Thursday, March 27, 2008

More on Cook's Covers of Covers

I was farting around on YouTube last night during the results show (adios, Chikezie) and found some of the "original" cover arrangements of the songs David Cook has been using on American Idol. (If you're reading on Bloglines or via an RSS feed, click through to view the videos)

Here's Incubus doing Lionel Richie's "Hello"

And David Cook's version from Idol's Top 16 show:

Here's Chris Cornell performing his now infamous "Billie Jean" cover during a 2007 concert appearance.

And David Cook's performance of the same version from Tuesday night's show.

Seattle band Doxology, the artists behind the arrangement of "Eleanor Rigby" that Cook sang on the March 11 show and subsequently recorded for iTunes, issued this statement on their official MySpace page following Cook's performance:

Doxology Speaks Out on American Idol’s / David Cook’s Outright Music Piracy

Seattle, WA – March 14, 2008: After much deliberation, Doxology is releasing a statement to the press. There are many reasons that the Seattle area band feels it is necessary to shed some light on recent events. First and foremost, Doxology is not angry with David Cook or American Idol. They are, however, troubled by the lack of public acknowledgement that the arrangement of "Eleanor Rigby," used by David Cook on American Idol’s March 11, 2008 episode and its’ subsequent iTunes studio recording, is a near note-for-note copy of a unique demo arrangement recorded by Doxology in 2006. The band feels that David is a great performer, and they are also supporters and fans of American Idol (Blake Lewis, a good friend of the band, was last season’s American Idol runner up). Secondly, Doxology is in disagreement with Idol’s decision to post David Cook’s performance and studio recording on iTunes. This allows American Idol to profit from the David Cook, March 11th performance and studio recording, without crediting the source for the recording’s arrangement. This is not the first time American Idol has had to deal with this type of issue. During season 5 of Idol, Chris Daughtry used an arrangement from a band without crediting his source. To listen to Doxology’s original demo recording of "Eleanor Rigby" and additional original song selections visit

Quote from Doxology lead vocalist Luke McPherson: "Our main issue is that when given the opportunity to speak up and reveal where the arrangement came from, David Cook did not. His silence on the issue implies that the arrangement is his own. It is not." Luke goes on to say, "We were even more surprised when the studio recording, released Thursday morning, was even more of a note-for-note instrumental copy of Doxology’s recording. I want to be clear. We are not seeking royalties. That’s not what this is about. The compensation we are asking for is the easiest and least expensive around – we, at minimum, want David Cook and/or American Idol to admit that the arrangement he performed on March 11th, and then went into the studio and recorded for immediate sale, was not only inspired by, but almost completely carbon copied from our arrangement. We just want David Cook and American Idol to do the right thing and acknowledge these facts. It’s that simple."

A sampling of Doxology's recording of Eleanor Rigby is also available on their MySpace page. Give it a listen. And lest you think these guys are just anti-Idol, they're good friends of last year's runner-up..."Beat-Box" Blake Lewis.

I enjoy Cook's performances and think he's a talented musician, but it's pretty vile not to give these artists the proper credit for their work.
Not to mention that the Simon-Randy-Paula triumverate, supposedly the industry experts here, have failed to highlight in their commentary that these arrangements were not authored by Cook. This sin of omission leads the audience to believe that they are indeed Cook's creations and it is, no doubt, reflected in the voting.

The plot thickens. I'm curious to see how the producers will handle Cook the next time he pulls another band's cover version out of his hat.


StB said...


jremotigue said...

Wow. I didn't realize all this until your posts. But I did notice that last night Randy referenced that the last performance used Chris Cornell's arrangement.

StB said...

I think DP's gay level just went up a couple percentage points.

amy said...

I realize this may be TMI: I sort of doubt that Doxology has a legal claim as I suspect they do not have a copyright for their arrangement. According to the 1976 Copyright Act, an arrangement can only be covered by a copyright if the arranger has written consent from the copyright holder of the original work. Even if they had an arrangement copyright, that doesn't necessarily protect them in cases of performances - but primarily prohibits others from selling (sheet music) with their arrangement. More tidbits like this can be found in The Business of Music: A Practical Guide to the Music Industry, Writers, Record Companies, Producers, Artists, Agents

jusdealem said...

I remember hearing David Cook say that he surfs itunes for inspiration and different arrangements on song picks. I guess not everyone heard that?

Also, the songs are introduced as "So and so's version" by Ryan or in the pre-song tape...Whitesnake, Cris Cornell, etc. It doesn't seem, at least to me anyway, that he's trying to take credit for any of these arrangements, only that he's willing to put these lesser known versions out there and try to make them work in the AI format.