Tribute album

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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.[1][2] He followed up with tributes to Thelonious Monk, Disney cartoons, Kurt Weill, Charles Mingus and Harold Arlen.

Modern concepts[edit]

Some tribute albums are created with a further conceptual twist other than a simple collection of covers. These include:

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 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.

Some albums titled and marketed as "tributes" to well-known musical figures are more accurately describable as sound-alikes (or occasionally, knock-offs), recorded by lesser known session musicians or performers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barger, Jorn (18 December 2012). "Hal Willner resources on the web". Hal Willner resources. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Hechter, Will (18 December 2012). "AKA Doc Pomus » Hal Willner". Hal WIllner biography. Retrieved 18 December 2012.