New Version of the Old Song

I have two children who are still minors. They’re not super young at 9 and 13, but they’re young enough that we see kids movies. I’ve noticed in a couple of movies, they’ve had reworked versions of old songs that I’ve really really liked.

Last year, I knew I wanted to see Kubo and the Two Strings immediately after hearing the cool version of My Guitar Gently Weeps that went with it. (below)

This is a Beatles song, and they’re such great musicians that I could probably sing their song and it would sound fine. But this version, for whatever reason, really wowed me in the theater. The original My Guitar Gently Weeps is obviously very good,  too.

And last week, I saw Sing with my daughter, and was completely blown away by Jennifer Hudson’s cover of Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (also a Beatles song).

I just loved Jennifer’s version. However, I will say, the original song was not among my top five picks for Abby Road songs, so it’s possible I loved the new version so much because I didn’t really squarely love it in its original form. (Golden Slumbers is easily over shadowed as Abby Road includes Come Together, Something, Here Comes the Sun and The End)

And that’s the interesting thing about remakes and whether they work or not.  People try them all the time–in music, books, and film. They take an old concept and try to re-do it. Most times, though, it doesn’t work (think the US Box office for the 2012 Total Recall remake). Sometime people so adored the first one that they they have no room in their heart to find love for the new version, or it simply cannot compare to what they viewed as perfection in the old one.  For example, I only want to hear Nat King Cole’s version of A Christmas Song or Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas (Sorry, Mary J).

Sometimes the response is just, meh. I sort of feel this way about  Train’s new song, Play That Song, which basically adds a little twist to the old standby Heart & Soul.  (I don’t hate the Train song, but every time I hear it, I just think Heart & Soul and have trouble thinking of it as its own song).

And then sometimes a reimagination, or new version fires on all cylinders and it’s totally beloved. The artist manages to take something that we thought we knew and make it seem new and fresh and beautiful in its own way. And that’s really fantastic.

So what artistic endeavors (be they songs, books, or movies) have you really enjoyed the new twist on lately?

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at
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