Better Than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version

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Better Than the Original: The Joy of the Cover Version
Friday 12:05am - 1:05am BBC Four


Although often considered unnecessary forgeries, banged out as fillers or to make a quick buck, some cover versions mine a seam that remained invisible to the original writers. "Extracting originality from the art of imitation," as the intro to tonight's feature doc neatly puts it.

Better than the Originals... is the turntable upon which a night of covers-related programming revolves, running the gamut from The House of the Rising Sun to Tainted Love and beyond. It's another winner, with particularly enjoyable insights from singer/songwriter Nerina Pallot.


The role of the cover in the pop industry, investigating what it takes to reinvent someone else's hit and following the stories behind 10 cover songs, tracking how artists as varied as the Moody Blues, Soft Cell, Puff Daddy and Alexandra Burke have topped the charts with their retake on someone else's song. Contributors include John Cale, Gloria Jones, Marc Almond, Rick Rubin, Faith Evans and Nerina Pallot. Narrated by Meera Syal.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Meera Syal
Contributor John Cale
Contributor Gloria Jones
Contributor Marc Almond
Contributor Rick Rubin
Contributor Faith Evans
Contributor Nerina Pallot
Director David Vincent
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
Producer David Vincent
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Documentary Music