Posts Tagged 'The Beatles'

Song of the day

My love of The Beatles has clearly transferred to my children. Both Avi and Noam know many Beatles tunes, and they can usually identify a Beatles song even if they have not heard it before (I’m very proud). Now Shayna is also getting into the groove and she also knows Beatles songs. Of course she knows many of the words in Yellow Submarine (which was also Avi and Noam’s first Beatles song), but there is another song that all of them seem to like and often ask for.

The film Yellow Submarine has a very interesting story. In 1964 The Beatles contracted with United Artists to make three motion pictures. The first was the wonderful A Hard Day’s Night and the second was the not as wonderful HELP! Soon after they produced the British television movie Magical Mystery Tour which was very poorly received.

Not really wanting to do any more movies, but still having one movie left to make for UA, the group agreed to give their music to an animated film. Five new songs were added to a bunch of Beatles hits and the movie Yellow Submarine was born. Actors were hired to do the group’s voices and the movie was a big hit. In fact The Beatles themselves like the movie so much they added a short live scene at the very end in which they all appeared.

My kids love this movie (after having seen it at our friend’s house in Vermont) and became particularly fond of the song All Together Now which is one of the new songs.

Here are two videos with the song, one is where the song appeared in the movie and the other is the reprise at the end of the film. My kids get a real kick out of the end in that the words all together now are translated into many languages including Hebrew so they all keep an eye out for that.


Song of the day

Yesterday, October 5, marks the 46th anniversary of the release of The Beatles first single, Love Me Do. The song was written a few years earlier by Paul and later, John added the middle eight, as was common in their songwriting partnership. The record established The Beatles as a hit band, with the single moving very quickly to number 17 on the UK charts. Two years later it would reach number one in the US.

So In honor of this auspicious occasion, today’s song is Love Me Do.


Song of the Day – Covers Week

Welcome back to song of the day from another short hiatus.

Covers. You either hate them or you love them. I have read blog postings about covers in the past, but I heard a cover of a song last week which I believe should be in the top 10 worst covers of all time! I spent some time thinking about covers and I have come to the realization that it is VERY easy to find horrible covers of songs, but not so easy to find great covers of songs.

In honor of that moment when I heard that song (which will be revealed below) I am going to call this week, covers week. Each song of the day post in covers week will contain two covers. One that I feel is one of the worst covers I have ever heard, and one that is one of the best. I have not yet thought this through, as the idea to do this just came to me as I have been typing, so I do not know if I will be able to come up with 5 covers that I like, but I will try.

So I think I should have some rules. I am going to exclude covers that were made specifically for movies or stage musicals. There are tons of them (especially movies) and some are good and some are bad, but they have some purpose other than a singer trying to make a buck off of someone else’s work. I am also going to exclude covers that were hits for the artist doing the cover, but not for the original artist. This excludes many many many great covers, for example, Turn! Turn! Turn! By The Byrds is really a cover of Pete Seeger’s song. I think it will be more fun (and more challenging) to find good cover songs without using songs that are obviously good. And that is it! Everything else is game, and I hope that those who read my blog (and there are plenty who do according to my stats!) will comment and add their choices as well!

To start it all off, I am going to include the horrible cover that I heard last week. I say include as I have a number of offerings for this first post, and they are all from the same group.

The Carpenters, Karen and Richard, sister and brother were a mega hit in the 1970’s into the early 1980s. They were a significant group for a number of reasons. First off, they became a pop hit in an era when bands were moving more and more toward heavy rock. The Carpenters were able to become a success with a very soft musical style. They were also one of the first groups to experiment with what we today call the music video. Their success is also attributed to Richard’s collaboration with some of the greatest songwriters of all time, most of whom came from Brill Building success. Richard is also a gifted songwriter, arranger and producer. One other thing that was interesting about them was Karen’s vocal range. Although Karen had a range that covered three octaves, she was well known for her use of her low register. Alto singers were mostly unknown to popular music and that also gave them a distinctive sound.

The Carpenters were also known for covering many songs. Although Richard did write music, more than half of their recordings were written by other songwriters. So for this inaugural episode of cover week I have five covers from the Carpenters. Three of them go on my list of the worst covers ever and two on the best side. I’ll start with the worst (as that is more fun!)

For sure the most covered group in history is The Beatles. Generally, it is my opinion that no one should cover Beatles music. Cover acts don’t bother me (and there are many good Beatles cover bands) but covered recordings are usually horrible (with the notable exception of one of my favorite movies, Across the Universe). The Carpenters covered a bunch of Beatles songs, and at least two were recorded.


First we have Ticket to Ride, which somehow became a hit for them.

Next is Help! which was not recorded but there is this live version. Interestingly, Karen was a talented drummer which you see here.

To their credit, this is not nearly as bad as Ticket to Ride, and for sure better than the one that really made my stomach churn

Now for the good side! They made a lot of money doing covers, so you would think there would be something good!

Their biggest hit was a cover of Please, Mr. Postman, a big song by the Marvelettes and coincidentally also recorded by the Beatles. One other note, this video is silly and it was filmed at Disneyland.

One more good cover is of Herman’s Hermits There’s a Kind of Hush.

Song of the day

I am finally at the end of the list of my ten favorite songs from the White Album.  I ordered them in the order they appear on the album, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Blackbird.  The song is so beautiful and simple.  I know it is a favorite of Sir Paul as well.  So before I get to the end of the list, here is a clip of Blackbird from the Movie Across The Universe.  As covers go, this one is quite good.


So once again, here is the list so far.

  1. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  4. Happiness is a Warm Gun
  5. Martha My Dear
  6. Blackbird
  7. Piggies
  8. I will

The final additions:

  1. Mother Nature’s Son
    This song probably ranks in my top 10 Beatles songs.  It is another of Paul’s and it is so simple yet so beautiful.  When I hear it I just imagine myself sitting in the country singing songs with my friends and just relaxing watching and listening to nature.
  2. Revolution
    There are actually two released versions of this song.  There have been different versions of other Beatles songs that have come from rehearsals or different takes, but this is the only song that was actually released twice.  You can read about it on Wikipedia, but the first one recorded is the one that appears on the White album and was titled Revolution 1 to distinguish it from the one that was released as the B side of Hey Jude which was just called Revolution.  Personally, I like the slower version from the album.  I have both versions below.

There are precious few films or videos of the Beatles performing.  The movie Let it Be has quite a bit, and the TV documentary The Beatles Anthology has a bit more.  Beyond that there are a few scenes from televsion appearances and such.  By the time of the White ablum, The Beatles made a few promotional fils of their songs.  This is some of the earliest examples of what we would call music videos.  Below you will see the promotional film for Revolution.


Mother Nature’s Son

Revolution 1

Revolution Film

Song of the day

One sad note about the White Album which thankfully is not too well known today is its use by Charles Manson.  I wont go into this more here, but you can read the Wikipedia article about it.

We are winding down to the end of this list of the best ten songs on the White Album.  So far we have:

  1. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  4. Happiness is a Warm Gun
  5. Martha My Dear
  6. Blackbird

Now for today’s additions.

  1. Piggies
    This song that appeared in the song of the day a while back.  As I explained there, George wrote this song as a social commentary on class and corporate greed.  Unfortunately, Charles Manson took the song to be an anti-police song.  The song is one of my favorite (and one of the least remembered of George’s songs).  The use of the Harpsichord is wonderful.
  2. I Will
    Paul wrote a number of songs for his wife Linda.  Two of them were Beatles songs and this is the first.  It is a beautiful ballad that is a foreshadow of what was to come for Paul and his music.


As an extra special addition, here is the first take of I Will from the Anthology Album.

Song of the day

We interrupt One Hit Wonder Wednesday to continue the top ten songs from The Beatles White Album.  The list so far:

1.  Back in the U.S.S.R.
2.  Dear Prudence
3.  While My Guitar Gently Weeps
4.  Happiness is a Warm Gun

And today’s additions:

5.  Martha My Dear
I just like this song.  It was written by Paul, perhaps about Jane Asher (a longtime love interest of Paul’s) It has a great piano opening which appears throughout the song and a brass band as backup.

6.  Blackbird
Blackbird, also by Paul McCartney is probably my favorite song on the album.  Nuff said!


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