Friday, April 1, 2011

Covering the Beatles: Please Please Me (part 3)

Track seven: "Please Please Me"

The recording of this song was a turning point for The Beatles. George Martin was set to have them do another cover tune as their next single, but they turned up with an up tempo, rollicking version of this song, so Martin released this instead and it became their first #1 hit. So by way of contrast, here's a languid indie rock cover by Will Phalen.

Track eight: "Love Me Do"

Here's a bluesy cover by Dallas Hodge.

Track nine: "P.S. I Love You"

It was hard to find a cover of this song I liked. The problem is that this Paul McCartney tune shares its name with a great 1934 Johnny Mercer tune, which is why The Beatles' song was relegated to a B-side. Everyone has covered the Mercer tune: Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Mel Torme... But I couldn't find many Beatles covers and even resorted to listening to shitty covers by a bad Japanese girl group and an weird Slovakian singer. I finally found this one by Scottish singer Barbara Dickson from her 2006 Beatles cover album Nothing's Gonna Change My World. Dickson has been covering The Beatles for decades: she performed their music in the 1974 Willy Russell musical John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert. George Harrison loathed it:
I saw it up until the intermission and then — I saw it with my friend Derek Taylor, who's a writer who used to work for Warner Bros. and Apple — I said to him we either have to leave now or I'm gonna jump on that stage and throttle those people. It was awful stuff. All these idiots acting out people — it's like I say in "The Devil's Radio," talking about what they don't know. It's like a rumor. It's like those Beatles cartoons, and it was so inaccurate it was nauseating, having been one.
When Harrison left, he took with him permission to use his song "Here Comes the Sun", which the show replaced with "Good Day Sunshine".

Find more Barbara Dickson albums at Myspace Music

Track ten: "Baby It's You"

A tune by Burt Bacharach and friends, it was originally released as a single by The Shirelles and became one of two Shirelles covers on Please Please Me. It reached number 5 when later covered by white blues rock band Smith in 1969. This cover is by Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe.

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