The Sunday Dozen: Beatles Covers

I used the insanity defense last week with The Beatles Dozen. Boiling down Beatles cover versions to a dozen was difficult but not as crazy. There was no need for a straitjacket this time around.

I could have done an all-soul dozen but I wanted to provide a wider spectrum of Beatles covers. Mission accomplished?

The songs are in the order in which the artists recorded them. That’s a fancy way of saying chronological order. As always, the song selection reflects my personal taste such as it is. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

On with the show, this is it.

Hey Jude is one of The Beatles songs I like but don’t love. The ending hasn’t worn well with me over the years. I’m about to commit heresy: I prefer Wilson Pickett’s version.

The heresy continues with Joe Cocker’s rendition of With A Little Help From My Friends. What’s a little musical heresy among friends?

My heretical musical musings end with Come Together. The Abbey Road original is impossible to top but I dig Ike and Tina Turner’s version. It’s surrealistic soul at its best.

Aretha Franklin takes Let It Be to church. She was born to sing this Macca classic.

Stevie Wonder’s version of We Can Work It Out was a hit in 1971. I saw Stevie perform it that summer at Disneyland of all places. The Mouse is everywhere.

The Sgt. Pepper movie sucked but Earth, Wind & Fire’s version of Got To Get You Into My Life was a triumph.

Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream with Phil Collins’ cover of Tomorrow Never Knows. Trippy, man.

It’s time for some power pop surrealism with Oasis’ live version of I Am The Walrus. Who’s the egg man? Liam or Noel Gallagher. Beats the hell outta me. Goo goo ga-joob.

The best thing about the 2001 Sean Penn-Michelle Pfeiffer movie I Am Sam was the Beatley soundtrack. My favorite was Aimee Man and Michael Penn’s version of Two Of Us. It’s perfect for a married couple. And yes, Michael is Sean’s less flamboyant big brother. He’s also a helluva singer-songwriter.

Here’s Roger McGuinn covering George Harrison’s If I Needed Someone. Say no more.

Last week, I mentioned that my mother liked The Beatles. She was proud of her Nordic heritage, so her favorite Beatles tune was Norwegian Wood.

I really dig this version by British folk Gods Waterson: Carthy as well as the Dali-like album cover. What’s not to love about melting instruments as long as you’re not holding one?

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos played on John Lennon’s 1980 song I’m Losing You. Let’s go on a Magical Mystery Tour with the boys from Illinois.

Cheap Trick is one of the best band names in rock history even if it’s cheap and tricky. Let’s rock:

That concludes The Beatles Covers Dozen proper. Let’s get improper with some lagniappe.

I selected these songs because I’ve used them at First Draft before. In the case of Brian Ferry and Dwight Yoakam, they were used as Saturday Odds & Sods theme songs along with The Beatles originals. In the case of George Benson, his exquisite version of Here, There and Everywhere graced a recent Friday Cocktail Hour. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Let’s get on with the music:

Finally, the legendary version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps from the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony at which George Harrison was inducted posthumously as a solo artist.

The vocals are by Sunday Dozen veterans Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. But Prince stole the show with his guitar solo and nifty hat.

That’s it for this week. Once again, the last word goes to the cartoon Beatles:

6 thoughts on “The Sunday Dozen: Beatles Covers

  1. Tough calls. I like Judy Collins’s cover of In My Life. Too bad it didn’t make the cut.

  2. Prince’s disappearing guitar at the end… how’d that happen? Anybody?

  3. Aretha’s cover is probably the only Beatles cover that I like since she infuses it with more soul.

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