Cover of a song with additional verse: new work or not?

A new verse may be added to a finished song. Usually the change is so small that there’s little reason to make it a new work.

But sometimes the change can be quite big especially when it’s covered by someone else. A well-known example is the new verse “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me; R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take out TCB” added to the Otis Redding song “respect” by Aretha Franklin. (and most of the covers are actually doing this version)

In this case, should the new version of “respect” be regarded as a new work?
Another question is whether aretha’s recordings should be defined as covers as she is the first one to sing this version.

The additional verse “Poets often use many words to say a simple thing…” (first sung by Nat King Cole) in the jazz standard “Fly Me to the Moon” may be another example.

A less relevant example is the Whitney Houston cover of the Dolly Parton song “I will always love you”. The “I hope life treats you kind” part was simply spoken in the original song, and a new melody was written for the cover.

I have learned that hip hop remixes with new verse can have separate work pages in previous discussions, but still not sure for these cases.


I’d personally say probably… It could possibly be that the artist(s) recording the earlier versions simply decided to leave off a verse originally written. Especially on older songs (like, roughly the 60’s and earlier), I’m pretty sure the writers of a work were often not closely associated with the artists who played their music.

I believe in the case of “Respect” in particular, after some brief Wikipedia-ing, it’s probably two separate works, since, if I remember correctly, Aretha Franklin did even a bit more than just add a verse. Not too sure on “Fly Me to the Moon”/“In Other Words” or “I Will Always Love You”…

For what it’s worth, I may be totally misunderstanding how Works work… lol

If the writer of the new lyrics is someone new that doesn’t belong on the original work, then it certainly sounds like a new Work should be created.

I would link them with the revision relationship if a new verse was inserted in the middle of the original work. I don’t find the work guidelines very useful, but it seems like the best match among the options listed on Work-Work Relationship Types - MusicBrainz.


So it seems we need to create a new page for the Aretha version of “Respect” (Or maybe the original version, considering the work load of editing relationships LOL)
Then it looks like we should regard Aretha as the original singer of her version, rather than attribute her recordings as “covers”… Well IMO it may be confusing if we apply this rule to every cover that adds something new…

The splitting of “Fly Me to the Moon” may be more difficult since we need to check every recording. And it’s hard to tell whether a cover without the new verse is doing the original version or “part of” the Nat King Cole version…

One thing to consider is that Franklin never claimed (as far as I know) nor was given a writing credit for “Respect”, so most recordings will be credited solely to Redding even if they include Franklin’s additions. (More like a bridge than a verse, I would say, but that’s beside the point.)