Cover Me

TunesDay! Today I want to write about the cover tune, one of the most overlooked forms of music. Way back when in the ancient days before the Beatles and Buddy Holly, musical artists rarely wrote their own music. Instead, they either discovered songs on their own or, more often, worked with A&R people and managers at their label to find music that was optimal for their voices. Arrangers would figure out the musical backing and that arrangement was often more important than the vocal. Think of the sound of Frank Sinatra singing a Quincy Jones  arrangement versus one by Nelson Riddle.  Same voice, very different sound.

Today most artists write and perform their own music rather than “standards” or songs produced by writing houses such as those found in The Brill Building.  Covering another artist‘s work is the exception, it seems.  When done right, however, it can make that interpretation something unique and your own.  For example, this:

Became this:

Which is the business point today.  I have clients who stress out from time to time about being original, and I agree that making something one’s own is really important in business.  After all, consumers expect us to be authentic and to speak in our own voices.  However, doing a brilliant cover version of someone else’s song in the business world can be a fantastic and successful strategy.  After all, Amazon wasn’t the first online commerce site nor was eBay the first online auction site.  Both interpreted the “song” they chose and did it better.  They became hits while the original artists faded away.

Rather than worrying about the “new” or the latest shiny object (or technology) out there, maybe we should focus our energies on rearranging what has proven to be appealing and covering it in a way that adds new meaning.  Maybe that’s another example of everything old (covering songs and rearranging them) being new again but if it is, I’m in.  You?

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Filed under Music, Thinking Aloud

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