When a song gets released as a single, there’s a good chance someone will want to cover it somewhere down the line. It’s something that goes with the territory in the music industry. If you sample a song, you take parts of the song, blend it with your own originality, and boom, there’s a new song. If you cover it, you respect the initial song and simply rerecord it with some new flares.
If you talk to Neil Young, you’re probably not going to do either. In fact, he’ll straight out deny any requests to sample his music. When new artist Redlight King approached Young about sampling his 1972 hit “Old Man,” he was denied multiple times.
When it comes to sampling or covering, it can be a sticky situation with all the legalities, royalties and claims. “Under Pressure”/ “Ice Ice Baby” anyone? Done the right way though, maybe with some “Every Breathe You Take”/ “I’ll Be Missin’ You,” both the original and new songs can be Billboard toppers.
Persistence pays off though. “When he hears it he’s going to feel it. I kept putting it out there, finally it got to him and he said yes,” said Redlight King front man Kaz to reporters. This past April, he released his new single “Old Man” as a reverence to his own father, and simply an honor to a great musician.
“The mix of rap with a bluegrass twang in the background was innovative…a creative approach that I’d say is daring and unique,” said Seton Hill University (SHU) sophomore Rachel Laux.
The song’s pretty catchy. You’ll recognize Young’s classic guitar drawl and chorus blended with King’s novel rap with a new beat and feel. The song parallels the evolution of the industry. There are countless other musicians who are the fathers of what music is now side-by-side artists of today, like Redlight King.
“I feel that if a song has a good meaning behind it but it is ‘out of date’ then it’s okay for the song to be covered…the song will be able to live on in new generations,” says SHU sophomore Chris Boucher.
It’s a cry from our generation to theirs saying, “Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you.” This song bridges a gap between 70s southern rock and today’s sound.
It’s genius really.