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In [[pop music]] a '''cover version''' is a new rendition of a previously recorded song. Pop musicians may play covers as a tribute to the original performer or group, to win audiences who like to hear a familiar song, to increase their chance of success by using a proven hit or to gain credibility by its comparison with the original song. They may also do it simply because they enjoy playing it.
Although cover versions are often produced for artistic reasons, they are commonly released to fill [[bargain bin]]s in the music section of [[supermarket]]s and even specialized [[music store]]s, where uninformed [[customer]]s can easily confuse them with original recordings, especially
since the packaging is usually intentionally confusing. It combines the name of the original artist, written in large letters, with a small-letters periphrase like ''as originally sung by'' or ''as made popular by''. Sometimes only the presence of the rather uncommon "cover" word indicates the true nature of the recordings. Certain publishing houses push the perversion up to using an expression like ''original cover versions''. Cover versions are often sold in [[compilation]]s, sorted by [[genre]]. When supermarkets conduct a major cover version sale, they sometimes put in place a [[Disc jockey|DJ]] to play the items from the special collection exclusively. In America, this is done because [[Statutory license|compulsory licensing]] laws allow a musician to perform and publish a previously recorded song without getting the permission of the copyright holder. A band of unknown but talented musicians, then, can churn out imitations of popular songs that can then be sold at a high profit margin. Otherwise, the record company would have to either pay licensing fees to the copyright holders of the music or not even be able to release the music at all, if the copyright holders deny permission.
==Early cover versions==
From early in the [[20th century]] it was common practice among [[phonograph]] [[record label]]s that if any company had a record that was a significant commercial success, other record companies would have singers or musicians "cover" the tune by recording a version for their own label in hopes of cashing in on the tune's success.
In the early days of [[rock and roll]], many songs originally recorded by [[African American]] rock musicians were rerecorded by white artists, such as [[Pat Boone]], in a more toned down style that lacked the hard edge of rock and roll, and vice versa. These cover versions were considered by some to be more palatable to parents, and white artists were more palatable to programmers at white radio stations. Also, many songs originally recorded by male artists were rerecorded by female artists, and vice versa. Such cover version is sometimes called a ''cross cover version''.
==Modern cover versions==
Over the years, cover versions of many popular songs have been recorded, sometimes with a radically different style, and in other cases the cover version is virtually indistinguishable from the original. For example, [[Jose Feliciano]]'s version of "Light My Fire" was utterly distinct from the original version by [[The Doors]]; but [[Carl Carlton]]'s [[1974 in music|1974]] cover of [[Robert Knight]]'s [[1967 in music|1967]] hit single song "Everlasting Love" sounds almost identical to the original. Cover versions can also be in different languages; for example, [[Falco (musician)|Falco]]'s 1982 [[German language|German]]-language hit "Der Kommissar" was covered in English by [[After the Fire]] later in the decade, although the German title was retained. The English version, which was not a direct translation of Falco's original but retained much of its spirit, reached the Top 5 on the US charts.
A type of cover version that existed from the early [[1950s]] to the late [[1970s]] in [[Louisiana]] was known as [[swamp pop]]. Contemporary and classic rock, R&B, and country songs were re-recorded with [[Cajun]] audiences in mind. Some lyrics were translated to [[French language|French]], and some were recorded with traditional Cajun instrumentation. Several swamp pop songs charted nationally, but it was mostly a regional niche market.
==Contemporising older songs==
Cover versions are often used as a method of making a familiar song contemporary. For example "Singin' In The Rain" was originally introduced in the film ''[[Hollywood Revue Of 1929]]''. The famous [[Gene Kelly]] version was a revision that brought it up to date for a []s Hollywood musical, and was used in the [] film of the same name. In [] it was covered by [[France|French]] singer [[Sheila]] accompanied by the [[B. Devotion]] group, as a [[disco]] song, once more updating it to suit the musical taste of the era. During the disco era there was a brief trend towards taking well known songs and recording them in the disco style. [[Film director|Director]] [[Baz Luhrmann]] has contemporised and stylised older songs for use in his films. New or cover versions such as [[John Paul Young]]'s "Love Is In The Air" in ''[[Strictly Ballroom]]'', [[Candi Staton]]'s "Young Hearts Run Free" in ''[[Romeo and Juliet]]'', and adaptations of artists such as [[Nat King Cole]], [[Nirvana (band)|Nirvana]], [[Kiss (band)|Kiss]], [[Thelma Houston]], [[Marilyn Monroe]], [[Madonna (singer)|Madonna]] and [[T Rex]] in ''[[Moulin Rouge]]'', were designed to fit into the structure of each film, and to suit the taste of the contemporary audience for which they were made.
==Introduction of new artists==
New artists are often introduced to the record buying public with performances of well known, "safe" songs as evidenced in [[American Idol]] and its international counterparts.
Established artists often pay homage to artists or songs that inspired them before they started their careers by recording cover versions, or perform unrecorded cover versions in their live performances for variety. For example [[U2 (band)|U2]] have performed [[ABBA]]'s [[Dancing Queen]] live, and [[Kylie Minogue]] has performed [[The Clash]]'s "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" - songs that would be completely out of character for them to record, but which allow them artistic freedom when performing live. These performances are often released as part of authorised "live recordings" and thus become legitimate cover versions.
In recent years unrelated contemporary artists have contributed individual cover versions to tribute albums for well established artists who are considered to be influential and inspiring. Each projecct has resulted in a collection of the particular artist's best recognised or most highly regarded songs reworked by more current performers. Among the artists to receive this form of recognition are [[ABBA]], [[Fleetwood Mac]], [[Dolly Parton]], [[Duran Duran]], [[Carole King]] and [[Led Zeppelin]].
[[Punk music]] is known for deconstructing classic rock or pop songs by reinterpreting them in punk form. Bands like [[Me First & the Gimme Gimmes]], [[NOFX]] and [[Goldfinger (band)|Goldfinger]] are especially known for doing so. In recent years, several [[jam band]]s and related groups have begun covering [[hip hop]] songs, most frequently only live in concert. Perhaps the most famous such-cover recorded in a studio and released commercially is a [[bluegrass music|bluegrass]] version of "Gin and Juice" by [[Snoop Doggy Dogg]], as performed by [[the Gourds]]. Other artists like [[Phish]] and [[Keller Williams]] have covered "[[Rappers Delight]]" ([[The Sugarhill Gang]]), "Baby Got Back" ([[Sir Mix-A-Lot]]) and other hip hop songs.
An extreme example of punk cover versions is the punk band [[GABBA]], who mix the songs of [[ABBA]] and [[The Ramones]].
==Most covered bands==
The [[Beatles]] have been covered more than any other band; "[[Yesterday (song)|Yesterday]]" has been covered over three thousand times since its original release in []. Other songs which have been released many times as cover versions include the infamous "[[Louie Louie]]" by [[Richard Berry]], "[[Free Bird]]" ([[Lynyrd Skynyrd]]), "[[No Woman No Cry]]" ([[Bob Marley & the Wailers]]) and many of the less recent works of [[Bob Dylan]] and [[Leonard Cohen]] (as of [[December 31]], [], there were at least 759 <u>published</u> cover versions of Cohen songs [http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/test.html]).
Many popular bands have a tribute album, consisting entirely of covers of their songs performed by various other bands, often quite different from the original. The soundtrack to the film ''[[I Am Sam]]'' was a particularly popular example of this; it consisted of [[Beatles]] songs redone by various modern artists. This was done because of the refusal of the Beatles to license their songs to soundtracks. See above for an explanation of compulsory licensing and copyright relating to covers. Another notable example is ''Conception: The Interpretation of Stevie Wonder Songs'', which is an album consisting of covers of songs originally recorded by [[Stevie Wonder]] and an original song by Stevie Wonder's mentee [[India.Arie]], singing about Stevie Wonder. There are also bands who create entire albums out of covers, but unlike [[Tin Pan Alley]]-style [[Traditional pop music|traditional pop]] singers, they often perform the songs in a genre completely unlike the original songs. Examples include [[Moog Cookbook|the Moog Cookbook]] (alternative and classic rock songs done on [[Moog]] synthesizers), Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine ([[top 40]], including [[punk]], [[Heavy metal music|heavy metal]], [[teen pop]] and [[indie rock]] performed in a [[Las Vegas|Vegas]] lounge lizard style), and Hayseed Dixie (a play on the name [[AC/DC]], they started covering AC/DC songs and progressed to other classic rock, playing them as [[bluegrass]] songs, similar to The Gourds' version of "Gin and Juice.")
* [[List of notable cover versions]]
* [http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_324b.html A Straight Dope column on cover versions]
[[Category:Lists of songs]]
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