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We’ve Got You Covered: Beatles Edition

By Barbara and Alex Doyle

Welcome to We’ve Got You Covered, where we’ll introduce you to some of our favorite songs that have been covered by another artist. There are only three possible outcomes for a cover song:

  • Better than the original
  • Faithful to the original
  • Dumpster fire

And while dumpster fires can be fun from a distance, they’re usually not going to achieve the sort of enduring popularity that a passable cover, or those rare brilliant reimaginings would. In this semi-recurring column, we’ll be providing a list of cover songs that are at least as good, and sometimes maybe better, than the originals.

While Ed Sullivan’s “Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!” definitely kicked off Beatlemania in America, it also provided ample opportunity to inspire generations of musicians to cover their songs, and it’s been argued that The Beatles are the most covered band ever. To help prove that point, here’s a list of Beatles covers no fan should be without.

Magical Mystery Tour, by Cheap Trick

File this one under the faithful to the original category, as lead signer Robin Zander belts out a hard rock, high-energy take on the original. Multi-layered as hell, and well worth a listen.

Eleanor Rigby, by Doxology

Doxology is the band that inspired David Cook’s cover of the song on American Idol. While not by any means a lighthearted song, this Doxology take brings a more serious, heavier sound, with more emphasis on electric guitar while keeping the complexity of the original arrangement. File it under the same category as the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells

Golden Slumbers, by Ben Folds

Fold’s piano and drum arrangement remains faithful to the original while staying a bit softer in the second half, adding an element that stays true to the feel of the song. Looking for a pretty 70’s soft rock cover of this song? Check out Peter Frampton’s version with the Bee Gees from the fairly terrible 1978 movie “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

With a Little Help From My Friends, by Joe Cocker

Probably most famous from his performance at the original Woodstock, Cocker’s gravely voice and soulful arrangement bring an additional intensity to the original.

Something, by Jim Sturgess

2007’s Across the Universe was a movie built around Beatles songs, and while the story might have been contrived at points, there was nothing awkward about the soundtrack, which consisted entirely of the actors’ performances. Keep in mind that the ability to sing was a factor in their casting, and that is well demonstrated here in a standout number by Sturgess.

Across The Universe, by Rufus Wainright

Wainright’s voice is so distinctive. Subtle and heartfelt, this is just as smooth as the original. The aforementioned Jim Sturgess does another beautiful cover of this song, also on the Across the Universe soundtrack.

Norwegian Wood, by P.M.Dawn

P.M. Dawn swaps the folksy sound of Norwegian Wood for a more trippy, soulful feel with the introduction of a more pronounced beat in their interpretation. This is definitely a reimagining worth checking out.

Two of Us, by Aimee Mann and Michael Penn

While the original implies that the singer is addressing someone just offstage, this faithful to the original duet between the husband and wife team of Mann and Penn sounds like they’re singing to each other. This track appears on another movie soundtrack collection of Beatles covers, I Am Sam.

We Can Work It Out, by PFR featuring Phil Keggie

While many covers of this song strip it down to just the guitar, this one goes the opposite direction, creating a more robust sound and introducing a string section that brings with it shades of Eleanor Rigby. The arrangement is stellar.

Come Together, by Aerosmith

Probably one of the most solid covers ever, Steven Tyler manages to bring a more nasty, slinky edge to the vocals, while Joe Perry’s guitar keeps it heavier than the original.

There are so many more worthwhile Beatles covers it was hard to narrow it down to just ten. Which of your favorites would you add to the list?

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About Barbara Doyle (229 Articles)
Barbara Sirois Doyle is a Contributing Editor for Sweatpants & Coffee. She is a writer, mixed-media artist, and, most important, a wife and mother to her boyos three. She is a voracious reader, unapologetic uber-geek, and lover of all types of music, from Public Enemy to Rachmaninoff. If she's not watching Supernatural or Doctor Who, she is likely trolling the internet for amusing cat photos. She takes her coffee light with no sugar.

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