Cover Me

OK, time for a brief break from politics, and a venture into music — a field where I have NO skill, NO aptitude, and my knowledge boils down to “I know what I like.”

There are a lot of ways of determining if a song is a “classic.” I think I can put up one defining factor: if the song in question can be covered in a variety of styles by a variety of artists, yet still be instantly recognizable as “that song,” then that makes it a classic. Especially if the original is so damned popular, so deeply buried in the collective subconscious, that it can be recognized within seconds.

In the extended section are three covers of a song that I believe can be indisputably be described as a rock classic. It’s one of the most instantly recognizable songs, but presented here by three very different artists — and posted in the order in which I first discovered them.

The first version takes the fewest liberties with the original lyrics — I don’t think the cover artist changed a single word. But it’s probably the furthest from the original vocals and music.

The second version takes the fewest liberties with the original melody — it seems almost a note-for-note remake. Here, the creative part comes from the vocals and the adaptation of the lyrics.

The final version… well, words fail me. It’s the furthest from the original, but yet still captures the spirit of the original and imparts the least amount of whimsy and fun that the other two inject.

I also can’t bring myself to say which of these I prefer. I love them all, as well as the original.

Warning: Rock purists should probably just skip the extended version entirely, because each of these artists fearlessly put their own brand on top of the original work — and that kind of thing just kills some people.

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I question the wisdom...
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