Michael Coyle, Hijamcked hits and antic authenticity cover songs, race, and postwar marketing

The meaning of “cover record” is when a popular song was sung by a black person or group and it appealed to white pop chart. So they had a white person or group remake the song so that it could sell better to white people and that person or group could make money. Meanwhile it kept black music out of the white pop charts and blacks couldn’t make or perform in the white areas. White performers would also hijack a hit. This means you have a black artist who came out with the song first and a white artist with the same song and because the white artist is in the white market the song does better. These two actions in American history are horrible and wrong. Stealing someone’s work and covering it as if it was your own just because the color of that person skin. They worked hard on their music and nobody should be hijacking it or covering it up its just wrong and people aren’t getting the recognition that they deserve or the money that they were suppose to receive. How would you feel if you put your blood sweat and tears into a song and someone just came and stole it? All that work for nothing I myself would be livid. When songs were hijacked there were no concerns about artistic integrity or authenticity of what the song was saying. Later on Otis Redding helped mark the change in nature of black to white crossover dreams.

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4 Comments so far

  1.   Amy Herzog on November 14th, 2010

    In the 1950s, this form of hijacking was very common, and definitely rooted itself in the racism of the industry (and the wider culture). I do think there are other kinds of cover songs, though, both at the time (many artists did versions of songs already sung by others of the same race) and later. The question is when does the covering suggest a tribute, and when is it exploitation? And exploitation, as you make so clear, should make us all livid!

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