Under the Covers

By Michael Stevenson

Occasionally an artist remakes a classic film or an iconic song, and the effort makes me wonder, “why bother in the first place?” I’ve always felt that it makes more sense to remake lousy movies or records, and try to make these into something halfway decent.

Why remake a masterpiece such as Hitchcock’s Psycho, or James Ivory’s A Room With a View? Wouldn’t it be better to remake Cameron Crowe’s recent films  – Elizabethtown, We Bought a Zoo, and Aloha – and make these something watchable?  And why would a singer make a record titled “[insert name here] Sings Frank Sinatra” or “[insert name here] Sings Patsy Cline”?

Sometimes the Cover or Remake Works

Philip Kaufman’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers was superior to the 1956 original, as was Coen Brothers’ version of True Grit. The Wizard of Oz that we all know and love (1939) was actually a remake of a 1925 bomb. As for music, the late Joe Cocker recorded a song off the Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers, and made it his own. The Beatles themselves forever swiped “Twist and Shout” from the Isley Bothers.

Forgive my Rachel Maddow-like preamble, but I now present Rodolphe Burger’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” – a ballsy and brilliant remake of one of the most iconic songs belonging to a true American music legend.

Give it a listen and tell me – what do you think

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