On The Cover, Part 1 : Thesis

In which Graham frets, again …

John: was ‘fret’ an intentional pun?

… about matters perhaps best left to the other chap, but still, Graham stumbled across a thesis about books made into films – that the remake may be better than the source. Bad books make better movies, that kind of thing. You’re going to make a better movie…

The most commonly cited examples of good films made from not-good books are “The Godfather,” “Jaws” and “The Bridges of Madison County.” Many critics were surprised at the quality of the first “Twilight” film, directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Others point to “Children of Men,” which was based on an indifferent science fiction novel by mystery author P.D. James.

And he began to muse –

John: before you even start to ‘muse’ … … what exactly do we mean by ‘good’? … and yes I am talking about Bridges Over Madison County … fan as I am, of Mr. Eastwood.

Graham: …, sorry, the train of thought was halted briefly by that same statement - but why let evidence spoil a perfectly good assertion?)

… if the movie is a cover version of the book, what about music? Is the cover version ever better? Well…

Graham admits to a very soft spot for Mr Young, and not just for the socio-political Right-On-ness. And his original has him, Nils Lofgren, and that Young passion. But Mr Ferry has staging, backup singers, sweatiness, orchestration, long sax solos, backup singers – he takes it, in this Chap’s eyes (and quite a bit ears).


Leaving aside the nasty rumors about the provenance and “mission” of Ace of Base, it really is just pretty average sub-disco.  But then this little garage band from Toronto comes and blows it out of the water (see provenance, above), as

dance rock with a party edge.

They take it, by a long way, in this Chap’s book. But now the judgment becomes a little more difficult. Do we prefer Jagger, Richards & Co’s admittedly fun, slightly risqué and (fairly) blues-rocky, but also fairly mainstream, original?

Or do the disruptive edginess, hard rhythms and downright strangeness of the Devo version make a better claim to fame?

This Chap says it does, and this Chap says the heck with it. So far so good – thesis satisfactorily proved, by Chap’s own lights. But good researcher that he is (thanks again, Tom!), Chap now proceeds to tear down own thesis … In Part II, that is…

The Other Chap

… has little to add at this point … but you know he will … In Part II. that is ..

Graham: hell of an echo in here!

March 30, 2017