A tribute album is a recorded collection of cover versions of songs or instrumental compositions. Its concept may be either various artists making a tribute to a single artist, a single artist making a tribute to various artists, or a single artist making a tribute to another single artist.
There have been tributes or covers recorded since before the first albums became technically feasible; Enrico Caruso's 1907 recordings of Ruggero Leoncavallo's opera Pagliacci are one early example. The birth of the 'modern' tribute album is often credited to record producer Hal Willner with the Amarcord Nino Rota LP in 1981. He followed up with tributes to Thelonious Monk, Disney cartoons, Kurt Weill, Charles Mingus and Harold Arlen.
Some tribute albums are created with a further conceptual twist than a simple collection of covers. These include:
- Albums which aid the artist whose work is being covered. These include Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye: A Tribute to Roky Erickson, whose cult fame has not led to financial success, as well as the 2CD Orphans of God, a tribute to Mark Heard, a singer/songwriter whose work has been praised by fellow artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Victoria Williams, Sam Phillips and T-Bone Burnett. Victoria Williams is also the subject of such a tribute CD, titled Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams.
- Albums consisting of one artist performing only songs by another artist, such as Great Zeppelin, a tribute album for Led Zeppelin, performed solely by Great White or Wicked Grin, a collection of Tom Waits songs performed by John Hammond Jr.. The Persuasions, The Inmates, Les Fradkin, The Smithereens, Laibach and Overboard have each recorded tribute CDs entirely consisting of songs by The Beatles.
- Albums consisting of cover songs performed in a different style of music than that of their original performers. These include Is It Rolling Bob?: A Reggae Tribute to Bob Dylan and Goth Oddity 2000: A Tribute to David Bowie, as well as the Pickin' On… and String Quartet series of instrumental artist tributes done bluegrass and classical style, respectively. Other examples include reggae, Cuban and ambient lounge compilations consisting solely of songs by The Beatles, such as the a cappella album Help! by the group Overboard. Another good example is The Songs of West Side Story, a compilation of 1990s style covers of songs from Leonard Bernstein's musical West Side Story that was released by RCA Victor and features prominent artists of the time, such as Salt-n-Pepa, Michael McDonald, Chick Corea, and even non-musical guests such as The Jerky Boys.
- Albums which recreate a specific album with cover versions of songs from that album. These include Legacy: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Booker T. & the M.G.'s' McLemore Avenue, which covers all the songs from The Beatles' Abbey Road, Les Fradkin "Pepper Front To Back" which covers the entire "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album as a CD of guitar instrumental rock and More Oar: A Tribute to Alexander "Skip" Spence, which recreates Spence's only album Oar.
- Albums consisting of cover songs sung in another language. These include Tributo a the Cure - Porque No Puedo Ser Tu (1999) and Tributo a Queen: Los Grandes del Rock en Español (1997).
- Albums consisting of cover songs performed by artists who influenced the band being covered, rather than those influenced by that band. These include Sharin' in the Groove: Celebrating the Music of Phish.
- Albums made to commemorate the loss of a cherished artist. These include So Amazing: A Tribute to Luther Vandross, recorded shortly after his death.
Some albums titled and marketed as "tributes" to well-known musical figures are effectively sound-alikes or knock-offs, recorded by anonymous session musicians or performers of no distinction.
Other articles related to "album, tribute album, tribute":
... now appears as a bonus on the CD reissue of their 1979 album The Incredible Shrinking Dickies ... New Trier High School) is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records ... Banana on the 2005 cartoon tribute album "Complete Balanced Breakfast." A cover of "Don't Go Away Go-Go Girl" by pop-punk band Mr ...
... Year Song Comments 1989 "Winterlong" from Neil Young tribute album The Bridge 1990 "Born in Chicago" Paul Butterfield Blues Band cover, from Rubáiyát compilation 1991 "I Can't Forget. 1998 "Wild Honey Pie" The Beatles cover, from Pixies at the BBC live album 2004 "Ain't That Pretty At All" from Warren Zevon tribute album Enjoy Every ...
... In 1967 Skeeter Davis released her tribute album Skeeter Davis Sings Buddy Holly featuring the song ... Nearly three decades later, in 1996, Connie Francis released her very similar tribute album With Love To Buddy featuring the song too ... the song include Status Quo on their album Don't Stop in 1996, and Don McLean on his album Starry Starry Night in 2001 ...
... Marvin Is 60 A Tribute Album is the second tribute album dedicated to Motown recording artist Marvin Gaye, released by Motown in 1999 ... The album featured covers of Gaye's hits including "Sexual Healing", "Your Precious Love" and "Distant Lover" ... and Gerald Levert took part in paying tribute to Gaye, all of whom considered the singer one of their biggest influences ...
Famous quotes containing the words album and/or tribute:
“What a long strange trip its been.”
—Robert Hunter, U.S. rock lyricist. Truckin, on the Grateful Dead album American Beauty (1971)
“In the hope that it may be no intrusion upon the sacredness of your sorrow, I have ventured to address you this tribute to the memory of my young friend, and your brave and early fallen child. May God give you that consolation which is beyond all earthly power.”
—Abraham Lincoln (18091865)