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!

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!

This guy is amazingly talented!

So, I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m subscribed to a number of Beatle channels on Youtube, one of which is the Beatle Scruffs. One of the members, Bradley Owens, has his own channel where he posts his original songs and covers. He is insanely talented at singing and playing guitar, piano, bass, harmonica… I’ve lost count of how many instruments he plays. But he’s an aspiring musician from Australia and he’s amazing!!! He posts a lot of covers of Beatles songs and Beatle-related songs that truly blow my mind. The thought and creativity that goes into all of his covers is astounding. See for yourself:

Amazing cover of one of my favorite John Lennon songs. He really does the song justice, and his voice is wonderful.

I love this quirky version of Something. It reminds me of the ukulele version that Paul McCartney does in his concerts as a tribute to George.

Another fantastic cover of a fantastic song!

Yes, this is the same guy, singing a song from Phantom of the Opera! He really can sing anything!

Not much else to say, except that if he becomes famous one day, you heard about him here first!

My Top 10 Favorite Beatles Songs

Casual Beatles... And Then There's Paul in a Suit.

Casual Beatles… And Then There’s Paul in a Suit.

I thought it was about time that I posted my favorite Beatles songs, because I feel like you can’t be a true Beatlemaniac without at least a semi-definitive list. But, my favorites do change, sometimes weekly, sometimes daily, depending on what period of the Beatles I feel in the mood for. One day I need my Rubber Soul fix, other days I like to jam to some earlier stuff, and sometimes I enjoy a little psychadelic road trip through Magical Mystery Tour or Sgt. Pepper. Still, there are certain songs that I always feel particularly connected to. These aren’t necessarily my opinion of the 10 best Beatles songs, just my personal favorites, to avoid any major, “BUT HOW COULD YOU LEAVE OFF (insert name of influential Beatles song here)?!?!?!?!” issues. Let’s get rolling!

10. And I Love Her

I just love how calm this song makes me feel. I have it in a playlist of “relaxing Beatles songs” that I put on while I’m doing work or when I just need to relax, and it always does the trick. Also, George does some great guitar work here that only adds to the lovely aura of the song. Paul is such an extrordinarily talented songwriter that his more understated compositions such as this one tend to get overlooked, but I think that it is one of his most sincere love songs. I sometimes pretend that he’s singing this to me… 🙂

9. Getting Better

This is one of my favorite songs to play on Beatles Rock Band! The guitar part in this song is fantastic, and “Getting Better” is definitely my favorite song on the Sgt. Pepper album, if I had to choose. Also, it’s so optimistic and uplifting that you can’t help but feel like things really will get better once you hear it.

8. I Am The Walrus

I once read that John Lennon wrote this song to purposely confuse people who were studying the Beatles’ lyrics. He probably succeeded in confusing many people with it, and I love it all the more for its hilarious insanity. The line “expert texpert choking smokers, don’t you think the joker laughs at you” is definitely my favorite line in the song. Finally, for anyone who was wondering, yes, they are saying “Everybody smokes pot” at the end of the song. This was confirmed for me after I saw a Beatle tribute perform this song live, and they enunciated those words VERY clearly!

7. I’ve Got A Feeling

This is another one I enjoy belting out on Beatles Rock Band. It’s probably one of the last true Lennon/McCartney collaborations written. Not too much else to say, just a great rock song. I was pleasantly surprised and happy when Paul performed this at 12/12/12, which I watched from the comfort of my couch. I wish I’d been there. That would have been epic.

6. Ticket to Ride

First, this video is my favorite part of the movie Help! Second, everything about this song rocks; from the harmonies to the drums to the guitar riff, it’s all there. John and Paul always sound magical singing together, and this song is no exception.

5. Day Tripper

Ahhh, I love this song! Words can’t describe how happy I feel when I hear it! It contains my favorite guitar riff throughout the song, and once again, it rocks in a way that can’t be recreated by anyone else. I also love how the beginning of this video shows George doing what he does best, and smiling while he does it! My heart fluttered a bit when he came on the screen. I think that every music video by any artist, ever, should start with a 10 second close up of George Harrison. But Macca Maniacs, Lennon Lovers, and Starrfish, feel free to disagree.

4. Something

This is one of the most listened-to songs on my iPod, probably because I listened to it every single night before I went to sleep for about a month straight. I’ve listened to it so many times that I’ve probably memorized every note of every instrument throughout the whole song. This is definitely George’s most beautiful love song, and maybe one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded. Either way, it’s wonderful. Also, this video features pictures of George with his lovely first wife, Pattie Boyd. And if I ever had to answer the question, “Name the person you are most jealous of,” it would probably be her. Yeah, I wonder why…

3. She Loves You

This is by far my favorite pre-Rubber Soul Beatles song, because it’s so ridiculously catchy. I dare anyone to listen to it and not start dancing or singing along. You’ll have a tough go at it, I’m sure. I love it, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!!!

2. Hey Jude

This is one of those songs that I knew most of the words to before I even knew who the Beatles were. There’s a reason why it’s so popular; everyone loves hearing it, whether they admit it or not. No matter where this song comes on, people will start singing along. If it went on forever, I’d sing along the whole time and not get tired. It’s uplifting, infectious, and a classic in every sense of the word. This was also my favorite Beatles song for a while. Until I discovered THIS one…

1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

The only way to properly listen to and experience the power of this song is to listen to it late at night on your iPod with good quality headphones, in complete darkness, while sitting on your bed, clutching a pillow, and swaying to the beat of the song. I guarantee, you have not fully heard this song until you’ve done that. I could stay in that position for hours. The effect is truly mindblowing, and the song is hauntingly beautiful and hypnotic. And THAT is why it’s my favorite Beatles song!

Other “Honorable Mention” Beatles songs that would round out my Top 20 list: Sexy Sadie, Yesterday, Your Mother Should Know, Don’t Bother Me, I Feel Fine, This Boy, The Fool On The Hill, Within You Without You, Taxman, And Your Bird Can Sing.