What makes for a good cover version of someone else’s song?

23 Jun

If you’ve caught my live shows you know I enjoy mixing in 80s songs with my originals. It puts the audience at ease by offering something familiar and nostalgic before I hit ‘em over the head with new Danny Katzisms. And since I’m taking a break from touring, I figured I could use my down time to upload some 80s covers to YouTube.

I was practicing Erasure’s “Chains of Love” last night (favorite group evahhh – you have not lived until you’ve been subjected to Andy Bell in red sequined speedos, body glitter and angel wings) and was trying to find a way to make my interpretation unique and worthy of a YouTube upload.

If you surf YouTube for a bit you get the impression that anyone and their mother can record a fairly decent cover version of a song – most pop songs are straightforward and if you can bang out 4 chords on a guitar you stand a chance of doing the song at least some justice. But it seems like the cover versions that truly captivate are by musicians who are extreme virtuosos and/or are extremely tech savy.

I posted to Facebook regarding what songs you would like me to do Danny Katz folk-pop style and got quite a nice range of responses – everything from Depeche Mode to NKOTB.

But given that I can’t even figure out how to turn on an iPod yet alone use one, what is a little simple folky like me to do – how can I make my cover versions remarkable? What makes for a good cover version of someone else’s song?

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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in 80s, Nostalgia


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