Saturday, January 24, 2015

Music Break - Beatles Covers

Many different artists have covered songs first written and recorded by the Beatles.  The most successful Beatles cover might be Elton John's version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which he recorded in 1974 with some help from John Lennon, who went by the pseudonym Dr. Winston O'Boogie.

One of the earliest songs written by Lennon was I Call Your Name.  In the Mamas & the Papas' version, included on their 1966 debut album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, the lead vocal shifts between Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot.  The arrangement also alternates between different time signatures.  During an instrumental break, Cass can heard whispering the name "John", referring to Lennon.  The other two members of the group were John and Michelle Phillips.

The animated portion of the movie Yellow Submarine concludes with George Harrison's It's All Too Much.  (A short scene with the four Beatles shot live actually ends the movie, with All Together Now playing during the closing credits.)  The Yellow Submarine album includes a lyrically different and longer version of the song.  The cover by Steve Hillage, from this 1976 album L, is mostly true to the Beatles' album version.  It's All Too Much has also been covered by Journey and the Grateful Dead.

For his 1979 album State Of Shock, Ted Nugent recorded George Harrison's I Want To Tell You, which originally appeared on the Beatles album Revolver in 1966.  This version leaves out the piano included in the original, but adds an extended instrumental break.  Charlie Huhn, who later joined Foghat, sings the lead vocal.

In 2005, Styx recorded Big Bang Theory, an entire album of covers.  The first track is I Am The Walrus, which first appeared on the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour album in 1967.  Lawrence Gowan, who replaced Dennis DeYoung on keyboards, takes the lead vocal.  The band also includes long-time guitarists James Young and Tommy Shaw, bassist Ricky Phillips, and drummer Todd Sucherman.  Original (and still part-time) bassist Chuck Panozzo appears in the video as the "eggman".

For more information on these and other Beatles songs, go to The Beatles Bible.

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