Four Songs by White (American or British) country, pop, and gospel artists that have been covered by African American artists

Gia Tejeda, Christine Bynum, Ayiana McDow, Tristan Coren, Ta’Niyah Armstrong, Deja Johnson, Kelaiah Dixon, and Kassandra Grullon




Dolly Parton’s 1974 original version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ was categorized as Country before it’s more known Whitney Houson cover. In 2010, as a part of ‘The Bodyguard’ soundtrack, the song would be released and relabeled as an R&B or soul song. In this version, Houston’s vocals are more lively and soulful in comparison to Parton’s. In comparison to Parton’s more acapella and guitar based song, Houston introduced more instruments. The song relies heavily on brass instruments such as the saxophone, as well as other instruments like the piano and violin. Parton’s original version had a more sentimental tone, considering there were parts where she spoke words instead of singing them. However Houston made up for this by including the iconic bridge part of the song, where she incorporated high notes as multiple riffs and runs.

In the original version of ‘Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, he almost immediately begins reciting the lyrics  in a deep monotone as the music begins. As Jennifer Hudson begins her cover of the song, she waits a couple seconds as the melody of the song begins to play, before singing a few opening notes. Cohen continues to sing very steadily, and monotone pronouncing each lyric, while Hudson takes her time moving through the song with a very rich tone, sometimes belting the lyrics. While both artist are preforming live Cohen’s band sounds almost heavier than Hudson’s. Where the two differ is how Cohen is accompanied by a organ, electric guitar and bass and Hudson by a piano and choir. 

The original version of 1 ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ is a rock song that was released by the Beatles in 1966. A R&B/Soul cover was then made by an African American band Earth Wind and Fire in 1978. Both versions of the song use a variety of brass instruments creating an upbeat tone. The Beatles’ version has more of a  Motown sound  while Earth Wind and Fire’s version is more soulful.  In Earth Wind and Fire’s version there are more instrumental solos which pay homage to the sound of the brass instruments than in the Beatles version. 

The original version of “Feeling Good” was originally written for the musical The Roar of The Greasepaint — The Smell of the Crowd. It was first performed in the year of 1964 on broadway. Anthony Newley’s version is subtle compared to Nina Simone’s version. Nina Simone recorded “Feeling Good” for her 1965 album I Put a Spell on You. The leading rhythm in Simone’s version is the drums and piano. However, her voice is the soul for feeling good. In comparison to Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good” version, the leading instrument is jazz leading with four saxes, three trumpets, and three trombones. Furthermore, it includes optional parts for flute, clarinet, F horn and tuba. While each version has its own feel, they are also unique and can’t really be compared to another. 

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