My Favorite Covers: Making Dedication
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
In 2017, a guy uploaded a cassette copy of an alternative rock song he recorded on a tape from the radio in 1989. He didn’t know the artist or title. So he made a video with the song, asking people on the Internet if they knew the song.
Based on the baritone vocal of the lead singer, many users suggested that the song was a long-lost track from the Smiths or Morrissey's solo career. That was my first thought too when I heard the song!
Others suggested British alternative bands like The Wild Swans.
None of those theories were right.
That song, which we called Personal because of the repeated last word of the chorus, became very popular in the lost music community I’m a part of on Discord. Myself included. It's catchy as hell and the lyrics are beautiful too! The jangly nature of the guitars reminded me of a lot of jangle pop and alternative music I used to hear on Flashback Alternatives too. (Flashback Alternatives is an online radio station that plays deep cuts from the 80s and 90s. This place was the soundtrack to my college years. And it's still around too!)
Unfortunately, the search for the artist and title of Personal was not fruitful. No leads ever turned up anything. Theories circulated that it was by a local band that just happened to get played on the radio once, and then they broke up. Which would explain why it was hard to find. Maybe the band wasn't even online at all?
Everything changed though, in late 2021.
In November 2021, a band member for a 80s-era Portland, Oregon band called First Person, happened to upload a copy of live footage of their band performing that very song in a local club in the late 80s. From there, word spread to the band members that a whole community of people had been looking online for years for information about that song he’d just uploaded!
So the real title was Making Dedication, by First Person. Not Personal after all!!
That band member, Jordan, has since joined our lost song community and has been an active part ever since. He got in contact with the other guys who were in the band and they were all thrilled that people out there really liked their stuff! He's since put everything they recorded online, so they now have a Spotify artist page, a Facebook page, and everything!
In their time, First Person only recorded demos in a home studio. Making Dedication was part of a demo tape they'd recorded to try and get gigs. They got radio play once, when one of the members knew someone who hosted a Top 40 radio show on a local Top 40 station in Portland, Oregon. The band even found a recording later of their song being introduced on the radio!
So the one time that song got played on the radio, happened to have been recorded by the guy who first uploaded Making Dedication to the Internet, asking for help in finding the title and artist!
Here's the original video that was uploaded to Facebook asking for help identifying the song:
If it hadn't been for someone pressing Record when the song came on the radio, who knows if anyone else would've heard First Person's music.
So where do I come in with all this?
One of my favorite things to do is cover songs that are usually not girl-and-piano. Making Dedication was no exception. It's a guitar-heavy song! No piano at all in the original recording.
However, I like a challenge!
Sometime before the song got found, I began working up a girl-and-piano version. I had no sheet music or tablatures to go by, so I learned it by ear in the original key of A major. Then, once I learned that part, I adjusted the key to make it better fit my mermaid voice. Male songs usually have to be transposed anyway (Depeche Mode, I'm looking at you!). I found that singing the song one half-step higher in the key of Bb major worked better for my voice and for how I wanted to do the song.
As for how I wanted to play the song, I knew going into it that I wanted to bring out the lyrics and give Making Dedication a singer/songwriter feel. My mentor and friend Charlotte Martin has taught me well about varying the piano accompaniment to keep things interesting for the audience. So I knew I wanted it to start the song a little sparse, before making it more rhythmic for the chorus, and varying between rhythmic and sparse throughout the verses.
With all of that in mind, before I logged in for work one morning, I laid down vocals and piano for my cover version. I did the vocals in two takes, deciding on the second take at the end of it. After recording my version, I shared my recording with the lost music community on Discord. I wondered if Jordan would hear it and what he might think of it.
I shared it to the community about two months ago (I think? This year has been a blur so far). Then a few days ago, Jordan asked in the Discord about the girl who shared her cover of Making Dedication. He wanted to know if he could share that cover version on their Facebook page!
It would be an understatement to say that I was absolutely thrilled! Even more that he said he liked my version! FANGIRL ALERT!
So with my permission, Jordan uploaded my cover to the First Person YouTube channel!
Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked right now! The original artist of the song liked my cover version enough to share it with other people! That's a pretty cool feeling! It's not an experience that most people get to have!
So here's my cover version of Making Dedication, which Jordan so graciously uploaded and shared to the First Person YouTube channel! Enjoy!