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Reinterpretation (covers) of songs

  1. Aug 23, 2011 #1
    What is your opinion of them? Are there covers by other artists/band that you have enjoyed listening to? Generally, do you prefer the originals or cover versions?

    Another band taking a song and putting their own spin on it can do wonders at times. Yeah, I've heard some horrible stuff but generally, if they're that bad, I can't even remember them. (a little ironic, perhaps but that's a good thing for my well being, I suppose)

    Anyway, examples of how a particular band can make me find something else that I don't in the original versions would be Sonic Youth's cover of Superstar (featured in Juno) and My Morning Jacket's take on Elton John's Rocket Man.

    Rocket Man, Superstar or any of the acts mentioned above are not acts that I would normally be listening to but these two alternative versions of the songs, I love. Another cool way of finding covers or just getting into "new" bands, is listening to a cover of a given song made my a band you like. While I had always heard of Deep Purple, I never really tried to listen to any of their work, mostly because I couldn't get into similar hard rock/heavy metal of that kind. (Dio and related acts) When I listened to Opeth's cover of Soldier of Fortune though, I changed my mind. :)

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  3. Aug 23, 2011 #2


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  4. Aug 23, 2011 #3


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    Clapton and SRV did wonderful covers of Hendrix's "Little Wing". Each version is pretty darned nice, and I like them all. I like Santana's cover of Peter Green's "Black Magic Woman" OK, but the original Fleetwood Mac line-up's version is far superior, IMO. I used to play that song in taverns, but since the US audience was unfamiliar with the original version, I found that I got better crowd response by throwing in more of the Santana licks with Mesa Boogie-like distortion. Play the clean scooped-mids-tone version, and people would not understand what you were doing.
  5. Aug 23, 2011 #4
    Can't Take My Eyes Off of You is another good one. As is, House of the Rising Sun. They also covered some song of The Smiths that I can't remember right now, which was pretty decent. If you're interested, just YouTube it.

    Sounds like you had good fun. I feel sort of left out when I hear people talk about blues-y music, sometimes. It sounds like really "fun" stuff. While I do like the sound of it, I never seemed to be able to enjoy a full album. Ironically, a lot of the music that I do enjoy, has some roots in blues, it would seem. Most rock does. As for old skool stuff, I do like Led Zep's II, III and IV. Also, the odd Motorhead track.

    While it's still Richard Ashcroft on vocals, I like a few of the songs on his first album, that were recorded with The Verve. (C'Mon People We're Making It Now and A Song for Lovers - both on YouTube) Both sound "lower"/"darker" and I find that it suit the songs better, if that makes any sense. :S
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  6. Aug 23, 2011 #5


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    Probably one of the best covers/reinterpretations (ever?) is Aretha Franklin's cover of Otis Redding's "Respect." It changes a slightly chauvinistic song into a powerful feminist anthem.

    Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Hurt" is also quite nice.
  7. Aug 23, 2011 #6


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    If you want to play music live, blues is a good way to go, especially if you are hosting open mic jams like I often was. Blues tunes generally have a predictable or easily-learned structure and chord progression, leaving people free to improvise and add their own touch.

    the rock music of the '60s was an amalgam of blues, rockabilly, and folk. Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins had as much influence on rock as BB King and T-Bone Walker, IMO, not to mention song-writers like Dylan. Some rock stars charted a few hits hits just by covering Dylan songs.
  8. Aug 23, 2011 #7


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    I'm usually partial to the originals, even if the cover is done by someone/a band I really like.

    For me, music is deeply tied to my life's experiences and emotions. Since a cover will usually change the feel of a song, even if I like a particular artist, the new version will feel intrusive. When the feeling of the song changes, it's no longer congruent with whatever experiences or emotions that were present for the original, so the cover will often feel disconnected and irrelevant.
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  9. Aug 23, 2011 #8


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    I probably wouldn't enjoy covers of songs that held strong memories for me. I played music since about the age of 8 or so, and had free access to my parents' records and record-players (I was very careful!) even before that. I still recall the song that was playing when my class-mate's Senior sister grabbed me to waltz at the Freshman welcome dance. She was cute, cute, cute, and I only wished that song could have been a lot longer.

    Another song was real popular when I had my first real "date" years earlier, and asked a girl in the next town to come with me to my cousin's birthday party. I think I was 9 at the time. My cousins didn't have too many 45s, so that song got played a lot.
  10. Aug 23, 2011 #9
    I agree. I still rate Jimi's version as the best, it's just rough and raw and beautiful but SRV's cover is a magnificent, and technical re-interpretation (I got a lot of time for SRV). I recall hearing a Clapton version but I don't have a copy, I might have to go and YouTube it.

    Covers are a funny thing, I think it's fine to cover a song, but my favourites are those that don't stray too far from the "feeling" of the original. I don't mind if the style changes, but some covers are just travesty.

    I have a really nice Masters At Work remix of Nina Simone - See-Line Woman that I play over and over again, it has a nice deep house flavour and I think it works brilliantly (and it goes forever which is great, because it's the kind of tune I don't want to end). It's featured on one of the Verve Remixed compilations.

    Oh, Nirvana's cover of Bowie's "Man Who Sold The World" is another all time favourite <3
  11. Aug 23, 2011 #10
    Dylan's "All along the watchtower" was brilliantly covered by Jimi Hendrix. Even Dylan was impressed. It's truly a great cover.

    Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" (by Leonard Cohen) was also wonderful. I also like Rufus Wainwright's cover very much.

    Or Johny Cash's cover of "Hurt" (by the Nine Inch Nails) is very good as well!
  12. Aug 23, 2011 #11
    A cover's a cover. Sometimes it may be better than the original, sometimes it may be worse, and sometimes it may be on par... but in the end it's still a cover, so the band is giving recognition to songs/artists that influenced em.
    Just my two cents on covers!
  13. Aug 24, 2011 #12
    Imagine by John Lennon. Who would dare to cover it? Well, Randy Crawford did, accompanied by a group that I have never otherwise encountered called the Yellow Jackets. I can see that many will prefer the less produced original, just Lennon and his piano, and there is a wistfulness to Lennon’s original – I think he knew his dreams were unrealistic, he just wished that they weren’t – whereas Crawford’s version is perhaps more naïve, credulous dreamer. But her version is understated and I find a beauty in it that isn’t in the original. Personally.
  14. Aug 24, 2011 #13
    Dylan's cover of Friday is incredible.

  15. Aug 24, 2011 #14
    I love covers. A couple of my favourite bands are actually cover bands.

    For instance Me First and the Gimme Gimmes do an awesome cover of Rocketman.

    Me First does all punk covers.

    Richard Cheese does all lounge covers like this one of Snoop Dogg's Gin and Juice...
    n0-XQ0k7efs[/youtube] The cover I...to shoot myself up with a speedball and die."
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  16. Aug 24, 2011 #15
    I have to say ( shamefully ) that I think Hendrix's watchtower sounds better than Dylan's! :(
  17. Aug 24, 2011 #16


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    I'd have to agree with all of those examples, and add "Sweet Jane" by the Cowboy Junkies (originally by Velvet Underground).

    But in general, covers disappoint me. Either I'm simply too fond of the original, or the it's too similar of an interpretation...if you're going to remake a song exactly like the original, why bother?
  18. Aug 24, 2011 #17
    Well maybe that Sarah Brightman did an excellent job on Queens' "who wants to live forever" especially life in concert

    Original in concert

    Cover in concert

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  19. Aug 24, 2011 #18


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    John Hiatt is probably one of the most-covered singer-songwriters of all time. You may absolutely love some of his songs (as performed by others) and never know that he was the first to perform them.

    Edit: BTW, he always recorded them first because he never learned how to write in musical notation. He has put out a LOT of recorded music.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
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