Pat Boone’s last laugh: Cover versions and the performance of knowledge

Nadav Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The ‘cover version’ is a quintessential yet problematic popular music phenomenon. Endemic to a cultural form in which authenticity is a central value, it also calls authenticity into question by problematizing common notions of creativity and originality. This article investigates the practice of the cover version from a socio-epistemological perspective, inquiring as to the way that knowledge is performed through it. While the romantic mythology of the creative artist attributes the musician’s inspiration to an elusive ‘feel’, the cover version threatens to expose the formalized knowledge that lies behind the façade of pure intuition. Thus, when recording cover versions, musicians often take care to perform their knowledge in specific ways that allow them to reassert an air of unexplainable creativity. These various strategies are detailed and analyzed throughout the article in order to introduce and demonstrate a new theoretical framework for analyzing the relations between knowledge, performance, and cultural production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-454
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s) 2017.


  • authenticity
  • cover versions
  • genre
  • hipness
  • irony
  • knowledge
  • parody
  • performance
  • popular music
  • socio-epistemology


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