Covers and Cultural Appropriation

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It’s been a major issue since American popular music first expanded its sonic territory from traditional country and folk songs: the cultural appropriation of sounds, and even entire pieces, that became more marketable (and thus lucrative) once they were performed by a “safer” white voice.

The instances of this phenomenon are countless, but okayplayer. has made a top ten in an attempt to scratch the surface of the issue and the great shadow role appropriation has played in our cultural understanding of the history of rock and roll—spoiler: it definitely includes Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.”


Liz Wood is a freelance editor, fiction writer, and current student in the NYU MFA program. More from this author →