So what’s the deal with all the famous musicians recording covers or playing them live? Can’t they write their own songs?
There are four answers:
1/ In the case of some so-called “ artists “ – the answer is no they can’t! They are mere eye candy to flaunt before the public and the bottom line is to make their handler’s rich/ richer! And if they don’t have handlers then it’s to make themselves richer.
Who am I talking about?
No Doubt and the irritating Gwen Stefani did a cover version of Talk Talk’s “ It’s my life. “ Talk Talk is one of those bands that only come around once in a blue moon. In one word, they are brilliant! If you are going to do a cover of their song doesn’t it make creative sense to push it in a new direction or go in a direction they didn’t think of but ultimately to make the song your own. But No Doubt play it exactly the same way and happily go and make their deposits at the bank. I’ll bet their fans even think that Gwen wrote the song but we all know that that could only happen in make believe land.
Even Jeff Buckley ‘s version of Hallelujah is exactly the same! Some nice guitar noodling mind you but just the same song with no added creativity.
2/ Musicians like playing other peoples songs and perhaps the artist that they covered had a big influence on them. For example David Bowie’s “ Man who fell to Earth “ covered by Nirvana.
3/ The “ artist “ feels that deep down inside that their music isn’t that good and they better include a cover or two so that the audience will go away feeling like they heard at least one decent song. Please refer to 1/ No Doubt
4/ As I alluded in 1/ some musicians feel that they can somehow improve on a song or take the original song in a new a different direction or both. There are some amazing examples of this and way to many to show you today so I’ll just pick some of my favorites.
First up is St. Etienne, a British band named after the famous football club. Here they have taken a slow tempo Neil Young song and turned it into a fun upbeat and danceable pop song.
And this wonderful live version of Tears for Fear “ Mad World “ by Gary Jules. This rendition was recorded with his friend Michael Andrews for the Donnie Darko soundtrack.
And finally, a frequent favorite here on the odd audio blog – the ever so cool Nick Cave doing a jazzy version of “ Hey Joe “ which by the way is not a Jimi Hendrix song. The origin of the song is a bit shady but it was registered in 1962 to Billy Roberts. Great song and what a band!!!
Hope you had fun, No Doubt I did. Ha ha see what I did there?