In today’s climate of constant media being streamed at us from all directions, it is difficult to comb through it all to find the good stuff. “Good” being a subjective term (being of one’s personal opinion) as opposed to factually or universally good. The difference between fact and opinion is blurred on a daily basis in social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Internet born – Generation Y’ers (born in the late 80’s) think that the media they are seeing for the first time is the original version of … well.. EVERYTHING!
Sorry to burst your bubble kids, but that song isn’t new… it’s a cover from the 70’s or 60’s or hey go ask you grandparents about it.
Looking at this from a musical perspective and being a professional musician, it often pains me to see pop songs being released that were written by someone other than it’s performer, and the songwriter does not get proper credit. Even worse, no one is taking the time to correct them or do any research or fact checking. I guess iTunes doesn’t include liner notes.
This happens a lot in the Hip-Hop world. It’s a form of stealing in my book. Thankfully I don;t care for Hip-Hop, even the original stuff. With the exception of a few Beastie Boys and Run DMC tunes (they borrowed plenty from 70’s hard rock – but gave credit where credit was due.)
In the pop music world, songwriters may get credit, but kids hearing a revamped version of an older tune for the first time assume that the performer wrote it. Case in point ~ Adele’s version of “To Make You Feel My Love”. This song was plastered all over Facebook and Twitter, preteen girls posting lyric quotes from Adele, as her parents smirk to themselves, knowing that the song was originally written by Bob Dylan.
Maybe it takes too much energy to correct them, maybe they will find out later, maybe correct information isn’t important anymore – just as long as we get out information INSTANTLY! I’d personally rather wait a few minutes while you do some fact-checking and some research before you go posting something in the Associated Press and having to correct it later when a prick like me posts complaints on your Facebook and Twitter pages. 🙂
This happened to me recently when an AP reporter wrote that Nine Inch Nails singer Trent Reznor performed at a benefit concert in Philadelphia and closed the show with a cover of Johnny Cash’s song ‘Hurt’. When in fact, the song is Reznor’s song and it was Johnny Cash who covered it on his multi-album ‘American Recordings’ project with producer Rick Rubin.
But I digress. I want to post a few songs that stick out in my mind that fit this criteria. I will post the popular version the the original and my opinions on both.
and now the original – NIN
When Trent Reznor was asked if Cash could cover his song, Reznor said he was “flattered” but worried that “the idea sounded a bit gimmicky.” He became a fan of Cash’s version, however, once he saw the music video.
Here’s one from the pop/Hip-Hop set: Trick Daddy – Sugar (gimme some) 2005
Original Track: Talking Heads ‘Sugar on my tongue’ (1977)
Adele’s version of ‘Make You Feel My Love’
Original Songwriter: Bob Dylan
They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (not Constantinople) – 1991
This particular instance doesn’t fall into the missing credit category, it’s more of a distance from the original version. “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” is a 1953 swing-style song, with lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy and music by Nat Simon. The lyrics comically refer to the official 1930 renaming of the city of Constantinople to Istanbul. “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” was originally recorded by the Canadian group The Four Lads on August 12, 1953. This recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 40082. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on October 24, 1953.
Four Lads Version here:
Rod Stewart – ‘Downtown Train’ – 1990
Original Version – Songwriter: Tom Waits – 1985 *Rain Dogs album. I’m a BIG Tom Waits fan – I suggest looking him up and listening to as many tunes as possible. Many popular artists have covered his songs from Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Shawn Colvin, Everything But The Girl and of course Rod Stewart. I prefer Tom’s version.
And probably the most famous lifted or sampled track in recent memory – Rob Base and DJ Ez-Rock’s 1988 classic ‘It Takes Two’. Unsurprisingly, their sample was lifted from a 1969 James Brown produced track by Lyn Collins entitled ‘Think (About It)’ which featured the distinctive “Woah! Yeah!” as screamed by Brown. This sample was used in numerous Hip-Hop songs and dance tracks.
Here’s where that sample came from: Lyn Collins – ‘Think (about it)’ – James Brown’s famous yell happens at 1:22 – Enjoy and consider yourself properly schooled.
Feel free to comment or suggest any other tracks that fit this criteria.
Thanks and have a MANTASTIC Day!