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September 18, 2015


Votes for best cover of a Beatles song (other than Joe Cocker)?

That question to Ringo was so George.

His word always remind of this Robert Frost poem:


Only until recently have I been able to listen to Beatles covers:

Here's one of my favorite but overlooked songs, Lennon is the main composer, from "Beatles For Sale", which was just before "Rubber Soul" during their acoustic period:

Shawn Colvin:




If you have the time, this is worth it:


My Beatle music buddy sent it to me last week.

From about the same, Paul demoing "Step Inside Love", which he gave to Cilla Black, an Apple recording artist.

Has funny Beatles cross talk and improvisation near the end:


Paul covering his own song "Goodbye", in the full sweet McCartney voice of that time, before he gave it to Mary Hopkin:


Pretty good cover of another forgotten song from the acoustic period:


Thanks, russell!

You've probably seen this one.

Course if you are still waiting for a reunion, Steve Riks will have to do:


Probably the best Beatles tribute band. the bass guitarist from the Letterman/Schaefer show band fronts:


Just ran across these ladies the other day:


To bed.

Thanks Russell and Girl From the North Country.

I needed that.

isolated vocals:



How about Bobby McFerrin doing Blackbird?


This song is fun to play on acoustic guitar and sing, especially if you have two others to do the backup harmonies.

One of the great pop songs from their early period, in my estimation, right up there with She Loves You and the other #1 hits.

Plus, they look so cool back lit by the control booth lighting.

From the movie "Help"


Hate to say it, but the Stones' version of "I wanna be your man" (November 1963) rocked pretty hard.

People are only now beginning to catch up with how very good George and Ringo were/are at what they did. The thing is, what they did was different from what John and Paul did, so they were overwhelmed a bit, which was a waste. Watch A Hard Days Night again and you'll notice that John and Paul come across as one trick ponies on film, while all the best scenes belong to the other two.

My buddy Mark on Penny Lane.

Caetano Veloso covers Eleanor Rigby.

Also from Veloso, For No One.

A nice cover of Nowhere Man by a really good local (to Boston) Beatles cover band, fronted here by the great Brad Delp.

The Beatles were and are large, larger than large. They contain multitudes.

I've always thought it was remarkable that on Abbey Road, by some measures the last-produced Beatles album (and one of the best), George suddenly steps up and produces the two best songs of his entire career ("Something" and "Here Comes The Sun"), which arguably outshine John and Paul's contributions. Nothing he did in his solo career was quite that good, but it's interesting to wonder if it could have been different.

I preface this by saying that all or most of it may be known to Beatles obsessives like you, Count, but just in case, here goes.

Last night the BBC showed a 1.5 hour film on George Martin, with many contributions by Paul and Ringo, first aired in 2011, as part of their arts documentaries strand, Arena. I attach a link, although I have a nasty feeling BBC Iplayer may not be watchable outside the UK, but I am hoping that if you haven't seen it you can find it somewhere else on the net:


(By the way, Arena is a wonderful series, I strongly recommend many of their films e.g. Searching for the Wrong-eyed Jesus, about "the music of the poor, white American South" which I see is still available on Iplayer from their archive.)

The other thing I thought you might get a kick out of was a comment made by Elvis Costello several years ago, when he and Paul had just been involved in a collaboration. I guess Paul felt his best work had probably been done in collaboration with another very talented songwriter, i.e. John, a gross understatement in my opinion, and he was trying to replicate the experience. Anyway, Costello was talking about it, and how it had come about, and he said:

So initially we met up just to jam, you know, to relax and see whether it might gel, and we jammed like musicians very often do, by playing old Beatles songs. But as soon as we started, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, because he was singing them in the right voice.

I loved that.

I can't think of anything else at the moment, but will add when I do, if the thread is still alive.

Oh, except that fyi Cilla Black, who has just died, became a hugely famous and popular TV host and personality in the UK, which I gather you may not know from one of your previous comments.

best cover of a Beatles song

always liked Fiona Apple's "Across The Universe":

and The Feelies' "Everybody's Got Something To Hide..." is fun because of its velocity.

The Breeder's "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" is fun (IMO) because it's Kim Deal doing her heroin pixie thing over a very Slint-esque post-rock noisy start & stop thing (courtesy of Slint's drummer)

ooh. look at me with my facy eye-talics!

Oh, and did you know that Cilla was the coat check girl at the Cavern, that's how they all met. They persuaded Brian Epstein to take her on.

Count, I've just watched the Howard Goodall documentary - completely fascinating, thank you. And also for the Robert Frost poem; I'd never read it, it's beautiful.

I didn't know Cilla Black had died. The occupants of my past are getting whittled down pretty slim, dang it.

That she was the coat check girl at the Cavern was a forgotten detail for me. Thanks, GOTNC.

Also for the George Martin documentary heads-up. The UK thing won't play over here, but I'll look around for it.

Martin had the perfect set of musical (and comedic) sensibilities to coax the Beatle's talents to full flower. He's called the 5th Beatle, but I would place him 4.31. That they landed in his completely receptive (as in, to let them have their strong-willed ways musically, rather than "managing" their talent for a "market") hands was fortuitous, to say the least.

I'm not sure anyone else would have said, "Sure, Paul, piccolo trumpet? Coming right up!"

I recommend the documentary "Good Ol' Freda" about Freda Kelly, who was a bit of an Apple scruff, before there was an Apple, and who Brian Epstein hired in his Beatle office above the record store very early on. She took on the Beatles' fan mail and outreach and stayed with them all the way through.

It puts the "ful" in beatle wistfulness.

It's great, because she very reluctantly agreed to participate in the documentary and really got to see and know the four of them individually up close and personal (one of them maybe very personally) when they hung around the offices.

I love to play with alternative histories and I think it would be interesting to make a fictionalized account of Freda's part in the whole thing, except that I would have her be a sort of song-writing savant, who unbeknownst to the world, Paul and John would overhear humming a melody (scrambled eggs, all my troubles seemed so poached and basted) in her little fan mail room. Maybe they would be stuck on a song and she would idly suggest "why don't you put the middle eight in a minor key."

Off they would rush to the studio. The SECRET talent behind the talent, she would be, selflessly.

She wanted nothing from them then or now, and they grew extremely fond of her in appreciation, and her poignant love for them as human beings and her loyalty to their privacy comes through, as do her memories of being weak-in-the-knees for them, like everyone was.

There wasn't a dry seat in the house, as the saying goes.

"I wanna Be Your Man" was the Stones' first #1 hit in Britain. The story is the two bands were in a club at separate tables and Jagger and maybe Brian Jones mentioned that it might be, you know, interesting, if L and M might, maybe, if you have the time, write a tune for them, so the man on the flaming pie had half a song written already and here it is, lads.

The Elvis Costello anecdote was great. I've read other similar things from folks who would happen across a Beatle and if somehow someone put a guitar in their (John, Paul, or Ringo) hands and managed to get half a song out of them, it was immediately the shock of recognition chills down the spine that this is the real deal.

cleek, I like that Breeder's cover. I think Lennon would too because for the reasons you cite it captures the feel of the lyrics.

I experienced a similar thing when I watch the "Black Cab Sessions" on Youtube and there was Brian Wilson, nearing 70 or there already singing "California Girls" in the back of a London cab without benefit, much, of studio wizardry. Geez, you can wake the guy up in the middle of the night and out it comes, like the clouds parting and the angels singing.

Thanks for all of the other covers and info.


here's something i found on the side of that Feelies link.

"Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney"

Donald Height's soul version of "Don't Let Me Down" is pretty sweet:


as is Al Green's "I Want To Hold Your Hand":

George Harrison had maybe 20 songs in the hopper at the end during the Abbey Road album sessions.

Something and Here Comes The Sun made it, happily, and the other 18 showed up later solo, also happily.

Yes, George's contributions got dismissed for most for most of the seven years, (as Paul McCartney says, the Beatles, meaning he and John, were "right bastards") until the end, but my attitude through all of the kvetching over Apple business and such (Lennon: fookin Beatles, Harrison: me nervous system is shot and I've got better things to do" etc, etc) was "Hey, one of you wants out? Can I take your place? What's not to like? If Ringo wants to leave, I'm sure Pete Best will be happy to break out of his sulk and re-enlist."

John's first wife, Paul, doesn't get credit to this day, though he was pushy as hell for his own interests too, for trying to keep the Beatles marriage on track musically.

There were plenty of Wings personnel who Paul drove up the wall too.

Sure, John, it's OK if your third wife yodels her opinions in the studio from a prone position on the floor between the amps, but what chord was that you just played? That's it!

I mean, I would change nothing about the whole John and Yoko deal (I'm in the minority), but my wife never brought me to her place of work and let me lie on the floor in her work cubicle so her coworkers had to step over me.

John wants to record? It's 3am! Just tell Paul where and he'd be there. John, you want high harmony on that, I'm at your service, and what about this bass line? George, what about this piano bit for My Guitar Is Gently Weeping? How about that amazing rolling bass part on Hey Bulldog?

Forget the fans. The person whose heart was truly broken when the Beatles split was McCartney's. He alone, IMHO, had the perspective to realize at the time the singular miracle of those four together making music and screw the personal differences.

I get it. George, understandably, was having more fun playing with Delaney and Garfunkel.

If you want to see a really happy George, watch some of the studio sessions of him producing a song with the Traveling Wilburys.

Nina Simone, a Beatle favorite, doing one of George's songs that didn't make the Beatle play list:


And one that did:


Sinatra singing "Something" and introducing it correctly.

In his first performance of the song, he introduced it as his favorite Lennon and McCartney composition.

Hare fookin Krishna, George must have thought.

from cleek's black American link:


Which will teach the Beatles a lesson for blowing the socks off "Please, Mr. Postman"



link to Sinatra version of Something, which George said was his favorite Tony Bennett performance ... ever.


Settle in, only 227 songs to go.

Back at you Simon and GFTNC:


a very nice cover of a wonderful Harrison song tucked away deep into the third side of the White Album:


The original incorporated some accidental "found" sounds on it at the end that the Beatles loved (No, keep that!). George had set a wine bottle on one of the amp cabinets and the thing started moving and vibrating from the surrounding hum and guitar buzzing and it lends that harrowing and haunting apt touch to the meaning of the song.

a very nice cover of a wonderful Harrison song tucked away deep into the third side of the White Album

makes me long for a Mazzy Star (or Cowboy Junkies) version.

Nearly all my favorite Beatles songs are Harrison's. I've loved the Beatles pretty much my entire life, and it's only just lately that I've been able to be objective about their music. And the thing is, I appreciate them even more as a result.

One of the many things that just kills me about them as the Beatles is that they were so damn young when they started. And the way they grew as artists - Please Please Me to Abbey Road (or Let It Be, depending on your school of thought about which should come last) is LESS than TEN years. Craziness.

When you're a kid, the days are long and full and a year seems like three, compared to time these days that goes by like a speeding unhailable cab.

So, the output of the Beatles, two albums a year plus singles, and the phenomenal growth and change in their sounds every six months, as they absorbed and adapted everything happening around them (not only musically, but styles and other cultural stuff as well, making all of it recognizably Beatlely) is a little mind-boggling to look back on.

They were tuned in.

The slowest time for me at a certain age was the time between the first rumor of a Beatles release and the day of the actual release.

It was like a prolonged Christmas Eve with sugarplums dancing in my head.

But they would fill the down times too, and someone has been brilliant enough to continue the tradition:


does thus help, cleek:


I like.

Welp, I like this too:


Strawberry Fields Forever.

In My Life, the lyrics to which was one of the readings at my wedding. Plus, Strawberry Fields again.

There's a whole show of Frissell playing Lennon out there on YouTube, if it's of interest.

Gosh, extremely beautiful. I've never even heard of this Frissell guy (not surprising, I'm no muso) but it's lovely, and Strawberry Fields is (probably) my favourite Beatles song.

looks like (jazz guitarist & singer) John Pizzarelli has a whole album of Beatles covers (and an album of McCartney covers).


and Tuck and Patti do a nice In My Life:

speaking of Tuck, here's his niece doing a sweet Dig A Pony:


Just hunting around, found this:


Her original stuff is pretty hot, too.

They sing in unison pretty much, so Lennon's raw and very sexy (nobody does me like she do me) vocal and Paul's ridiculous high harmony don't come through, but ....

Apologies if this has been previously posted, but I can't tell songs from their youtube URLs, and don't have the time to listen to all.

I always thought the definitive "In My Life" was that of Judy Collins.

And if you want to see her sing - and hear some variant musical lines - here's a live version

George Martin plays this early take of "A Day In The Life" when HE toured on a sort of lecture series about his career and the Beatles, and he was still visibly moved by the sheer brilliance of this song and Lennon's haunting vocal.


Plus, I think that's Mal Evans counting off the middle crescendo.

Here's a cover by a jowly Neil Young just a few years ago:


And a better one, by a British kid in his bedroom, where, besides the shower, all of us do the best Beatle covers, if people only knew:


Tough song to cover, really. Like covering the Grand Canyon or a cloud.

With Strawberry Fields Forever and I Am The Walrus, the song comprises Lennon's great trilogy.

I know I've called professional conservatives some awful names, but who knew?


Among many covers of the song, here's one for lj:


Here's a video of them playing the fast single version of Revolution, with the shoo-bee-doo-ahhs from the slow version intact:


Only the Beatles could shoo-bee-doo-ahh a heavy political statement.

Count me out ... in ... o ...

Baby, THEY vandalized my car:


Insurance claims matter!!


Beep, Beep, Beep Beep, Republican Bullsh*t!!

remember, lo these few short weeks ago, when Scott Walker was going to be the nominee ?


ha ha

Poor Wisconsin gets him back.

He'll have to sneak back in thru the bathroom window singing:


I hope Wisconsinites don't do anything rash:



@ dr ngo, thanks, I was thinking of posting that myself.

In My Life, written (with various states of artistic disagreement about who did what, but who is counting?) by a 24-25 year old Lennon and a 23-24 year old McCartney expressing sentiments most human beings only come by and can articulate much later much later in life.

Here's to Stu Sutcliffe.

I was still mumbling with my hands in my pockets at that age.

It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for instance, that when Mozart was my age he had been dead for two years.

-- Tom Lehrer

Even if I lived life backwards like Merlin, so many beat me to it.

Tom Lehrer, too.

I was going to vandalize this thread by posting a link to a video of Motley Crue's cover of "Helter Skelter." My better angels convinced me simply to mention that I got to see Earth, Wind and Fire perform "Got to Get You into My Life" live a bit over a month ago.

Mary McCaslin does a wonderfully wistful folk cover of 'Things We Said Today'.


Spooky Tooth's "Walrus" is pretty great.


plus, "Spooky Tooth" is the best name ever.

With lots of help from my Beatles buddy Trev, we figured how to link you to this Beatles cover, which IMHO, may be the best and most original Beatle cover ever, he said approvingly, because of the nature of the original song and what we did with it:

"You Know My Name, Look Up The Number" was the B-side to the "Let It Be" single. A novelty/joke song, with Lennon as main composer, but all four Beatles contributing.

The story goes that John brought it into the studio, (a very cool Beatle chord is to be found in there), and sang the verse, also the chorus, and someone asked what the rest of the words were, and he said, that's it ... you know my name, look up the number.

As set up, here's the long version of the original:


About ten years ago, this loose affiliation of three knobbly noddy Bee-atle-wished-they'd-beens, and sometimes are .... Trev, Rick, and John .... by their mothers' separately christened but all in the same year, were sitting around in the basement studio thinking what Beatle song to cover next for this Denver Sunday morning Beatle radio show we listened to.

Someone, whose pie must have been aflame, said why not cover "You Know My Name" since no one knew it's name of all the Beatle songs, but how? Trev it was, and so it was, was playing the chords on the acoustic guitar, and another of the Deafaids, as we called ourselves but never answered because we never turn up our hearing aids, to this very day, said, "That's It! Let's do it as a sort of a pop acoustic sort of ballad, like maybe Paul would come up with, and stick with the lyrics because once memorized, they are bound to repeat".

And we did, and it was not only played a bunch of times by the local station, but finished in the top five in a listener poll (along with one or two covers from Firefall) of the favorite Beatle covers, among dozens, submitted that year.

It is, in this reincarnation, kind of a creepy, very vaguely menacing, come-hither-whoa-not-to-hither love song. Like something you might repeat to an attractive stalker over and over and then hope they look you up.

Yes, and better than the original, we re-installed three-part Beatle harmony and thought hey, we miss Beatle hand claps from the early songs, so let's put those in too:


Trev: Arranger

Trev and Rick: guitars and bass

Trev: drums

Trev: lead vocal

Rick: middle harmony

John: high harmony

Hand claps: Hands, with no help at all from the Disembodied All-Hands-On-Deck Hand Band

Engineering: Trev and John

Mixing: Trev, Rick, and John

Hope you enjoy with the volume up.

Most enjoyable, Count. It's good to have occasional light/pleasurable relief from the general hideousness so prevalent everywhere else!

nice job, count!

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