The Best Cover Versions of Beatles songs – Part 2

Beatles record player

The recent tribute to Macca – The Art of McCartney – featured dozens of cover versions of Paul’s solo work as well as his Beatles work, and it is fair to say that unless you were a fan of the artist that bravely stepped in to perform, the results were less than electrifying. Indeed, you might argue some were painful to listen to. In one or two cases not just any pain either. I mean the sort of searing pain you would associate with child birth, or perhaps treading on a small piece of Lego when barefoot. Such are the perils of covering songs by The Beatles…

We therefore salute the following brave souls who have overcome the odds and produced cover versions of Beatles songs that actually match, or even surpass the originals.

In the first part of this post, we admired cover versions by Doris Troy, Lowell Fulson, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Joe Cocker. This time, there are six, and four feature female vocals…

Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude
With the help of Dwayne Allman on lead guitar, Wilson Pickett absolutely smashes this song. Amazing performance. Alongside Cocker, could this be the best cover of a Beatles song ever?

Fiona Apple – Across The Universe
Better, it must be said, than Bowie’s version by a country mile, and with a string arrangement that knocks Phil Spector’s sickly sweet orchestra into a cocked hat, this is a terrific cover of the song.

Sheryl Crow – Mother Nature’s Son
When considering warm-voiced female covers, I toyed with Aimee Mann’s honeyed version of “Two of Us” from the same “I Am Sam” soundtrack instead, but this wins as it adds something extra to a sweet, but middling McCartney White Album track.

Tina Turner – Come Together
Aerosmith do a nice version of this song, (and of “I’m Down”) but it is too close to the original to win points. Turner’s version adds some energy – she is on top form here…

Siouxsie and the Banshees – Dear Prudence
I heard this version of Lennon’s White Album classic before the original, and I still think it has something extra. I think it’s an ability to be true to the original whilst adding Siouxie’s own personality to the mix. That, or the heavy black eye make up…

Honourable mention: Whitesnake – Day Tripper
Speaking of make up, David Coverdale gets a mention in this list too, because I really like this Whitesnake version. You could argue that it is a leaden-footed seventies rock cover of a buzzing classic pop tune, but I rather like the staccato riff and Coverdale’s voice before he got all “MTV” on us, so this is a winner for me.

Thank you for suggesting your favourites in the last post – so did I miss out your favourite? Want to suggest a cover that’s better? Or can you really not abide that Whitesnake pick? Let me know below…..



Categories: Music

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18 replies

  1. Some more great picks! By coincidence, I’m just catching up with this week’s TOTP 1980 and now playing is Dollar’s lamentable ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, which I’m sure would fit into your Lego-embedded-in-the-sole-of-your-foot Top 10.

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  2. Nice to see Ike and Tina in there. Long been a fan of their version of Come Together. I’d also add Harry Nilsson’s version of She’s Leaving Home to the list (and You Can’t Do That from the same album, actually).

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  3. I would like to know if anyone has done a cover of “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill.” lol

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  4. Yes, ‘The Art of McCartney’ was slightly painful to listen to. Oh well, though.
    I love Fiona Apple’s ‘Across the Universe’ and Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ‘Dear Prudence’. As I’ve said before, The Black Keys’ ‘She Said She Said’ is most definitely my favourite Beatles cover, but the only cover I prefer to the original would be the Stones’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’. But then, any song which involves Brian Jones’ stellar slide is good, IMO.

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  5. Love your picks! Love listening to them while I read and enjoy my coffee even more … thanks for some good Sunday morning listening.

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  6. Elvis Presley covered Something in the Aloha concert/video. His rendition gets my vote!

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  7. Thanks for sharing! Once again, I was not familiar with any of those. Super into the Tina and Siouxsie songs!

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  8. Not to be missed: Come Together by Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. Come Together by The Brothers Johnson Dear Prudence by Jerry Garcia Please,Please Me by Link Wray and Hard Day’s Night by Shockabilly

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