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#1
Old 03-07-2011, 08:18 AM
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Songs Performed By The "Original Artists"?

Many years ago, cheap pop msice albums were advertised in TV-they featured songs by the Rolling Stones, Beatles, etc.-except the music was actually done by studio groups (AKA 'The Original Artists").
Obviosly, this was done to avoid paying royalties-was this practice ruled illegal?
Some of the msic was actually quite good-I could not tell the difference, in some cases ("The Buckinhams" vs "The Spads").
#2
Old 03-07-2011, 09:06 AM
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You're mixed up. The "original artists" line was used in contrast with albums of covers.

It's not illegal if the names of the actual performers are used.

If you use the name of someone who doesn't actually perform on the recording, it's a violation of the Lanham Act, and probably several state laws as well.
#3
Old 03-07-2011, 09:14 AM
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The ones by "original artists" were compilations of existing songs, like the "Now That's What I Call Music" series today.

There were some knockoff albums of recent hits done by a cover band. In those cases, the names of the groups were not mentioned. If you looked closely, you'd see in small print words like "Performed by the Groovy Band."

In both cases, the producers were required to pay the artists. The cost might be less if they used a house band, since you'd just have to pay ASCAP fees; using the actual songs would require an additional payment to the record company/artists. People caught on to the "Groovy Band" scam very quickly and learned to buy the albums with the names of the artists on it, so the money saved only meant far worse sales. The practice seemed to die out by the mid-70s.
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#4
Old 03-07-2011, 09:19 AM
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No, it's true. There's also a manufacturing city just outside of Tapei called "Usa." That's where about 80% the MADE IN USA stuff comes from. Hand to god.
#5
Old 03-07-2011, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry Mudd View Post
No, it's true. There's also a manufacturing city just outside of Tapei called "Usa." That's where about 80% the MADE IN USA stuff comes from. Hand to god.
Maybe I'm being whooshed, but:
http://snopes.com/business/genius/usa.asp
#6
Old 03-07-2011, 09:45 AM
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As I recall, there were music albums that were cover versions of popular songs. The advertisements conveniently left out the fact that they were cover versions. People generally didn't fall for the ploy. Some company got the idea to name the cover band "The Original Artists," but it was quickly deemed to be deceptive. The tale may be apocryphal, though.
#7
Old 03-07-2011, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
The practice seemed to die out by the mid-70s.
I remember coming across several such compilation albums in the 90's, with current (90's) pop music. Actually, my college roommate bought one by mistake and when he popped it in the CD player back in the dorm we heard these lame cover versions of all the songs. We teased him about it for a long time, and I was always very careful to look for the artist listings whenever I bought a compilation album after that.
#8
Old 03-07-2011, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mcgato View Post
Some company got the idea to name the cover band "The Original Artists," but it was quickly deemed to be deceptive. The tale may be apocryphal, though.
I've heard the tale as well, but I agree that either it never happened or if it did happen it was quickly shut down for obvious deceptive practices.

Here's an album from 1972 that used "Original Artists" in the title, and they weren't covers. http://discogs.com/Various-20-Fa...elease/1420908

You sometimes would see pseudo-cover albums of re-recordings by whoever still owned the names to the bands, and one or two members of the band, but not the original recordings. They often were cheap and poor sounding albums and that may be the source of the urban legend.
#9
Old 03-07-2011, 10:56 AM
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Yeah, that is how I think of "Original Artist" albums too. A lot of them were cranked out by K-Tel. Often they were done by bands who had signed crappy contracts in the 1950s or 60s who got little or no royalties for their original record sales. So you find a few Troggs, or a Grass Root or two, thrown them into a studio with some session guys and crank through the hits in a day or two. The end result is basically like hearing a cover band that happens to have a few of the original members in it.

Ones done in the 70s and 80s often sounded "too new" - overproduced, or using synths. Somewhere along the way I bought a cheap "Sam and Dave" tape that was re-recordings. It sounded bright and soulless - two sins compared to the original Stax recordings.
#10
Old 03-07-2011, 11:30 AM
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Back in the Seventies, I used to see commercials for compilation albums of current hits... and the name I usually saw for the "group" that recorded those albums was The Sound Effects.
#11
Old 03-07-2011, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangent View Post
I remember coming across several such compilation albums in the 90's, with current (90's) pop music. Actually, my college roommate bought one by mistake and when he popped it in the CD player back in the dorm we heard these lame cover versions of all the songs. We teased him about it for a long time, and I was always very careful to look for the artist listings whenever I bought a compilation album after that.
You still see this with cheap box sets. (Wal-Mart seems to be the most popular place to buy these.) I agree, it's annoying when you find out you've been had.
#12
Old 03-07-2011, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tangent View Post
Actually, my college roommate bought one by mistake and when he popped it in the CD player back in the dorm we heard these lame cover versions of all the songs.
Same here--one of my college friends bought an album called "The Sounds of Jimi Hendrix", and didn't notice in the fine print, until he got home, that it was by a lame cover group called Foxy Experience. We never let him hear the end of it.

Regarding K-Tel, during the "golden age" (if there was such a thing) of K-tel in the 1970's, so far as I know, all of their albums were legit. They were usually lame songs, but at least they were the original recordings by the original artists.

According to this web site,
Quote:
After restructuring [in 1985], K-tel . . . released several unscrupulous oldies collections of hits re-recorded by groups with only one or two original members. Worst of all, K-tel re-released many of their greatest Seventies collections on CD with only 10 of the original 20 songs.
So it sounds like the shit started later, but the heavily promoted '70's compilations were legit.
#13
Old 03-07-2011, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MsRobyn View Post
You still see this with cheap box sets. (Wal-Mart seems to be the most popular place to buy these.) I agree, it's annoying when you find out you've been had.
I was going to mention this as well, because I often look for boxed sets of blues music in places like FYE, and I've found out the easy way to read the fine print. But I've also bought my share of crappy CDs by the likes of T-Bone Walker -- the songs were rerecorded in Paris in the 70s or someplace, and weren't recorded (or played) very well.
#14
Old 03-07-2011, 12:36 PM
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This also reminds me of a story in a local mag-it seems a guy in Detroit bought up the names of a lot of 50's and 60's rock/blues groups.
He now sets up studio bands under the old names, and sends them on tours (tapping the nostalgia market). In many cases, none of the original members are included.-it just doesn't seem honest to me.
#15
Old 03-07-2011, 12:41 PM
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In the late 90s, it was common for hit songs that weren't released as singles to be quickly covered by studio musicians. They released these covers under names similar to the original acts. For example, "Walking on the Sun" would be released by Smack (original by Smash Mouth). It still happens with acts who refuse to release individual songs to Itunes. I even read an article in Spin magazine a couple of years ago about the knockoff cover phenomenom.
#16
Old 03-07-2011, 12:46 PM
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Here's the article I was talking about.
#17
Old 03-07-2011, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
This also reminds me of a story in a local mag-it seems a guy in Detroit bought up the names of a lot of 50's and 60's rock/blues groups.
He now sets up studio bands under the old names, and sends them on tours (tapping the nostalgia market). In many cases, none of the original members are included.-it just doesn't seem honest to me.
Some states have tried to outlaw that under "Truth in Music" laws, advocated by Bowzer from Sha-Na-Na.

Recent court decisions suggest that such laws might be violations of the First Amendment and the Lanham Trademark Act.

(See Singer Management Consultants Inc. v. Milgram, No. 09-2238 (3d Cir. August 5, 2010))
#18
Old 03-07-2011, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Prelude to Fascination View Post
I was going to mention this as well, because I often look for boxed sets of blues music in places like FYE, and I've found out the easy way to read the fine print. But I've also bought my share of crappy CDs by the likes of T-Bone Walker -- the songs were rerecorded in Paris in the 70s or someplace, and weren't recorded (or played) very well.
When I did my show at the college radio station, I learned to like compilation albums because I could get a lot of songs without having to pay for whole albums. I also learned to look closely to make sure that I was buying original songs and not some cheesy knockoffs.
#19
Old 03-07-2011, 02:57 PM
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Here's a commercial for a 1976 compilation, the commercial bills it as "18 Golden Hits by the original Sound Effects."

Last edited by fiddlesticks; 03-07-2011 at 02:59 PM.
#20
Old 03-07-2011, 05:18 PM
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For that matter, Pete Best put together a band who released an album called Best of the Beatles.
#21
Old 03-07-2011, 05:47 PM
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This sort of thing still happens today, just in a slightly different way.

If a new song has premiered but hasn't been released to iTunes yet, you'll often find session singer covers with knock-off artwork in the store, and that cheapo version will show up when you search for the song in question. There have been cases where the knockoff has actually appeared on the iTunes charts because people were buying it due to the original not being available. This has been going on for years but record companies are only just now (like, in the last few weeks) realising they need to do something about this and are doing what they call "on air, on sale", which means that as soon as a song premieres, it will be released to digital retailers, so that if people want to pay for it they can and don't have to download the song illegally. This has the added benefit of making the cheapo versions useless, because iTunes doesn't allow songs to be discounted, hence the cover is almost always the same price as the superior original.

Last edited by multimediac17; 03-07-2011 at 05:50 PM.
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