Thursday, December 27, 2007


Naked Eyes' 'Always something there to remind me' was the first time he really considered the nature of a cover version. Sure, he had liked cover versions before that one, but it hadn't been apparent to him that there were earlier versions by other artists.

The patron saint of pop music, Casey Kasem did a segment about 'Always something' on American Top 40 one week when the song was on the countdown. He stated that the song had already been covered something like three dozen times, and played clips from half a dozen earlier versions. He was astonished. Naked Eyes had done something truly revolutionary; how on earth had they conceived such a radical new way of performing that song?

It was much later that he realized the important role covers play in the progression of popular music. Modern music, like modern art and modern literature, is to one degree or another a constant reworking of material that already exists. A cover (or copy, or retelling) might be one of the most explicit forms of reworking material, but it exists on a continuum of influence, where just the way an instrument is held can show the impact of a predecessor.

He has said that a bad cover only makes one long to hear the original, whereas a successful cover brings something new to the song, so it stands on its own and lives on its own terms. 'Always something there to remind me' easily passes this test; it is a fitting introduction.