My favorite covers of Beatles songs

I know it’s not just me saying this, but the Beatles are probably the most popular band of all time. So it’s no wonder that they are also by far the most covered band of all time, with Yesterday and Something as their most covered songs. I enjoy listening to a good Beatle cover because it’s interesting to see how different artists interpret Beatles songs, so today I’ll post some of my favorite Beatle covers. Some strip the song down to just vocals and an acoustic guitar and some add so much orchestration that it barely resembles the original song, but both methods of covering are equally valid and equally meaningful. I hope you enjoy!

Gavin Degraw- And I Love Her

I’ve just recently started listening to Gavin Degraw, and I think it’s safe to say that I’m in completely love with him and his beautiful, heartfelt, authentic music. I might do a post about him in the near future, so I’ll say more then, but here I’ll just say that his voice on this cover and in general makes me melt inside. 🙂

Elton John- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

This is one of the more famous Beatle covers out there, and it’s also the only one to ever hit #1 on the charts. In typically fabulous Elton John fashion, he took an already brilliant Beatles song and added layers of vocals and orchestration to turn it into something completely different. I still prefer the original song, but I will admit that this cover is ALMOST as good as the original.

Green Day- Working Class Hero

So technically this is a John Lennon solo song and not a Beatles song, but I love this cover so much that I had to include it in this list. Green Day rocks, and this cover is just brilliant. It’s hard to top John Lennon on one of his own songs, but I think they almost do it here.

Gregg Allman- Rain

I first heard this version on Breakfast with the Beatles one Sunday, and I could not believe my ears. This sounds almost nothing like the original Beatles song, but it’s so soulful and beautiful that I can’t help but sway and nod my head whenever I hear it. Gregg Allman’s voice perfectly epitomizes rock, gospel, and soul combined.

Emmylou Harris- Here, There, and Everywhere

This cover is absolutely stunning. I love how minimal the instrumentation is because it really helps showcase the amazing song and her beautiful voice.

Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton- Something

It’s kind of hard to call this a cover because Something is technically a Beatles song, and Paul was technically a Beatle. But, since George wrote it and the original song has neither a ukulele intro nor an Eric Clapton, I’m including it here. My favorite part of this is the bridge starting at 3:12. The harmonies there are just outstanding! Two rock gods at their finest, while paying tribute to another.

I hope you check out one, a few, or all of these covers because they’re all worthwhile versions done by worthwhile musicians. Next week, I’ll get off the Beatle train for a bit to review Foster the People’s new album (their first in 3 years!!!), which comes out on Tuesday. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what else I’ll be posting over the next few weeks, so stick around and it may show. 🙂
Have a wonderful week!

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My Top 10 Favorite Guitar Solos

My sweet George, playing the instrument featured in this post!

My sweet George, playing the instrument featured in this post!

Here it is, another countdown list! Today I’ve decided that since so many of the songs I love feature a guitar prominently in them, this list would probably be a good one to make. One thing that I think has sort of gone out of fashion in the music industry today is the art of beautiful and emotional guitar playing. Even in some mainstream pop songs today, a guitar is present, but it’s usually just there and is not intended to make a statement or improve the song, which is a shame. I think the guitar is a beautiful instrument that deserves to be featured in more of today’s popular songs!!!
Most of these guitar solos are pretty close together in my mind, so there really isn’t a big difference between the placements of the songs, but I have put them in order from 10 to 1, with 1 being my favorite guitar solo. (hint- it’s a Beatles song!!!) I hope you enjoy this list!

10. Cheer Down- George Harrison

The entire last minute to this song is basically an extended guitar solo, but I love it so much!!! This is definitely one of George’s least-known yet absolutely-amazing songs! If you’ve ever seen the movie Lethal Weapon 2, this song, co-written by George with Tom Petty, plays during the credits! I’m in love with the guitar here, because George’s slide guitar is amazing and brilliant, as it is in all of his songs!

9. I Live For You- George Harrison

This song is achingly beautiful, and the guitar solo, which starts at about 1:58 in the song, is just gorgeous. I often tear up listening to this song because it’s so beautiful and perfect, just like George! I can’t for the life of me figure out how George managed to get such an incredible, distinctive sound out of his guitars, but I suppose it’s a testament to his musical genius.

8. Something- The Beatles

For this song, the guitar solo starts at about 1:43 in the video. This is yet another fine example of George’s guitar-playing prowess. I bet you’re noticing a theme so far… 🙂
As I’ve stated before, this is one of my very favorite Beatles songs, and the guitar solo is just one of the reasons why. It’s to the point and works with the song, and most of all, it’s beautifully played. I’ve probably listened to this song hundreds of times by now, but I never get sick of it!

7. Taxman- The Beatles

This is probably one of the most famous Beatles guitar solos, but it was Paul, not George, who played it! I think this proves that while he’s no George, Paul was and still is a fantastic guitarist, in addition to being a fantastic everything else. Even when I play this on Beatles Rock Band, I still can never get it 100% right, so I imagine that it’s pretty hard to play on an actual guitar!

6. Badge- Cream

Don’t worry, not EVERY solo on this list is from a Beatles song! Although most of them are… Anyway, this song was co-written by Eric Clapton and our old friend, George Harrison! The story behind the rather obscure title is that George was writing the bridge for the song when Eric walked in the room, probably drunk, and saw the paper upside down. He wondered why George wrote “Badge” at the top of the paper, and thus the song’s name was born! This is just an incredible song, and I LOVE the guitar part starting at about 1:08 in the video, played by George. The solo itself, played by Eric, is awesome as well. I think I’m a little obsessed with this song, actually.

5. Till There Was You- The Beatles

The solo here starts at 1:23 in the video. I can’t get enough of George’s jazzy guitar playing throughout this song, and the perfect solo is just the icing on the cake! This song was originally from The Music Man, although apparently the Beatles didn’t know that until after they recorded it, and I think it’s one of the best examples of George’s fantastic guitar playing from the earlier Beatle years. He was extraordinarily talented from a young age, and he only got better as he got older!

4. It Don’t Come Easy- Ringo Starr

In addition to this being song containing one of my favorite guitar solos (which starts at 1:40 in the video), this song also contains a fabulous riff, played by none other than George Harrison! I think I’ve said before that it was actually George who wrote this fantastic song, and I’m so glad he did. There’s a fabulous version of this song floating around that has George singing instead of Ringo, but I think both versions are equally great. Anyway, this solo is typical George awesomeness, and it rocks!

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The Beatles

You didn’t really think that I’d leave my favorite Beatles song out of this list, did you? 🙂
The solo here starts at about 1:56 in the video, and it is memorable for a couple of reasons. Besides being just all around amazing, this was the first and only time that Eric Clapton played guitar on a Beatles song, so that weeping guitar you hear is all him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Eric Clapton is the Guitar God for a reason. He can play the guitar like no other!

2. Maybe I’m Amazed- Paul McCartney and Wings

While this song was originally featured on Paul’s first solo album, McCartney, it became even more famous when he played it with Wings on their 1976 “Wings Over America” tour, and I think this version here is the best one. The solo, played by Wings guitarist Jimmy McCullough, starts at about 1:23 in the video, and I just love it! No real reason, but it’s really moving and beautifully played here. Whenever I hear this song, I always find myself anticipating the guitar solo, and as soon as it begins, the song comes alive in a whole new way.

And now… Number 1!!!

1. Let It Be- The Beatles

Out of the hundreds of Beatle guitar solos out there, this is the one that always sticks in my head. It’s powerful, edgy, and moving, and George just rocks the heck out of it! For some reason, the original album version of Let It Be (there are at least 3 official versions in existence) is the only one with this fantastic solo, and that is why it is my favorite version of all! Nothing can top this guitar solo for me!!!

I see after writing this post that I probably need to go discover some guitar solos from other groups. While I work on that, have a wonderful week! Hint hint, there will probably be some Paul McCartney and Elton John posts coming your way next weekend!

Life after a Paul McCartney concert: Other artists I’d love to see live

The Beatles at Shea Stadium... Oh, how I wish I could have been there!

The Beatles at Shea Stadium… Oh, how I wish I could have been there!

So before I get to the actual content of this post, I’d like to wish Dhani Harrison a happy belated birthday! His actual birthday was August 1st, but since I didn’t get around to blogging then, I figured “better late than never”! Thinking about Dhani made me think about how awesome it would be to see thenewno2 live, just so I could see George’s son in the flesh! That gorgeous Harrison face must look great close up… 🙂
But anyway, I’ve now decided to make a list of all the artists I’d absolutely love to see in concert someday. I highly doubt that seeing any of them would be quite as amazing and magical as seeing Paul McCartney, but since Paul seems to have set the standard for putting on a fantastic rock show, that’s to be expected. Nonetheless, here we go!

1. thenewno2
I figured I’d start with them, since I already mentioned Dhani in this post. I really love this band and though they definitely fly under the radar in today’s music industry, they are extremely innovative and creative. They also have George’s son in the band, which definitely helps their overall sound, but even if Dhani wasn’t George’s son, I think that he’d still be making a name for himself in the music business. Still, he seems to have inherited quite a bit of talent from his dad, and if George was still around, I’m sure he’d be very proud of what Dhani has done.

2. Foster The People
I’ve been following this band for a while, but they haven’t come out with any new music in over 2 years! What happened??? Although apparently they’ve finished their 2nd album, and as much as I love Torches, hearing some new songs would be nice. From the videos I’ve watched, they seem like a great live band who truly enjoys what they’re doing, and hopefully they’ll come to the New York area in the future!

3. Elton John
This one’s a no-brainer for me. Elton has always been known as a great live performer and a fantastic entertainer, not to mention an extremely talented singer, pianist, and songwriter, and I’d absolutely love the chance to see him do what he does best live! I think seeing him in concert would probably be a similar atmosphere and comparable to seeing Paul live, but the difference for me is that seeing Paul, while he is awesome and amazing, is not exactly the same thing as seeing the Beatles. On the contrary, while there were four Beatles, there is only one Elton John, and seeing him today is essentially the same experience as seeing him 40 years ago. That to me is a really cool thing. Hopefully an Elton concert is in my future!

4. Ringo Starr and the All Starr Band
I mean, come on. It’s Ringo! Of course I want to see him in concert! I’m still mad that I missed him coming to Jones Beach last year, but I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll come back next year!

5. Jeff Lynne/ELO
I don’t know when the last time he toured was, but with all of the ELO reissues that have come out this year, maybe he’ll do some commemorative concerts??? This one seems like a long shot to ever happen, but since I love ELO, I’ll remain hopeful.

6. Eric Clapton
How cool would it be to see the Guitar God live and in person?!?!? I think my jaw would be open the entire time, just in awe of his awesomeness. He did come to Madison Square Garden in April as part of his Crossroads Guitar Festival, but I think it sold out in about 5 seconds. Maybe next time…

7. The Rolling Stones
They have long been hailed as the greatest live rock band, and since my mom has actually seen them live before, I’ve always thought it would be really cool to see them in concert. Sadly, their 50th Anniversary tour didn’t make a stop in NY this year, although they did come to the Barclays Center last December. How Mick Jagger, at 70, is still running around the stage with boundless energy for an entire show is beyond me. Once again, I’ll keep my fingers crossed!

Still, even if I never see another concert, I think I’ll be happy for the rest of my life knowing that I’ve seen Paul McCartney, who I consider to be the greatest living musical artist, live. Seeing him is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I surely won’t ever forget, no matter how many more concerts I attend!

Beatle Book Review: Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight

Wonderful Tonight

Sorry I haven’t been blogging much lately, but it’s been so hot out and the attic of my house, which feels like a sauna in the summer, is where the computer is located. But, today I’ve decided to brave the heat and blog anyway!
This book was at the top of my “Beatle books to read” list that I made a while ago, and I finally got around to reading it! Basically, it’s Pattie Boyd’s autobiography. It’s not strictly about her relationships with George Harrison and Eric Clapton, but that does take up most of the book. I do have some mixed feelings about this book, but overall I really liked it. I enjoyed reading about her childhood growing up in Kenya, especially since my mom was born very near where Pattie grew up, but the real heart of the book is when she describes what it was like being Mrs. Harrison, and later, Mrs. Clapton.

To be completely honest, I only really wanted to read this book as a George Harrison fangirl who wanted to know what it’s like to be married to him, and I wasn’t disappointed in this regard, but I also hoped to learn more about George as a person by reading this book. However, this book doesn’t really provide much insight into George’s character. Maybe I feel this way because I already know so much about him, but I expected such a fascinating and amazing person like George, from the perspective of his ex-wife, to be described in great detail. Other than mentioning that upon first impressions, George was the best looking man she’d ever seen in her life, Pattie doesn’t give any insight into why she fell so completely in love with George. She vividly describes all the trips and holidays they went on and the process of buying and restoring Friar Park, but depth wise, the book doesn’t go much farther than that regarding their relationship.

Perhaps this is a good thing, because although I expected to have my opinion of George knocked down a few notches by reading this book, that didn’t happen. The only thing I really learned about him that surprised me was that he did a lot more cocaine than I’d previously been aware of, but by now, I’ve learned that drugs were a part of all of my favorite musicians’ lives, so I basically just ignored this. Although she eventually left him, Pattie says that she never stopped loving him, but she just couldn’t deal with his constant infidelities and increasing obsession with the Indian culture that caused him to lose interest in her. This makes sense, but when she starts describing her tumultuous relationship with Eric Clapton, she loses me.

While I still love George dearly as a person after reading this book, I definitely do not feel the same way about Eric Clapton. From Pattie’s perspective, he comes across as a very talented musician, but also a severe alcoholic with a very unpredictable personality and basically a needy, self-centered jerk. I’m sure he was a wonderful and creative person to be around, but I honestly can’t understand why she fell in love with him so much that she left George for him in a heartbeat. I don’t get what he had going for him that George didn’t. Eric successfully seduced her away from his best friend, but once he had her, things didn’t get better. Pattie talks about how she basically had to tend to Eric’s every need when they were together and live with his wild moods due to his propensity for drinking, and how her life revolved entirely around him. She pretty much became his maid, and seemed to lose all of her identity and self-confidence in the process. He mistreated her, and I think she regretted leaving George for the rest of her life.

While George comes across as the overall lovely guy I’ve always envisioned him to be, my opinion of Eric has definitely soured a bit after reading this book. But I still like his music a lot, and “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight”, both written about Pattie, are two fantastic songs.
I did get emotional at the end of the book where Pattie discusses her reaction to George’s death, saying that she couldn’t imagine a world without him in it and that she still had great love for him. I thought this quote was rather telling about the quality of George’s character:
“When I left him for Eric, he had said that if things didn’t work out, ever, I could always come to him and he would look after me. It was such a selfless, loving, generous thing to say and it had always been tucked away at the back of my mind. Now that sense of security was gone.”
I’m happy that Pattie and George remained friends after their divorce, and how George so easily forgave her for leaving him, to the point where he actually attended her and Eric’s wedding, is beyond me.

So, where do I stand on this book, once and for all? Well, if you like George Harrison and are interested in the individual Beatles’ lives, read it. If you like Pattie Boyd and wish you were George’s wife, read it. If you like Eric Clapton’s music and accept that he wasn’t always a great guy, read it. But, if believe that George and Eric were saints and absolute darlings 24/7, don’t read it because you will be disappointed. They weren’t, unfortunately. Pattie seems like a nice lady, though.
This book doesn’t have all that much depth, and it is very shallow in parts, but it is an interesting account of one woman’s very interesting life with two of the most famous musicians in the world. For that reason, I’d recommend it.

I hope this review is satisfactory! Have a lovely weekend!

George Harrison’s gently weeping guitar

Today, I’ve decided to share some videos of George playing lead guitar live. These videos are few and far between because 1, George didn’t perform live very often after the Beatles broke up, and 2, when he did, someone else usually played lead guitar. However, in these videos, George and his magical guitar finally get a chance to shine, and let me tell you, he does not disappoint. I would not consider myself a guitar expert AT ALL, but I’d like to think that I can recognize good guitar playing when I hear it, and in my opinion, George is simply a master slide guitarist, and a master guitarist in general. His playing is instantly recognizable and always flawless. So, enjoy these videos of a master at work! Go George!

My sweet Lord, the intro to this song is amazing! It’s so beautiful and perfectly done! I almost wish it was on the original song, but truthfully, the original song is perfect as well. And then there’s the rest of the song, which is played so beautifully that my eyes gently weep at the sight of it. Also, George sounds wonderful on this song. He never lost his singing voice as he got older.

I couldn’t find a video with just Till There Was You from the Ed Sullivan show, so to see that song here, skip to 2:35 in the video. I think George played the solo better live than on record. His solo here is smooth, sophisticated, and effortlessly played, and I love the cute looks he gives to the audience and the camera while playing. It’s almost like he’s saying, “Yeah, I’m good. Wanna stop screaming and freaking out so you can actually hear me play? Thanks.” For the Beatles’ first appearance on national American TV, he certainly didn’t look nervous at all.

George’s slide playing here is ridiculously good, and he makes it look so easy! I’m so glad that even with Eric Clapton as part of his backing band, George’s guitar playing got a chance to shine here. What I’d give to have been at this concert in Japan in 1991… Unfortunately, I wasn’t even born yet. Darn.

Another example of George playing some pretty awesome slide guitar in his mini-tour of Japan in 1991. Wow, he was good. His guitar playing gives his songs so much character. Also, I have to say that, live and on record, this is one sexy song. And the man singing it isn’t half bad either! 🙂

This performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is absolute perfection, except for that stupid microphone that keeps spinning. Even years after the Beatles, George still can’t get a good mic! Anyway, the reason why I really love this video is the epic guitar duel between George and Eric Clapton for the last 2 minutes of the video. Two legends in their own right, battling it out. In my opinion, they’re both winners!

That’s all for now. Have a lovely week!