Re: Concept of covers
posted at 3/1/2014 8:09 PM EST
In response to devildavid's comment:
In response to SonicsMonksLyresVicars' comment:
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.
I'm a well known I don't care if it's original or who wrote it if the performance is great anti-snob. Many of my favorite songs are by great artists who did not write their own material. It's of absolutely no significance to me. Integrity? Who cares? Originality? Big deal. Can't write or play a muiscal instrument? Couldn't care less. The performance is all to me, not the background on how the song came to be.
Speaking of Bo Diddley, he was known on rare occasion to cover a song or record a song he didn't write. Good for him. Here's a few examples:
Pretty Thing - Written by Willie Dixon
Sixteen Tons - Written by Merle Travis, most well known as a hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford
Cops and Robbers - Written by Kent Harris
You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover - Written by Willie Dixon
Sonics, ya just had to know I'd respond to this.
Ahahahaha. I'd expect no less and couldn't expect more.
I wrote earlier that there are many covers I personally deem worthy and gave four (of many) examples. You added four more. I think it's really flattering that you know how much I love St. Bo Diddley, and really chagrining/interesting that I thought Bo wrote "Book". Does it change my opinion of Bo's version? Yes, slightly.
In my earlier comment I thought about adding a couple of qualifiers re Blues/r&b and the early days of "rock/pop" but didn't. When the proto-Beatles, -Stones, -Kinks, -Animals etc. learned their chops playing Blues/r&b songs it was great...teenagers discovering great, under-the-radar music then turning it into modern rock'n'roll. But a cheap cover for money/fame? Pass.