You Can’t Do That To That Song! It’s Just Not Right…….

After last week’s Hayseed Dixie gig I showed some of my video footage to Boy Child.

He threw his hands up in horror and declared emphatically that certain classic rock songs should be “listed” in a similar way to buildings.

He may be on to something here.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, if a building is “listed” in the UK it cannot be demolished, extended or altered without special permission from the relevant authorities. I believe many other countries have similar legislation covering buildings of historic interest.

In Scotland, there are three categories of “listed” buildings depending on their significance – A, B and C listed.

An example of a Class A listed building would be the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, a Class B example is the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and a Class C example is my favourite haunt, the O2 ABC, Glasgow.

You get the picture, right?

So, if this theory of classification were to be applied to rock songs what would/should be classified as “Listed”?

Do you put an age caveat on eligibility? For example, does the song have to be over ten years old?

Do you categorise it by the number of copies the original sold?

Or the number of downloads on iTunes?

This could get complicated!

Let’s keep it simple for starters, shall we?

Class A listed songs – ones that should never be messed with but may be covered with permission as long as the cover version remains true to the original.

Top of my list would be “Bohemian Rhapsody”. When I asked Boy Child to name his Class A songs he instantly replied “Everything by Led Zeppelin.” I’m sure many of you would agree, I may however be a bit more precise. I’m sure there are a few B’s and C’s in there!

Class B listed songs– ones that may be covered with a modicum of deviation away from the original.

I’d include “Sweet Child O’Mine” in this list, despite the fact it may be my all time favourite song. There are only a handful of vocalists who can do this song justice! A perfect example of an ideal Class B version would be the treatment this song is given by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. (note- I still prefer the original)

Class C listed songs – could be altered to a greater degree, with the original act’s explicit consent. This one is harder to choose an example for!

The first song that springs to mind is “London Calling” by The Clash. This was covered last year by Brent Smith and Zach Myers of Shinedown. Their acoustic version of this classic track is significantly different to the original but still retains the song’s identity.

Ok I’ve started the lists – which songs would you add?

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One response to “You Can’t Do That To That Song! It’s Just Not Right…….

  1. I agree with you about Bohemian Rhapsody. I would put a lot of Fleetwood Mac in the B category: by all means cover the song but don’t mess with it too much. I like Halestorm’s Gold Dust Woman, and Eva Cassidy’s Songbird. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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