Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

9Sep/0920

Favorite Beatles covers?

As you might have heard, remastered copies of the Beatles catalog are coming out today.  I say this sarcastically knowing that some of you are swinging the proverbial cat around and around in the air, trying to miss the global coverage of this event, and you....just...CAN'T miss it!  The Beatles have nabbed the front cover of every magazine that I've seen, except for Cosmo, and you can't watch TV without seeing the commercials for The Beatles: Rock Band.

beatlesremastered

I've been listening to the remasters for about a week now, and they're absolutely beautiful.  And when I say "beautiful", I'm talkin' holy-crap-they-actually-didn't-screw-these-up, beautiful.

In these times of "loudness wars", I have to admit that I exhaled an audible sigh when I heard that remasters were on the way, figuring that there would be no way that they could possibly not botch the remastering job.  Instead, I'm pleasantly surprised that they not only SOUND great, but they're also mastered at a very respectably quiet level - no ear bleeding overload on these suckers.  Success!

When I got them, I immediately had to listen to Abbey Road, and that's been where I've been for the past few days - listening to the later years of the catalog.  I'll certainly get to the other albums, but for now, I'm just enjoying listening to the albums that really made that first impression with me 25+ years ago when I first heard them.  That might be the best unadvertised part about this set, just how much fun it is to rediscover these albums, remembering where you were the first time that you heard them.

I've told this story in some form before, but I heard The Beatles for the first time listening to Revolver with my dad.  Dad was teaching me how to play and take care of vinyl, letting me know that if I paid careful attention to him, I could listen to the albums in his collection whenever I wanted to.

This was my introduction to the group that would rank top five on my personal list of groups that made the greatest impact on me during my formative years.  When we moved to Cleveland in 1989, the Paul McCartney concert at the old Cleveland Stadium became one of my first concerts not long after we arrived here.

Abbey Road was one of my first compact disc purchases as a kid, and it still is quite the amazing listen all of these years later.

There are of course plenty of others besides myself, geeking out about the reissues.  In fact, the Popdose folks have gone and declared a full-on Beatles week in the land of 'Dose - Click on over and check out their coverage, thoughts and straight-out gushing.

And then there's the post that caught my eye today via Blog on the Tracks, soliciting people to submit their favorite Beatles covers for prizes.  I saw a tease about the post, and headed over to the site to drop off my top five favorite Beatles covers, which seemed like a good number.  When I got there, I discovered that many fans were posting their favorites in double digits - I guess it turns out that people are pretty passionate about their Beatles covers.

Here are my top five.  Actually, I picked six with a bonus seventh song that nobody should ever own.  Check that, and make it seven songs with a bonus eighth song that no one should ever own.  Trust me.

On to my picks:  First of all, I LOVED the I Am Sam soundtrack, and could take nearly all of my picks from it - but I won't.

But let's start there, because I was JUST thinking about putting the Michael Penn/Aimee Mann version of "Two of Us" on a mix.  Penn and Mann sound so beautiful on this one, and I'll admit that in my current state of mind, I have oooey goooey songs like this one on my mind a lot.  We'll stay with I Am Sam for Eddie Vedder's "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away."  Vedder doesn't necessarily smack a home run out of the park with this one, but for some reason, I've always really liked it.  I think that's what is really great about the I Am Sam soundtrack is that some of the artists get really elaborate with their cover versions, while others stick with the sparse and spontaneous feel that can be achieved by a stripped down no-frills recording, proving that sometimes less is more.  And who knows, maybe Vedder had very little time to cut this one - it completely works, whatever the case might be.

Okay, wimpy moment as I admit my love for former Chicago lead singer Peter Cetera's version of "It's Only Love."  Found on Cetera's most recent studio effort of all-new material, Another Perfect World, I've always had a soft spot for the cover, and I thought that Cetera did a fine job with it.  Your thoughts may vary.  I can totally feel all of you judging me for my Cetera pick right now, btw.  As long as we're talking about it, I'll tell you this because we're all friends - I own the entire Cetera catalog including import releases.  There.

Moving onward, we encounter Austin, TX guitar slinger Eric Johnson and make a stop to visit Souvenir, his internet-based release of unreleased rarities that includes a mighty fine version of "Paperback Writer."  EJ knocks the sucker out of the park, in fact.  Do I know Eric well enough to call him EJ?  Well, no.....but I'm going to do it anyway!

smithereensbeatles

The Smithereens have not one but TWO CDs worth of Beatles covers - Meet The Beatles, and B-Sides The Beatles.  My favorite 'Reens cover isn't on either of those albums - instead, you can look to the Attack of the Smithereens rarities compilation for their kickin' B-side take on "One After 909."  Righteous.  Equally cool on that same compilation, is the 'Reens version of "It Don't Come Easy", which gives some not-as-rare-as-you-might-think love to Ringo Starr's recorded contributions to the Beatles catalog.

Finally, we'll visit Mr. Peter Frampton - a guy that's taken a lot of sh*t over the years for being Peter Frampton, which in some circles apparently was only a little bit worse than being Andy Gibb.  Frampton put out a solo disc a few years back called Now that was godly.  On that disc was an amazing cover of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."  I urge you to hunt down Now if you don't own it - it has a lot of music that Frampton submitted for inclusion in the Almost Famous movie (as one of the music coordinators/contributors for the film,) and Now proves that the stuff that was left behind on the cutting room floor is pretty solid!

Now, while I'm sure that we could spend some time talking about the many other great cover versions of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," I'd like to leave you with the WORST cover version - contributed by Roadrunner nu-metal dudes Spineshank.  Find that one on their hardly essential 1998 release Strictly Diesel, which can be yours for a mere 68 cents.

What are your favorite Beatles covers?

Thanks to Blog on the Tracks for inspiring a great bit of brain food - I had a lot of fun thinking of some of my favorite Beatles covers, and now, I might just have to make a mix of them!

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    It's early and I haven't had my coffee yet, so I can only think of two right now:

    Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out
    Otis Redding – Day Tripper

  • Matt

    wow – I haven't heard the Stevie cover – gotta check that one out. I heard the EWF version of “Got To Get You Into My Life” in a record store over the weekend, and I was reminded how much I love that cover version. Although apparently not enough love there to make me put it on my list when I was putting this together last night. Doh!

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    Yeah, EWF is a great one, too.

    On the country side, Steve Earle's I'm Looking Through You is gloriously bitchy and Emmylou Harris' For No One is as gorgeous as she is.

  • Matt

    You're giving me a good hit list of covers I need to track down….and also, the Emmylou mention makes me want to pull out my copy of Knopfler/Harris “All The Roadrunning.”

  • http://www.wingsforwheels.net dslifton

    I could probably come up with a lot more. I'm just not thinking of them right now. Emmylou also does a nice version of Here, There, and Everywhere. The arrangement's a little mawkish, but the vocals are beautiful.

    Yeah, All The Roadrunning is a great album.

  • MRNot

    Sacred Rite's “Eleanor Rigby” from 1986's IS NOTHING SACRED?

    And, the entire Beatallica catalog..

  • Matt

    Paul – Beatallica is definitely another one that I flaked out on – I am now realizing that I should have extended my list way out there!

    Got To Get You Trapped Under Ice!

  • http://norriemaclean.blogspot.com/ Norrie Maclean

    I love all of the I Am sam album but my nomination is

    Steve earle – I'm Looking Through You.

    Cheers

  • http://www.tristanclopet.com tclopetfan

    i think you're forgetting one vital cover: richie havens covering “here comes the sun” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8HBHWYd6ug

  • jmbuckingham

    Really enjoyed this blog Matt!

  • http://www.theclevelandcaper.blogspot.com/ emily

    Here Comes The Sun – Belle and Sebastian
    Come Together – Soundgarden (although I may like Aerosmith's version better)
    As My Guitar Gently Weeps – Floyd from The Muppets
    She Came In Through The Bathroom Window – Joe Cocker
    Wild Honey Pie – Pixies
    I've Got a Feeling – Pearl Jam
    Helter Skelter – Pat Benetar

    Seriously though, when in doubt for a great cover, aways turn to The Muppets, always.

  • Taylor

    Frampton's cover of “Weeps” is the best Beatle's cover I've ever heard. Glad you included it on your list. It completely redeems him for the Sgt. Pepper movie nightmare, IMO. I read that Frampton is an uncredited guitarist on “All Things Must Pass” and he and Harrison were good friends.

  • anniezaleski

    i'm the first one to chime in with U2's version of “Helter Skelter” from Rattle & Hum? really?

    also:

    Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Dear Prudence”
    Suede, “Across the Universe”
    Rufus Wainwright, “Across the Universe”
    Oasis, “I Am the Walrus”

  • Kevin

    Hey Matt,
    Great post. Here are some of my favorite Beatles covers:

    Elton John – “I Saw Her Standing There” was released in 1975 as the B-side of the “Philadelphia Freedom” single.

    Elton John – “Get Back” from 11-17-70, a tremendous live album from early in Elton's career.

    Todd Rundgren – “Strawberry Fields” and “Rain” from the 1976 album Faithful which also featured his hit “Love of the Common Man.”

    Crack the Sky – “I Am the Walrus” from their 1975 album which was named as debut album of the year by Rolling Stone. Absolutely outstanding and essential. The oldsters may remember them from WMMS' golden days.

    Georgia Satellites – “Don't Pass Me By” from Open All Night. It just rocks.

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  • anniezaleski

    i'm the first one to chime in with U2's version of “Helter Skelter” from Rattle & Hum? really?

    also:

    Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Dear Prudence”
    Suede, “Across the Universe”
    Rufus Wainwright, “Across the Universe”
    Oasis, “I Am the Walrus”

  • Kevin

    Hey Matt,
    Great post. Here are some of my favorite Beatles covers:

    Elton John – “I Saw Her Standing There” was released in 1975 as the B-side of the “Philadelphia Freedom” single.

    Elton John – “Get Back” from 11-17-70, a tremendous live album from early in Elton's career.

    Todd Rundgren – “Strawberry Fields” and “Rain” from the 1976 album Faithful which also featured his hit “Love of the Common Man.”

    Crack the Sky – “I Am the Walrus” from their 1975 album which was named as debut album of the year by Rolling Stone. Absolutely outstanding and essential. The oldsters may remember them from WMMS' golden days.

    Georgia Satellites – “Don't Pass Me By” from Open All Night. It just rocks.

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