I was told the Glee version of Dream On was better than the original Aerosmith version. As an Aerosmith fan I found this hard to fathom but I tried to keep an open mind. After listening to both I stuck with the original. After all, I knew the original. It was comfortable. It was mine.
The person touting the Glee version hadn’t heard the Aerosmith version in years – couldn’t have cared less about it. The Glee version she experienced while watching the show and so attached emotionally not just to the song itself but to the visual experience of the show that she will forever associate with their version of the song. For her, the Glee version will always seem better.
I think this speaks volumes about how to capture an audience through a remake. (I wrote something similar before about movies.)
The segment of audience who doesn’t care about the original will love whatever version you put in front of them. Those who love the original will never be swayed by a more perfect version. Don’t try to replicate Steven Tyler’s (Aerosmith’s lead singer) style. The fans will never buy that.
So to capture everyone, make it completely different. Use a female instead of a male voice. Play the song in a punk or a rap version.
Don’t be afraid. Be different.