I am quite certain most who are reading this, which I suspect might be six, have at one time or another found themselves purchasing a compilation album of “hits”. Not that this is a bad thing. I am not criticizing it even though some of those albums do contain questionable hits. I mean a song that perhaps found its way onto the Billboard chart for a week in 1976 when the competition featured such classics as Afternoon Delight. I mean, really, a song about an extra-marital affair sung by people who dressed and looked like they were straight off the temperance wagon. I’m not even critiquing the song because that in itself would be laughable and I’m sure there is very little I could write that hasn’t already been written about it.
Anyway, the point of this, all bad songs aside, is the plethora of compilation albums one might find in any number of places on the Internet, in stores or simply laying in a trash can somewhere. Now the authenticity of the compilation is the question that comes to mind as so many that one might find at a “big box” store are not actually featuring the original recordings by the original artists. Yes, the title of the song and group are still listed on the album. However, many of the recordings are recent covers of the classic songs by some of the original members of a classic group from the past. That is why, if you have listened and wondered why it didn’t exactly sound the way you remembered it, the songs don’t sound the same.
Now I know there are those out there who’ll say, “Well that’s a good thing because it gives a new feel for an old song…” Great! Just what I wanted. I love hearing a new version of an old tune done three notes lower on the scale because the singer can’t hit the highs anymore. Actually, I shouldn’t be so cynical… Wait… I’m always cynical. If not for cynicism, I’d have little to write about. Okay, so I probably don’t have much to write about anyway. Can’t say that I disagree with you since I’m never one who sits down and maps out an article. But in this instance I write on behalf of those of you who may not be so conscious of that which goes on in the music world. For example, are you aware the Little River Band cannot do a live DVD of their concerts because of the infighting among the members of the group over the ownership of their hits? Do you know that there are bands in the world, many, many bands, who cover their own songs in order to make more money for themselves and cut out those who were part of making the history they think they now preserve?
There are so many sad examples of bands that honestly have become little more than tribute bands to themselves. How, for example, can any band call itself Styx without the most important member in the band’s history, Dennis De Young, being a part? How can a band call itself Journey when the single most important element in the groups success, lead singer Steve Perry isn’t in the band? Yes, some of the original members are there. That is true. But when you start replacing individuals you start to alter the sound and more importantly you change the dynamic that led to the success of the original line up. That can’t be replaced. Many groups have tried. None have succeeded. Sadly, again, it is the consumer who is duped by bands that linger far past their day in hopes of capitalizing on those who wish to relive a memory. The interest in the product isn’t what matters. The money is. The groups rerecord their own songs, release albums with the rereleases and have those songs replace the original songs on compilation albums to make sure they reap all the benefits from the music while those who actually made the music receive next to nothing. Could the bands have been successful without the key individuals? Journey struggled outside of the San Francisco Bay Area until Perry joined. Styx had many hits, however, most all of them were penned by DeYoung. So tell me, how can anyone in any group play songs by other people whom they have removed from the band for personal reasons and expect the audience to accept it because that’s what they want? Well, the truth is, it’s a prime example of everything that’s wrong with the world today. It’s all about the self. It’s not about the masses. It is not only alive in the music world but it’s alive in every world. Take from the unsuspecting all you can knowing they don’t have a choice and ultimately you have won the game.
It is what life has become… A game. And just as it is with any game, there are winners and losers. However, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be and if you feel the way I do you won’t patronize those who are playing on your board because they are only out for themselves.