Cover songs either evoke feelings of trepidation and disinterest of ‘why mess with a good thing?’ or are fascinating in their brand new skin or spot-on qualities to the original. To the radio DJ, it’s usually the latter; covers provide endless opportunities to spin favorites without the risk of wearing out one specific track on one specific album. Andy Turner’s Zero Hour [Friday’s 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.] will happily dive into covers territory tomorrow, and expect nothing but the best.
The almighty Wikipedia says, “the term ‘cover version’, coined in 1966, originally described a rival version of a tune recorded to compete with the recently released original version, e.g. Paul Williams‘ 1949 hit tune “The Hucklebuck” or Hank Williams‘ 1952 song “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)“, both crossed over to the popular Hit Parade and had numerous hit versions. Prior to the mid-20th century the notion of an original version of a popular tune would, of course, have seemed slightly odd — the production of musical entertainment being seen essentially as a live event, even if one that was reproduced at home via a copy of the sheet music, learned by heart, or captured on a shellac recording disc. Popular musicians (and especially modern listeners) have now begun to use the word “cover” to refer to any remake of a previously recorded tune.
“In previous generations, some artists made very successful careers out of presenting revivals or reworkings of once popular tunes, even out of doing contemporary cover versions of current hits. Musicians now play what they call “cover versions” (e.g. the reworking, updating or interpretation) of songs as a tribute to the original performer or group. Using familiar material (e.g. evergreen hits, standard tunes or classic recordings) is an important method in learning various styles of music. Most albums, or long playing records, up until the mid-1960s usually contained a large number of evergreens or standards to present a fuller range of the artist’s abilities and style. Artists might also perform interpretations (“covers”) of a favorite artist’s hit tunes for the simple pleasure of playing a familiar song or collection of tunes.”
“Girl U Want” – Superchunk (Devo)
“I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” – Dwight Yoakam (ZZ Top)
“Hollywood Swinging” – Big Boys – (Kool & The Gang)
[and] Here are a few others:
“Out of Time” – BBQ (Rolling Stones)
“Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” – The Pine Valley Cosmonauts (The Adverts)
“Let’s Talk Dirty in Hawaiian” – Those Darlins (John Prine)
Tune into 91.7 FM WMSE at 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, June 25th, to listen to the Zero Hour cover show.