#1
So, I'm working on my first album and it just occurred to me that a good two or three of my songs are covers. I don't consider this a Bad Thing, and a lot of great songs by great bands have been covers, but in the back of my head I can't help but think that nobody is going to want to hear a cover of, say, "867-5309/Jenny" by a no-name artist like me. Why listen to my version when they can just hear the original, which is going to be better?

I mean, my originals are me expressing myself, which may resonate with someone else and that's what music is about, but... covers are different, I think.

Those of you who've been around for a while and are primarily "originals" musicians, do you ever do covers, and not just because the bar you're playing demands them? If so, why or why not? Would you only do them if your style was markedly different from the original artist, or could put a new spin on them?

tl;dr - should I just write three more originals instead of recording the covers for the disc?

Thanks,
CS
#2
I do covers live, because they're fun and people like hearing them. I would only record them if A: I could do it better than the original (like Van Halen's cover of You Really Got Me) or B: my version was very different from the original (like my shoegaze version of Crimson and Clover or my version of Rain King by Counting Crows where I mix it with Rain King by Sonic Youth).

If it's somehow distinct, like the Lemonheads' version of Mrs. Robinson or Dinosaur Jr.'s version of Just Like Heaven, then yeah, get the rights and cover it. If it's more similar, like the Beatles' version of Mrs. Robinson or AFI's version of Just Like Heaven, then I'd write another original and only play the cover live.
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#3
If it sounds good do it. The Beatles' first album was full of cover stuff, thats how they were found actually, doing cover songs in the local bar.
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#4
When I think of a serious, ambitious band, this is the rule that comes to mind: play covers, but don't record them. Live covers give your audience something to hold in their minds after they walk away, but when you record a cover song, you're begging to be compared to the original. Only do it if your cover is different enough from the original that it's no longer an imitation.
#5
No I would never record them, and when playing live I'll keep the covers to about one an hour if they come up.

The record.....have you considered the royalties issue?
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#6
Having said that, 8675309/Jenny is a rockin tune. And probably close to obscure enough to be "allowed". Its not like you are covering Satisfaction by the Stones or Please Please Me by the Beatles...that sort of thing is a different kettle of fish.
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#7
Quote by AlanHB
The record.....have you considered the royalties issue?


Yes, I've done the research. The expense seems acceptable, but I'll have to nail down the actual numbers when the time comes.
Last edited by CarsonStevens at Jun 20, 2011,
#8
Quote by CarsonStevens
Yes, I've done the research. The expense seems acceptable, but I'll have to nail down the actual numbers when the time comes.


Ok, and have you considered how often you buy an original artist's album for the cover on it?

Edit: 3-4 covers....about a quarter of your album?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
Quote by AlanHB
Ok, and have you considered how often you buy an original artist's album for the cover on it?

Edit: 3-4 covers....about a quarter of your album?


Exactly. That's why I'm having second thoughts. I don't like the idea of a quarter of the album being covers, so I figured I'd seek input while the tracklist is still in flux. At this point I'm thinking of just keeping one, maybe two.
#10
Quote by CarsonStevens
Exactly. That's why I'm having second thoughts. I don't like the idea of a quarter of the album being covers, so I figured I'd seek input while the tracklist is still in flux. At this point I'm thinking of just keeping one, maybe two.


If the only reason you're thinking of adding covers to your album is because you have no more songs, I wouldn't do it. Go for an EP instead, pick your best 4-6 songs for that and see how it goes before releasing an album.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#11
Quote by AlanHB
If the only reason you're thinking of adding covers to your album is because you have no more songs, I wouldn't do it. Go for an EP instead, pick your best 4-6 songs for that and see how it goes before releasing an album.


No, that's not it at all. I have enough songs for my next three albums, so they wouldn't be chosen as filler. The covers I've done are songs that I really enjoy, and that (in at least two cases) are, in fact an expression of sorts; "Code Monkey", for example, holds a lot of deep meaning for me because of what I do for a living and my tendency to fall for my employers' secretaries.

You've touched on the other thing I've been debating, as well - release an EP just to get something "out there" quicker and then do an album later. Still deciding on that one, too... and I am leaning towards your suggestion, for sure.
#12
Quote by CarsonStevens
You've touched on the other thing I've been debating, as well - release an EP just to get something "out there" quicker and then do an album later. Still deciding on that one, too... and I am leaning towards your suggestion, for sure.


EP's are cheaper too, if you're considering getting this professionally recorded.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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