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View Full Version : What the Heck is a "Cover?"



VegasGeorge
09-05-2014, 08:29 AM
I never heard the term "cover" used to describe a performance before joining this Forum. What exactly does it mean, and where did it come from? I'm curious to see how many interpretations there are.

Sporin
09-05-2014, 08:44 AM
I never heard the term "cover" used to describe a performance before joining this Forum. What exactly does it mean, and where did it come from? I'm curious to see how many interpretations there are.

Very common term, I'm surprised you've never heard of it. (I don't mean that in a jerk-ish way, I'm genuinely surprised you've never come across the term)

Wiki:


"In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a previously recorded, commercially released (or unreleased) song, by someone other than the original artist or composer."

My buddy is in a fairly kick-ass Van Halen cover band. :) https://www.facebook.com/pages/BalancE-The-Van-Halen-Tribute/102646666171

Jon Moody
09-05-2014, 08:44 AM
Usually it means to play a song that is/was popular on the radio, either as close to possible or do it in your own way. A cover band - which is where I usually hear the term - is a band that plays nothing but songs that people know, almost like a human jukebox.

Granted, with that definition you can make the argument that any song you didn't pen yourself is a cover (and, you'd be right).

ukantor
09-05-2014, 08:51 AM
Talking about a "cover" is a recent thing. Before recordings became the main means of selling music to the masses, song writers wrote songs, singers sang them. Now the public associate a particular song with a recorded version by a specific performer, and anyone else singing it is deemed to be performing a "cover" version.

Some might say that it applies only to the work of singer/songwriters, but many people talk about "covers" of - for example - a Frank Sinatra song. Old Blue Eyes didn't write many songs (did he write ANY?).

I'm an old timer. I don't find it necessary, or even useful, to talk about "covers". Singers sing songs, period.

John Colter.

lindydanny
09-05-2014, 10:27 AM
The industry refers to a cover as a song that was written by/for another artist other than yourself. It also extends to the use of a specific arrangement of a tune as performed by another artist.

A great deal of musicians tend to use it to describe playing a song in the exact style and arrangement of another artist. However, they don't use it if they play the same tune in their own way.

For instance, playing the tune "Bohemian Rhapsody" is technically playing a cover. However, most non "industry" people wouldn't call it a cover if you did it as a salsa tune. You are essentially changing the crux of the tune which gives it it's own individuality. Still, if you do this and record the tune you need to apply for copyright permission before distributing.

~Danny

Dougf
09-05-2014, 10:49 AM
Here's wikipedia's take on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover_version

VegasGeorge
09-05-2014, 12:30 PM
OK, I got it! You know, I've been a musician all my life, but it's always been classical, or military, or church, or brass band music. I never strayed into the arena of popular music, rock, country, or jazz before. Now with the Ukulele, I am playing a lot of those tunes. And, as reflected by this thread, I'm encountering new (to me) vocabulary and concepts. It's a lot of fun! ;)

One exception: I have played in a couple of very good studio jazz bands, one at conservatory where Xavier Cugate's road band musicians and wannabes filled the ranks, and another at Monterey Peninsula College where a lot of good players from the Bay area were always present. But those were simply rehearsal bands and nobody ever talked about recordings or commercial performances. They probably knew what "cover" means, but it never got to me.

Skinny Money McGee
09-05-2014, 12:51 PM
Shawn Colvin released an album years ago called "Cover Girl", where she covered songs by the Police, & Bob Dylan among others.

Bob Seger released an album in 72 called "Smokin O.P.'s", as in "other people's songs" Some of the excellent Uke player's around here are certainly "Smokin O.P.'s" !!

gardens_guitar
09-06-2014, 01:11 AM
Example Joan Jett The Hit List (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hit_List_(Joan_Jett_album))

Ukejenny
09-07-2014, 11:43 AM
OK, I got it! You know, I've been a musician all my life, but it's always been classical, or military, or church, or brass band music. I never strayed into the arena of popular music, rock, country, or jazz before. Now with the Ukulele, I am playing a lot of those tunes. And, as reflected by this thread, I'm encountering new (to me) vocabulary and concepts. It's a lot of fun! ;)

One exception: I have played in a couple of very good studio jazz bands, one at conservatory where Xavier Cugate's road band musicians and wannabes filled the ranks, and another at Monterey Peninsula College where a lot of good players from the Bay area were always present. But those were simply rehearsal bands and nobody ever talked about recordings or commercial performances. They probably knew what "cover" means, but it never got to me.

With your musical background, I'd say you get a mulligan on not knowing what "cover" means in musical circles. I'd love to hear about your brass band experiences. We had a Yamaha rep come to our high school and do a brass band clinic (trying to get people interested enough to purchase the instruments) - I played first euphonium and was in heaven. I was ready to throw my clarinet down at the end of the day (can't believe I said that - it was short lived!) and I would love to hear about someone who has really done it.

By the way, another name for cover band is tribute band.