The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #82616   Message #1574204
Posted By: Don Firth
02-Oct-05 - 03:20 PM
Thread Name: Most Covered Song
Subject: RE: Most Covered Song
Pardon me, folks, while I pick a nit.


I thought the word "cover" referred to recording a song that someone else had a fairly big hit record with. Sufficiently big that the song is identified with a specific singer. For example, Frank Sinatra records My Way. Big hit. It is specifically identified with Sinatra. You hear the song sung by anyone else, and you think, "That's a Sinatra song." Then I come along and I record My Way. Somebody listens to my record and thinks, 'That's a Sinatra song." I know this is going to happen, but I do it anyway. In this case, I've "covered" a Sinatra song.

I thought this term applied mostly to recordings of popular music. Some decades back, Arturo Toscanini had a particularly successful recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. If conductor Gerard Schwartz and the Seattle Symphony haul off and record Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, is that a "cover" of Toscanini's recording? Were all other recordings of the Ninth Symphony "covers?" Was Toscanini's recording, perhaps, a "cover" of an even earlier recording?

How can a recording of Danny Boy or Barbara Allen be a "cover?" Who are these songs specifically identified with? I don't recall the first time I heard Danny Boy, but I assume that one of the first recordings of it was probably by John McCormack. I think the first time I heard Barbara Allen, it was on a Burl Ives record. Or was it Richard Dyer-Bennet? If I record Barbara Allen, am I "covering" a Burl Ives song? Or a Richard Dyer-Bennet song?

How can you "cover" a song or ballad that's maybe four or five hundred years old, or possibly even older?

I don't think the term can reasonably apply.

Don Firth