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 Post subject: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original?
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:15 pm 
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There are many covers of original pop songs and to my ears they never seem to be as good as the original versions.

Perhaps I am missing something and I wondered what other members of the forum think about this.

Joseph


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:18 pm 
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no

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:24 pm 
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I used to be a radio deejay back in the 70s and can tell you exactly why almost all covers of pop hits are flops: it's because people connect to tunes mentally and music brings back memories and emotions. Covers, no matter how well done -- and even if better than the original -- lack the emotional lure and luster of the original -- to the original audience. Covers of old songs that do well are often years, if not decades separated from the original. A good example: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" was covered by a group called Tight Fit in 1982, and it went to #1. Personally, I thought it was better than the version sung by the Tokens or Robert John -- however, the version I "connected" with due to my age was the Robert John version, so even though the Tight Fit version was technically better I still turned my nose up at it.


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:34 pm 
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One comes to mind quickly, All Along the Watchtower, Bob Dylan composed and released, Jimi Hendrix released shortly later. Heck even Bob thinks Jimi’s version is better; Bob Dylan has a Nobel Prize so he knows what he is talking about.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:37 pm 
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Aretha Franklin's "Respect" is more popular than Otis Redding's original version.

Paul Butterfield did "Mary, Mary" on East-West, it is likely more known than writer Mike Nesmith's version.

Every Laura Nero song you've likely heard was recorded by others, yet she recorded them first.

It''s really about who had success. There are lots of songs recorded by people that went nowhere, but we know the songs because others had more success with them


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:51 pm 
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Some covers are worse, some are far better. I would say more are worse than the original but enough are better that I make a habit out of searching for covers to great songs. I especially enjoy some amateur or duet covers of great songs. "Pop a Top" was first a hit by Jim ed Brown but I find Alan Jackson's version much better.


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:59 pm 
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Here are a few that will quickly change your mind. There are plenty of covers of originals every bit as good as the originals, and some are even better. You can find all the ones I'll list here on youtube and watch/listen. In no particular order:

The Fendertones: Do You Want To Dance, and Shut Down. Both covers of the Beachboys, and every bit as good as the originals. They figured out how the Beachboys did it and duplicated the multi track recording process perfectly.

The Swing Dolls with the Ten West Orchestra: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, I'm certain the Andrews Sisters would approve. To me, this is even better than the original!

Foxes and Fossils: all their stuff is excellent, if you've never heard them before start out with Dedicated to the One I Love and Mr. Sandman. It's impossible for this group to make a bad recording!

I could easily give you 100 others which were recorded in the last 20 years or so that are every bit as good as if not better than the originals.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 7:59 pm 
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Back in the fifties, a number of R&B songs originally done by black vocalists or groups, would then be copied as "white covers".

"Tweedle Dee" by La Verne Baker and the Gliders in 1954 was copied by Georgia Gibbs.

The same year, "Cherry Pie" was done by Marvin and Johnny, but not copied with a white cover until 1960, by Skip and Flip.

"Ain't That A Shame" by Fats Domino in 1955 was covered by Pat Boone a year later.

There's many more. The white covers, while generally pretty good in their own right, still were a grade below the originals, IMNSHO.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 8:06 pm 
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Mr. Detrola wrote:
Here are a few that will quickly change your mind. There are plenty of covers of originals every bit as good as the originals, and some are even better. You can find all the ones I'll list here on youtube and watch/listen. In no particular order:

The Fendertones: Do You Want To Dance, and Shut Down. Both covers of the Beachboys, and every bit as good as the originals.

I guess it depends on what original one is referring to. AFAIAC, the original of "Do You Want To Dance" was by Bobby Freeman, in 1958, and just blows the following covers away.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=do+you+want+t ... d9xWgxJVqQ

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 8:12 pm 
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simplex1040 wrote:
no



Yes, frequently. Beatles VS Flying Lizards, bored deadpan eurotrash for the win.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DuJd-lTyf8


Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 8:24 pm 
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I caught the Bobby Freeman error too.

The Shirelles did "Baby It's You" (written by Burt Bacharach), while Smith's version went higher up the charts.


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 8:36 pm 
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Most covers are just cash-ins that suck compared to the original versions, but there are still a decent number that are very good, if not better than the originals. There are a lot of hit songs out there that most people would never know are covers. I just recently watched a Youtube video on the subject, and there were quite a few mentioned that surprised me.

Like a lot of people though, I have a hard time accepting covers of songs when I'm used to hearing a certain version. They have to be really good for me to accept them.


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 8:42 pm 
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"Bobby McGee" is a Kris Kristofferson tune, dontcha know.
So it comes down to what was original to you.

So many R&B tunes were not played on so many radio stations until somebody like the early Beatles did covers. "CC Rider", who did the original? who did the best cover? Just one of hundreds of examples, "Corinna Corinna" was a minor hit for Big Joe Turner. Who did the popular version, Richard probably knows.

I like Judy Collins singing "Clouds" better than Joni's version. I like the Neil Young and it sounds like Tanya Tucker? cover of "The Wayward Wind", but the original is burned into my deepest brain cells.

Speaking of Joni Mitchell, if you hear the Nazareth version of "This Flight Tonight"a hundred times, it becomes familiar, and the original doesn't have the energy.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 9:21 pm 
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I heard Nazareth's "This Flight Tonight" when it came out, it came as a shock to later learn that it was a Joni Mitchell song. The versions come across asdifferent songs.

I get confused, Tom Rush did "Circle Game" in 1968, but it is a Joni Mitchell song, she made it famous in 1970. Buffy Sainte-Marie did it too, in 1970. I'm pretty sure that's the version I heard in 1971 when I first started listening to music on the radio.


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 9:31 pm 
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A precious few were better, but mainly no. As an example, Ann Murray's 1974 hit song "You Won't See Me" was a much better rendition than the Beatles' original. Another one would be "Young Blood" by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids which was performed far better than the original "Young Blood" by the Coasters.


Last edited by Blustar1 on Jul Sat 10, 2021 9:55 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 9:35 pm 
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Several artists have done covers of Beatles songs that are quite nicely done and maintain the character of the originals.

Try the Mona Lisa Twins versions of You Can't Do That, and Please, Please Me as a starting point.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 9:36 pm 
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I did not know if you meant serious covers of songs or those 70's cheap TV records of today's big hits recorded by "The Sound-alikes". Yes I have heard plenty of songs recorded by various artists and all have a unique take on them and both versions/interpretations can sound good but different. As some examples given here demonstrate.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 10:14 pm 
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"Tweedlee Dee" was good by both LaVern Baker, and Georgia Gibbs. "I´m gonna sit right down and write myself a letter" Was good by both Fats Waller, Frank Sinatra, Billy Willams. I like them all, but especially the Billy Williams version. "Guys and Dolls" was song in the movie, "Guys and doll". I was used to the Rat Pack singing it, but when I saw it in the movie, it was a bit unfamiliar.

So yes, sometimes the covers are good.

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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 10:35 pm 
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Dolly Parton / Whitney Houston - "I will always love you".

I prefer to hear Dolly only because the Muzak system where I used to work played Whitney at least 20 times a week. Also, seems Whitney is showing the power of her voice and Dolly is really singing a love song.


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 Post subject: Re: Are covers of popular songs ever as good as the original
PostPosted: Jul Sat 10, 2021 11:07 pm 
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Dolly has written hundreds of songs. She is very well rounded, booth as a performer and as a person. :D

The Byrds turned Dylan's folk tunes into folk rock hits, thanks partly to the Rickenbacker electric 12-string, but also better vocals with harmony.
We Five did something similar with Ian and Sylvia Tyson's "You were On My Mind". Acoustic 12-string, I think.

Another cover band so great you'd never call them that - Santana. I like the You-tube vid of "She's Not There".

Glenn Campbell's signature tune is almost equal to John Hartford's original.
The Bellamy Bros do a decent conversion of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic". I like their treatment of the song better, not as dreamy.

Laura Nyro - she had an album out, lots of good tunes, "Stone Soul Picnic, Eli's Coming" and more. Then she passed away but her music lives on.
I especially can hear her in the lyrics "I swear there ain't no Heaven and I pray there ain't no Hell, but I'll never know by livin' only by dyin' will tell."

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Last edited by westcoastjohn on Jul Sat 10, 2021 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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