The Beatles

The Beatles – Norwegian Wood (This Bird has Flown)

Last week, the legendary sitarist Ravi Shankar passed away at the age of 92. It was a great innings. His music inspired many and his daughters keep inspiring so many. At the beginnings of their hippy phase, a lot of eastern influenced music started making its way around all the places that provided artists with inspiration. George Harrison was quite taken and got hold of a Ravi Shankar album and, well, the first song to feature a sitar was this one.

And what a song it is. John wrote this as an ode to the affairs he had in his life. The lyrics are some of the best you could ask for in a song. This laid-back tune regularly graces “Top 100 of All-Time” lists. That sitar does add something special to the song. The riff and John’s voice intertwine so well with the sitar and just makes this song feel so great.

Female Vocal, Folk, The Beatles

Covers Week: The Beatles/Sarah McLachlan – Blackbird

So a few weeks ago, I heard a song butchered. That’s actually a bad way to put it. I have been to a butcher and I know with what precision he cuts the meat so that you deem it palatable. Rather, its like you gave a three year old a cleaver and a block of meat. Disturbing.

The song in question was Mumford and Sons “The Boxer” which leaves out the iconic “dssssh” part and sounds bad, just bad. The inner hipster in me (which supposed to tell me to love it) still hates this song. I almost cried when I first heard it. It really was so bad. You probably think differently. You’re wrong.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been on a quest to find songs that are BETTER than the original. I did put in some clauses such as the song had to be recorded and included on a normal album (not a greatest hits) and live versions don’t really count.

That being said, I probably broke this rule already for this cover. As it is Monday, it is Beatles Day so I set myself the task of finding a song that was covered and sounds better than the Beatles. A few years ago, this would be quite easy seeing as though I never truly understood the beauty of the Beatles singing. Their songs lack the slick production of modern music but once you understand it, you cannot get anything better.

Enter the 2001 movie I am Sam starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. Remember how hot she was in the 90s? The movie features a host of songs by The Beatles with the idea that the original recordings would be included. Getting rights to these are a bit of a pain so instead, he recruited some amazing singers to cover these songs. Seeing as the movie was developed using The Beatles songs, the timing and tempo of these songs had to follow the original. Which is a great thing. If you listen to the soundtrack, you can pick out how great some singers are. Even though they were constrained by how they could interpret the song, some of them excelled and still made the song their own.

McCartney does the song beautifully (obviously) n this deep, thoughtful way. The simple acoustic nature heightens the message and makes the song so stunning.

Sarah does the same except she does more. You feel the raw emotion that the song is alluding to. It feels so right. It feels like a down-tempo protest song meant to give people hope after they’ve suffered continuous defeat from their oppressors. Hope still remains. It’s SO hard to admit this but I do believe she may have done a better job with this song…

The Beatles

The Beatles – Good Day Sunshine

The Beatles made some awesome happy, summer songs. This one is particularly positive and upbeat. It really is such a happy song!

It’s a song regularly played as a wake-up song on space shuttle missions. Paul McCartney actually sang this song live during a satellite link up to the ISS in 2005.

I dare you to try and sulk after listening to this song. It radiates such happiness and really is one of the best songs to play when you wake up. Even NASA agree about this.

This song is an album track of the Revolver album. Yet its construction is perfect. This is why I love The Beatles and I hope these last few Mondays have made you love them as well…

The Beatles

The Beatles – Ticket the Ride

The year was 1965 and the British had completely and utterly invaded the USA. Apart from being the third single in their record run of six consecutive singles to top the Billboard chart, this was the fourth British #1 single in a row. Sadly, the Beach Boys were #1 when this song fell off the top spot. Oh, this song also topped the UK charts.

According to Paul, it is a reference to buying a ticket on British Railways to Rhyde on the Isle of Wight. John’s version about it being about prostitutes in Hamburg seems more plausible. I think they’re both talking nonsense.John also called it the first heavy metal song.

The song was expertly covered by The Carpenters. It’s also apparently audible at the end of Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” album. This is the first single to feature Paul as lead guitarist.

It’s such a beautiful song. It’s songs like these that made me fall in love with The Beatles. Enjoy…

The Beatles

The Beatles – Come Together

Today’s song was actually inspired by the Linkin Park concert a week ago. The Kongos, who are an American band that has roots in South Africa, opened for Linkin Park and did this song quite spectacularly.

The song is one of the most awesome Beatles songs ever made. It’s also a song that just invites people to cover it. One of the most recent high profile covers was by one of my favourite modern bands, the Arctic Monkeys. They did a version of the song at the freaking opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics! How cool is that?

When originally released in 1978, the song hit #1 on the US Billboard Charts but only reached #4 in the UK. This has been attributed to the fact that the BBC banned the song for the apparent product placement for Coca-Cola. Back then, the banning of a song did hurt sales.

The Beatles

The Beatles – I’ve Just Seen a Face

One of my favourite movies (for a reason I cannot understand) is Superbad. There is a line in the movie where the protagonist says, with a sparkle in his eyes,”It was like the first time I heard The Beatles.”

I don’t think I paid much attention to The Beatles when I first heard them.

Or several times after that.

However, a true music lover will eventually (re)discover The Beatles and be be completely blown away by everything they ever did. Maybe it’s a natural progression towards what could be called the pinnacle of music.

Some people aren’t fans of The Beatles. But I just say they just haven’t found them yet. So to help this process along, I have decided to attempt a weekly feature where I introduce you to a song by The Beatles.

Today’s choice is quite an upbeat tune which (like most other songs) I just love. It has the feel-good vibe to it which brings a smile to your face. And what about what they describe in the song? It happens. It really does happen. And when it does, you will probably end up singing this song…