Monday, January 26, 2015

5 of the Best Beatles Covers

In the world of rock n' roll, covering a song by the Fab Four is a pretty standard thing to do. It's been that way since their 1960's heyday. This isn't a surprise at all, considering how massively popular and influential they have been even to this day. Some of the most high profile artists have taken part in this over the years and have almost completely reinterpreted their chosen tunes in their own unique ways, making them completely their own. Below are five of the best ones in no particular order:

1. She Said, She Said, by The Black Keys

In 2002, Akron, Ohio based blues rock group The Black Keys recorded their own interpretation of this acid trip inspired tune from Revolver for their debut album The Big Come Up. Though the smooth vocal harmonies and soft pop rock nature of the original version are gone, they have been replaced by a more raw, gritty, and upbeat vibe that sounds as though a blues band recorded it in their garage on cheap equipment. However, I mean this in quite a good way. In addition, the vocals are the epitome of soulful. This is really worth taking a listen to.

2. Helter Skelter, by Motley Crue

In 1982, California based hair metal band Motley Crue covered this howling hard rocking Paul McCartney classic for their Shout at the Devil album. For the most part it stays true to the original, save a few minor nuances here and there. They did make it heavier, a little bit faster, and more intense (naturally), which is quite fitting given the attitude and nature of the song. It works out as a metal song quite well. The pinch harmonics laced throughout the song make you just shiver in pure delight. The flashy lightning fast guitar solo only adds to the eargasm. I never thought I could say I've headbanged to a Beatles tune until I heard this.

3. Help!, by Deep Purple

When this cover was released in 1968 by prog/hard rock band Deep Purple, the Beatles were actually still together. It was part of the band's debut album Shades of Deep Purple. This cover sounds almost NOTHING like the original version at all. It could very well be its own song. The only things kept are the vocal melodies. This version is slowed way down and given more a ballad-esque ambience, unlike the upbeat pop-rock style it was originally written in. In a way it almost reminded me of a hymn, but with electric guitar (which at one point does an epic melodic solo). I cannot recommend this cover enough because it will give you a new appreciation for what can be done with a song when you rethink the style it's played in.

4. Across the Universe, by David Bowie

In this cover, a former Beatle actually performed on the track with the artist; in this case pop icon David Bowie. John Lennon contributed backing vocals and guitar to Bowie's 1975 cover of his ballad for Bowie's album Young Americans. This version leaves out some of the eastern influenced chant lyrics that were in the original and replaces them with dual harmonized guitar melodies. Lennon said this was actually the best recording of the song he had ever. It's easy to understand why. There is a lot more passion, love, and energy put into it. There wasn't all of the stress and drama that had influenced the last sessions of The Beatles when this song was originally recorded.

5. Day Tripper, by Whitesnake

Before Whitesnake became known for their hair metal sound and appearance, they were originally a soulful blues rock band that started in 1978. On their debut album Trouble, they recorded a cover of Day Tripper. Many of the familiar melodies are kept, but the tune is slowed down a bit and given more of a funky soul kind of feel. The main riff translates into that style really well. One thing that makes this cover and absolute treat to the ears is the vocal harmonies. They are multi-layered, tight, and booming with melody. Layering a Hammond organ over the whole thing also brings a new layer and dimension of sound as well.

Do you agree with my list? If not, what are some of your favorite covers of The Beatles' work? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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