Re: Concept of covers
posted at 3/1/2014 5:53 PM EST
In response to yogafriend's comment:
A few days ago, the silver medal figure skater, the enchanting Yuna Kim, skated to John Lennon's "Imagine" (flawlessly, I might add), in the relaxed, non-competitive gala skating event. Yes, the music was John Lennon's, but the version that was piped into the rink was that of Avril Lavigne. Lavinge recorded the cover a few years ago, so it's not 'new', but for many young listeners, who had never heard the song, it was an opportunity to hear and see it brought to life through the performance, which was very touching.
I read that the performance brought quite a bit of activity to the song, both the original and Lavigne's. It should go without saying that Lennon cannot be topped, but for the performance of this young skater, the cover version worked and was suitable. It's hard to fathom, but Lavigne did what you may think is unimaginable: she succeeded with this recording (it's on a tribute album with other various artists). Of course, there are going to be younger listeners that will say they 'prefer' Avril's version, because they relate to her -- here and now.
Here's the question:
What's your take on cover songs that draw attention to a great song, to a younger audience? Do you feel it's a good thing, or are you of the mind that it's a shame that the audience didn't hear the original, at least first?
Does it matter -- as long as the song is covered well, and the original is acknowledged?
Now if the cover is an abomination, and new listeners hear it for the first time, that's another story. Hearing a cover, of a great song gone wrong. Any examples?
Hi Yoga! Great question. I'm a well-know original composition snob, but I happily make two exceptions:
- On stage if a band plays a cover or two, esp. in an (extended) encore, I love it. They probably dig the original as much as I do...it's fun, exciting, and a link to our collective love of rock'n'roll.
- A cover so unlike the original and/or so brilliant it borders on original to me (Stranglers "Walk On By", Sonics "Have Love, Will Travel", Talking Heads "Take Me To The River", DEVO "Satisfaction", etc.)
But slavish covers? Boring, lazy ripoffs. Write your own songs you pathetic, greedy, fame-chasing haircuts! I read something the other day about the plethora of YouTube "stars" many of whom (all cute and young, of course) release covers of hit songs WEEKS after the originals are released. Sickening to me.
There's a teenage Irish band called "The Strypes". Young, cute, great PR, signed to EMI....going for an r&b/pub rock/beat sound, which I love. I think it's great when young musicians choose to play "off-beat" music....people like that are the finger-in-the-dike holding back the vanilla hoard. But they just aren't very good (yet?) IMO. Been playing r&b covers for years....exuberantly but without great skill (not poor, just ok), got signed based IMO on their appearance, and have recently started writing some ok songs.
I don't mean to sound mean. They're nice lads, I hope they do well, it's great IMO that they are doing what they are doing...teenagers that know who Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, et al are should be cherished and encouraged! But IMO there are many bands doing the same/similar much better.