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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