I had read a long time ago, as a kid, that Charlie Chaplin appeared for a CHARLIE CHAPLIN LOOK ALIKE CONTEST and came THIRD!
I used to wonder then, why did the Judges then miss the original for the fake. But today, i have no such doubts.
I will come to my explanation later, but before that i’d like to give another example. For the last 25 years one song which has held my attention is LOCOMOTIVE BREATH by the group Jethro Tull. I had listened to the song first in my friend Sanjay’s room at Christian Medical College, Vellore. I used to replay the song a hundred times, that Sanjay used to leave me behind in the room for me to “get soaked in the stupid lyrics and exuberance of the mad man Ian Anderson”. That was in the 80’s , then after a gap of more than 20 years when i listened to Ian Anderson from YOUTUBE i was disappointed- to say the least. Firstly, the enunciation was slurred; secondly the singing did not match the VOICE i had heard; thirdly Ian had lost a wee bit of the punch he had packed in the original RECORDING.
The easiest answer would be that AGE HAS TAKEN ITS TOLL, and therefore the song is not CRISP as his ORIGINAL RECORDING. But i refuse to take that as a sufficient reason to slake my doubts.
When Ian Anderson along with his troupe recorded the song, he must have been inspired by his TALENT. The source of one’s TALENT is difficult to identify. It is a byproduct of the confluence of one’s experience and imagination or it is a sudden inspiration born for which no explicable reason can be adduced. But when he started repeating the song, again and again, in different fora, he was REPRODUCING the sounds out of his SKILL. A SKILL developed to match an existing PATTERN.
I am sure there must be some troupe which could perform LOCOMOTIVE BREATH better than today’s performance of Ian Anderson. That is simple, today’s performers have memorized the tune of the original recording of the song and have over time thru practice honed their SKILLS to match the originals.
Yet, i’d rather watch GOOD TALENT gone OLD than FRESH SKILL imitating TALENT.