Monday, September 14, 2009

The Beatles: A Covers Countdown

Yesterday's work on "And Your Bird Can Sing" inspired me to really think about my favorite covers of Fab Four tunes. Here are my Top 10 tunes... with a few caveats. Since just about every band on the planet has performed their songs on stage, I only chose studio recordings. Further, I picked performers I truly admire. Finally, no title or performer could appear on the list more than one time.

I wanted to honorably mention a few that just missed the list. I'm a big fan of Frank Sinatra and, in his later years, he did record "Something". He thought it was one of the most beautifully penned pieces of all time. Beatles' fans gasped, however, when he added the word "Jack" to George Harrison's lyrics. "You stick around, Jack, she might show..." Personally, I think it's acceptable to add your own stamp to a cover, at least within reason. Still, it just missed the list. Earth, Wind & Fire had a huge hit with 'Got to get You Into My Life", and I loved blaring it from the car stereo when I was a teen. The production was so clean, and the horns were so crisp. As I write this, I wish I had put it on the list. I also like the Pixies doing "Wild Honey Pie", but the addition of Kim Deal to the list made me reconsider. Of course, I could have added Daniel Johnston or William Shatner, but they seemed out of place on such a short list. What covers do you enjoy?

1. Siouxsie & the Banshees - Dear Prudence (mp3)
2. Todd Rundgren - Rain (mp3)
3. Andy Partridge - Strawberry Fields Forever (mp3)
4. Johnny Cash - In My Life (mp3)
5. The Jam - And Your Bird Can Sing (mp3)
6. Elvis Costello - You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (mp3)
7. David Bowie - Across the Universe (mp3)
8. The Breeders - Happiness Is a Warm Gun (mp3)
9. The Feelies - Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey (mp3)
10. Booker T & the M.G.'s - Something (mp3)

Just a few more notes: The Booker T song is taken from 'McLemore Avenue', a complete album of Abbey Road songs recorded for Stax. The album and record cover are absolute classics. Todd Rundgren has worn the Fab Four's influence on his sleeve throughout his career. "Rain" is taken from the album 'Faithful'. Side one of the record is all covers, including a nice rendition of "Strawberry Fields Forever". If the old mop-top stuff is your speed, check out Utopia's 'Deface the Music'. Rundgren lifts every note from the Lennon/McCartney early years and, yet, his theft is really enjoyable. I chose Siouxsie No. 1 because her cover shows the most vision. She made the song all hers without butchering it in the process.

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