The 2022 Update of the Most Covered Pop Songs and Artists of All Time

The 2022 Update of the Most Covered Songs and Artists of All Time

I have added some streaming numbers to this issue and increased the most covered singles list to 20 songs. I have three categories in today’s blog: 1. The most covered songs written by a single artist, 2. The most cover versions combined and 3. The most covered Pop songs.  These numbers are for artists that write and record their own songs. For more on songwriters, read my series I Write the Songs. The statistics come courtesy of Secondhandsongs.com and are verified via strict protocols. This website posts ‘covers’ submitted from around the globe and in many different languages, edited by very knowledgeable experts in music recording. There are other resources as cited but other than the odd personal anecdote or opinion, I’m using information and knowledge, not to mention YouTube posts that already exist. In addition, the numbers change daily, I had originally written this blog in December 2019 so it’s been interesting to see the changes over three years. On the whole, the major artists in each list mostly stayed the same but may have shuffled positions. Keeping in mind the people on these lists are among the most important and iconic Singer-Songwriters of all time and recognized around the world. Having said that I certainly acknowledge there are many legendary international artists not included as the focus here for the most part is on Western and English speaking artists.  The information in this blog is from statistics collected on or around Sept 4, 2022.

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Music stories and my Fourth Blogiversary

Year Four

I write this blog because I enjoy the subject matter and it interests me, last year I recapped some stats on my third anniversary; as of the end of April 2021, there were a record over 4,500 page views for the month and in total had just passed the 100,000 mark.  An increase of 44,000 over 2020 and the number of different countries went from 83 to 107. This is my “passion project” I guess you could say, a hobby that was not designed to make money. Nevertheless I will admit I was pleased enough with the growth that I continued to write in the past year. Now as of May 1, 2022, I have reached 122 countries and over 180,000 pageviews, representing an increase of 80,000 views and 13 countries in the past year. I exceeded my one week record of 13,000 pageviews. My updated post on The Most Covered Pop Artists and Songs of All Time not only continues to be the most popular but the pageview count has risen by more than 3,000 in one year. At nearly 8 thousand pageviews it is by far my most viewed post out my 159 written to date. That’s quite enough of a walk down vanity lane, I should get to the point. I have reached the 4 year mark and while that has surpassed my expectations I continue to struggle with the time and effort invested, so my posting may be less consistent going forward.

A little bit about Music Blogging

There are many blogs that talk about cover songs, but very few embrace the history of vintage music the way that I do. The majority of people are interested in current music, and that’s a good thing. But contemporary music, with several exceptions I will say, interests me much less. While I have no idea as to the demographics of my readers I suspect the vast majority are 50 plus. Which is of course relates more to the eras I talk about, for the most part stuff I know and familiar with, the added benefit is that I always learn something new during the course of my research.

So if we take any given song from any year from even the biggest stars in let’s say 2004 that may even have been covered a dozen or so times does not typically grab my attention the way a tune from 1904 might. Actually the most covered song from 2004 is a great tune from their first album Hot Fuss by the Rock Band The Killers, “Mr. Brightside” with an impressive 69 versions. However the history is not there and as far as I can see there’s not much of a story either.

Conversely, and this a great example of what I am talking about, the most covered song from 100 years prior has a story. Now I had just picked 2004 at random so I looked at what the most covered songs were from that year as noted. So now we go back to 1904 and the #1 most covered tune is one everyone will recognize. “Aloha Oe” written by Liliuokalani, this is the pen name for the last reigning Monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii which itself dates back to the 15th Century. Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Wewehi Kamakaʻeha (September 2, 1838 – November 11, 1917) had her short lived reign of two years overthrown in 1893. I will give a very short version of a long and fascinating story. She had attempted to bring about a more democratic government and allow people to vote on their leaders. This was seen as contrary to American interests and with the help of the US Marines the country was seized and pro American leaders put in place. This, not surprisingly was mostly about money and resources. Though later exonerated she was put on trial and when her closest friends and family were threatened with hanging, she wrote a letter confessing to supposed wrong doings to help justify the coup. She served a period of confinement, albeit in the Palace. We all know how that turned out as eventually Hawaii was made the 50th State in 1959.

While under house arrest she continued to write several more beautiful songs. Liliuokalani composed “Aloha Oe” 1878 and in 1904 she recorded it in Hawaiian along with her sister Princess Likelike and two other ‘girl’s. Credited as the Quartet of Hawaiian Girls from Kawaihao Seminary. The first commercial version of the song was the English adaptation by Bing Crosby in 1936. Also recorded by Elvis Presley for the movie Blue Hawaii in 1961. Among the more than 125 recordings is a lovely version from Oregon native Evynne Hollens in 2019 for the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. Now, while you may argue the merits of my writing, I barely scratched the surface of the story behind a tune that half the planet can hum along to nearly 125 years after it was written.

It’s stories like these that lead me to quite frequently go off on little tangents from the theme of a post. Believe it or not, I have used a fair bit of restraint in that regard. As a consequence I have had a few thoughts on songs I have talked about or as with “Aloha Oe”, newly discovered ones. I didn’t get to fleshing these out enough for a dedicated post and/or they got clipped out of post during the editing process. So here are some of them.

Terminology

We hear terms such as ‘legend’ or ‘icon’ to describe artists and I have used them myself several times. “That’s an iconic song” or “She is a music legend”, but what do the the terms actually mean? Often times when I read the terms from others writing or social media comments it is a substitute for “one of my favorites”. I have to say I am fairly well read on music history so when I come across the terms in reference to someone or a song that I have never heard of, well I question the use of the labels. But who decides whether a singer or musician or group is legendary? What makes a song iconic and worthy of the designation? Many times you will find the words in an Obituary or Biographical pieces, and the editorial nature of them opens the door for the use of the noun(s). The word icon for example has many meanings, such as the small picture on your computer screen or phone, a religious object, painting or a person that represents something in a larger or universal way.

This is an example of what it takes to be labeled an Iconic song. “Bésame mucho” (Kiss Me A Lot) originally written by Consuelo Velázquez in Spanish. First recorded in 1940 by Los Cadetes del Swing. Later the singer songwriter Selig Shaftel known by his stage name as Sunny Skylar would translate and sing an english version, so that “Besame mucho” was first recorded by Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra in 1944. Also recorded by The Beatles, the most recent of the over 624 versions is by Martina Balogová from the Czech Republic in 2021. Songs that are currently very popular must stand the test of time to become iconic. Check out his interesting article on iconic songs, https://www.eonline.com/ca/news/699788/here-are-the-most-iconic-songs-of-all-time-according-to-science

The Culture Beyond the Music

In my recent post on the 1970’s I edit out this tangent from the topic of Punk Music; I can see the sway of Punk Culture, aside from the musical influences, in other art forms. From what I have read there is connection by way of more than just a coincidental use of the word or name “Punk” in the Sci-Fi book concepts/genre of Cyberpunk (coined by William Gibson in 1979, btw his Neuromancer is a great read) followed by Steampunk (author Kevin Jeter). They and others found their writing inspiration from earlier authors including HG Wells and the eccentric William S. Burroughs, a bit later also the likes of Michael Moorcock. But to my point, more recently when transformed into visual art such as comics, it comes out looking like Punk fashion and the characters persona reflects that renegade lifestyle. The stories themselves are often set in Dystopian environments with Victorian Era style ‘steam’ technology. There are many short stories, novels, comic book series and video games are designed in the Steampunk and/or Cyberpunk style. Although it is based on a 1968 Book by Philip K Dick (another odd man but a brilliant author I’d recommend) the ‘look’ of some of the characters in the movie Blade Runner from 1982 is an example. For video games there is the popular Borderlands series and yes (guilty pleasure time) I admit to owning that ;).

Sampling

Also from the 1970’s post I had researched a bit on the origins of Song Sampling; For example, if we look at Song Sampling which is not normally my thing, there are tens of thousands of excerpts taken from songs of this decade and inserted, for the most part into Rap, Hip Hop, Funk and R&B songs. Sampling by definition is the use of a previous recording in whole or part and inserted into a new piece of music. For the beginnings of this phenomenon we can look to pioneer James Tenney and his experimental “Blue Suede” in 1961 which incorporated clips of Elvis Presley’s version of “Blue Suede Shoes” along with audio distortions. One of the first commercial examples would be the use of a “Sousa” March from American composer John Philip Sousa, which had been previously recorded by George Martin and Geoff Emerick and inserted into The Beatles “Yellow Submarine” recording in 1966. Followed by the more well known use of a BBC King Lear broadcast into “I Am the Walrus” in 1967. However it was in the 1970’s when Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Frank Zappa and others were more regularly using this technique. Sampling began to really impact the recording industry, particularly as new technology was created in 1970’s. While growing common among live DJ performances it was still a fairly sparse practice until the 1980’s, once the R&B/Hip Hop/Rap genres really got hold of it, a new art form was created. As far as songs from the 70’s that have had samples taken from them, “Think About It” (1971) by Lyn Collins (which was written and produced by James Brown) has been sampled 3077 times according to whosampledwho.com . If you include his singing and writing credits Brown is the most sampled artist in almost 14,500 songs. In Hip Hop, Drum beats are the most sampled sections of songs and Browns “Funky Drummer” from 1970 has been sampled 1750 times.

Conclusion

So this is just a short post today to make a mark for my four years of blogging and thanks to my buddy Shayne for his support and the note today acknowledging that bit of trivia. A special thanks to my family (aka my patient and understanding wife), friends and regular readers. Also thanks to those that take the time to pass on a note or comment, especially David and Darren, for without feedback I operate in a bit of a vacuum. Some of my FB friends share my blog posts, and to Judy-thanks for doing that every time. My dear friend Steve and I have talked about music almost every week for the last 45 years or so, and that helps keep me going as well. I would also like to thank all those who have visited my site and read a blog post or two. Happy reading and happy listening.

References: 123, 4,

Artists that Sing Covers = Not as talented

Artists that Sing Cover Songs are not as talented (as those who don’t).

Ok hold your hand up if this is what you believe. Ok good, only a few of you did but you few are apparently not alone. The more research I do the more I run across some misinformed or misguided sentiment that if you ‘only’ cover a song(s) you are somehow not as talented. And some are wondering if perhaps there is some truth in this, the short answer is NO! The longer explanation is a bit more complicated. First, different genres have different ‘feelings’ for lack of a better term about who writes, who sings and who plays. But songwriters come from all over the music map, and making music is a lot more than just about the writers. With the odd exception as …

 once in a century you get a Bob Dylan

He can play several musical instruments, he can write songs like few others and he can sing. This Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees list of accolades include a Pulitzer Prize special citation, 10 Grammy’s, an Academy Award, a Nobel Prize in Literature and the list goes on. Now, just for fun let’s just suppose for a moment that if Bob Dylan were in to Classical music he would be interpreting Beethoven and DeBussy and not writing “Like a Rolling Stone“. And unless you were listening to Classical music you most likely never would have heard of him. A silly supposition but it helps (I hope) to try and prove my point. Would Bob Dylan the Classical musician be any less talented than the Bob we have come to know and love? No. Would Bob Dylan be composing (writing) as is the term, new music in this genre? Most certainly, but who would actually notice? Would Bob Dylan then be a popular musician? No, at least not outside of the Classical circle and maybe the odd Movie soundtrack. So getting back to reality, if Bob Dylan the writer of hundreds of songs now covers someone else’s song which he has done over 200 times, so…is he now somehow less talented? The question seems as absurd as it was at the beginning of this post. So you say well that’s Dylan, he gets a free pass on cover songs. So then it gets more absurd trying to and pick and choose who is talented based on whether they cover just one song, just a few or hundreds.Read More »

Music Myths and other Silly Things

Music Myths and other Silly Things

Who doesn’t like a good story? There are many great ones and some not so much about music. I try and put a little story into my blogs and during the course of my research I have run across some that are quite curious. Some of these myths about songs and artists have innocent enough beginnings and have been perpetuated or at least not denied by the artists themselves, others come from malcontents and the misinformed.Read More »

Old Country New Country

Old Country/New Country

What exactly I am about to attempt to demonstrate I confess I’m not 100% certain, but what I do know is that there has been a bit of a downward sliding scale regarding the enduring quality of mainstream Country Music songs. Apologies in advance for rambling and ranting at various points. This is not a history of Country Music but my opinion on the current state of things in general with the genre.

It’s murky waters that I’m swimming in here as there is an evolution involved in any music genre so direct comparisons are perhaps inappropriate. I am somewhat aware of the influence the so called Country Music “establishment” has had on this evolution. One need only look at examples like Taylor Swift, Shania Twain and Garth Brooks and others who were criticized and in some cases “shunned” for their unconventional approaches who are now celebrated as part of that same ‘establishment’. So there is some hypocrisy at play in my opinion, which further confuses the definition of what the term “Country Music” actually means? I mentioned in my Country Rock blog there are so many subgenres of Country, and now I’m thinking there is no longer a catch-all definition available to describe it, I myself hear songs on ‘Country Music’ stations that I would not identify as being a ‘Country song’ at all.Read More »

The Guitar

The Guitar

A simple enough word ‘guitar’ but that is where the simplicity ends. The instrument is both beautiful and complex and in the hands of the right person it can make a sound unmatched by any other instrument. Just to clarify things I can’t play myself (unlike my two older brothers) and I’m no expert on the topic but I wanted to blog a bit on it regardless. So here, briefly the history of the guitar as I understand it. Firstly a definition from Dr. Michael Kasha who was a Physical Chemist and molecular spectroscopist. Apart from that impressive gig he spent many years researching and designing guitars. From a work done by Paul Guy, he quotes Dr. Kasha as saying a guitar has “a long, fretted neck, flat wooden soundboard, ribs, and a flat back, most often with in-curved sides”. According to Guy the first known guitars date back about 4000 years and the oldest representation is a stone carving at Alaca Huyuk in Turkey, of a 3300 year old Hittite “guitar”.

The Torres guitar 1859

Today the modern guitar owes its existence to a Spaniard named Antonio Torres who in the 1850’s designed and built essentially what you see today in most every acoustic guitar.
With the advent of steel strings over the years the designs have included stronger braces such as the X-brace from Christian Fredrich Martin. Later Orville Gibson would add the arch top and oval sound hole. With electrical amplification developed by the 1930’s people like Les Paul, Leo Fender, Paul Bigsby and O.W. Appleton began constructing the solid-body guitar. Again I am no expert on this topic but we can pretty much divide the guitar into two basic modes; acoustic and electric. Each having a number of variations in construction, number of strings and playing styles.

I have mentioned I’m a fan of Acoustic and for that matter Electric Fingerstyle Guitar and have provided some links to some youtube videos. There is a great Canadian artist named Don Ross that I had the opportunity to see recently, though he has a wealth of great original material here is a clip of him covering a song you may be familiar with “Crazy” from Gnarls Barkley. This will give you some idea as to what this style is all about. Here is another clip from Don Ross & Andy McKee who I saw a few years back in Washington D.C. For the most part this is focused as a solo artist genre, however there are many collaborations as well as artists playing in bands around the world. This style, simply put is the plucking of the strings with one’s fingers (or individual finger picks) as opposed to the Flatpicking style of using a guitar pick.

The origins of the style are as old as string instruments themselves as one played using fingers to begin with and today there are dozens of different classifications, both acoustic and electric. So whether it’s the Classical Guitar with artists like John Williams or the Jazz stylings of Django Reinhardt or the electrical Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed the range is vast.

Take this brilliant performing quartet (I saw them in 2017 thanks to my eldest daughter) Barcelona 4 Guitars in the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria del Pi in Barcelona.

Being the homer I am, apart from Don Ross, Canada is rich with talented fingerstyle players such as the late Lenny Breau, Liona BoydCalum Graham, Joni Mitchell, Antoine Dufour, Amy Millan (Broken Social Scene), Terri Clark and a lesson from the legend Randy Bachman with an ode to Merle Travis. His style known as ‘Travis Picking’ is adapted by Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins, James Taylor , Tommy Emmanuel and many others.

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

The Greatest Songs Part 2

The Greatest Songs Part 2

Continuing on from the top 5, according to Acclaimed Music are:
#6 Johnny B. Goode which I covered in my Chuck Berry post.

 #7 “Be My Baby“, the Ronettes with lead vocals by Ronnie Spector (Veronica Bennett) released in August of 1963. Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector who also produced the song with an early demonstration of his “wall of sound” formula. There is quite a bit to say about this song that hit #1 only on Cash Box, while it reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #4 on the R&B and UK charts. Backing vocalists included the other two Ronettes, Ronnie’s older sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin Nedra Talley, Sonny and Cher, Darlene Love (with The Blossoms) and one of the song writers Ellie Greenwich. The legendary drummer Hal Blaine’s (who just passed away March 11) opening has been used in dozens of songs such as “Rag Doll” by the Four Seasons. Brian Wilson was quite obsessed with the song and has stated it had a profound effect on his writing and production style. The song has been estimated to have been played 3.9 million times since 1963 or 17 years back to back.

At #8 is Marvin Gaye’s rendition of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. First recorded by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (Aug. 16, 1966 but not released until Aug. 26, 1968). First release was by Gladys Knight & The Pips in Sept. 1967. Originally just another cut on the album ‘In the Groove’ it was not released as a single (because Berry Gordy didn’t want it to compete with the Gladys Knight or The Miracles versions) until October of 1968 after D.J.’s started playing it off the album instead of the other two, eventually landing it at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, R&B, Cash Box and UK Singles charts. Backed by ‘The Funk Brothers‘ Gaye’s version had that extra touch of soul that has made this one of the most treasured tracks to come out of Motown and seemingly all of pop music period. Other notable covers by C.C.R. (1970), the track on the album Cosmos Factory was 11 minutes long, the single a more palatable – under 4 minutes and Amy Winehouse & Paul Weller feat. Jools Holland (2006).

The #9 song also by Marvin Gaye is “What’s Going On” (1971) written by Al Cleveland, Renaldo Benson and Marvin Gaye. Inspired by an incidence of police brutality witnessed by Benson who was a member of the ‘Four Tops‘ while in Berkeley California May 15, 1969. Gaye produced the song himself and included vocals from songwriter Elgie Stover, Detroit Lions players Lem Barney and Mel Farr as well as The Funk Brothers. Berry Gordy apparently hated the song and turned it down. One would think based on the success of ‘Grapevine’ he’d have more faith. This is a stirring and powerful song. Gaye refused to record another song until it was released so via Motown A&R man Harry Balk they got VP of Sales, Barney Ales to release it without Gordy’s knowledge. This song hit #1 on Billboard R&B and Cash Box, #2 on the Hot 100. Since covered over 180 times, Richie Havens (1973), Cyndi Lauper (1986).

The Who with their ‘happy’ look 😉

The #10 song is from the Who “My Generation” (1965) written by Pete Townshend. Like with many of the British bands of that era the song has inspirations from American music. Townsend credits Mose Allison “Young Man Blues” (1957) with the spark to write the song and Roger Daltrey used John Lee Hooker’s somewhat ‘stuttering style’ for the vocal inspiration. This song hit #2 in the UK, #3 in Canada but only #74 in the US. It also includes a bass guitar solo which was quite unusual for the time, played of course by John Entwistle. Credit also goes to the songs producer Shel Talmy, an American who previously did the Kinks song “You Really Got Me” and if you listen there’s a similarity between the tracks.

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

If you like my blog, please consider filling in the follow by email link at the top right hand of the page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not tracking in terms of anyone’s identity. For past blog posts click on the menu at the top right corner. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well or post it to your timeline on FB. And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Banned Songs

Banned Songs

Unless you’ve successfully insulated yourself from the media lately (at least in Canada and the U.S.) you have heard of the latest casualty of ‘social’ and or ‘political correctness’, as I write this “Baby it’s Cold Outside” is being dropped like a hot potato. I hope more rational heads will prevail but we’ll see; this may not be the last song on the list to be banned this season.

Originally from the movie “Neptune’s Daughter” written by someone who apparently should have known better; Frank Loesser who won an Academy Award in 1949 for this song (so they will need to be banned as well). As will the movie ‘Elf‘ where the song makes an appearance. It’s originally performed in the movie by the actors Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalbán (1949) and note in the video clip the roles are reversed with  Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. The first record release was by Don Cornell and Laura Leslie with Sammy Kaye and His Orchestra (1949). Just how it became a ‘holiday’ song I’m not too certain. Since recorded over 350 times.

Listen, I’m a husband and father of two girls (now young women) and I have always worried about them being safe. I just don’t think targeting songs like this is helping to make girls or women safer regardless of the fact that the #MeToo movement is doing a lot of good. We can’t lose sight of things like context, intention and the period of time songs were written. Banning is one way of saying this and other songs didn’t or shouldn’t exist, instead they should generate discussion and promote healthy exchanges between people (and not just men and women) and not simply ignored and erased. It’s a steep and slippery slope and without someone putting on the breaks just about anything becomes fair game, hence my not so tongue in cheek remark about banning the Academy Awards.
So, being a student of music history this banning business does not surprise me very much as there are thousands of songs that have been banned by one radio station or another, a network, city, state, country or countries over the years.  Most of these bans don’t last all that long as in most cases the reasons for banning them just don’t hold up over time and people just forget. Unless you get the ‘Fire Department’ al’a Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 on it, somebody’s going to have a copy and it’s going to get listened too!

There are (I think) some songs that truly need to be banned, those by people who have committed morally repugnant crimes ought not have a voice. On the other hand there are songs that have been subject to some restricted airplay, but can be heard not infrequently on certain radio and satellite/internet stations. One such example is a song by the famed rapper ‘Eminem’, I won’t name the song but the lyrics (as I understand) describe the protagonists plan to send ten of his ‘boys’ to take the virginity of his sister on her birthday. Seems songs like this might be a better target for banning than the above mentioned and I’m sure most would agree. There is a tendency I believe when political correctness (and Twitter) gets in the way of common sense and reason that the easy and ‘low hanging fruit’ gets picked off and the tough stuff gets ignored. I will focus on “Rap” music a bit as there is no shortage of songs with misogynistic, violent and racists lyrics that receive regular airplay. Everyone has their limits I suppose, profanity as an example in of itself is no cause to ban a song if it serves a purpose in conveying a message, but clearly inciting violence and hatred is not something we should be supporting.

When it comes to ‘bans’ and I’ve touched on this a bit in previous blog posts, with the exception of “Rap” no genre gets very much of a free pass. Here are some songs you may be surprised to find that they have been banned by someone for one reason or another.

Wake Up Little Susie” written by the husband and wife duo of Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant. Recorded by the Everly Brothers (1957). This song was deemed inappropriate because two young lovers although quite ‘innocently’ fell asleep while watching a movie didn’t wake up until 4 a.m.; spending the night together was quite taboo in 1957.
Behind Closed Doors” written by Kenny O’Dell, it was a hit song for Charlie Rich in 1973. With lyrics like “She’s never far away, Or too tired to say, I want you” and the whole idea I guess of “closed doors” was too much for some Country Music Stations. Nevertheless covered over 45 times, including Diana Ross (1973) and Loretta Lynn (1974).

Bring the Boys Home” recorded by Freda Payne (1971) written by Angelo Bond, General Johnson (Norman Earl Johnson and far as I know not an actual “General”) and Greg Perry. The Vietnam protest song was banned from American Forces Radio for fear it would “give aid and comfort to the enemy”. Covered only once that I can find by Jann Arden (2007).
“Deep in the Heart of Texas” music written by Don Swander, Lyrics by June Hershey. While there are several versions of this song the most egregious rendition banned by the BBC in the 1940’s was this one from Ted Weems and His Orchestra with Perry Como (1941). Deemed too ‘catchy’ officials were worried it would distract the factory workers.
One of my favorites in this category is “Louie Louie” written by Richard Berry and recorded by Richard Berry and The Pharaohs (1957). The offending version was by The Kingsman (1963). Indiana Governor Matthew Welsh declared the song “Pornographic” in 1964 which apparently led to an FBI and FCC investigation as well as several radio stations not playing the song. Turns out that the  semi-unintelligible lyrics in this version prompted a college student to make up his own lewd ones and distribute them to his friends. All this attention created a desire among musicians to re-record the song and people to listen to it, with dozens more versions in the sixties and whole dedicated compilation albums, we’re at over 150 versions and counting.

And men don’t have a lock on sexually suggestive songs, Olivia Newton John then billed just as ‘Olivia’ had a smash #1 hit and video with “Physical” (1981) written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick. Banned in many conservative communities such as Salt Lake City in Utah.  I for one resemble some of the participants in the video so I’m hoping for a resurgence in a ban on this one.

A playlist of all the videos.

References: https://secondhandsongs.com/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Pagehttps://www.songfacts.com/category/songs-that-were-banned.

If you like my blog, please consider entering your email in the ‘Subscribe’ button at the top of the home page. Remember to confirm the subscription when you get the first email. Confidentiality is assured unless you are a close friend or family member then all bets are off. While I can compile data from my blog it’s not ‘tracking’ in terms of anyone’s identity. Pass it along to a friend who might enjoy it as well! And many thanks as always for reading my blog!

Cover Songs and the Law

Cover Songs and the Law (copyright)
There have been plenty of lawsuits and or settlements over someone stealing someone else’s song, whether in whole or in part, intentionally or not. Apparently you just can’t be doing that type of thing. I touched on this a bit in previous blogs and there are many examples that I’m aware of (and many I’m not) plus a few more I picked up while doing research, so perhaps a part two or three?

Without getting too technical when it comes to a person wanting to do a cover song they do not need the permission of the owner(s) or writer(s) as the case may be, of the song. There is a thing called ‘Compulsory Licence’ in the U.S. and similar laws internationally under the ‘Berne Convention’ that requires compensation be paid to said owners. So in most countries you just need to credit and pay the people who own the song or the ‘publishing’ rights. I’ll blog about that part another time. Then there is the whole idea of  ‘sampling’ a song and how much of it you can use without having to credit the owners. Today I’m focusing on covers where payment and credit was not given originally.

Sometimes it is just the melody, sometimes lyrics, maybe a bit of both or, in the case of John Fogerty you can sound too much like yourself.😕

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