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Thread: Remakes; updating for today or bastardizing of greatness.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Remakes; updating for today or bastardizing of greatness.

    Several years ago a Ska/ punk band called the Gimmie Gimmies came out with a CD... of ‘their’ remade version of oldies. The idea of remakes is nothing new. Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ was a remake of a song written by Libber and Stroller, for Big Momma Thornton and was intended to be a rough sounding blues song.

    There are an unlimited number of remakes that have crossed generational, genre, social, and even cultural lines (La Bamba...) to discuss.

    Do you think that remakes can be better than the original? If so, what are some examples? Do you think that some of these remakes have lost the true meaning and essence of the song, or just expanded or updated it for a new audience? Can you see a band like Green Day redoing old Beach Boy Songs?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Can you see a band like Green Day redoing old Beach Boy Songs?
    Only with the most profound sense of irony.

    Some songs translate well as remakes, others don't. Here are a couple of examples:

    The Counting Crows recently covered Joni Mitchell's "Paradise". Nope - didn't cut it. I love the song, but didn't like the remake. It didn't seem to convey the same way. But, Lenny Kravitz did a bang-up job on "American Woman" by The Guess Who. It had that same free wheeling energy as the original.

    N.B.: Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman have retooled "American Woman" and it rocks!

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    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    with a paper bag over my head I post...

    I like Whitney Houston's early 90's cover of I'm Every Woman
    I also like Gloria Estafan's cover of, oh shoot, can't remember the name, lol
    the ska version of Tears of a Clown is very good!

    and most covers of the song Spooky have been very good

    Britney Spears doing Rolling Stones, nuh-uh...

    Siouxie and the Banshees did a good rendition of Dear Prudence, but that's my 80's hat showing...

    the whole torch song cover trend can get a little irritating, especially Rod Stewart - but Linda Rondstant (sp) and Carly Simon can take those songs on anytime

    I'm sure there's more to post on this one - good thread idea

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Johny Cash doing Trent Reznor with "HURT"!

    I hated it at first, and then I realized it was AMAZING!

    NIN's version of "HURT" as young alienated and raw.......flash ahead to Cash at the end of his life. Same lyrics, only with a life full of regret, lost oportunities, a sense of things gone wrong (in the way the song is presented that is). More like 1 set of lyrics for 2 completly separate songs.
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    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Some remakes are so musically different from the originals that it's almost like hearing a brand new song. For example: the band Elwood's cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown," and Mike Peters from the Alarm covering the Grandmaster Flash hit "The Message." Both of these artists manage to convey the "essence" of the original song while staying true to their own unique sounds.

    I agree with Duke - Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt" is truly amazing!
    Last edited by Mud Princess; 20 Jul 2007 at 10:36 AM. Reason: Added comment on another post

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    This morning I heard Green Day’s Espionage, and I was not sure if it was a remake or not. It has the mid 60-early 70’s Spy rock feel, it is all instrumental, and it is stuck in my head. When it came on I cranked it up. Granted at the time I was doing 80 in traffic on the freeway, so it put a smile on my face.

    There have been so many versions of Mustang Sally done that most young people don’t know who recorded it first. There has been more than one occasion when a younger person will hear a song on an oldies station and is shocked that Britney Spears (or some other pop singer) did not record it first. Then they are disgusted to know that their parents know all the lyrics... from when they were kids.

    Of course there are some songs that I think that do better mainly because of the society at the time that they are released, but I find that many of the newer remakes lack the same musical quality as the originals. 25+ years ago, it was not about the laser light show, fountains of fire, or synchronized dance moves, it was about the music. Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and too many “performers” don’t have the same quality musical talent as before. It is all synthesized in a computer for radio or CD, and that is why when you see them live, it is either pre-recorded or people comment on how much the music sucked.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    The pinnacle for such a discussion.

    Which is better:

    All Along the Watchtower - Hendrix or Dylan? I say Hendrix.

    I think it is prefectly fine for people to cover previously recorded songs.

    The surest way to become successful for an unknown band/musician/singer is to cover a previous hit song. It's hard to not be successful when covering a hit.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Some of my personal favorite remakes -

    Am I Evil - Metallica
    Keep on Loving You - The Donnas
    Dancin' In the Streets - Van Halen
    Anarchy in the UK - Megadeth
    Land of Confusion - Distrubed
    Magic Carpet Ride - Crystal Method

    and count me in on Hurt by Johnny Cash.

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    The pinnacle for such a discussion.

    Which is better:

    All Along the Watchtower - Hendrix or Dylan? I say Hendrix.
    Hendrix. The only Dylan song I ever liked was The Hurricane.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    P Diddy has built a career on remaking old songs. Rhianna has sampled something from the 80's on nearly every one of her songs. Michael Buble has remade many of the old pop standards on his last few albums but I like them for the most part. As 'skis pointed out there are many young people that don't realize that what they are listening to are older songs rehashed. I love needling my daughter about this and when she insists I am wrong I can usually pull out the album it was originally on.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Just goes to show that people are running out of good ideas...
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    All Along the Watchtower - Hendrix or Dylan?
    This example cuts right to the heart of the whole remake issue. For a cover/remake to successfully be an artistic achievement it's excellence must somehow be measured in how the artist incorporates new elements into the song. And the Dylan and Hendrix versions of 'Watchtower' display excellence and originality in such very different ways. Dylan's genius, of course, was in the lyrical content and Hendrix succeeded in changing the tune into both a passionate and virtuoso performance piece (something clearly outside of Dylans domain).

    I like the (massively overplayed) Steve Miller tune 'the Joker', but several years ago I heard a version which I believe was performed by Steve Miller himself where the song had been converted into a reggae-like tune with the signature ka-chicka ka-chicka syncopated rhythm. I thought that was an excellent remake.

    Punk versions of cotton candy pop music are usually humorous and entertaining remakes, but unfortunately have been done often enough it's become a formula.

    Oh, and the Hendrix version is best.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Generally, I think remakes are bastardizing of greatness, but if you're going to remake a song, change it up and make it your own.

    Red Hot Chili Peppers' remake of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" is pretty cool.

    I also like Alien Ant Farm's remake of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal."
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella View post
    Generally, I think remakes are bastardizing of greatness, but if you're going to remake a song, change it up and make it your own.
    I'd also agree that a substantial majority of remakes are inferior to the originals. There's a good reason most cover bands are condemned to always playing other artist's music.

    One thing I've noticed, though and I wonder if anyone else thinks there is a tendency to like the version that one first became familiar with...because they heard it first. Often this sort of thing tends to fall along generational lines where you find younger people liking the Club Nuveau versions of 'Lean On Me' better than the original or Peter Schilling's 'Major Tom' just because they heard the remakes first and therefore those set the comparative standard to measure the original against.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Punk versions of cotton candy pop music are usually humorous and entertaining remakes, but unfortunately have been done often enough it's become a formula.
    That reminds me of another classic remake: "Nights in White Satin" as done by the Dickies. Certainly nothing like the original!

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    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Several years ago a Ska/ punk band called the Gimmie Gimmies came out with a CD... of ‘their’ remade version of oldies...
    I love most of Me First and the Gimmee Gimmees's stuff, but I wasn't around when the originals of most came out. My mother and older sister, OTOH, hate them -- I imagine because they have attachments to the originals.
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

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    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Most terrible- Madonna's "American Pie". She needs to leave that sh#t alone! I liked Sheryl Crow's take on "The First Cut is the Deepest"- more emotional than the Cat Stevens version. Some covers are totally pointless- i.e. the Travis Tritt version of the Eagles' "Take it Easy". If they sound almost exactly the same, why bother?
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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    If they sound almost exactly the same, why bother?
    Right. That is the essential element of this entire discussion.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

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    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    It's rare when the remake is better -- in songs and movies. Sometimes the one doing the remake has something worthwhile to say, but it's not often.

    But what about the original artist doing a different take on the same song? At first I hated Clapton's accoustic "Layla" but soon decided that it's better than his original.

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    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    Most terrible- Madonna's "American Pie". She needs to leave that sh#t alone! I liked Sheryl Crow's take on "The First Cut is the Deepest"- more emotional than the Cat Stevens version. Some covers are totally pointless- i.e. the Travis Tritt version of the Eagles' "Take it Easy". If they sound almost exactly the same, why bother?
    Madonna's "American Pie" gives me nightmares. Speaking of Sheryl Crow, her version of "Sweet Child O'Mine" is right up there with the worst.remakes.ever.
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planderella View post
    Madonna's "American Pie" gives me nightmares. Speaking of Sheryl Crow, her version of "Sweet Child O'Mine" is right up there with the worst.remakes.ever.
    Very true, Planderella- only Axyl can do that well.
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    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    P Diddy has built a career on remaking old songs. Rhianna has sampled something from the 80's on nearly every one of her songs. Michael Buble has remade many of the old pop standards on his last few albums but I like them for the most part. As 'skis pointed out there are many young people that don't realize that what they are listening to are older songs rehashed. I love needling my daughter about this and when she insists I am wrong I can usually pull out the album it was originally on.
    Hah! My wife didn't understand why I liked "Hip Hop is Dead" by Nas since I generally do not like hip hop or rap music. Then one day I began to play "Inna Gadda Da Vida," by Iron Butterfly which is the song (music) "Hip Hop is Dead is based off of. You should have seen the look on my wife's face when the organ and bass intro ripped into electric guitar instead of the computer based loop which the Nas song goes into. Priceless.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

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    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    Johny Cash doing Trent Reznor with "HURT"!

    I hated it at first, and then I realized it was AMAZING!

    NIN's version of "HURT" as young alienated and raw.......flash ahead to Cash at the end of his life. Same lyrics, only with a life full of regret, lost oportunities, a sense of things gone wrong (in the way the song is presented that is). More like 1 set of lyrics for 2 completly separate songs.
    I agree, great song. I also love Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah- gives me goosebumps.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    All Along the Watchtower - Hendrix or Dylan? I say Hendrix.
    The Cure didn't do too badly on this one, either.

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    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Every single Elvis cover ever performed by anybody anywhere is better than having to listen to Elvis!

    Seriously, I was humming ZZ Top one day and my brother asked why I was humming an Elvis song. It wasn't, it was a ZZ Top cover.

    Unrelated to Elvis, I like Metallica's "Turn the Page" better than Bob Segar's.
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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Greenescapist View post
    I agree, great song. I also love Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah- gives me goosebumps.
    I wish I could get a hold of that one, I would love to hear it. Cohen is very good in general. Better than Berry White and equally likely to get you laid!
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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