08 February 2008

Mix Tape Friday: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles!

Tomorrow night marks the 44th anniversary of The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (click the link to hear that introduction) — probably one of the five most important pop-culture moments of my life. I was one of the 73 million who watched that show. I’ve blogged before about what The Beatles mean to me, so I’ll spare you that repeated tale.

But I never quit talking about The Beatles, not really. Favorite Boy and I were talking over the weekend about how The Beatles affected our lives, our love of music. As he said (much more eloquently than I did):

    I still remember seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan when I was five and thinking, “Wow, this is different.” Those early songs taught me what rock and roll was supposed to sound like. They were the songs heard on small transistor radios under the sheets after I was supposed to be asleep. These were the songs that made me wish I had a girl that I could love eight days a week.

I started to mix a tape of Beatles tunes, but two things stopped that idea: (1) I couldn’t narrow down to 44 of their songs I like best (I’m obsessive, you know); (2) most of you who love The Beatles probably own the same extensive collection. So I went with my tried-and-true: a covers tape. The fun thing about a Beatles mix tape is everyone covers them — rock and R&B artists, punk boys and indie girls, easy-listeners and new wavers, country greats and psychedelic grands. I limited the tape to 44 songs — one for each year since that pivotal Sullivan moment — ending with my favorite Beatles B-side.

Twist and shout, kids.



Elton John feat. John Lennon :: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Stevie Wonder :: We Can Work It Out

Mike Mills & The Backbeat Band :: Roadrunner

Ted Leo :: I’m Looking Through You

Oasis :: I Am the Walrus

Aerosmith :: Come Together

Ike & Tina Turner :: Get Back

Earth Wind & Fire :: Got to Get You into My Life

Joe Cocker :: She Came in Through the Bathroom Window

U2 :: Helter Skelter

Stereophonics :: Don’t Let Me Down

Al Green :: I Want to Hold Your Hand

Greg Dulli & The Backbeat Band :: Twist and Shout

The Donnas :: Drive My Car

Little Richard :: I Saw Her Standing There

The Jam :: And Your Bird Can Sing

Sonic Youth :: Within You Without You

Eddie Vedder :: You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away

David Bowie :: Penny Lane

Elvis Presley :: Hey Jude

Frank Sinatra:: Something

Robyn Hitchcock :: She Said She Said

Elvis Costello + Paul McCartney :: One After 909

Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 :: Day Tripper

The Fiery Furnaces :: Norwegian Wood

The Feelies :: Everybody's Got Something to Hide (Except Me and My Monkey)

Foo Fighters :: Blackbird

13th Floor Elevators :: The Word

Ray Charles :: Eleanor Rigby

Nellie McKay :: If I Needed Someone

Gregg Allman :: Rain

Johnny Cash :: In My Life

Billy Bragg :: She’s Leaving Home

Elliott Smith :: I Me Mine

Joe Jackson :: For No One

Paul Westerberg :: Nowhere Man

Nina Simone :: Here Comes the Sun

The Breeders :: Happiness Is a Warm Gun

Hüsker Dü :: Ticket to Ride

Echo & The Bunnymen :: All You Need Is Love

XTC :: Strawberry Fields Forever

The Ventures :: I Feel Fine

Yo La Tengo :: Paperback Writer

The Beatles :: You Know My Name (Look up the Number)


Interesting set of covers, huh? A few of the tracks on here are cheesy — but not the ones you’d expect. Yeah, Elvis Presley’s is very Vegas, but it makes me laugh. Nina Simone’s “Here Comes the Sun” is splendid, and I love Sergio Mendes’ “Day Tripper.” Johnny Cash brings a different, more heartbreaking feel to “In My Life.” I’ve always been a bit disappointed with Little Richard’s “I Saw Her Standing There” since you can hear his influence on Paul in the original, but it’s still pretty good. Mr. Charles nails “Eleanor Rigby”; I think I prefer his version.

Of course, there are many terrible Beatles covers out there — and this is one of my favorite groaners:

Bill Cosby :: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club


The Backbeat Band may be the greatest supergroup few have heard: R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Nirvana’s Dave Grohl, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Afghan Whigs/Twilight Singers’ Greg Dulli, Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner, and Gumball’s Don Fleming. They grouped for the (quite fun) Backbeat soundtrack. I included my two favorite songs from the album: Mike Mills’ “Roadrunner” (his vocals and bass playing kick a**!) and the Greg Dulli-led “Twist and Shout” (a fun, true-to-tune cover).


Speaking of Greg Dulli, does anyone want to see him and Mark Lanegan with me in March? I cannot miss Mr. Dulli, I have decided. Check the navbar for details.

Be sure to listen to “You Know My Name (Look up the Number).” It was the B-side to the “Let It Be” single. Whenever I listen to it, I wonder if that’s the last good time Paul and John had together. Wonderfully weird song.

I want to know some of your favorite Beatles covers; there are so many fun ones to choose from. Discuss in the comment box.

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28 Comments:

At 2/08/2008 02:32:00 AM, Blogger Pezda's Ghost said...

Ben Harper does a pretty good cover of Michelle, and Elvis Costello did a live performance of You've Got to Hide Your Love, but my personal fav is Gomez' cover of Getting Better (as I am partial to Gomez)

 
At 2/08/2008 07:48:00 AM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

Whenever I listen to Revolver, I'm always amazed at how ahead of their time the Beatles were. That's a great list.

 
At 2/08/2008 08:26:00 AM, Blogger Mathdude said...

I am humbled and in awe of the depth of your list. However...how could you leave of Cheap Trick's "Magical Mystery Tour" or Motley Crue's "Helter Skelter"?
On the topic of guys annoying you by singing "Beth"...at least your parents didn't name you Eileen!

 
At 2/08/2008 09:56:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

I remember the first time my brother played "You Know My Name" for me. I was dying laughing. That was indie rock before indie rock even existed, man!

I haven't heard a lot of these covers, so I can't wait to get home and start downloading. I'm especially interested to hear the Frank Sinatra and Paul Westerberg ones.

Oasis covered a Beatles tune? Imagine! (Yes, I know it wasn't "Imagine," I was saying...oh never mind. This could turn into an Abbott and Costello routine.)

Although they ripped off the beginning of "Imagine" for one of their songs. I think it was "Don't Look Back in Anger" or something. I don't know, their songs all kinda sound the same.

 
At 2/08/2008 09:59:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

And I know "Imagine" was a John Lennon song, but he was a Beatle. He was the Walrus. I could've been the Walrus but I'd still have to bum rides off of people.

 
At 2/08/2008 12:46:00 PM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

Someday, I'll get around to the middle albums that aren't the "Holy Christ, a child could have written that" of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and the "we love drugs" of "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds," but I think I missed the boat on this band by not being alive in the 60s. I mean, "Things We Said Today" is a nice song and all, but I'd still rank it below everything 100 other bands recorded.

 
At 2/08/2008 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Moxie said...

LOVE Beckeye's 2nd comment! Save Ferris!

There's a band called The King's Singers that do wonderful acapella versions of songs. Their album of Beatles tunes is really good and quite fun. Momcat used to play it often - my favorite covers were "Blackbird", "Back in the USSR" and "Eleanor Rigby." I also like Aerosmith's "Come Together" and Godhead's version of "Eleanor Rigby." Both are deliciously creepy.

 
At 2/08/2008 01:29:00 PM, Blogger Grant Miller said...

I had a collection of Beatles covers on our old computer. It crashed, but the one I missed most was Sonic Youth's "Within Without You."

Thanks for posting it!

 
At 2/08/2008 02:51:00 PM, Blogger Tony Alva said...

Good tape this Friday. So glad you included the Aerosmith "Come Together". The live version from their "Live Bootleg" album is phenom. My brother, Mathdude (yes, that's really my brother) beat me to the Crue's "Helter Skelter". It rocks much harder than U2's.

 
At 2/08/2008 03:42:00 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Great batch of songs! That Stevie Wonder song is one of the most popular tracks at the '60s Motown/Northern Soul dance nights in town...

I didn't discover You Know My Name until the Anthology series... and now it might be my favorite Beatles song.

I was unaware of the Sergio Mendes & Fiery Furnaces covers, thanks! Personally, I'm partial to Aimee Mann & Michael Penn doing "Two of Us."

 
At 2/08/2008 03:56:00 PM, Blogger Bluez said...

As usual, great tunes.

 
At 2/08/2008 06:22:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Why you quota exceeding temptress! Seems like a great list, I'll get some of them later on.

 
At 2/08/2008 07:12:00 PM, Blogger mellowlee said...

I can't wait to give some of these a listen...maybe I can come back after midnight :O) This mix is great timing for me, cause I'm finally going to watch Across The Universe tonight. Happy Friday Beth xo

 
At 2/08/2008 07:47:00 PM, Blogger Mathman6293 said...

I love you list. I have written a fair amount about my Beatles experience. Today on my way home from school (in Austell) the car in front of me had an Abbey Road magnet on it. I'll be posting it soon.

 
At 2/08/2008 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

Covers were a great idea when talking about the Beatles. One of my favs is Belle and Sebastian covering Here Comes the Sun.

 
At 2/08/2008 10:46:00 PM, Anonymous Mix Tape Girl said...

I love the Beatles. I think AD has every single album they have, which I copied to my Ipod. He He. I think my favorite cover would have to be Sarah McLachlan's cover of Blackbird. Her voice just lends so much to an already great song. I'm also very found of "The Ballad of John and Yoko", I think that was only released as a single. But I still love it.

 
At 2/09/2008 09:53:00 AM, Blogger kfluff said...

The list of groaners, I bet, is as long as the list you have here (that people actually want to listen to). Isn't there a copy of Big Bill Shatner singing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" somewhere?

 
At 2/10/2008 12:06:00 AM, Blogger lulu said...

I've gone on record as being completely over the Beatles. That being said, I love love love Beatle's covers---want Norwegian Wood in Punjabi?

 
At 2/11/2008 08:22:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Chantal Kreviazuk does a nice version of In My Life. Loving the Al Green and The Donnas, actually, every one I've listened to here is pretty damned great.

 
At 2/11/2008 05:36:00 PM, Blogger datacine said...

Great list!
2 covers I would add:
Spooky Tooth :: I Am The Walrus
Cornershop :: Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (sung in Hindi)

My groaner
William Shatner :: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Ultimate groaner tip, check out the Golden Throat series from Rhino Records. All celebrity covers. Deliciously awful.

 
At 2/11/2008 10:57:00 PM, Blogger Eebie said...

I love your stuff, great selection but I always get here too late. Is there a way I can get it? I will pay for server time or shipping or whatever.

 
At 2/12/2008 04:55:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

PEZDA’S GHOST: I just downloaded Gomez’ “Getting Better” — brilliant, and thanks for letting me know it existed!

GIFTED TYPIST: Isn’t Revolver timeless? I never tire of listening to it.

MATHDUDE: How could I leave off Cheap Trick or Motley Crue? Because I just don’t listen to either band. While I love the hairband worn in your avatar, I never enjoyed the hairbands.

BECKEYE: Again, you are my twin sister of a different mother. Which means you be cool. I nearly included Neil Young’s “Imagine” cover, but I decided to stay true to the theme. You be cool — I be nerd.

PISTOLS: I’m beginning to understand why you love Journey and Phil Collins …

 
At 2/12/2008 05:00:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

MOXIE: Didn’t The King Family — evolved from The King Sisters — perform on The Lawrence Welk Show? I really need to check out their Beatles covers.

GRANT MILLER: You’re welcome! Let me know if you’re missing others.

TONY ALVA: I just can’t Motley; I was a new-wave snob back in those days. So Mathdude’s your brother; Thanksgiving must be awesome at your parents’ house!

SCOTT: Aimee and Michael nearly made it, but I had too many tunes from the I Am Sam soundtrack, and figured people were more familiar with that one.

BLUEZ: Thank you!

 
At 2/12/2008 05:03:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: I push all boundaries, sir, even bandwidth ones. Let me know how brilliant the list is.

MELLOWLEE: Did you review Across the Universe? I need to click over for a blog peek.

MATHMAN6293: So glad you linked me on that post!

BARBARA BRUEDERLIN: I nearly went with B&S, but I adore Ms. Simone’s version — and my nerdy self won’t let me repeat tunes or artists (except for R.E.M., of course) on a mix tape.

MIX TAPE GIRL: Sarah McLachlan’s “Blackbird” is so lovely. I was singing along to it in a store last week — but I decided to go all Foo on that tunes since the kids are probably familiar with the McLachlan version.

 
At 2/12/2008 05:07:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

KFLUFF: Nearly went with the beloved Shatner’s version — but Mr. Cosby’s is so much worse than his “Lucy.”

LULU: I would love some Punjabi “Wood”!

DALE: I need to track down the Chantal Kreviazuk cover. Thanks!

DATACINE: I get such a kick out of the Golden Throat series — as I do with Richard Cheese, Nouvelle Vague, and The New Standards.

EEBIE: You need to strike right after midnight. If you can’t get it, let me know and I’ll burn a CD for you.

 
At 2/13/2008 07:45:00 PM, Blogger Mathdude said...

That was my senior formal picture (as in other guys wore suits)! I've tried to let it grow long now, but I'm too old. As for Cheap Trick, I don't know where to begin lecturing you...(sigh) You should at least listen to their remake of Magical Mystery Tour. You would if you were a real Beatles fan.

 
At 2/19/2008 11:00:00 AM, Anonymous Jamie said...

I live for cover tunes and love the Beatles. Hate I missed this list while it was up. Dang!

 
At 2/19/2008 10:41:00 PM, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Sweet! I'll have to check out some of these... most of these covers are new to me.

 

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