Jun 302017
 

That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Wow,  that sounds naïve in today’s world, doesn’t it? Watch the news or go on social media and all we see are people screaming at each other, dividing each other and hating each other. Not to mention, why only smile on your brother? What about sisters? And the gender binary should be rejected anyway, right?

In any case, the Youngbloods‘ “Get Together” has become an easy soundtrack shorthand when referring to the optimism of the 1960s (much as Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s “Ohio” is used to illustrate the disillusionment and violence of that decade). You just have to hear the opening notes, and you are transported to a world of flower-festooned long hair, tie-dye, fringed vests and pot smoke. Thus, the song’s ubiquity in films, TV and advertising. 

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Jun 162017
 

That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.

OOGAH-chucka-OOGAH-OOGAH! OOGAH-chucka-OOGAH-OOGAH!

Back in 1974, anybody hearing those syllables for the first time stopped dead in their tracks. “What the hell is that?” tended to be the first thought, closely followed by nodding or singing along. Of course, it was the opening seconds of “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, a song that went to number one on Billboard‘s charts and has resonated through the decades, with its inclusion on the soundtracks of Reservoir Dogs and Guardians of the Galaxy, not to mention its use in the dancing-baby-hallucination episode of Ally McBeal and the deliberately-bizarre-but-so-what cover by David Hasselhoff. Wired called it “a song that refuses to die, popping up again and again in the zeitgeist when you least expect it. It’s the Highlander of pop music.”

Here’s the thing – many of 1974’s listeners were among the 1969 listeners who put the original version of “Hooked on a Feeling” in the top five in America. How quickly we forget, eh? Well, no – it’s more like, how quickly we adjust to a new reality.
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May 252017
 

That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.

Our story begins with R&B singer Limmie Snell, who in March 1965, under the name Lemme B. Good, released “Good Lovin’.” Only a month later, another version was released. This one kept the basic melody, the title, and the “yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah” hook, but all the other lyrics were changed – author Rudy Clark wasn’t happy with what he heard, and got Artie Resnick (who also co-wrote “Under the Boardwalk” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy”) to give him a hand with fixing the words. What emerged was a whole new song – no longer about a man who gets good lovin’ from his new girl (even though she’s ugly and can’t sing), now it’s about a man who needs good lovin’, a diagnosis obtained after consulting a physician. Continue reading »

May 172017
 

That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.

Today we introduce a new recurring feature titled, “That’s A Cover?” Our goal is to shine a light on original songs that are not nearly as well known as their cover version(s) and to analyze what factors combined to make the cover more popular than the original. Oftentimes the cover is simply better than the original. Sometimes it’s a generational thing; put 25 years between an original and a cover and it’s no surprise when Generation Y doesn’t recognize Generation X’s original. (No Billy Idol reference intended.) A cover version of an old, semi-obscure song featured in a new hit movie or TV show can also explain how a cover can overwhelm an original. Never underestimate popularity, either – who among us hasn’t offered a great idea at school or work and had it ignored only to see the same concept embraced later when proposed by a more popular, fair-haired classmate/co-worker?

For our inaugural piece, we’re taking a look at a band too small to have a cult following – until a quartet from Athens, Georgia plucked one of their B-sides from obscurity seventeen years later.
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