Saturday, April 9, 2011

cover songs

During the 1950s there were a variety of cover songs. One important type was those released nearly at the same time as the original, and there are two varieties of these nearly simultaneous covers:
1-those released by indie labels, generally by negro (now black or African American) performers which were covered by white performers on major labels, generally modifying the original with more, often a lot more, pop in the musical mix, and sometimes “cleaning up” the lyrics too.
An example was The Spaniels’ “Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight” — covered by the McGuire Sisters, who had a hit with the song. Another was Fats Domino's “Ain't That a Shame,” — covered by Pat Boone (who did many such covers, and had many hits doing just that).
2- Another type of simultaneous covers was where a song released by indie labels is only heard by, and bought by, a regional audience, and other indie label artists released the same song in another region. Most of these covers, in first half of the 1950s, were by black performers and tended to be what later became known as doowop.
In both of these types of covers, the original artists did not benefit when their record was covered. Theoretically, if one or more of the original performers also wrote the song, they would benefit financially. But theory and practice are not identical. Indie label owners somehow became the owner of the song, and it is they, not the actual songwriter, who would profit from a hit cover on a major label.

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