How Not to Do a Cover Version

I’m not picking on The Beautiful South in this thread, honestly.

I loved The Housemartins, and had a similar affection for The Beautiful South, buying all of their early albums (I will wax lyrical about them when the time comes) and arguing with pretty much everyone I know that they’re not as awful as they think; pretty much everyone I know curls a lip at the mere mention of their name.

For a start, I think Paul Heaton is one of the best lyricists that Britain has produced in the last 30 years, and has one of the most astounding voices I’ve ever heard to go with it. And, as I will demonstrate at a later date, musically The Beautiful South always seemed to me to be going where The Housemartins, had they survived, were heading anyway.

But when you release an album of reworked cover versions, and one of them is so shit you don’t include it on the album but elect to tuck it away on what used to be known as a B-side of a single that nobody bought anyway, then I’m afraid it needs to be pointed out.

The cover version:


The Beautiful South – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

And the as perfect as can be original:


The Smiths – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

More soon.

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2 thoughts on “How Not to Do a Cover Version”

  1. I beg to differ comrade.

    I think this cover works for the simple fact that it is all so tongue-in-cheek. If you didn’t know the original, you’d think that it was a jaunty and rather wonderful Heaton composition.

    1. Now, let’s not fall out, JC….! Though I agree with what you say about how easily one could think it was a Heaton-penned tune if you didn’t know the original…the problem is that I do know the original! It’d take a whacking great blow to the head, or a sustained ingestion of Class A’s for me to be able to forget it (I have tried one of these solutions, for entirely different reasons…) Anyway, to paraphrase the announcer on the 1970’s Tarbuck hosted game show “Winner Takes All”, let’s agree to disagree. Be mightily boring if we all thought the same, right?

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