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Covers that are BETTER than the original
14 October 2012
4.43pm
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
IMDeWalrus
Terrace BC Canada
Decca
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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
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
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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
Zig
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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.

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21 October 2012
11.01am
sinco
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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
Sarge Pepper
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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
Von Bontee
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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
Ron Nasty
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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
OneCoolCat
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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
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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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
meanmistermustard
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Never liked Souxie's Dear Prudence, her vocal bugs my ears.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
5 March 2014
8.08pm
derek
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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
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
PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
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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 Paul

Phil and Paul and Linda

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
7.59pm
c64wood
Carnegie Hall
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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
PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
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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
Linde
The Netherlands
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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.

21 March 2014
11.36am
Gerrit
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21 March 2014
11.48pm
Ron Nasty
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