In my tradition of playing the music that I own, I have divvied up my Beatles music thusly:
In October, in honor of John’s birthday, I play the canon. In this case, the British CDs (including Magical Mystery Tour, which became adopted as such), plus the two Past Masters CDs of singles, B-sides, EPs cuts and oddities.
In February, in honor of George’s birthday, I play the American albums. George, visiting his sister Louise, was the first of the Beatles to visit the U.S.
In June, in honor of Paul’s birthday, I play the more recent items: Live at the BBC, the Anthology series, and Love, e.g.
In July, in honor of Ringo’s birthday I play Beatles covers. After all, Ringo’s All-Starr bands are known to cover the hits of the contributing musicians.
And I have LOTS of whole albums dedicated to Beatles covers. Some are of whole albums: Big Daddy doing Sgt. Pepper, a MOJO collection replicating Revolver, George Benson taking on Abbey Road. There are whole soundtracks: All This and World War II, I Am Sam, Across the Universe.
So what are your favorite Beatles covers? I am fond of these:
Come Together by Tina Turner; Aerosmith’s take is fine, but too close to the original
Eleanor Rigby by Aretha Franklin (she puts it in the first person); though the pure excess of both the Vanilla Fudge and Rare Earth versions always made me chuckle.
Got To Get You Into My Life by Earth, Wind and Fire; one of the only good things to come out of the Sgt. Pepper’s movie debacle.
In My Life by Judy Collins; though there are other fine versions, notably Johnny Cash’s.
We Can Work It Out by Stevie Wonder; I once bought an LP just for that song.
You Can’t Do that by Harry Nillson, which segues in other Beatle tunes in a most delightful way.
Special kudos to Joe Cocker, who made several Beatles’ tunes his own. but the one I’m currently most fond of is You’ve got to Hide your Love Away
What’s your least favorite Beatles covers?
There’s a whole slew of older artists of the Beatles era trying too hard to be hip and relevant but feeling like the lounge singer Bill Murray used to play on Saturday Night Live (or a slightly more current reference, the Sweeney Sisters).
Still my thumbs are down to two pop music legends of the 1960s. The Supremes doing A Hard Day’s Night, originally on an album I owned called A Bit of Liverpool. “It’s ben a hard (hard) day’s (day’s) night.” Disliked it on first hearing. the other is Elvis Presley doing an off-key and listless version of Hey Jude; just unpleasant to listen to. (Though not eligible for consideration, Mitch Miller’s version of Give Peace A Chance is a HOOT.)