Song covers- are they evil?

7 out of ten times when a song gets covered it’s butchered; the tempo is changed, sometimes the words get changed so the scansion won’t fit… Example: johnny Rivers’ cover of The Midniught Special.

Good covers: Taylor Dane does Jim Steinman’s Original Sin much better than Meatloaf did.

Why do people do covers anyway?

–Larry replied that, if forced to choose between covering hang on sloopy or a pepsi enema, he’d gladly bend over. (Stephen King’s the Stand, paraphrase)

Previously discussed here.

I love Bob Dylan songs. Just not when he’s singing them. He is one of the best songwriters in the world, but he can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

Oh yeah. Like Elvis Presely awful cover of “Blue Suede Shoes”.
Why do people do covers anyway?

Would have seemed and odd question to Elvis or any of his predicesors. For the concept of “cover” to mean anything you kind if have to have the idea of a songwriter preforming his own songs. And that didn’t really happen till the Beatles. The idea of an artist writing a song and then producing a definative version of it is fairly new.

The idea of a “cover” goes back to the very origins of music. Why not reinterpret?

Anyway, my favorite version of Blue Suede Shoes is the Residents’.

This isn’t neccessarily a bad thing.

Joe Cocker’s version of With a Little Help From My Friends, anyone?

I couldn’t say whether his or the Beatles was better, they’re both really quite good.

Listen to Me first and the gimmie gimmie gimmies and you will be a fan of cover songs from there on in. From a musician’s standpoint…or at least from my standpoint as a musician, covers are fun to do. I play in a band that plays completely original stuff but throwing in an occasional cover is fun and people like to hear something they know played in a new varation.
My .02

People do covers because they like the song and want to sing it. I play the mandolin and I don’t write music so all I do is play covers. I agree that sometimes the cover isn’t as good as the original. I Will Always Love You was sung by Dolly Parton first and I liked it better then Whitney Houston’s. ON the other hand I’ve never heard a bad verson of Blue Moon.
Marc

it’s also been discussed here:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=47375

I think when someone takes a song “because they felt a connection with it” and make it their own, that’s fine. When someone takes a song because the original “needed improvement” in their mind, that makes it bad.

Hank Williams Jr. covering the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood on his High Notes album is a good example. He did a good job from “consistent with the original” point of view, but I don’t think John, Paul, George or Ringo have anything to fear.

Speaking of the Beatles, everyone is going to cover them…but anyone just looking to make a commercial success with a known tune…“Tiffany” for Example (ARGH!!!) is being blasphemous.

Song covers are not necessarily evil: Bauhaus covered “Ziggy Stardust” very well - faithful to the original spirit of the song, but different enough that you could tell it was a new interpretation. & who can forget Sid Vicious’s “My Way”?

However, Blink-182’s cover of “The Longest Line” is the lamest thing I’ve ever heard. My friends in college had a joke band that did that song better. & whoever decided that Britney Spears should cover “Satisfaction” has a special place reserved for them in Hell.

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes covers are good.

Madonna covers are evil. In fact, Madonna songs are evil.

I must confess a soft spot for covers, even those that don’t fit the criteria already stated for a good cover. Devo’s cover of Satisfaction is a work of genius. Genius, I tell you!

Ahem.

Travis also does a freaking brilliant cover of Baby One More Time. Look it up on Napster. You’ll be glad you did.

Song covers- are they evil?

When Grand Funk Railroad does “The Loco-motion” - no.
When Kylie Minogue does “The Loco-motion” - yes, yes, a thousand times, yes.

Yes, if it’s ** Pat Boone ** ripping off ** Fats Domino ** or any of the other white artists who covered R&B songs in the 50s, reducing the potential pool of record buyers.

OTOH, in the late 40s and early 50s everybody covered everyone else’s material. In my Joel Whitburn’s * Top Pop Singles 1940-1955 * we find that Patti Page may have had hit with The Tennessee Waltz in late 1950, but it was also recorded (and charted) by the Fontane Sisters, Guy Lombardo, Anita O’Day, Jo Stafford, Guy Lombardo and Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Rock has a way of mining its own past, with mixed results. I still get a big kick out of Frijid Pink’s high energy heavy-fuzz version of The Animals’ ** House of the Rising Sun ** which in turn was taken from who knows how many blues musicians. Heck, the Sixties even mined the recent Fifties (think Blue Cheer doing Eddie Cochran’s ** Summertime Blues **)

Also have to mention the habit of artists covering * themselves ** by releasing endless live versions or remixes of studio songs. For good examples, think Neil Sedaka’s re-invention of ** Breaking Up is Hard to Do ** as a slow ballad, and a similar unplugged effort by Clapton on the immortal ** Layla **

Barenaked Ladies’ bootleg cover of “When Doves Cry” kicks ass, and I hear that Tenacious D has a mondo cover of “House of the Rising Sun” that totally rocks. I like covers in general, but hate Madonna covers. It’s just fun to see how another artists spins an old favorite, you know?

–Tim

Just watching that scene of Pat getting, uh, down? whilst singing “Tutti Frutti” makes me cringe.

I like Fiona Apple doing “Across the Universe”, hate her personally and can’t stand the Ruttles either.

I love Aimee Man doing “One” too, original was good but I love her voice.

There are a lot of good covers out there, just that so many are complete crap.

Bif Naked doing “We’re not Gonna Take It” is good too.

There are some damn good covers out there, there are some damn bad covers out there. There are some damn good non-covers out there, there are some fucking bad non-covers out there.

It generally depends on who does it, and how they go about it.

In general alot of covers I heard were crap like this one band I heard redid my generation ughhhh I almost vomited listening to it. But then again I’ve heard some kick ass covers also. SO what it boils down to is I guess if the band does a good job then no they aren’t evil but if a band blows complete goat nad doing it then yes they are evil.

Covers can be a good or bad thing, it all depends on how much effort you put into it.

Look at Nirvana, they covered a bunch of bad Meat Puppets songs and made them classics. Pennywise did a awesome cover of Land Down Under, and Botch created an unforgettable version of O Fortuna.

Personally, I like covers if the band tinkers with the song a bit.

Actually I find the opposite. A large part of my collection is on vinyl and I found early on that if the records didn’t have covers they got badly scratched. Covers are essential for records, but less so for CDs. d’ugh