Covering Up: The Right of Wrong Artists to Sing Great Songs
With the BBC announcement of a new version of the Sgt. Pepper album (cover versions of Beatles songs by mostly mediocre bands), Scott G suggests we take this concept to ridiculous heights (or depths). Imagine the Insane Clown Posse singing Merle Haggard.
Sure, BBC 2 Radio has the right to record an album “honoring” The Beatles’ 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Pat Boone has the right to do a comedy album of metal classics, as he did in 1997. Taylor Hicks has the right to copy Michael McDonald’s singing style, as he did on an enormously popular pseudo-music program. And the guys at your local Ramada Inn have the right to cover every hit song ever recorded, as long as people keep dancing and buying overpriced drinks.
Having the right to do something in no way makes something right to do. (Insert appropriate zinger about governmental misjudgment here.)
The BBC 2 Radio executives, sensing a good publicity opportunity and a sure-fire money-making proposition, are going to great lengths to justify their venality. I won’t dignify their lunatic comments by repeating them, but cannot pass up the sad fact of Geoff Emerick’s participation in this farce.
As one of the audio engineers involved in that George Martin-produced album forty years ago, one would expect him to comment about it and write about it, as he has done in Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles, written with Howard Massey.
Capitalizing on excellent work in the past is fine, but one doesn’t expect him to desecrate his own work by recording a bunch of mediocre musicians and flash-in-the-pan one-shots trying to cash in on the coincidence that a U.K. radio station and the classic album are both four decades old.
But the marketplace will decide, I suppose. If we are curious about this farrago, we’ll pay it some attention, just the way some people ogle traffic accidents.
So, what’s next? What else can we hire Mr. Emerick to produce? I have some suggestions:
Jessica Simpson sings Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde
Josh Groban sings Robert Johnson’s King of the Delta Blues Singers
Avril Levine sings Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions
Beyonce sings Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison
James Blunt sings Aretha Franklin’s Lady Soul
Manheim Steamroller does John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme
Insane Clown Posse sings Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard
Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam does Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew
Clay Aiken sings Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti
But what of the Sgt. Pepper cover version album itself? Who do you think should perform those songs? It would be easy to suggest people like William Hung and Sanjaya Malakar, but that would be so obvious. No, let’s really give some thought to this. . .
Guitarist Jim DuBois and vocalist Ethan Chandler, the two scum-sucking Bank of America morons who attempted to butcher U2’s “One,” would make an excellent choice for “A Day in the Life,” which they can alter to “A Day at your Bank” in another illustration of the kind of lyric subtlety and serendipity for which they are now justly famous.
Here’s my list:
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Cast of Def Poetry Jam
“With a Little Help from My Friends” Whatever’s left from Milli Vanilli
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” Celine Dion
“Getting Better” Whatever’s left from The Eagles
“Fixing a Hole” Courtney Love
“She’s Leaving Home” Spinal Tap
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” Whatever’s left from 38 Special
“Within You Without You” Pat & Debbie Boone
“When I’m Sixty-Four” Whatever’s left from The Police
“Lovely Rita” Kanye West
“Good Morning Good Morning” James Blunt
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”
“A Day in the Life” The two BofA cretins who tried to destroy U2’s “One”
Note 1: My “whatever’s left from” acknowledges actual or artistic death.
Note 2: Your own suggestions are welcome.
[tags]Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, BBC 2 Radio, cover songs, music industry news, Scott G, gman[/tags]