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Another Spin
A blog by Scott E. Shepherd · A continuing look at popular music, past, present and future.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Hey Paul, Know Any More?

Is there any band that's been as covered as the Beatles? Though not as common today as it was years ago, it seems like everybody at one point tries to cover a Beatles' song, even if it's just a rare "live" tune. "Yesterday" was (and may still be) the most covered song ever, with everybody from Frank Sinatra to Boys II Men taking a crack at it. Some Beatles covers are good - some are really, really bad. Some are just plain odd.
While trolling through some of the more obscure British psychedelic music, I found some very good, yet relatively unknown covers of Beatle tunes and I was wondering if anyone else knew of other covers. We all know of covers of tunes like "Michelle," "Fool on the Hill," "Yesterday," etc., but I'm looking for the unexpected stuff - perhaps a list of what I found will help illustrate
"Strawberry Fields Forever" by Tomorrow. Tomorrow was a relatively obscure psychedelic band that put out one album. Tomorrow is know for two things, their "hit," "White Bicycle" and for being the starting point for future Yes guitarist, Steve Howe. Howe and his band mates do an excellent job covering "Strawberry Fields," just imagine the track without the horns and strings and with Steve Howe's guitar, and that should give you a good idea.
"Obla-di, Obla-da" by Marmalade. Marmalade was a Scottish pop group more famous for their song "Reflections of My Life," yet "Obla-di, Obla-da" was an early hit for them. In fact, Marmalade recorded and released their version before the Beatles! Still, it's as good as the "original."
"Hey Bulldog" by the Gods. The Gods is another one of those bands that were more famous for the people that were in the band than their actual music. Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones and Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, both had stints with the Gods, but I think neither are present on "Hey Bulldog." Other members of the Gods went on to form Uriah Heep. "Hey Bulldog" is one of my favorite lesser-known (if such a term can be applied) Beatles' songs so I was surprised to find such a good cover.
I know of two very odd versions of "I Am the Walrus," one by a short lived British band called Affinity, and one by Spooky Tooth, but neither are up to the caliber of the original or of the cover versions I've mentioned above.
And so I leave it up to you, the reader. Do you know of any more obscure but good Beatle cover tunes that I could add to my list? While it's probably true every Beatles tune has been covered at least once (save "Revolution #9 - who would want to make that crap again?) I'd like to find some of the better, rarer covers, especially those recorded while the Beatles were still together. So if you know any good covers from say Sgt. Pepper on, let me know. And please avoid all those horrible "tribute" CDs.

Posted at 10:56 am ET