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Thu, May 10th - 6:46PM

The "Cover" Story

We sometimes hear the term "Cover version". In popular music a "cover" is a new rendition of a previously recorded song. The term cover originally implied a rival version of a tune recorded by an artist after the original version was released. Popular musicians and listeners now use the word "cover" to refer to any remake of a song.

Musicians now play what they call covers of songs as a tribute to the original performer or group. Artists may also perform covers of a favorite artist's hit tunes for the simple pleasure of playing a familiar song.

Cover versions of many popular songs have been recorded, sometimes with a radically different style, sometimes virtually indistinguishable from the original, and sometimes we like the cover better than the original. Paul Mc Cartney's "Yesterday "is the most covered popular music song in history. The Beatles "Come Together" has been covered numerous times.

From early in the 20th century it was common practice among record labels to cover a rival labels "hit" tune by recording a version for their own label in hopes of cashing in on the tune's success. There was little promotion or advertising involved. When the average record buyer went to purchase a new record, they usually asked for the tune, not the artist. Distribution of records was highly localized in many cases, so a cover version of a hit song from another area could reach an audience before the original version was widely available. The highly competitive record companies were quick to take advantage of these facts.

This was all changing in the Mid century with better distribution and TV in more homes. But with the explosion of rock & roll , teenagers still wanted the song and not necessarily the artist or the album. The 45rpm record was the format of choice.

This was the period of the "copycat cover", a recording that sounded as close to the original as possible and sold at a discount price which also appealed to teenage buyers. Have a listen and hopefully download some of these recordings that hold a small place in rock & roll history trivia.These are all digitally re-mastered from the mid Century pressings.

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May 2007
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