Fab(ulous) covers

9 07 2009

More than their haircuts, the suits, the Ed Sullivan Show, the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or even “Beatlemania” in general, the Beatles, in my estimation, are known for writing an incredible amount of mind blowing original material.  Even early on in their recording careers, John and Paul, and to a much lesser extent George, put together enough original material to round out their first few albums and make a handful of chart-smashing singles.  They even had enough songs left over to give to up-and-comers like the Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Peter and Gordon and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas.

Still, from 1962 to 1964, the Beatles were still something of a cover band.  Instead of doing what many in the pop world did regularly, i.e. playing canned tunes written especially for them, the Fabs did what they did in their club days: they played the rock and roll they loved.

To say I’m a fan of their original material would be an understatement of staggering proportions.  But I really love a lot of their cover songs, too.   I’ve been listening to the Capitol Years Vol. 1 lately, really paying close attention to their execution of others’ music.  Perhaps I’m being unfair to the original recording artists — after all, how do you compete against the best band in the world, even with your own material? — but I love the way the Beatles treated most of that work.

This is my list of the 10 best Beatles cover, with the names of the songs’ writers.  I’ve culled this list only from original, official EMI/Capitol releases, set aside recordings from Hamburg or even the sanctioned BBC discs.

  • Slow Down – Larry Williams
  • Matchbox – Carl Perkins
  • Roll Over Beethoven — Chuck Berry
  • Leave My Kitten Alone – Little Willie John, Titus Turner, James McDougal
  • Twist & Shout -Phil Medly, Bert Russell
  • Long Tall Sally – Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell, Richard Penniman
  • Rock N’ Roll Music – Chuck Berry
  • Words of Love – Buddy Holly
  • Baby It’s You  –  Burt Bacharach, Mack David, Barney Williams
  • Anna (Go To Him) – Arthur Alexander



2 responses

11 07 2009

I’m a little surprised, being the McCarney fan that you are, that you left off “Till There Was You”. I’ve always considered it one of McCartney’s better ballad performances. I’m also a fan of “Mr. Moonlight” although I know that puts me in the minority.

12 07 2009

Uh, well, I’ve been in more of a rock n’ roll mood lately. That would explain the omission. Thanks for noticing.

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