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The Beatles - Best cover versions ever

The Beatles - Best covers ever

Choosing the best cover of a Beatles song is highly subjective, but several covers have achieved significant acclaim over the years. In preparation for an upcoming concert by Det Betales, a Beatles tribute band from Norway, I have created a playlist of my favorite tribute songs. 

Image. The Beatles covers  - Generated based on DALL·E 2 - ChatGTP4 from OpenAI. The Beatles have inspired numerous tribute songs and covers by various artists more than anyone else. 

The Beatles from Liverpool are widely regarded as the most covered artists in music history. Their songs have been interpreted by thousands of artists across various genres and time periods. One things is for sure: the Beatles fantastic music from the 60s still live. I think this music is immortal. 

One of my biggest inspiration for the music of the Beatles is to watch the video of the crows on the Kop, Liverpool`s football stadium Anfield, singing “She loves you.”

Watch the fantastic video clip when the crowd on Liverpool`s footballstadium Anfield sings "She love you" by the Beatles. This is from a BBC Panorama programme in 1964, on the day Liverpool won their first title under their legendary manager Bill Shankly. The footage was taken before the match against Arsenal, which the Reds won 5-0.

As of the latest records, there have been over 2,900 artists who have covered Beatles songs, resulting in more than 8,900 unique cover versions of their tracks​ (Beatles Covers)​. Some estimates even suggest that there might be up to 12,000 recorded versions of Beatles songs, considering various live performances and lesser-known recordings​ (see list on cover versions on Wikipedia)​.

Here are my favourite Beatles tribute songs (playlist): 

  • Golden Slumbers by Judy Collins
  • Yesterday by Judy Colins
  • The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill by Dawn Kinnard, Ron Sexsmith & The Suppliers
  • The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill by Bill Mervis Blue
  • Blackbird by Julie Fowlis
  • Julia by A Girl Called Eddy
  • Golden Slumbers​/​Carry That Weight​/​The End - Brian Gagnon
  • And I Love Her - Howard Jones
  • Carry That Weight by The Punkles
  • Why Don’t We Do It in the Road? by the Punkles
  • Let it be by John Denver
  • Magical Mystery Tour by Cheap Trick
  • In My Life by Johnny Cash
  • Here Comes the Sun by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
  • Let It Be by Chrissie Hynde

Some of the songs I picked are from the free CDs included in the Mojo Magazine (2021 and 2016): 

  • Fab Gear! - Mojo presents 15 custom Beatles covers. Various Artists: CD UK 2021 (Mojo November 2021). Free with MOJO magazine nr 336
  • Mojo Presents: Tribute to the Beatles White Album - Recovered Volume 1 (first disc). Various Artists (Author). 18th August 2016.
  • Mojo Presents: Tribute to the Beatles White Album - Recovered Volume 2 (second disc). Various Artists (Author). 11th September 2008.

I have picked covers from several Beatles albums. These covers goes from lullabies, rock to energetic punk. A common thread is that the covers are exceptionally distinctive. What I like especially well with these songs, is that the artists have added their personal touch. And not forget, these some of these covers have a high sing along factor. 

The tunes often have a more relaxed vibe compared to the Beatles' originals, yet they possess their own unique charm. Additionally, when a female singer takes over the familiar vocals of Lennon or McCartney, it brings a beautiful, refreshing and appealing twist to the songs that I find particularly enjoyable.

I wouldn`t say that the covers are better than the original versions, but they definitely provide an enrichment. The way the artists perform the a Beatles song, they bring a fresh perspective to it, highlighting different aspects of the lyrics or melody that may resonate more with listeners. 

One of the most notable examples is the song "Yesterday," which has been covered more than 3,100 times, making it one of the most covered songs in history​ (Beatles Bible)​. Other frequently covered Beatles songs include "Michelle," "Let It Be," and "A Hard Day's Night"​ (Beatles Covers)​. The extensive coverage of their music highlights the enduring legacy and influence of The Beatles on global music culture.

Here are some of the most notable ones (based on information from several sources):

  • With A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker
  • We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder
  • Dear Prudence by Siouxsie and the Banshees 
  • Yesterday by Ray Charles 
  • And I Love Him by Esther Phillips 
  • Here Comes the Sun” by Nina Simone  
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" by Elton John 
  • I Am the Walrus by Spooky Tooth
  • Helter Skelter by Mötley Crüe 
  • Across the Universe by David Bowie 
  • Helter Skelter by U2

These covers span a variety of genres, showcasing the versatility and enduring appeal of the Beatles' music. Also on these songs, each artist have brought their unique style to the songs, created memorable and sometimes iconic versions of the originals.

An truly remarkable covering of the Beatles is by The Rutles. They are a satirical band from Liverpool that brilliantly imitate The Beatles. Although they parody The Beatles, their imitation is astonishingly accurate, and at they same time they do with respect. 

One of the most acclaimed tribute bands is Det Betales, Drammen in Norway. They will perform a Beatles show at Verket Scene, Moss, in Norway, on Friday 14th June 2024. Look forward to an unforgettable evening of partying, dancing, jumping, clapping, and singing along! The Beatles is the ultimate rock and roll party band. The tribute band, Det Betales, will deliver the iconic music of The Beatles, reigniting the energy and feel-good vibes of the Beatles era.

In their spectacular show, "All You Need is Love," Det Betales will take the audience on a journey back to the Summer of Love, celebrating the greatest hits of The Beatles. Don't miss this chance to relive the magic and timeless classics that defined a generation. Join the show for an evening filled with joy, nostalgia, and the incredible music of The Beatles! 

Look forward hear hits such as Penny Lane, With a little help from my friends, A day in the life, Across the universe, Let it be and many other immortal classics. The band Det Betales has played at The Cavern Club in Liverpool more than 50 times and Beatles manager Allan Williams proclaimed the band "The best Beatles tribute band in the world". 

Several tribute songs and covers of Beatles' songs are highly regarded, with some even considered by many fans and critics to be better than the original versions. While opinions on which versions are better can be subjective and vary widely, these covers are often highlighted for bringing new life and interpretations to the Beatles' classic songs. I believe that creating new versions of the bands songs can captivate the younger generation and spark their interest in this timeless music.

Stein Morten Lund, 12th June 2024

Additional information

Note: This article is written with assistance from ChatGTP. 

List of cover versions of Beatles songs (Wikipedia). 

What is the most covered song in history by the Beatles? 
“Yesterday” is probably the most covered song in history, having been covered approximately 2,200 times since it was released in 1966. According to Guinness World Records, “Yesterday” has the most cover versions of any song ever written. The song remains popular today with more than 1,600 recorded cover versions (information source: dated 16. nov. 2023).

Beatles Cover Versions stats

Best Beatles Covers: 20 Essential Versions Of Fab Four Classics (uDiscoverMusic.com).
Ranging across a wide mix of styles and artists, The best Beatles covers are testament to the sheer breadth and quality of their music. Published on June 22, 2023 by Paul McGuinness.

The Beatles also performed covers. At various points in their career, at least 15 Chuck Berry songs are known to have been in The Beatles' repertoire, for example "Rock and Roll Music" and "Roll Over Beethoven". 

An another example is “Twist and Shout”. While originally recorded by the Top Notes and made famous by the Isley Brothers, The Beatles' cover of "Twist and Shout" is often seen as the definitive version. John Lennon's raw and energetic vocal performance is particularly praised. 

Every Cover Version The Beatles Recorded And Released (uDiscoverMusic.com).
A comprehensive account of the songs that the Beatles loved enough to cover themselves and, oftentimes, make their own. 
Published on November 4, 2023By Paul McGuinness.

List of songs covered by the Beatles (Wikipedia).

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