5 Great Covers of Beatles Songs
Next week sees the release of the second volume of The Beatles’ sessions for the BBC, recorded between 1963 and 1964, recently dug up from the BBC’s archives. Serving as a belated follow-up to 1994’s collection of sessions, On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 is released on November 11.
Obviously, the Fab Four have one of the most well known back-catalogues of all time, but they are also one of the most covered bands in history. While you’re waiting for next week’s release, why not have a listen to some of the best covers? Here are a handful of our favourites:
With A Little Help From My Friends
Joe Cocker’s version of this cut from Sgt. Peppers…is perhaps most famous for being on the opening credits to 80s TV series The Wonder Years, but it’s a classic in its own right. Cocker’s voice sounds as if he gargles with gravel, but it’s a belter of a vocal performance with bags of soul, only enhanced further by the deployment of a full gospel choir on backing vocal duties. Even better than the original. (Sorry Ringo…)
Pianist Oscar Peterson turns in an incredible performance of this classic from Revolver. Peterson’s version is 3 minutes and 6 seconds of smooth, effortless jazz, showing why Peterson is still one of the most gifted pianists ever.
Across The Universe
Featuring on the soundtrack to Gary Ross’ Pleasantville, Fina Apple’s cover of this Lennon composition is slow and intimate, complete with mellotron flutes and chiming guitars over a lolloping drumbeat. Broody and down-tempo, this is one for lazy Sunday mornings.
Happiness is a Warm Gun
Tori Amos has previous form with cover versions – she also did a fantastic version of Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. For this one, she takes one of the best moments on The White Album and spins it out into a slow, spacey 10-minute epic that is heavy on social commentary, sampling news reports of shooting incidents and overlaying them onto a chugging, electric-piano driven piece of trip-rock. It’s pretty great.
We Can Work It Out
Stevie’s cover of this John Lennon-penned hit is bursting with funky clavichords and Motown soul. Featured on the 1970 album, Signed, Sealed, Delivered, it pre-dates Stevie’s ‘golden period’ in the mid-Seventies that saw him release classics like Talking Book and Songs in the Key of Life, but you can hear hints of the greatness to come. This is another cover that gives the original a run for its money