sinead O'Conner.

Voyager
08-06-2011, 03:00 AM
On his very first album, Dylan does House of the Rising Sun in the appropriate gender - as opposed to the later Manfred Mann version, which makes it the ruin of many a poor boy, which is absurd,

gaffa
08-06-2011, 03:05 AM
Kate Bush's cover of Rocket Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g8v2RNLHr0) kept the original gender:

She packed my bags last night, pre-flight...

Alley Dweller
08-06-2011, 07:27 AM
I don't know if it meets the strict definition of a cover since it has some added material, but the first thing that jumped into my mind was Gloria by Patti Smith (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxygqSTO1lQ). It was probably the most glorious rendition of a 60s pop song I ever heard.

Ranchoth
08-06-2011, 08:21 AM
Marlene Dietrich's cover of Lili Marlene, for one. (I'd kinda be surprised if that was the only one she did)

Any version of Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier performed by a male singer, that I've heard.

Annie-Xmas
08-06-2011, 08:48 AM
Cher's You Better Sit Down Kids (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-MWOGG3eB4):

You better sit down kids.
I've got something to say.
Your mother is staying
But I'm going away.

I've always wanted to do Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song & Dance, which is about a British woman coming to New York and sleeping with a bunch of guys, with a gender flip, making it about a gay British guy yada, yada, yada.

Joey P
08-06-2011, 08:49 AM
Kate Bush's cover of Rocket Man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g8v2RNLHr0) kept the original gender:

She packed my bags last night, pre-flight...

That wouldn't ping me as not changing the gender....but there is the whole "I'm a rocket man" and "I'm not the man they think I am at home"

Steophan
08-06-2011, 09:27 AM
John Prine singing Angel from Montgomery. Of course, that's not a cover, he wrote the song in the female voice.


Gillian Welch wrote her song Red Dirt Halo from the male perspective, and I think there's some others of hers as well.

The Cowboy Junkies cover Neil Young's Powderfinger without changing the gender - "He told me red means run, son, and numbers add up to nothing".

Many folk singers don't change the gender when covering a song - June Tabor recorded a stunning version of And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, and I don't think that song would make sense with a gender change. I've regularly heard both male and female folk singers sing traditional songs from the other gender as well.

Annie-Xmas
08-06-2011, 09:29 AM
Some guys who have covered Memory from Cats do sing "I was beautiful then," but others change the line to "It was beautiful then" or "Life was beautiful then."

Sampiro
08-06-2011, 10:10 AM
Frank Mills (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZBlXRA2HFA) is a song from Hair based on a flier the show's writers saw from a girl trying to find a boy she'd shared a day with. It's sung by a teenaged girl in the show (possibly Diane Keaton in the OBC- she was in the cast but I'm not sure if she did a solo). The Lemonheads did a cover of it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2GcQNKLh-U)- it's freakier when 30-something guys are looking for a long haired guy they love but are embarassed to be seen with.

Lamia
08-06-2011, 10:39 AM
On Glee they often have a male character sing a song originally performed by a woman, or vice versa, although these are often songs where there are no clearly gendered lines to be changed. But there are exceptions, like this (not very good) mash-up of "Stop, In the Name of Love" and "Free Your Mind" (http://www.youtube.com/user/musicfromgleeVEVO#p/u/100/PNl2hNNTVb0) in which a male singer denies that wearing high-heeled shoes makes him a prostitute. There was also an all-male cover of Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_kWC4_aOdI)" that is directed at a "trifling, good for nothing type of brother."

There have been a few cases where Glee kept the original pronouns even when they didn't match the character the song was being sung to in the episode. For instance, this did a cover of Robin Thicke's "When I Get You Alone (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuahZj0vcmY)" sung by a guy to another guy even though the song uses the words "girl" and "she".

Not exactly a pronoun, but I head a cover of Leonard Cohen's Chelsea Hotel a few days ago by a female artist that kept the line "giving me head, on the unmade bed..".That doesn't strike me as gendered at all. A woman can of course receive oral sex, and the subject of the song is referred to as "you" throughout and could thus be a man or a woman. The most gendered line from that song that I can remember is "You told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception." That still works if the singer is a woman, although it takes on a rather different meaning.

Simplicio
08-06-2011, 11:02 AM
That doesn't strike me as gendered at all. A woman can of course receive oral sex, and the subject of the song is referred to as "you" throughout and could thus be a man or a woman. The most gendered line from that song that I can remember is "You told me again you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception." That still works if the singer is a woman, although it takes on a rather different meaning.

I usually think of "giving head" as specifically fellatio (and "eating out" as specifically cunnilingus). Don't think I have a dictionary quite edgy enough to see if I'm correct or not though.

DooWahDiddy
08-06-2011, 11:24 AM
I usually think of "giving head" as specifically fellatio (and "eating out" as specifically cunnilingus). Don't think I have a dictionary quite edgy enough to see if I'm correct or not though.

Allow me to introduce you to Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=give+head), which supports Lamia's theory.

wolfman
08-06-2011, 11:38 AM
Joan Jett singing Crimson and Clover?

Well, the pronoun is the major rhyme pair in the song. Crimson and Delphinium just isn't quite as catchy

Lamia
08-06-2011, 11:39 AM
I usually think of "giving head" as specifically fellatio (and "eating out" as specifically cunnilingus). Don't think I have a dictionary quite edgy enough to see if I'm correct or not though.

Allow me to introduce you to Urban Dictionary (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=give+head), which supports Lamia's theory.
I just checked and believe it or not, this is actually covered by the OED under "head":

slang (orig. U.S.). Oral sex; fellatio or cunnilingus. Freq. in to give (good) head : to perform fellatio or cunnilingus (well).

Stratocaster
08-06-2011, 11:51 AM
"There She Goes," by the La's, covered by Sixpence None The Richer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj3vXkhqszE).

Sampiro
08-06-2011, 01:39 PM
There have been a few cases where Glee kept the original pronouns even when they didn't match the character the song was being sung to in the episode. For instance, this did a cover of Robin Thicke's "When I Get You Alone" sung by a guy to another guy even though the song uses the words "girl" and "she".

The most irritating was on the wedding episode when Kurt sang Just the Way You Are to Kurt and kept such lines as "Girl you're amazing". I thought it odd they kept that intact considering how much Kurt is bullied (even Sue called him "Lady") and that Finn then leads Kurt in a dance (i.e. Kurt takes the woman's position). The character's not transgendered but an openly gay male and I thought it was a tad insensitive. (Not that there's anything wrong with being transgendered or a woman, but if you're not you're not and I don't think they'd have said "Girl you're amazing" if they were singing to Mr. Schue or Puck.)

pohjonen
08-06-2011, 02:32 PM
Linda Ronstadt singing "December Dream." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWr-8OMkLSc) with the Stone Poneys.

I can see her slowly walking through the empty streets of morning...

I bought three incarnations of that album (Stony End), vinyl, 8 track (ha) and mp3.

Lamia
08-06-2011, 04:59 PM
The most irritating was on the wedding episode when [Finn] sang Just the Way You Are to Kurt and kept such lines as "Girl you're amazing". I thought it odd they kept that intact considering how much Kurt is bullied (even Sue called him "Lady")The only justification I can see for this is that maybe we were meant to understand that Finn was singing the song for both his mother and for Kurt. It didn't really seem that way, but in his speech Finn did say that his mom and Kurt had both helped him to be a better man so that could have been what they were going for. It did seem weird, though.
and that Finn then leads Kurt in a dance (i.e. Kurt takes the woman's position).To be fair, Finn is taller. Kurt is by far the better dancer, which probably trumps height, but he had taught Finn to lead so they had danced that way before. It bothered me more that Kurt wasn't leading when he danced with Blaine in the prom episode, but that's another story.

njtt
08-06-2011, 05:56 PM
I think that, whichever way they go (change pronouns or not), if you know the original this is nearly always jarring, unless teh pronouns are left alone and it is fairly clearly intended to have been changed from a straight song to a gay one, as with Joan Jett (or vice-versa, I suppose, though I can't think of any examples). Otherwise, either they are saying something weird (apparently gay lyrics sung by someone with a straight image), or the changed lyrics sound too stilted and careful (and, sometimes, you lose rhymes and even may subtly upset the rhythm).

An exception that occurs to me is Janis Joplin's version of Me and Bobby McGee, which I think does get away with changing "she" to "he". But perhaps this is because I think it is by far the best version of the song, anyway. Indeed, the original is a bit gender confused already (unintentionally, so far as I can judge), what with being about a a woman called Bobby. (Yes, I know women can be called Bobby, but by default it is a male name, and, because it does not actually have many gendered pronouns in it anyway, you actually have to listen quite carefully to the original to realize it is about a girlfriend rather than about a male buddy.) It actually makes more sense as sung by a woman about a man.

njtt
08-06-2011, 06:08 PM
Linda Ronstadt singing "December Dream." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWr-8OMkLSc) with the Stone Poneys.

I can see her slowly walking through the empty streets of morning...

I bought three incarnations of that album (Stony End), vinyl, 8 track (ha) and mp3.

Linda seemed to make a specialty of this. In Different Drum (written by Mike Nesmith IIRC - the actually talented one in The Monkees) she gets to sing "Oh I ain't saying you ain't pretty...".

The song, and her performance, are good enough to survive it, but it does provide a moment of "Huh!" (I am reasonably confident that Linda is straight, although she is very pro gay rights, apparently.)

interface2x
08-06-2011, 11:39 PM
A couple of Erasure covers of old Abba songs, particularly Gimme Gimme Gimme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFCc_7PXcds).

Peter Morris
08-07-2011, 06:17 AM
Talking of ABBA, Fernando is sung by a young woman, but the words are those of an old man.

TreacherousCretin
08-07-2011, 12:31 PM
The Fabs' Boys.

Ringo's greatest moment, IMO. I don't know if any lyrics were changed, and I don't much care. It was a great song, so they covered it.


.

njtt
08-07-2011, 02:21 PM
The Fabs' Boys.

Ringo's greatest moment, IMO. I don't know if any lyrics were changed, and I don't much care. It was a great song, so they covered it.
.

The original version was by The Shirelles, so presumably The Fabs sing it as originally written. The Beatles version, apparently, did change the pronouns etc. a bit.

Wikipedia: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boys_%28The_Shirelles_song%29)
The Beatles did not concern themselves about possible homosexual undertones that go with singing a song about boys, although they altered the gender pronouns employed on the Shirelles' version (i.e. "My girl says when I kiss her lips..."). In an October 2005 Rolling Stone interview, Paul McCartney stated: "Any one of us could hold the audience. Ringo would do 'Boys', which was a fan favorite with the crowd. And it was great though if you think about it, here's us doing a song and it was really a girls' song. 'I talk about boys now!' Or it was a gay song. But we never even listened. It's just a great song. I think that's one of the things about youth you just don't give a shit. I love the innocence of those days."[5] (The lyrics talk specifically about boys kissing girls, not each other.)

Apparently Pete Best used to do it before Ringo was even in the band. (I agree that The Beatles do make it work.)

TreacherousCretin
08-09-2011, 01:50 AM
The original version was by The Shirelles, so presumably The Fabs sing it as originally written. The Beatles version, apparently, did change the pronouns etc. a bit.Apparently Pete Best used to do it before Ringo was even in the band. (I agree that The Beatles do make it work.)


I can't quite tell if you know that "The Fabs" was George Harrison's later-days nickname for The Beatles, which is how I used it. For no particular reason. Apologies if I'm being dense and misinterpreting your comment.

And: Just this moment (literally) it occurs to me that I have the Shirelles' original version in my collections, but have never paid attention to the pronouns. I think I'll do it now.

.

Renifer
08-09-2011, 04:56 PM
"Crazy" by Patsy Cline. Covered multiple times. Written by Willie Nelson.

Biggirl
08-09-2011, 04:59 PM
"Crazy" by Patsy Cline. Covered multiple times. Written by Willie Nelson.

Yeah but. . .. I don't believe there are any gender specific pronouns in this song. Also, calling a guy pretty or beautiful isn't very gender-bendy either.

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