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john65pennington's avatar

Should song remakes be identical to the original version?

Asked by john65pennington (29192points) June 25th, 2010

My wife and i differ on todays song remakes of the original version. she likes the remakes to be identical, in every respect, to the original. i like remakes to be close to the original, but added violins or background vocals are okay. these added features sometimes enhance the remake to sometimes actually sound better than the original. one example in particular is Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True”. can you think of other songs that are remakes that sound better than the original?

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19 Answers

Seek's avatar

Well, I would never say a cover sounds better than an original. Simply because the original is (theoretically) how the original artist wanted it to sound. It would be like comparing Michaelangelo’s “David” to Donatello’s. Same concept, totally different execution.

That said, I do enjoy certain covers, when they’re done with respect for the original, while still maintaining the covering band’s personal style.

One band that does covers very well is Opeth.

Opeth does:
Iron Maiden’s Remember Tomorrow
Deep Purple’s Soldier of Fortune
Alice in Chains’ Would?
Celtic Frost’s Circle of the Tyrants

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I agree with @Seek_Kolinahr… I really don’t think any remake is better than the original, for just the reasons she stated. As for whether or not they should sound exactly like the original? I think it varies by artist and song. Some artists take an original song and turn it into a brand new piece of art. Sometimes they just butcher it.
These are covers that I like :

Rasputina-Brand New Key *Melanie Safka
Deftones-Sweetest Perfection *Depeche Mode)
Fiona Apple-Why Try To Change Me Now? *Frank Sinatra)

And, the only cover to truly rival the original in my opinion (especially since the original is one of my favorite songs of all time)... Tool-No Quarter *Led Zeppelin)

jazmina88's avatar

Heck no, they should have a new take or their own spin on it…...except some crooners perhaps.
@TheOnlyNeffie Love No Quarter

MissA's avatar

When we place real or imagined musical and creative restraints like that…it’s over people.


Some re-makes which are not identical to the original have actually sounded better. Personally, for example, I prefer the re-make of “Please Mr. Postman” by The Carpenters over the original by The Marvelettes. The Marvelettes did a good job, but The Carpenters “improved” on it by making it more “streamlined” and “smoother”, and more upbeat. Another cover which, in my opinion, is better than the original, is the re-make of “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Suede. The original, by B.J. Thomas, is very good, but I think Blue Suede improved on it by giving it more “umph”. Both Blue Suede and The Carpenters also improved on the respective singles by making them more “melodic” (and therefore more pleasant sounding) than the original versions.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES oooh! I forgot about that one. I love that version of “Hooked on a Feeling.” Great song.

MissA's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES Is that the Oooga-chucka version?


@MissA Yes it is. Lol. Believe it or not, Blue Suede was a Swedish group, led by singer Bjorn Skifs, who was a close friend of supergroup ABBA.

MissA's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES I get the influence…thanks.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I like both an exact replica and slightly different, but only if it improves on the original (or at least, doesn’t take it downhill). I LOVE them when they take it and totally make it their own, like anything Trans-Siberian Orchestra does (sans this atrocity of a latest album) or The Donnas versions of “Kids In America” or “Safety Dance”.

Berserker's avatar

Whatever. Let the artist do what he or she wants. If peeps dun like it, just listen to the original and forget the remake. Music is art, and there should be no ’‘shoulds’’.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. That we would be boring. Remakes are about taking a song and making it your own; otherwise, it’s just karaoke.

lillycoyote's avatar

Why remake/redo/rerecord a song if your intention if to do it exactly like the original? If an artist/singer/musician can’t bring something new to it, to the song, to the music then they have no business rerecording/redoing the song.

john65pennington's avatar

Shinyshoes, great examples of remakes you have given. i actually forgot about the Carpenters remakes. do you think that remakes are in Americas future? right now, i believe Americas music is stuck in neutral.

MissA's avatar

@john65pennington Give us examples of your favorite songs/bands and their music. What would you like to see emerging on the music scene? I’m not aware of all the remakes…what percentage do you feel are, in fact, remakes?

I’m not a top 40 listener, and that may be my problem. Since you are a drummer, you may have a whole different take than me.


@john65pennington Definitely. Re-makes seem to be much more common today than in years past, and often the re-makes are not as good as the original versions. Personally, I feel music in America has suffered a “creative drought” over the past 20 years. The 70s gave us great music, with a lot of creative, original melodies that were highly distinctive and pleasant to the ear. These days, most songs you hear on the radio are bland and unoriginal. Whatever happened to the creative genius of songs like “American Pie”? Or songs like this one by Don Goodwin—-

I am somewhat of an ABBA fan. I know many people make fun of ABBA and criticize them for being “sugar-coated” pop, but the one thing about the group is that they produced very “melodic” original melodies, and for me it’s all in the “melody”. You remember their songs well because they are distinctive. Most people pass them up as “simple”, but in fact if you listen closely they are actually quite complex in arrangement, like classical music. Their strong melodies, coupled with the two girls’ great singing voices, is why the group was so popular, even though a lot of fans like me didn’t want to admit we liked them. (Blush..) Lol!

I hope America’s music turns around for the better. We need it now. ;)

tinyfaery's avatar

Just face it. You’re too old to get the new music. And Elvis, Jimmy, Janis, The Stones, etc. all did covers. And there are more covers today because music has been around a lot longer and music is so beyond Rock these days that covers are interesting for new bands to make because they can make so much more out of the old songs.

john65pennington's avatar

I just discovered another remake. the song Dancing In The Moonlight. King Harvest had the original. remake by Toploader is not bad. words are the same, but the musical score is different and gives a new twist to the original. not a bad song remake.

MissA's avatar

@tinyfaery Good point.

Look at Mazzy Star. Also, the soundtrack from “I am Sam”. Unless you’re a cover band, why do it in the exact same way? I’m all for paying tribute…and, there IS a lot of new good music. Sometimes it feels like a treasure hunt because you might have to look for it. Which is part of what I was trying to say in my earlier posts. And, again, whether music is good or bad, is relative. I don’t care for hip-hop and a lot of the new R&B, but, that’s just me. Many folks love it.

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