Got an interesting note the other day from friend of no notes Alex Rawls, who is doing a little research for a writing project: He’s thinking about covers and originals, and how in some cases there is a sort of ur-original, against which all covers are judged.
“SJI” doesn’t exactly fit that category, I don’t think. The Armstrong version has a certain primacy in my mind, but I think the typical listener hears one of the many versions of “SJI,” s/he doesn’t necessarily make involuntary comparisons with that particular take. Whereas, if you were to hear a cover of “Satisfaction,” I’m pretty sure you’d be measuring it against the Stones original. (I might think of that because I’ve always though Devo’s cover of that very song brilliantly exploited this tendancy.)
Anyway this is a great subject and I’ve been pondering it ever since Mr. Rawls brought it up. That said, what he really wanted to know is whether I’d read anything good/thoughtful/insightiful on this topic of covers and originals and ur-originals, and I had to admit I couldn’t think of anything.
Can you? If so reply in the comments, or reach out to Mr. Rawls at firstname.lastname@example.org.