Smash hits from 60 years of great cover versions in performance from the BBC TV archive. Reinterpretations, tributes and acts of subversion from the British invasion to noughties X Factor finalist Alexandra Burke. Artists as varied as The Moody Blues, Soft Cell, Mariah Carey and UB40 with their ‘retake’ on someone else’s song – ultimate chart hits that are, in some cases, perhaps even better than the original.
Arguably The Beatles, alongside Bob Dylan and The Beach Boys, introduced the notion of ‘originality’ and self-generating artists writing their songs into the pop lexicon in the 60s. One of the most fascinating consequences of this has been the ‘original’ cover version, a reinterpretation of someone else’s song that has transformed it into pop gold with a shift of rhythm, intent and context. The pop cover has proved a remarkably imaginative and durable form and this compilation tracks this pop alchemy at its finest and most intriguing.
Ultimate Cover Versions at the BBC – Friday 8pm on BBC4