Thursday, January 8, 2009

Songs Covered by the Beatles

The Beatles covered songs by many artists, from rock to rhythm and blues.  Songs will continue to be added since the Beatles covered many songs other than what are on their LPs and CDs. They performed hundreds of songs in their early years, especially while playing for sixteen hours at a time in Hamburg, most notably at The Star Club. Many of their best covers are also contained on The Beatles: Live at the BBC and the Beatles Anthology series (1,2,3). The group was especially fond of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Larry Williams, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the Shirelles, and the Marvelettes.

Many music critics have expressed the opinion that without such diverse influences as those cited above (and many more), the Beatles might not have had such a wide musical expression as demonstrated in the body of their work, writing in so many diverse styles.  From rockers to ballads, the group seems to have assimilated a taste for rock, folk, blues, and soul that they incorporated into their own style of songwriting that evolved in the later years of the group far past their original influences.  Beatles songs themselves are now covered more than those of any other performer or group in the world.

In most cases, the Beatles put their own individual stamp on the covers they recorded.  The most notable example is McCartney's delivery of "Kansas City" by Lieber, Stoller, and Penniman.  The melody and words are only vaguely reminiscent of the original.  In other cases, such as Buddy Holly's "Words of Love," the songs are more faithful to the original rendition.  Also, given the mega-fame of the Beatles, it is the Beatles version of the song that is remembered rather than the original.

A Taste of Honey: Marlow/Scott (Scott)

Act Naturally: Russell/Morrison (Buck Owens)

Anna: Arthur Alexander (Alexander)

Baby, It's You: David/Williams/Bacharach (Shirelles)

Bad Boy: Larry Williams (Williams)

Boys: Dixon/Farrell (Shirelles)

Chains: Goffin/King (Cookies)

Devil in Her Heart: Richard Drapkin (The Donays)

Dizzy Miss Lizzie: Larry Williams (Williams)

Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby: Carl Perkins (Perkins)

Honey Don't: Carl Perkins (Perkins)

Kansas City" Leiber/Stoller/Penniman (Willie Littlefield/Little Richard)

Matchbox: Carl Perkins (Perkins)

Memphis, Tennessee: Chuck Berry (Berry)

Money: Bradford/Gordy (Barrett Strong)

Mr. Moonlight: Roy Lee Johnson (Dr. Feelgood)

Please Mister Postman: Dobbins/Garrett/Garman/Brainbert (Marvelettes)

Rock and Roll Music: Chuck Berry (Berry)

Roll Over Beethoven: Chuck Berry (Berry)

Slow Down: Larry Williams (Williams)

Sweet Little Sixteen: Chuck Berry (Berry)

Till There Was You: Meredith Willson (Robert Preston in THE MUSIC MAN)

Twist and Shout: Medley/Russell (Top Notes)

Words of Love: Buddy Holly (Holly)

You Really Got a Hold on Me: Smokey Robinson (Robinson)

Long Tall Sally: Richard Penniman (Little Richard)

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