Why Are So Many People Losing Their Mind Upon Discovering This Song is a Cover?

Back when I was spinning CDs on the radio in 1997, former Australian soap star Nathalia Imbruglia had a hit with a song called “Torn” from her debut record, Left of the Middle. It’s a pleasant pop song that found purchase on alt-rock radio stations across North America before crossing over to pop.

The song also came up for discussion with The Ongoing History of New Music where I pointed out that the song wasn’t an original but a cover. Natalie fell in love with a version by a band called Ednaswap which was released about two years earlier. This was one of two versions recorded by Ednaswap.

That version itself was a cover of a 1993 song called “Braendt,” which is Danis for “burned.” It was written by Scott Cutler, Anne Preven and Phil Thornalley (two of whom landed in Ednaswap; and yes, Phil was an ex-member of The Cure) and recorded by Lis Sørensen.

There was also a version by Trine Rein of Norway.


Recently, though, the fact that Imbruglia’s “Torn” is a cover (times three!) seems to have freaked out the Internet. Here’s just a sample.

Hey, it’s always a great day to discover something new about music. But what I can’t figure out is why the Internet has melted down as the result of this revelation. Twitter has gone into some kind of toxic shock. Am I missing something?

Ednaswap tells the story of the song here. Natalie talks about the controversy here.

Imagine what’ll happen to these kids when they hear that Marilyn Manson’s “Tainted Love” isn’t an original.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

6 thoughts on “Why Are So Many People Losing Their Mind Upon Discovering This Song is a Cover?

  • August 29, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I think the reason Twitter’s having a meltdown (and why we North Americans generally had no clue that it was a cover) is because the other versions are from non-North American sources. Hence the West’s collective cultural knowledge of the song started with Natalie Imbruglia’s version and now that it’s proven to be a cover it’s like we don’t even know what’s the truth is any longer. Next you’ll be telling me that Gary Jules didn’t write “Mad World”. 😉

  • August 29, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    I remember 13 year old me listening to Nirvana’s Bleach and one day finding my mom’s Shocking Blue record with a song called Love Buzz.

  • August 29, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    …and that Soft Cell’s 1981 version of “Tainted Love” is also a cover.

    Even as late as my late thirties, (now a decade ago, sigh), I was discovering that some of my beloved ’80s and ’90s songs were actually covers:
    – “Higher Ground” (Stevie Wonder covered by Red Hot Chili Peppers)
    – “Ball of Confusion” (The Temptations covered by Love and Rockets)
    – “The Day Before You Came” (Abba covered by Blancmange)
    – “Suspicious Minds” (Elvis covered by Fine Young Cannibals)

    And last, but not least, “You Were Always On My Mind”. Everyone knows that the Pet Shop Boys covered Willie Nelson, but I didn’t realize that Willie was actually covering Elvis.

    • August 29, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      I knew about You Were Always On My Mind, but had no idea about Ball of Confusion.

      My relatively recent surprise was finding out Lush covered The Gist for Love At First Sight. The original came up on Spotify Discover.

  • August 29, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    How about Girls Just Wanna Have Fun? That one blew my mind. Or I Love Rock and Roll?

  • November 1, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Spotify Discover just blew my mind again. I had no idea Primal Scream’s Slip Inside This House was a cover of the 13th Floor Elevators … appropriately 60s psychedelica.


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