ti_pin_man – Member
usually most covers ruin a good song…
CountZero – Member
Rubbish. As above, there are many, many great songs that few realise are covers.
The thing is though… what are we thinking of as ‘the song’. In recent history the recording is thought of as the authentic version of a song – a performance captured in a studio, that band of friends, that sound, the energy of the day is thought of as the ‘song’. But a good song should be good just written on a sheet of paper. So if you can’t make a good cover of it then the song wasn’t good to start with.
There was an interview with Jon Brion that makes this point with Led Zeppelin. They made great records and did great gigs but nobody can do a good Led Zeppelin cover because there isn’t really a song there to play if you take the band away – theres a group of musicians making great sounds, but not much of a song under it. So if someone else want to cover a Led Zep song they either have to impersonate Zep – which isn’t very satisfying – or lampoon them. Anything inbetween just reveals a lack of song
A good song is one anyone could play (so long as they’ve got the rudimentary skills) because the song itself is just good. Brion gives Lithium as an example – you could play it in the manner of Girshwin or in the manner of primary school choir and it would still be good. By the same measure Zep could play Girshwin and it would be ace, but if Girshwin played Zep he’d struggle to find anything to actually play.
Arguably one of the best songs in recent history is “Happy Birthday to You” – anyone can cover it, someone who’s never touched an instrument before could play it as their first song, you can orchestrate and arrange and interpret the blazes out of it and it still persists.