The Cover Debate

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I thought this tweet was both funny and engaging (and the numbers reveal…):

I had a scroll through the responses a few times out of curiosity.  It was Matthew Oldridge’s tweet that led me down initially…

I am not certain if the debate was settled, but I can easily think of covers that I like better than the original.  I might be biased if a cover is by a favourite musician though.  I am sure most people will have a listen to anything a favourite singer or band puts together.  It is likely a very subjective thing.  For example (from responses to the tweet):  The Man Who Sold the World — Bowie or Nirvana?

While there are many songs that I think could not be covered better than the artist’s original version (e.g.  Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, many songs by the Beatles…), there are many covers of songs that I appreciate and some that I only began to enjoy as a cover.

I thought of a few “oldies”:  I didn’t really care for the song Young Folks (by Peter, Bjorn and John) until I heard (sorry) James Blunt’s cover.  Bob Dylan was before my time and I am not really drawn to his voice, but I am glad that many covers of his songs by others have helped me appreciate his talent.  I didn’t care much for Mick Jagger’s Ruby Tuesday and Jigsaw Puzzle, but I love Melanie’s covers of each.  (If you wish to compare.. here and here).  I equally love James Taylor’s original of Carolina In My Mind and Melanie’s cover of the same.  (Thanks to Denise for the reminder of that beautiful “JT” one!)

Some songs get so many covers, for example, Something Just Like This by the Chainsmokers and Coldplay.  I find the original both catchy and annoying, but then I stumbled upon this cover and it appealed to me.  It would be difficult not to appreciate the effort and talent in that cover.  Someone else also commented on the video, “Better than the original..”

I love discovering new music to enjoy and I also like it when good stuff gets attention again through covers.

Please share a favourite cover, or your thoughts on covers!

I have also posted a few times in the past on this blog related to covers:

Dancing in the Dark — Then and Now

Behind Blue Eyes – Then and Now

Pass the jam

Poetry, man.

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45

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45 — As in vinyl… rpm.

World news is distressing lately… I thought I would write a geeky, fun nostalgic post!  Or maybe Doug Peterson’s fun and informative Sunday series of “Whatever Happened to… ” blog posts have rubbed off on me.  I don’t see “45s” in his list of topics here 🙂

I still have a collection of “45s” that I can’t seem to toss.  Besides, they are still in this cute “denim” box that I stored them in since I was a tween 🙂

I was probably 10 when I started buying 45s.  It was a big deal to use my allowance to buy one.  I still have memories of the rows in the record store and trying to make a decision.

I must have been proud of my growing collection.  Each purchase was “catalogued” on the index card that came with the storage box and each vinyl was labelled with the corresponding numbered sticker.  I got all the way to 43 on the index card that went up to 50. 🙂  Must have been a sappy stage…

While my last purchase was a song by Squeeze (loved that one!), my first purchase was Brand New Key by Melanie Safka.  Although this is the hit song that many people associate with Melanie, I preferred the song on the “B side” — Some Say.

The rest of my collection is really quite an eclectic sample of the 70s.  I was likely influenced by the tastes of my older siblings as well.

I still have one of those plastic yellow centre/insert thingys, but I doubt I will ever play a 45 even though we have a turntable.  I have looked up a few of the tunes on Youtube just for fun.  Yes, I even found the De Franco Family one! (Oh my… wow, haha!)

In my curiosity, I came across this interesting blog post about the history of 45s.  It is from a few years back but I enjoyed it and I think I will trust the author’s facts and trivia!  If you would like a test or to research for yourself first before finding the answers in the post:

When was the world’s first commercial 45 released? Can you guess the song/artist?  What colour was it?

Longest playing song on a side of a 45?  (There seems to be a debate…)

How many different sizes of the hole in the middle?

How long did the “45” era last?

Does anyone still have a “78”?  (I recall a few of those around in my childhood home.)

A cool bit mentioned about Elton John’s 45s on the post,

Most of the B-sides of Elton John’s 45s had songs recorded just for them, as Elton John felt it gave his fans better value for their money. And they did. Most of them are collector’s items and many were never released to CD.”

So what do I do with this little box of memories and a piece of my past?  Does anyone else have a collection or a single 45 they can’t part with?

Never mind my LP collection… but I have started weeding some of those out.  Cassettes were much easier to deal with and toss!  Yesterday I saw a local antique store announcing they had a case of “vintage” 8-tracks available!  No thanks!

Poetry, man.

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I thought the news today about Bob Dylan being a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature was pretty cool.  I appreciate the poetry in his song lyrics, but I read that some didn’t agree with this recognition.  I came to know his music and songs through my following of Melanie’s music career.  I often think of her music and lyrics as poetry, so if she also covered Dylan, than it must be poetry… 🙂

Blowin’ in the Wind was probably one of the first five songs that I learned on guitar, but my favourite Dylan song is Mr. Tambourine Man.  I heard and fell in love with Melanie’s version of it first, of course.  I loved singing along to those lyrics.  I had to listen to both today:

 

Check out this live performance of Bob Dylan in 1964:

 

Who do you consider to be the poetic songwriters of today, or who might be ahead? I have been trying to think who else comes close to Bob Dylan (and Melanie :)).

Pass the jam

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A somewhat random music-related post this time…

Have you seen the Nostalgia Machine? Doug Peterson posted about it recently and I finally tried it out.  It includes music from 1960 to 2013 and it will take you a menu for your chosen year with links to music videos on youtube. Very cool.  It is nice to have another way to round up some good tunes.  The “machine” encourages you to get your childhood jam on, but I can enjoy and get curious about music from pre-2000 just as much as post-2000 🙂

I always have my on-going favourites, from the past and the present.  I like that I experienced the music interests of my 3 older siblings when I was younger.  There was always a good mix of music in our home. And now my daughters share their music with me, “I think you will like this one, Mom…”  They will usually send their recommendation via a youtube link.  I often get lost down the rabbit hole after that.  When I get curious about a song, I usually want to find a video of it performed live. If you follow me on Twitter, you may already know this from my random live music sharing.

I recently went down the ’70s rabbit hole on youtube.  I was checking out some tunes by Lobo (Kent LaVoie) — not even sure how I got there as I wasn’t really a big fan, but there were a few pleasant and simple tunes of the past!  One music video included his version of Reason to Believe and I thought it sounded familiar…  Eventually I figured it out:  I was more familiar with Rod Stewart’s version. And now the curiosity starts.  It often goes something like this for me:

“Then who wrote that one?”.  Youtube suggestions list many others singing that one: Neil Young, Johnny Cash, The Carpenters, etc.  A Google search confirms: Tim Hardin wrote it.

Who is Tim Hardin?” More searching… oh, he sang at Woodstock.  He also died young.

“So, what did he sing at Woodstock?” Ok, I see: If I were a carpenter.  “Oh.. look how many different singers continued to sing that one….” and now I am in the ’60s… and then in the ’80s…

Back to the Nostalgia Machine — what a handy resource for the home and school.  A few posts later, Doug also shared this option to explore more music around the world.

Keep passing the (preserved) jam… always something new to learn through music!

Behind Blue Eyes – Then and Now

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Blogging can often be a serious process and activity.  I think it is time for a musical interlude 🙂 (and a change can be as good as a break, I often say.)  I did enjoy the “Then and Now” idea that I stole from Doug Peterson a few months ago, so here’s another for the series…

I can’t say that I have ever been a big fan of The Who, nor am I all that familiar with their music.  It wasn’t until I caught a cover of one of their songs by Lights that I became more curious recently.  I think I prefer her acoustic cover of Behind Blue Eyes more than The Who’s version.  She doesn’t do the “rock out” part of the song that The Who does, but it has its own charm.

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Here is an original from The Who. It’s a really good live performance:

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Feel free to cast your vote or share another favourite cover of this one. (It also occurred to me that there are a lot of songs/lyrics about eyes.) 🙂

 

 

Dancing in the Dark — Then and Now

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Another day of snow in spring… maybe a music-related blog post will help (also stealing an idea and theme from Doug Peterson’s blog.)

I often enjoy “covers” of songs, especially when new musicians refresh some of my favourites.  It leads to a lot of conversation, discovery and comparison in my household.  My youngest recently told me that one of her teachers referred to “that dancing in the dark song”.  She noticed a few of her classmates looking a bit surprised so she clarified for the teacher, “I think she means the song by Bruce Springsteen…”.  Apparently there is another song about dancing in the dark….

I know that my youngest would be familiar with the Springsteen original as we have showed her and her sister the popular video where Courtney Cox joins him on stage.  Perhaps “staged”, but if you would like to enjoy again (direct link, if viewing is not available):

 

 

But it is through my daughter’s interest in Laura Marling’s music that brought my attention to this cover of Dancing in the Dark:

 

I really do like it – maybe even more than the original by Springsteen.  On Doug’s post, he invited us to vote for Springsteen’s recent cover of a Bee Gees song or for their original.  I am going to be lazy and skip a poll, but feel free to comment as you wish or mention your favourite cover, or any cover that you find particularly well done.  It might help us all pass this extra long winter 🙂

And I must say, I do like how social media and youtube seem to help connect my children to our “old stuff” … rather than us just pushing our vinyl records at them. 🙂