- Mar 2 2021The Fab Four interpreted by the likes of Elvis, Elton John, Gary Clark Jr, Hendrix, Joe Cocker & more!
10 Great Beatles Covers!
10 Great Beatles Covers!
To celebrate the release of Gary Clark Jr’s new pulverising cover of “Come Together”, taken from the forthcoming DC Justice League mega-movie, ILYOS checks out some of the best and more noteworthy of the literally thousands of Beatles covers put down over the years. You can follow the link to our Beatles Down Under post of Aussie Beatles covers, here.
Let’s kick off with Gary’s track, shall we?
- Gary Clark Jr “Come Together”
The Austin, Texas guitarist is undoubtedly THE face of modern blues, and probably the most revolutionary artist in the field since fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan. Of course, the Beatles weren’t a blues band in the same way that the Stones or Cream were, but they did have strong roots in R&B, and more than artists before or since, they have influenced music across all fields. As we shall see…
- Black Keys “She Said, She Said”
Clark’s rise to prominence on the mainstream stage was perhaps precipitated by the commercial success achieved a few years back by these guys. Indeed much like the Stones did in the ‘60s and the likes of Johnny Winter did in the ‘70s, the Black Keys could be seen to have introduced blues to a new audience in their day. This great cover of one of the Beatles’ early psychedelic classics was a highlight of the Black Keys ground-breaking first album The Big Come Up.
- Jimi Hendrix “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”
Part of Jimi’s appeal, beyond his stunning musicianship and truly unique vision, was the absolute joy with which he played. That joy was perhaps most vivid when was performing the songs of his contemporaries. Of course, his covers of Dylan’s “All Along The Watch Tower” and the Troggs’ “Wild Thing” are two of his signature tunes but he was also known to perform tunes by the Stones, Cream, and of course the Beatles. It doesn't get much better than this one.
- Joe Cocker “With A Little Help From My Friends”
Not much needs to be said about this one, although Joe did invest a fair bit more in it vocally than Ringo ever did that’s for sure! He turned it into a soul tune. Jimmy Page played lead guitar on Joe’s original single version, but this live version is from Joe’s career-making performance at Woodstock.
- Otis Redding “A Hard Day’s Night”
If Joe Cocker was a soul singer, he no doubt learned much from one of the true greats - Otis. And the Beatles had soul roots as well – their early albums contained a number of Motown covers. Motown artists including the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson would repay the favour. Otis wasn’t Motown – he was the real deep soul deal from the South, the sort of thing that didn’t really come to prominence until after the Beatles emergence. Other Southern Soul singers to cover Beatles material included Al Green and Arthur Conley.
- Dwight Yoakam “Things We Said Today”
The Beatles were nearly indebted to country music as they were blues and soul – Carl Perkins was pure hillbilly, of course, Chuck Berry was hugely influenced by country, and Ringo sang lead on a cover of Buck Owens’ “Act Naturally”. The man who picked up the Bakersfield Country mantle from Buck in the mid-'80s, Dwight Yoakam, returned the favour with this great cover.
- Georgia Satellites “Don’t Pass Me By”
Ringo is credited as the sole composer of only two Beatles songs: "Octopus's Garden" and "Don't Pass Me By". The latter is a great rocker, and it sounded even better in the hands of one of the great rock’n’roll groups of the ‘80s, the Georgia Satellites.
- Elvis Presley “Something”
As much as the Beatles’ songwriting was dominated by John and Paul, it was one of George’s that two of the biggest guns in 20th Century popular music – Elvis and Frank Sinatra – took a shine too. George originally thought the Beatles weren’t going to record it and had Joe Cocker demo it. Ultimately the song was recorded not just by the Beatles, Joe, Frank and Elvis, but also by Tony Bennett, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson and countless others.
- Michael Buble – "Can’t Buy Me Love"
Given his young Frank Sinatra vibe, you might have expected Michael to cover “Something”, but he takes this early Beatles pop-rocker and swings it up a storm…
- Elton John “Lucy In The Sky”
One of only a handful of songwriters and performers able to carry the Beatles legacy of irresistible and masterful pop hitmaking into the ‘70s was Sir Elton, who of course had a worldwide smash with this Sgt Peppers highlight at the peak of his career. Here’s a live version with John Lennon guesting.
- Dave Laing
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