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Bob Elliott
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Bob Elliott

11/19/2009 9:18:32 PM

On Covers
It came to me last night what it is: you change the song and the song changes you until you reach an agreement, and then you have a new artist version of someone else's song.

I mean, Tony Bennett, Billy Holiday...that is art for sure. And it's covers...

But they bend the song their way, and the songs bend them and it's communication between the song and those musicians...

It seems the use of covers is very underplayed in the current music scene. I guess it has a lot to do with artists trying to make royalties, But the art of covering is honorable even for the gifted writers. In fact, most of the gifted writers did plenty of it...


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Hop On Pop

11/20/2009 8:20:53 AM ---- Updated 11/20/2009 8:21:48 AM


I enjoy playing covers and have even recorded a few with past bands. Thing is, they're not licensed, so I cannot post any of them here. But as an FYI, this is what I did and whith which band:

eLeMeNO - "Runaway" (Del Shannon)
Did it as a straight-up guitar pop song. I played the organ solo on guitar.

Cash Cow - "When Doves Cry" (Prince)
Done as a noise-rock/punk thing, to which I contributed an alternating baritone/screaming lead vocal. Never really realized how much anger there is in that song, until I started playing this and really looked at the lyric. It is an angry, sad song.

ChewToy - "Rat Patrol" (Naked Raygun)
My second punk band did what was pretty much a straight-up cover of this classic Chicago punk band's melodic hardcore underground classic. I played bass on this one and contributed backing vocals.

As a solo artist, I now do solo/acoustic versions of:
"Norwegian Wood" (Beatles)
"The Dark End Of the Street" (Aretha Franklin/Flying Burrito Brothers/The Commitments/Dan Penn)
"Goodnight Country Girl" (Martin Newell)
"Catch a Falling Star" (Perry Como why not?)

Also, as I mentioned in another thread, I've had the honor of being covered 7 times!

But yeah, I can get behind the whole artist interpretation of other folks' songs thing.
The Bangles' version of "Hazy Shade Of Winter" (Simon and Garfunkel) is one of my favorites!


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Tom O'Brien

11/20/2009 1:12:04 PM


You have a unique voice and style, and I think that is key in doing covers. If you are your averae Joe Schmoe and you try to record a great song, then you're just going to bring the song down. There are so many times that I hear covers of songs that have already been done perfectly by the original artist and I think, "What's the point?" Billy Holiday could sing any song and make it better. Tony Bennett, too. When a great artist takes a great song, it's magic. But when anyone else sings it, it can just remind you of the original. There's no reason, IMO, for anyone to ever cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or Bridge Over Troubled Water" or just about any Beatles song, but people do it all the time. I think it's cool when someone covers a song that wasn't as good as it could be in the original recording but makes it great. Or adds a whole new take on a song.


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Tao Jones

11/20/2009 5:15:08 PM


I heard Tori Amos do "Teen Spirit" in a very mellow solo piano version. Was actually exactly the type of thing I was thinking of here. She bent the song her way, it probably bent her its way...

I don't know, for me it's inevitable if I try to record them that I'm gonna change them, because when I try to just do them straight, and I play the playback, they just aren't that great. My weaknesses are exposed, so I start changing the melody or key or pacing and whatever until my strengths are used, and my weaknesses are avoided.

That's what customizing is about, right? I mean, it's got a lot to do with what I'm built like.

On the other end, it has a lot to do with how the song is built, and in the process of tackling that, I gotta change, and that means a building of new skills over time.

Todd, I'd like to hear "Doves," can you email it?


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Tao Jones

11/20/2009 5:27:54 PM


Tom, imagine some rough voiced kind of TOm Waitsish person covering "Troubled Waters" with just an acoustic, maybe.... could be quite cool, and would be quite different.


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Tao Jones

11/20/2009 5:29:42 PM


Larry, Johnny Cash used to say he knew 500 songs. I always use that as a yardstick. I'm not even close. I may know a hundred covers, maybe not even that many...

I'm impressed you know that many.


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Black Velvet Lace

11/24/2009 10:29:55 PM


I like covers... :P

xox
~Lace~


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Hop On Pop

11/25/2009 7:29:41 AM


email sent, Bob.
Happy Turkey Day.


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11/25/2009 12:05:37 PM


I hated Tori Amos' version of Teen Spirit myself, but she certainly had the right to do it. Covers kind of annoy me if they are not at least some attempt to do the song in a unique way. Thus it's always legit for a girl to sing a guy's song and a guy to sing a girl's song. But why do a virtual imitation, that's a waste of the artist's time and the listener's time.


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Conversation Suicide

11/26/2009 8:49:46 PM



COVERS can be awesome, especially with the flavor of say....a BoB Elliot or two....

WHAT ABOUT doin' more IAC covers? Covers of tunes, that have been well-received by listeners here on IAC....ORIGINAL and fairly NEW Indie music, done by OTHER indie artists from that same IAC?? I know there's a few out there...but how 'bout a few more?

Supposedly, Weapon X is gonna cover one of our tunes..... And Jesse Adams once said something about doing a song together....hmmmm... oh yeah, and J.P. Sharpe's "Used to Be Cool Back in High School Blues" is supposed to be covered by ME, and possibly Todd of Hop on Pop....

BUT how 'bout those artists out there that have an EASY way to make this happen? Y'all with home studios, should do some AMAZING covers of IAC Artists, right?

Covers of famous classic rock/pop/blues and RnB tunes is cool too....but we need to get this IAC movement HEARD, ya know?

Why is almost every line in this boring post o' mine, followed up with a question mark????

HUH??? WHYYYHYYYYYY ?????


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Anon E. Mouse

11/27/2009 4:16:35 AM ---- Updated 11/27/2009 5:07:45 AM


Wanker.

This blog was about covers of REAL Artists,
not the IAC wannabe-types; but REAL, successful artists,
like you'll find on MY page.

Learn from the MASTERS, and try to do a cover of one of THEIR tunes some justice.

I dare you.

-Doobious DoobieMeyer the Indie-wannabe gobblin' Cat


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Hop On Pop

11/27/2009 1:32:33 PM


I used to do a cover of Daniel Johnston's "Worried Shoes" back when I was in ChewToy. Never really did nail it (we didn't stay together long enough); be we were well on our way. It was pretty much kicking ass anyway, even before it was totally perfected.


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Tom O'Brien

11/27/2009 3:43:54 PM


This whole discussion puts me in mind of Christmas songs and carols. They are all covers, aren't they? What do you all think of Christmas covers? I'm kind of a traditionalist, and it drives me crazy when people try to make the tunes "their own."
People just don't write them like they used to - I mean, Nat singing "The Christmas Song" is just classic. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is an abomination. I grew up with Nat and Bing and Perry at Christmas. And I love the ancient carols the most. Would rather hear a bunch of amateur carolers singing "Silent Night" than just about any modern artist. Any modern carols that you think will stand the test of time?


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