Time to take ‘Cover’

The back of a new book notes that “cover songs have evolved from copycat recordings to a form of unique creative expression.”

And that premise is explored in a most entertaining fashion in “Cover Me: The Stories Behind the Greatest Cover Songs of All Time” by Ray Padgett (Sterling Publishing, $22.95).

Padgett, a New York-based music journalist and publicist, founded the blog “Cover Me” in 2007 – and has now written this book, billed as the first to tell the history of these songs.

With in-depth looks at nearly 20 cover songs, “Cover Me” takes readers on a musical journey accompanied by songs ranging from Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog,” a Big Mama Thornton cover, to Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” his haunting spin on the Nine Inch Nails song that prompted NIN founder Trent Reznor to say, “That song isn’t mine anymore.”

In addition, readers also hear about works by The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Patti Smith, the Pet Shop Boys – and, of course, “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Sure, cover versions may be considered a sometimes-quirky component of the music world, but for those who love ’em – or simply love reading about musical history – “Cover Me” makes a fitting holiday gift.

For more, visit sterlingpublishing.com.

– Mary Shustack

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