YouTube's latest series has musicians covering their birthday chart-toppers

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
Lewis Capaldi/YouTube

YouTube might have a new, simple way to hook people on an original series: pack it full of big-name musicians. The video giant has introduced a Birthday Song series that, as the name implies, has artists covering the top song from the day they were born. The initial song is no small challenge, and will make some viewers feel old -- YouTube will have Lewis Capaldi covering the Chemical Brothers' 1996 hit "Setting Sun." Capaldi has somehow turned the big beat classic into a "slow and sad" piece, YouTube's Luke Hyams told Deadline, and it's an ironic choice when "Setting Sun" vocalist Noel Gallagher has ribbed Capaldi about his maudlin music style.

The Capaldi episode premieres March 24th. You can expect more like it if this initial foray proves successful, Hyams said.

A cover song show represents a familiar and frequently successful strategy (see BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge as an example). It gets artists out of their comfort zones and, in many cases, sheds light on the stars themselves. However, that might be just what YouTube needs. The site is (mostly) shifting away from scripted originals, and it needs a tentpole series or two to reel people in.