That’s A Cover? explores cover songs that you may have thought were originals.
I played a tiny part in unleashing Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” on the world in 1982. Fresh out of college, I landed a paid summer job working in the Atlantic Records promotions department. I spent the summer doing things like going to record stores and hanging up posters. It was a fascinating and fun summer, but it also confirmed that I didn’t want to spend my career trying to figure out what kind of music teenagers would buy. Mostly because it seemed like the senior execs were unhappy, divorced men who smoked and drank too much. Instead, I ended up in law school while another guy my age there became a very major record executive.
Like any good former college radio program director at that time, I had strong opinions about what was “good” music, and what “sucked.” And clearly, disco/dance music sucked. That summer, a number of albums I liked were being promoted to some degree by my department, including Adrian Belew’s Lone Rhino, Genesis’ Three Sides Live, Steve Winwood’s Talking Back To The Night, Jon Anderson’s Animation, and CSN’s Daylight Again. But there were offices filled with men and women promoting these rock releases, and only one guy, Rafael, promoting the dance music. As a result, I ended up working with him a lot, despite my lack of knowledge about – and general contempt for – dance music. I even tried to convince Rafael to remix one of Adrian Belew’s songs for the dance floor, which he briefly considered before thinking better of it.