Cover Vs. Original
May 13, 2008 6:52 PM   Subscribe

Which do you prefer, the cover or the original?
posted by auralcoral (39 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Needs MOAR Breadfan!!!
posted by Cyrano at 6:57 PM on May 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

A quick search for signs of Wrong turns up no obvious examples. I predict that will change when they do Common People.
posted by Artw at 6:59 PM on May 13, 2008

"The big song contest" reads like it was written by a fifth grader, and not one of the quicker ones.

And now enjoy voting!
posted by subgear at 7:04 PM on May 13, 2008

I often find that a good cover song will get me into the original band's work. I never listented to AC/DC before I heard Everclear's "You Shook Me All Night Long", it was The Headstones that made me swipe my dad's Traveling Wilbury's album to listen to "Tweeter & The Monkey Man" and it was that (dreadful) Stars on 54 remake of "If You Could Read My Mind" that introduced me to Gordon Lightfoot.

I love for figuring out who covered/was covered by whom, when I hear an unfamiliar cover. Thanks for the post!
posted by chudmonkey at 7:08 PM on May 13, 2008

subgear, i'm quite sure this site was made by a german. cut the man some slack!
posted by auralcoral at 7:09 PM on May 13, 2008

Es tut mir Leid. Ich bin mit Schande gef├╝llt.
(I am sorry. I am filled with shame.)
posted by subgear at 7:15 PM on May 13, 2008

Why must I click on a link, then click again to vote? Why do I see results before voting? Good concept, nice design, bad user flow.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:18 PM on May 13, 2008

Why are there only two choices for each? The best version of "Holy Diver" was neither Killswitch Engage or Dio's, but Pat Boone's. The best version of 'C'mon Everybody' is surely by Dumpy's Rusty Nuts. Etc and so on and so forth. Your favourite false dichotomy sucks.
posted by nowonmai at 7:27 PM on May 13, 2008

Nowadays life without cover songs is hard to imagine.

I imagine it every day.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 7:38 PM on May 13, 2008

If you're ever combing an old bin full of punk CDs, look for a band called Terminus City's cover of "Folsom Prison Blues". It may only be on the random compilation CD I heard it on, but it's one of the best covers of that song I've heard.

While we're on "Breadfan", how about RHCP's shameless ripoff for the intro of "All Around the World"?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:54 PM on May 13, 2008

Am I the only one who thinks the Burning Sensations' cover of "Pablo Picasso" is much more rockin' than the Modern Lovers original? I am? Never claimed to have any taste, of course.
posted by maxwelton at 8:08 PM on May 13, 2008

Thanks for reminding me about Ugly Kid Joe's dreadful recording of the already-treacle-laden "Cats in the Cradle." I'll never get that ten seconds back.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:12 PM on May 13, 2008

Burning Sensations' cover of "Pablo Picasso" is certainly more rockin' than the Modern Lovers. I used to be in a band that did a cover of Burning Sensations covering Modern Lovers. We played a little bit of Hollywood Babylon in the middle of the song.
posted by Sailormom at 8:29 PM on May 13, 2008

Someone left the cake out in the rain.

Speaking of covers and cake.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:29 PM on May 13, 2008

And they got it ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:31 PM on May 13, 2008

Here it is ... one of my favorite punk covers, and it's not on the site.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:35 PM on May 13, 2008

Ands then there
s Second Hand Songs, (without the voting) which is a far better site, and a good searchable database, naming the known covers of a given song in order.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 9:38 PM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Go to OED if you'd like. There is a meaning attached to the word original.

Snark aside, there may be a bumbling original surpassed by a more insightful cover. Please point these out to me; I have an appointment with Nod.
posted by kozad at 9:56 PM on May 13, 2008

Krinkly, I was always partial to this cover, myself. The Cake cover of I Will Survive is pretty awesome, has a great bass line.

Surely the Violent Femmes cover of Culture Club's Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? is an improvement on the original?
posted by maxwelton at 10:18 PM on May 13, 2008

Useless without the music behind each vote. Where are the mp3s?
posted by caddis at 10:29 PM on May 13, 2008

How could anyone vote for Neil Young's dirge over St Etienne's sublime cover of Only Love Can Break Your Heart?

Also, despite its not being up there, Shinehead's Jamaican in New York eats Sting's original for breakfast.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:54 PM on May 13, 2008

This is useless without links to corresponding YouTube vids.
posted by the cydonian at 1:24 AM on May 14, 2008

Cyndi Lauper's cover of "I Drove All Night" (*) beats Roy Orbison's original, which takes Roy's waning but still great voice and buries it under a shitload of overproduction. Which raises an interesting question, is it still a cover if the original was published posthumously?

This is in sharp contrast to the Cash-Rubin collaboration. Cash's "Personal Jesus" (not an original video) distills the song, shaving off an entire 1:40 off the length while keeping the definitive rhythm guitar riff and a very small-studio arrangement that is friendly to Cash's voice. Although that in part might be my personal bias towards minimalist production.

And then there are examples where the original and cover is equally good in two different genres. When the Levy Breaks by Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe (1928) is a foundational early blues track. Led Zepplin's tribute (1970) is an amazing synthesis of great performance and experimental post-production.

(*) Orbison's original is unlistenable to me. But Lauper's video is an unwatchable collection of stiff and uncomfortable choreography and late-80s video effects.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:06 AM on May 14, 2008

The Cake cover of I Will Survive is pretty awesome, has a great bass line.

It's the only version I can listen to. "I should have changed that fucking key..."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:12 AM on May 14, 2008

I was surprised to learn that I Hung My Head was a cover. No disrespect to Sting but it's such a perfect Cash song.
posted by Wood at 5:31 AM on May 14, 2008

Actually, I think the Orbison "I Drove All Night" is the perfect example of how a producer can totally ruin a song. The piece was perfectly written for Orbison's voice. But against that canned 80s pop dance beat and the guitar "color" his voice sounds like a caged bird.

Of course, there are some songs that are pure camp, and need to be treated as such. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Hurra Torpedo and Kiki and Herb.

/soapbox I have to say though, that the obsession with pointing to a single definitive version of a musical piece is an example of the consumer malaise that's killing music, on multiple levels.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:43 AM on May 14, 2008

I prefer the cover to the original thank you. God damn I've had that stuck in my head far too long.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:34 AM on May 14, 2008

I need to be somewhere with maniacs and fiddles like right now.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:37 AM on May 14, 2008

I still remember the unspeakable private shame of being a penniless teenager and buying a bargain-price LP of, say, classic rock numbers - and finding out afterwards it was a cover done by Swingin' Albert On The Harmonica and His Three Fat Sisters or something!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 6:39 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

there may be a bumbling original surpassed by a more insightful cover.

That would be precisely the service rendered us by Scissor Sisters' "Comfortably Numb." (But I've got a long-term hate-on for Pink Floyd, so perhaps I'm not to be trusted.)

It's interesting how much Travis and Fountains of Wayne brought to "...Baby One More Time," though.
posted by kittyprecious at 6:42 AM on May 14, 2008

I was prepared to decry it as blasphemy, but that Killswitch Engage Holy Diver is pretty much aces, not to mention the video is hilariously diotastic.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:43 AM on May 14, 2008

Here. Ten covers to metalize your morning.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:55 AM on May 14, 2008

I've always been a big fan of covers of good songs that are seriously turned on their ears and recreated into something superb. These come to mind:

Public Enemy covered by Tricky: Black Steel

Simon and Garfunkel coverd by the Bangles: Hazy Shade of Winter

Rolling Stones covered by Cat Power: Satisfaction

Velvet Underground covered by Cowboy Junkies: Sweet Jane
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:58 AM on May 14, 2008

That was a fun use of a half hour. I voted on a few, and added two challenges of my own (note to everyone above asking for "they should add this combo" -- you can do that yourself): Power Station vs. T-Rex on "Bang a Gong" and Van Morrison vs. John Mellencamp and Me'shell NdegeOcello with "Wild Night".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:27 AM on May 14, 2008

Or, we could just complete all the voting in one fell swoop with this easy question:

Are you

A) UNDER 35; or

B) OVER 35?
posted by applemeat at 10:05 AM on May 14, 2008

I am 35. That was not an easy question.
posted by Quonab at 10:25 AM on May 14, 2008

I always liked what Eric Clapton did with this Derek and the Dominoes original.
posted by Exchequer at 10:32 AM on May 14, 2008

Rolling Stones covered by Cat Power: Satisfaction

Eh, I don't know, I prefer the Devo cover which has one of the best vocal uses of "baby" in rock music.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:22 PM on May 14, 2008

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