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Musical notes: Cover versions

Serious musicians often think that only original work matters. They should try redoing other people’s songs for a change

By Nick Crowe   February 2011

Cover me: US artist Beck and his collaborators are remaking music

The pop cover version is so common in entertainment culture, and on the whole so badly executed, that many consider it a necessary evil, like costume drama or Kentucky Fried Chicken. As the shrewd performer knows, the success of a cover version—the performance or release of a song previously recorded by another artist—is down to approach, of which there are many.

Some take the most obvious course and mimic the original, instrument by instrument, note by note, haircut by haircut. Tribute acts like Fake That, My Winehouse and Coldplace…

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