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Old 12-04-2018, 04:27 AM
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Cover songs that missed the spirit of the originals?

Inspired by the numerous threads we've had about great cover songs, but going the other direction.

What cover song do you think missed the mark the most? I'm not looking for worst versions. But covers that just missed the point.

My contribution is the classic Kiss song Rock N Roll All Night. It's a great song (albeit still overplayed), and it has infectious energy. I'm physically unable to keep my toe from tapping, or my fingers from drumming. It's a great song for what it is.

In the 80s, it got remade by Poison for the "Less than Zero" soundtrack. Little more glam than the original, but still decent. Still rocks, and the energy's diminished, but you can still here it trying to escape.

Fast forward to 1994, and the very same song was covered by Toad the Wet Sprocket.

I'm not calling the TtWS version bad, per se. But it's so vastly different from the original that there's no drive to it. There's no energy. It's completely stripped of all of the power that made the original so great, and the Poison version at least decent.

It's like a neutered version of a rock song. Like finding a Kidz Bop version of "You Oughta Know" or something.

So...any others you can think of?
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Last edited by Chronos; 12-04-2018 at 06:51 AM. Reason: Fixed link codes
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:44 AM
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Not sure how you mangled those links, but I reported it for you.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:49 AM
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Thanks. I should know better than to try to link on tapatalk
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:10 AM
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The most lifeless cover ever recorded was Lenny Kravitz' American Woman. He took the edge right out of that song, and released a piece of sanitized puffery that got him paid. There is no aspect of that song that he didn't shittify.

Last edited by bobot; 12-04-2018 at 06:11 AM. Reason: $
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:43 AM
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Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
This was going to be my contribution as well. It's absolutely horrible.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:42 PM
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A group called Rosebud did a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar.." If the mere description isn't enough to curl your toes, the version changed the deeply cynical condemnation of the music business into an upbeat song about becoming a big star.
Dar Williams covered Comfortably Numb. I don't want to talk about it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:53 AM
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Fixed the links. You had round (parentheses), not square [brackets].
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:17 AM
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Madonna's version of American Pie is a dreadful, dreadful trainwreck.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:55 AM
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Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back didn't miss the spirit of the original, but it subverts it completely.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
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Originally Posted by NotherYinzer View Post
Madonna's version of American Pie is a dreadful, dreadful trainwreck.
Same with Nicki French's cover of Total Eclipse of the Heart. And just about any dance club version of just about any song. Technically competent, but artistically soulless.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:21 AM
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And just about any dance club version of just about any song.
The funniest incidence of this was one of the club remixes of I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred, the original of which suddenly ends with the line "I'm too sexy for this song." The remix in question continues the song repeating "I'm too sexy for this song, too sexy for this song...."
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:30 AM
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Several years ago some young putzes call The Ataris did a cover of Don Henley's Boys of Summer. Holy cow, what a void. It sounds like they're playing all the correct notes and beyond that, there's nothing right about it. I don't know what annoys me more; their stupid name or the line "out on the road today I saw a Black Flag sticker on a Cadillac". Yeah, like they're old enough (or cool enough)to reminisce about Black Flag.

Mary J. Blige's cover of One makes me want to slap her.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back didn't miss the spirit of the original, but it subverts it completely.
On the other hand, the Glee rip-off of Jonathan Coulton's version completely missed the point of the cover.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:20 PM
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Madonna's version of American Pie is a dreadful, dreadful trainwreck.
When that song came out, DJs were bombarded with requests to NOT play it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:41 AM
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Just about all of Big Daddy's ouvre completely redefines the songs covered, generally as some sort of doo-wop piece (and often in direct imitation of some 1950s song). But my overall favorite is their re-interpretation of Celine Dion's ethereal My Heart Will go On from the movie Titanic as a bouncy, upbeat Elvis Presley number with backup singers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISujjBWWPcM
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:41 AM
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"I'm A Believer" by Smash Mouth was mentioned in the other thread, and I would respectfully disagree and cite it as an example for this thread.

The original is gritty and earnest. I don't know much about Smash Mouth beyond their hit songs. It strikes me that a common denominator of those hits is they seem to employ quite a bit of ironic sarcasm and maybe it's not a coincidence any feeling I might detect in their cover sounds artificial to me. Their cover sounds emblematic of the overproduction a lot of 21st century popular music features, take the little guitar lick that precedes the first and second verse and notice the difference.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:24 PM
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"I'm A Believer" by Smash Mouth was mentioned in the other thread, and I would respectfully disagree and cite it as an example for this thread.

The original is gritty and earnest. I don't know much about Smash Mouth beyond their hit songs. It strikes me that a common denominator of those hits is they seem to employ quite a bit of ironic sarcasm and maybe it's not a coincidence any feeling I might detect in their cover sounds artificial to me. Their cover sounds emblematic of the overproduction a lot of 21st century popular music features, take the little guitar lick that precedes the first and second verse and notice the difference.
The Monkees. You are saying the Monkees did a gritty earnest version.

My vote would be Billy Idol's version of "LA Woman" though apparently that was on purpose. I heard an interview where he was saying how Morrison was so down on L.A. and he wanted to be more positive. Here's an idea: write your own damned song then, you turkey.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Aspidistra View Post
Club mix of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car". Jonas Blue, I think. Just So Wrong on every level. "Fast Car" should in no way be a boppy upbeat "club" song.
Don't think you can ever accuse Xiu Xiu of doing (anything) upbeat.
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
I don't care whether they did a good job or not so much. That song bothers me more because they're middle aged men capitalizing on a brief resurgence of a meme.
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The Monkees. You are saying the Monkees did a gritty earnest version.
Neil Diamond, though the Monkees certainly popularized it.
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Old 12-05-2018, 11:49 AM
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Neil Diamond, though the Monkees certainly popularized it.
They popularised it because they were the ones who recorded it. I was about to say Diamond only wrote it but looking more closely at the wiki article, he also apparently played some guitar on their recording.

Eta: I stand slightly corrected, Diamond did record it but his was released after the Monkees.

Last edited by CarnalK; 12-05-2018 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:55 AM
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A group called Rosebud did a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar.." If the mere description isn't enough to curl your toes, the version changed the deeply cynical condemnation of the music business into an upbeat song about becoming a big star.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:26 AM
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Every cover of Memory that sings it like a dirge. It is not a funeral song, it is a reflective song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:21 AM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
Jonathan Coulton's cover of Baby Got Back didn't miss the spirit of the original, but it subverts it completely.
Great cover!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
A group called Rosebud did a disco version of Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar.." If the mere description isn't enough to curl your toes, the version changed the deeply cynical condemnation of the music business into an upbeat song about becoming a big star.
In the same spirit, Scissor Sisters cover of Comfortably Numb:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lsCEgcRozY

I love this cover.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:02 AM
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Maybe he captured some of the spirit, but John Cougar Mellencamp's cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night" missed the entire meaning of the line "...and the inside jukebox blows out just like thunder" by singing..."and inside the jukebox...".

Completely ruins it for me.

Last edited by Mixolydian; 12-04-2018 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:24 AM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
I mean, they only did it because people kept asking them to.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:26 PM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
When I heard about this, I figured that Weezer would totally make fun of the song. But instead they went for a respectful, note-for-note cover. Maybe they really like the original? Who'd a thunk it?....
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:57 PM
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Recently, Weezer did a totally lifeless remake of Toto's "Africa." If you're going to do a remake, at least make an effort to add something to it.
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Originally Posted by LLCoolL View Post
When I heard about this, I figured that Weezer would totally make fun of the song. But instead they went for a respectful, note-for-note cover. Maybe they really like the original? Who'd a thunk it?....
When I first heard it, I wondered, what is that station (DC101) doing, playing Toto? Even now, having known for months that it's Weezer, I can barely tell the difference.

Which really took Weezer down a few notches in my estimation. I've got a lot more respect for artists that try to do something different with a cover, and fall flat on their faces with it, than artists who don't do anything different other than what's inevitable because it's a different group with a different sound. And in this case, you don't even get that.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:24 AM
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While not a cover, as it done by the same artist, Clapton's acoustic version of Layla takes one of the most passionate, achingly beautiful songs in modern music and turns it into some guitar noodling you would do sitting on the back porch after dinner. Tragic.
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Old 12-04-2018, 12:36 PM
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While not a cover, as it done by the same artist, Clapton's acoustic version of Layla takes one of the most passionate, achingly beautiful songs in modern music and turns it into some guitar noodling you would do sitting on the back porch after dinner. Tragic.
I remember when the acoustic version came there were some people that I thought were my friends said that is was better.

My take is that the guy singing the original wants this woman so bad that it's killing him. The remake is sung by a guy that's had her.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:08 PM
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..................
My take is that the guy singing the original wants this woman so bad that it's killing him. The remake is sung by a guy that's had her.
You could easily pose the argument that THAT is exactly what happened.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:47 PM
stillownedbysetters stillownedbysetters is offline
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You could easily pose the argument that THAT is exactly what happened.

Had her and had done with her. Clapton and Patti Boyd divorced in 1988 and the acoustic version of Layla was recorded in 2004.

Last edited by stillownedbysetters; 12-04-2018 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:07 PM
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Had her and had done with her. Clapton and Patti Boyd divorced in 1988 and the acoustic version of Layla was recorded in 2004.
If wikipedia can be believed, the acoustic version was recorded in 1992.
Which doesn't affect the point that LoneRhino's description is both artistically and factually accurate.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:50 PM
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Had her and had done with her. Clapton and Patti Boyd divorced in 1988 and the acoustic version of Layla was recorded in 2004.
That's kinda the point
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Old 12-04-2018, 11:05 AM
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The cover by Pearl Jam of "Last Kiss" completely misses the point of the song. It's sung as a sad song, an unhappy point in the life of the boyfriend who crashed the car and killed his new girlfriend. But the original by J. Frank Wilson (& the Cavaliers) was an upbeat song. That almost makes no sense, until you realize that he's not singing it during the period of mourning after she dies, but rather later, when he realizes that now he has something to live for: the ability to go to Heaven in the end and see her again. "She's gone to Heaven, so I gotta be good, so I can see my baby when I leave (uh) this world!"

Oh, and an easy nominee here is the recent cover of "Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. It's a good performance, fun to sing to, but it totally misses the point of the song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:05 PM
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The cover by Pearl Jam of "Last Kiss" completely misses the point of the song. It's sung as a sad song, an unhappy point in the life of the boyfriend who crashed the car and killed his new girlfriend. But the original by J. Frank Wilson (& the Cavaliers) was an upbeat song. That almost makes no sense, until you realize that he's not singing it during the period of mourning after she dies, but rather later, when he realizes that now he has something to live for: the ability to go to Heaven in the end and see her again. "She's gone to Heaven, so I gotta be good, so I can see my baby when I leave (uh) this world!"

Oh, and an easy nominee here is the recent cover of "Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. It's a good performance, fun to sing to, but it totally misses the point of the song.
Boy oh boy do I disagree with all of this. There is no way a song describing the night of a boyfriend killing his girlfriend in a car accident can be anything but sad. The original version makes absolutely no sense as the peppy 60s beat. Pearl Jam nailed it.

I can't say the same for the subtext or whatever about Disturbed's version of Sound of Silence other than it takes the original's creepy vibe and makes it more powerful.
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Old 12-04-2018, 09:36 PM
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Boy oh boy do I disagree with all of this. There is no way a song describing the night of a boyfriend killing his girlfriend in a car accident can be anything but sad. The original version makes absolutely no sense as the peppy 60s beat. Pearl Jam nailed it.

I can't say the same for the subtext or whatever about Disturbed's version of Sound of Silence other than it takes the original's creepy vibe and makes it more powerful.
Agreed. I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel, and am a big fan of Paul Simon. And very much not a fan of metal. But Disturbed’s “Sound Of Silence” absolutely nailed the song’s outrage at the alienation and isolation it’s describing. It’s a powerful cover of a powerful song.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:18 PM
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The cover by Pearl Jam of "Last Kiss" completely misses the point of the song.
I would argue that Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss" misses the point of music and joy and a reason to live.
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:14 PM
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Oh, and an easy nominee here is the recent cover of "Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. It's a good performance, fun to sing to, but it totally misses the point of the song.
I found it interesting

Bad remakes: at the moment somebody has done a remake of "Tell it to my heart". Don't know the name of the artist, but they might prefer to remain anonymous.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:38 AM
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Boy oh boy do I disagree with all of this. There is no way a song describing the night of a boyfriend killing his girlfriend in a car accident can be anything but sad. The original version makes absolutely no sense as the peppy 60s beat. Pearl Jam nailed it.
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I would argue that Pearl Jam's "Last Kiss" misses the point of music and joy and a reason to live.
These two posts make clear that often, the meaning of a song is in the ear of the belistener. But I will make the important argument here: the "spirit of the original" is ALWAYS the spirit with which it is imbued by the original artist. In the case of this song, that was actually Wayne Cochran, who wrote it, and recorded it, and got no where with it. You can listen to his original version here. As you can hear, this is almost identical to the version done by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers. Since they essentially popularized the song (I doubt much of anyone recalls the attempt by Cochran to get people to listen to it), and sang essentially the same spirit to the song, we can, I think, consider it the "spirit of the original".

And it is quite clear that, for whatever reason (popularity of that type of music, most likely), the original spirit of the song is upbeat, NOT downbeat. Pearl Jam's version may make more "sense" to some, but it totally misses the "spirit of the original". As shown by the quotes above, that may be good or bad; ymmv.

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I can't say the same for the subtext or whatever about Disturbed's version of Sound of Silence other than it takes the original's creepy vibe and makes it more powerful.
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Agreed. I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel, and am a big fan of Paul Simon. And very much not a fan of metal. But Disturbed’s “Sound Of Silence” absolutely nailed the song’s outrage at the alienation and isolation it’s describing. It’s a powerful cover of a powerful song.
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I found it interesting
The original "Sounds of Silence" is not a song of "outrage". If you think so, I suggest re-listening to the lyrics. It's a song about futility, a resigned confession to the darkness that no one is "listening", that the masses are just led by whatever bright, shiny thing catches their eye at the moment. There's no "outrage". And whatever "creepy" vibe it has, that vibe is not in any way helped by the fact that Disturbed take the third verse, kick it up an octave, and start screaming their way through the song, as if in some deft counter-point to the whole concept of the "sound of silence".

As I said, their cover is eminently listenable; I have it on my iTunes and it gets played fairly often by choice. But it totally misses the point, the "spirit" of the original.
  #41  
Old 12-04-2018, 11:09 AM
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Vanilla Fudge's cover of You Keep Me Hangin' On strays quite a bit from the tone of the Supreme's version.
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Old 12-04-2018, 04:49 PM
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Vanilla Fudge's cover of You Keep Me Hangin' On strays quite a bit from the tone of the Supreme's version.
But it's awesome in its own right.
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:02 PM
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Personally I find that Janis Joplin frequently overdid the soul side of her song far too much, and Piece of my Heart was one such example,

so here is the original,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y3dTPhvmA0

here is one that completely lost the original spirit in the cover - obviously a Christian witnessing song that has been subsumed into pretty boy culture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3cVDB5rOxI

and the Boyzone version - to thrill little star obsessed teenage girls

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eul_Vt6SZY
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Old 12-04-2018, 05:21 PM
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Personally I find that Janis Joplin frequently overdid the soul side of her song far too much, and Piece of my Heart was one such example,

so here is the original,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y3dTPhvmA0
I had no idea that Big Brother & the Holding Company was not the original. Ignorance fought.

I'm sure we can agree that Faith Hill's version sucks, though.
  #45  
Old 12-04-2018, 05:50 PM
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However big a hit it was, Whitney Houston's cover of "I will Always Love You" completely misses the bittersweet breakup song that Dolly Parton originally wrote and sang.
  #46  
Old 12-04-2018, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I had no idea that Big Brother & the Holding Company was not the original. Ignorance fought.

I'm sure we can agree that Faith Hill's version sucks, though.
I just have to add that Dusty Springfield also made a great cover. Produced by John Paul Jones.
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  #47  
Old 12-07-2018, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelz View Post
I had no idea that Big Brother & the Holding Company was not the original [Piece of My Heart]. Ignorance fought.
Sometimes life can surprise you. A while back at a party on the host's mix tape the Flying Lizards' version of Money (That's What I Want) came up.1 The host, about ten years younger than I, indicated he thought it was original with them. "You gotta be kidding me!" I said.2 "The Beatles did it like fifty years ago."

When I got home I went to YouTube to send him a link to what the "original" sounded like, only to discover the Fab Four's version was itself a cover of R&B artist, Barrett Strong's version.

Knowing the Beatles' early history I should have known. I confessed my ignorance in the email I sent the host.

1Not that it's grist for this thread; I kind of like it.

2I mean, he's a Deadhead for crying out loud.

Last edited by DesertDog; 12-07-2018 at 12:01 PM.
  #48  
Old 12-08-2018, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by casdave View Post
Personally I find that Janis Joplin frequently overdid the soul side of her song far too much, and Piece of my Heart was one such example,

so here is the original,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y3dTPhvmA0
I didn't know Aretha had a big sister. I like that version better than Janis. I also preferred the original version of Cry Baby by Garnet Mimms.

I know this is heresy coming from a child of the 60s, but I always thought Janis sounded rather like she was being burned alive.
  #49  
Old 12-04-2018, 11:09 AM
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Missed the spirit, but in a good way...

Richard Thompson - Oops I Did It Again
  #50  
Old 12-04-2018, 12:56 PM
XOldiesJock XOldiesJock is offline
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Back in 1967, one-hit wonder Robert Knight did a song called "Everlasting Love," clocking-in at just under 3 minutes. Good song. A classic. In 1974, Carl Carlton remade the song in a faster tempo - still a good rendition - and did it in a little over 2 1/2 minutes. In 1994, Gloria Estefan, who IMHO was a queen of excess, also did an up-tempo version but stretched it out to over 4 minutes with about 1:30 of pointless riffing, a la "we have a love, we have a love, we have a love, an everlasting love, it's everlasting, yes it's everlasting, ooh our everlasting love..." (This is not quoted verbatim, but you get the idea.) I've always hated it when a singer goes on and on like that, as if they're being paid by the minute, taking a perfectly good, tight pop tune and making it twice as long as it should be.

Her version of "Let It Snow," which gets a lot of play around this time of year, is equally dreadful and pointless. Just sing the damn song and be done with it!
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