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CARLTON FLETCHER: Beatles catalog includes significant covers | Opinion | albanyherald.com

CARLTON FLETCHER: Beatles catalog includes significant covers | Opinion | albanyherald.com

CARLTON FLETCHER: Beatles catalog includes significant covers | Opinion | albanyherald.com
August 13
09:32 2018

Just let me hear some of that rock and roll music.— Chuck Berry/The Beatles
The Beatles set the standard by which all musical acts — especially those of the rock and roll era, which began circa 1955-56 — will be measured. So it’s always kinda funny, really unfair, when up-and-coming artists are compared to the Fab Four right out of the gate, when groups like Oasis or the Arctic Monkeys or the Stone Roses are dubbed the “new Beatles” after releasing one or two critically acclaimed works.Inevitably, artists like the aforementioned British acts and others too numerous to mention fail to live up to such lofty expectations, and what could have been significant careers — and, in some cases, are pretty significant — are deemed failures.It’s also disingenuous when an of-the-moment artist from a different era and genre — a Drake, say, or a Kanye West or a Migos or a Sturgill Simpson or a Rae Sremmurd — has a song or an album that connects with a sizable audience through social media and suddenly their work is declared as significant as The Beatles’ best.(Like “Cellphone Bling” is ever going to make people forget “Hey Jude” or “Bad and Bugee” will be covered as frequently as “Yesterday.” Right.)Excepting Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney set the bar significantly high for would-be songwriters, a height only a few have been able to even glimpse in the 50 years since the pair composed their most memorable works.But before the immense talent that lay dormant inside Lennon and McCartney — with significant contributions, it should be noted, of the other two Beatles, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — fully bloomed, The Beatles were just another pop band trying to make a living playing music.Casual fans may not have wandered this deeply into the weeds of the musicians’ careers, but before there was “Across the Universe,” before “The Long and Winding Road,” before “A Day in the Life,” before “Here, There and Everywhere,” before “Paperback Writer,” The Beatles did what just about every musical act before and after them did: They played cover songs. And, yeah, Ringo’s “Act Naturally” is worlds better than Buck Owens’ original — even with the backing of the Buckaroos! — and the Fabs took the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout” to No. 1, but the fact remains that the best, most innovative musicians ever got by for some time playing other people’s music.Here are some of The Beatles’ most memorable cover tunes. If you can, from memory, name at least 10 of them, consider yourself a legit Beatles fan:— Please, Mr. Postman; Boys: Yes, the Fab Four did girl groups quite well, thank you, putting their own impressive spin on tunes first recorded by the Marvellettes and the Shirelles, respectively.— Money; You Really Got a Hold on Me: Just as Motown-era superstars Stevie Wonder and Wilson Picket would eventually be among the hundreds who covered Beatles songs (“We Can Work It Out,” “Hey Jude,” respectively), the Fab Four did their take on hits by soul artists like Barrett Strong and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.— Long Tall Sally; Dizzy Miss Lizzy: Old-time screamers by the flamboyant Little Richard and Larry Williams particularly inspired McCartney. Lennon was more into the doo-wop/skiffle sound of early rock.— Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby; Honey Don’t: Buck and his Buckaroos weren’t the only country act to inspire the Fabs. These two rockabilly-leaning tunes were hits for Carl Perkins.— Mr. Moonlight; Ain’t She Sweet?: These quirky covers are perhaps best-loved by Beatles fans whose interest goes much deeper than the hits collection “1.” The former features McCartney on “church organ” and plaintive vocals by Lennon, while the latter is a rarity performed by the band in its early days that has over the years been covered by some 60 or so acts. “Ain’t She Sweet” was written in the 1920s.— Rock and Roll Music; Roll Over Beethoven: There’s no question that rock and roll innovator Chuck Berry inspired The Beatles, and their covers of these two Berry classics are two of the band’s best non-original songs ever. Lennon even out-Berrys Berry on the piano raver “Rock and Roll Music.”— Til There Was You: OK, this is my favorite Beatles cover ever. It’s McCartney offering a lovely take on a song that was … wait for it … in the hit musical “The Music Man.”

Source: CARLTON FLETCHER: Beatles catalog includes significant covers | Opinion | albanyherald.com

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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