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Covers that are BETTER than the original
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14 October 2012
4.43pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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There obviously aren't going to be many; most covers are at best as good as the original.

I'm going to throw "I Call Your Name" into the ring.

It's a perfectly OK song as produced by the Beatles, but it really comes to life with the Mamas and the Papas.

 

As noted on one of the other "cover" threads, I might be tempted to also include Joe Cocker's version of "I'll Cry Instead" with that great descending bass lick on the acoustic bass.

Maybe even Judy Collins's "In My Life." That's the only Beatle song where I don't think the voices work to good effect; they're too strong. The song calls for a single serene voice IMO.

[on the other hand, the keyboard solo in the middle of the Beatle version is fantastic]

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
14 October 2012
6.48pm
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IMDeWalrus
Terrace BC Canada
Abbey Road
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I can't really think of any cover versions of Beatles songs that I prefer to the originals... although one very good one was the first one I ever heard -- in fact I heard it before I'd ever heard of The Beatles:   Del Shannon's version of "From Me To You".   There are a few others that stand out too:  Aerosmith did a decent job with "Come Together"... Sarah McLachlan's "Blackbird"... and of course there's Joe Cocker's terrific rendition of "With A Little Help From My Friends".  Even Anne Murray, believe it or not, did a pretty good cover of "You Won't See Me".   But to my ears anyway, none of them surpass The Beatles' versions.

 

However, if we ask the opposite question -- how many songs did The Beatles cover that you think were better than the original? -- I'd say "several" -- most of their covers were very convincing, and became THE versions, as far as I was concerned -- especially "Twist & Shout", "Please Mr Postman", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Long Tall Sally", "Words Of Love" & "Rock & Roll Music".   

I've got nothing to say, but it's okay.. GOOD MORNING! GOOD MORNING!! GOOD MORNING!!!
14 October 2012
11.03pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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IMDeWalrus said,"if we ask the opposite question — how many songs did The Beatles cover that you think were better than the original? — I'd say "several" — most of their covers were very convincing, and became THE versions, as far as I was concerned — especially "Twist & Shout", "Please Mr Postman", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Long Tall Sally", "Words Of Love" & "Rock & Roll Music". "

 

Yup, I agree.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
14 October 2012
11.22pm
Duke_of_Kirkcaldy
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
London Palladium
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said
IMDeWalrus said,"if we ask the opposite question — how many songs did The Beatles cover that you think were better than the original? — I'd say "several" — most of their covers were very convincing, and became THE versions, as far as I was concerned — especially "Twist & Shout", "Please Mr Postman", "Roll Over Beethoven", "Long Tall Sally", "Words Of Love" & "Rock & Roll Music". "

 

Yup, I agree.

I dunno, for me this area gets a bit tricky when one starts saying they outdid fellow legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard (who were both particularly major influences on them).  Having heard the originals of all the songs they covered, I'd say they, at the very least, matched the originals... and surpassed them on "Twist And Shout," "Boys," and the 3 Larry Williams songs.

18 October 2012
4.27pm
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Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost
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Each cover can be debated individually in regard to who did it better. What impresses me most about The Beatles covering songs from other artists is the fact that they respected the integity of the original. A shining example of this is "Words Of Love". When you listen to Buddy's original and The Beatles cover back-to-back, the similarities are striking right down to the voice inflections.

It is no wonder to me that they were so popular in Hamburg, The Cavern and dance halls all across England. They obviously took great pride in learning the songs that were being requested.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth. Blessed is he whose fame does not outshine his truth. Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes
21 October 2012
11.01am
sinco
The Jacaranda
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I really like Stevie Wonder's version of "We Can Work It Out", great harmonica solo. (Although I still prefer the Beatles version)

5 March 2014
1.28pm
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Sarge Pepper
A Beginning
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24 February 2014
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I really like the following covers of Beatles songs:

Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends

Joe Cocker - She Came In Through The Bathroom Window

Jason Mraz's arrangement of In My Life (even though he messes up the lyrics of every version I've seen/heard online)

Sean Connery - In My Life (from George Martin: In My Life [I think I'm just a sucker for this song and for Mr. Connery in general])

The Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Dub Band is also a whole album I find interesting.

5 March 2014
6.20pm
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Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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I do love to watch Joe's hilarious performance of it at Woodstock, but other than that I don't love Cocker's version of "...Friends" as much as most people. I can't deny it's well played and sung (Jimmy Page on guitar!) but I miss the little chorus hook in the original that's buried by the the backup singers in the remake. (But I'm a huge fan of molasses-slow Hammond-organ gospel-soul in the first place, particularly when it's done by Britons, so my opinion was kinda inevitable, I guess...)

Anyways, hmm...nope, I can't think of any Beatles covers that top the original. But there are some that I consider as good in their own way as the originals, like EW&F's "Got To Get You Into My Life", Aerosmith's "Come Together" and "Every Little Thing" by Yes. (Aerosmith and Yes both additionally did terrible versions of "I'm Down", incidentally.)

I guess it's the fact that those Beatles songs were written and arranged and played and sung so perfectly is the reason that so many covers are disappointing, if not complete travesties. Maybe performs should stop covering the very best Beatles songs and stick to the most unremarkable "obscure" songs, like "Hold Me Tight" or things like that.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
5 March 2014
6.48pm
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Ron Nasty
Apple rooftop
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I've always liked Siouxsie & The Banshees' (featuring Robert Smith of The Cure at the time) 1983 take on Dear Prudence. It's certainly a close-run thing for me between their cover and the original, and I often think the Banshees has the edge, but then I go back to thinking The Beatles take it by a whisker.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

5 March 2014
7.09pm
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OneCoolCat
The Cavern Club
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6 February 2014
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I have to admit, I kinda dig Celine Dion's version of Here, There & Everywhere.  I'm not much on Beatles' covers, but Ms. Dion does it well.

5 March 2014
7.13pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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mja6758, you may be right. I've never been a big fan of the original, though it's enjoyable enough (is it really good enough to be the #2 song on the album? That's for another thread); I think I like this one better. Ironically, I think the vocal arrangement is better here than on the White Album. I DO miss the bass line, and I think this version is a tad too fast. 

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
5 March 2014
7.21pm
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meanmistermustard
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Never liked Souxie's Dear Prudence, her vocal bugs my ears.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
5 March 2014
8.08pm
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derek
The Indra
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8 January 2014
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I know there are not many Bee gees fans and lesser fans of that 1978 film, BUT i do love Robin Gibb's version of "Oh! Darling" one of his best vocal performances, shouldve been on a Bee Gees Greatest Hits album.

5 March 2014
8.53pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
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Hmmm. I don't care for that quivering voice; and strings on "Oh! Darling"? I have a problem with that. 

But no knock on Robin, the Bee Gees have provided me with many great memories, and the yellow-covered Best of the Bee Gees (released in the 60s) is coincidentally sitting right next to me.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
6 March 2014
4.58pm
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PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
Paris Olympia
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5 February 2010
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The I Am Sam soundtrack provides several solid contenders, in my opinion. Of course, it would be almost blasphemy to call any of these covers better than The Beatles originals, but some of them come at least close enough to be called "as good as."

Notable nominations:

- Sarah McLachlan's version of "Blackbird"
- Ben Folds' version of "Golden Slumbers"
- the Stereophonics' version of "Don't Let Me Down"

Another great one (with a very interesting instrumental intro) is PFR and Phil Keaggy's cover of "We Can Work It Out" on Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles:

That one might actually come closest to being better than the original, in my book.

Fun fact: Phil Keaggy played and sang at Laura Eastman's wedding, and got to meet Paul. Phil brought Paul a custom-made guitar as a gift, and the two of them jammed together in the hotel.

Phil and PaulImage Enlarger

Phil and Paul and LindaImage Enlarger

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
7.59pm
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c64wood
Royal Command Performance
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3 September 2009
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 Yes, the Phil Keaggy / PFR cover of WCWIO.  To me, what gives this cover an edge over the original, is the punchy quarter notes in the "Life is very short..." section which I believe the original lacked. (Different times and technologies though)

Anyhoo, the arrangement on this cover is good too, not better just different.  The vocals are lacking as compared to Paul and John.

Phil Keaggy is cool.  Been listening to him since 1986, right before Sunday's Child came out.  Saw him twice in concert.  Phenomenal player indeed.

 

(On a side note, I can't understand why every cover of "Nowhere Man" is done as a ballad.  How disappointing.)

I know you know what you know, but you should know by now that you're not me ~ Ron Nasty
6 March 2014
9.02pm
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PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
Paris Olympia
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c64wood said

a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 Yes, the Phil Keaggy / PFR cover of WCWIO.  To me, what gives this cover an edge over the original, is the punchy quarter notes in the "Life is very short..." section which I believe the original lacked. (Different times and technologies though)

Anyhoo, the arrangement on this cover is good too, not better just different.  The vocals are lacking as compared to Paul and John.

Phil Keaggy is cool.  Been listening to him since 1986, right before Sunday's Child came out.  Saw him twice in concert.  Phenomenal player indeed.

The punchy quarter notes, and the killer string section, IMO. :)

Phil Keaggy is a huge Beatles fan, too. The first time I saw him in concert (1990?) I thought, "Holy crap, it's a miniature Paul McCartney!" And he proceeded to cover two or three Beatles tunes in his set, which was awesome.

Staying with the topics of covers and Keaggy, here's a killer rendition of "Here Comes The Sun":

Keaggy eventually recorded this on an album of covers (which also features "In My Life" and "Here, There, and Everywhere") called Acoustic Cafe.

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
9.21pm
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Linde
The Netherlands
Rishikesh
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Most of them are either terrible or just about bearable. One I really can't stand is Joe Cocker's version of With A Little Help From My Friends.

 

Otherwise I just try to avoid them.

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21 March 2014
11.36am
Gerrit
Netherlands
Casbah Coffee Club
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19 November 2013
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ZImage Enlarger

 

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21 March 2014
11.48pm
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Ron Nasty
Apple rooftop
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a-hard-days-night-george-10

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

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