Saturday, April 2, 2022

I've Got This Covered: The Beatles: Let it Be

I shall forever be a great defender of cover versions of songs. I just love seeing what artists can do with one-another's work; what they can add, what they can make their own about it. "I've Got This Covered" is making an official comeback after four years of retirement in order to celebrate The Beatles Get Back movie (and the accompanying concert film and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Exhibit and I don't know, there's probably a tie-in with Fruit-by-the-Foot at this point). "I've Got This Covered" is an article series in which I imagine which artists could do great covers of (in most cases) a full album. Today, my choices were influenced by AJ Ward.

1) Two of Us - Tegan and Sara
One of the biggest takeaways from Get Back is realizing how close The Beatles had gotten after years of writing, playing, and generally being around one-another. Not only was Two of Us the name of another Michael Lindsay-Hogg film (Lindsay-Hogg was the director of the original Get Back footage, for those not in the know), it's also the title of a song (obviously) that perfectly sums up John Lennon and Paul McCartney's strained-yet-loving, brotherly creative process. We considered Ben Gibbard for this one, since his voice would suit it well and his acoustic prowess would be a great match. But Tegan and Sara would be able to both harmonize on the track and to bring to the table some of their own relationship as sisters and collaborators. Tegan and Sara have already covered another Beatles song, "Lovely Rita" in collaboration with The Flaming Lips, Stardeath and White Dwarfs.

2) Dig A Pony - Orville Peck
Orville Peck uses equine imagery throughout his work. He has the wide vocal range necessary for this song and his glam-country sound would give it a twist while still fitting with the sound of the original. 

3) Across the Universe - Tame Impala
AJ and I compiled our lists separately, yet we both picked Tame Impala for this one without a second thought. Kevin Parker of Tame Impala would presumably throw on a lot more reverb (more of a post-Beatles Lennon sound). We also imagine him coming in on a funky bassline with the vocals and adding drums just a bit further on. While Parker doesn't consider himself to be a huge Beatles fan, his song "Yes I'm Changing" has been perfectly mashed up with "Imagine" by Sam DeMartino. Parker has also covered John Lennon's "Jealous Guy." 


4) I Me Mine - The Raconteurs
This one was tough to decide. We couldn't figure out who could handle the soft, sad and gentle tones of George Harrison in the verse as well as the rough-and-tumble raucousness of the chorus. Luckily, AJ thought of Jack White for the guitarwork on the chorus and we decided that the The Raconteurs would be a perfect fit for this song. Brendan Benson would handle the gentle, melodic verses and Jack White could rock hard on the choruses. Problem solved. (Side note: Jack White, I come to you as a blue hologram of myself. If you're reading this, please make this happen. If there's anyone on this list I trust to get things done, it's you) The Raconteurs have already paid tribute to The Beatles in their own way. Some copies of their 2019 album Help Us Stranger contained a parody of The Beatles' famous "butcher cover" hidden under the real cover.

5) Dig It - Cake
Short but sweet, this track would have probably been nothing more than a studio outtake if the album had yielded more tracks. Since it made it onto the album, we can imagine nothing better than letting Cake have a go at it. John McCrea's unusual vocal stylings would be perfect for the format of the song and the rest of the band could come up with some wild interpretations as well.

6) Let it Be - Regina Spektor
This song was hotly discussed during our planning sessions. Whoever was going to cover it needed to be great at piano and needed to be able to convey a lot of emotion in their voice. Alicia Keys was brought up, Vanessa Carlton, and probably twenty others. No one seemed perfect for it but I was certain that Regina Spektor could handle it and make it interesting. Spektor is incredibly talented at piano and her voice is always rich with emotion. Spektor has previously covered "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Real Love," and "And Your Bird Can Sing" (For The Beat Bugs). 

7) Maggie Mae - They Might Be Giants
Another short track, "Maggie Mae" is well-suited for the kings of short songs: They Might Be Giants. TMBG would also bring their own humor to the song just as Lennon and McCartney did. TMBG grew up listening to The Beatles. John Flansburgh remembers A Hard Day's Night being the first album he purchased. John Linnell has even referred to them as "the shi**y Beatles." As a result of all of this, many of their songs have parodied or referenced The Beatles. They've even covered Paul McCartney's "Ram On" and The Beatles' "Savoy Truffle."

8) I've Got a Feeling - Jukebox the Ghost
I've discussed previously how technically great Jukebox the Ghost are as musicians; Ben Thornewill could probably have stepped into Billy Preston's shoes with little effort. Jukebox is also a band with two very strong songwriters who are able to harmonize swimmingly and who both act as lead singer at times (and this is no offense to Jesse Kristin, who is a perfect match on drums). Jukebox the Ghost would power "I've Got a Feeling" with the fun of early Beatles and the musical prowess of the later years. Jukebox the Ghost did a medley of songs from Abbey Road on a French radio station nearly ten years ago.

9) One After 909 - The Nude Party
Sometimes, The Nude Party go in a more psychedelic direction, but not always. Songs like "Chevrolet Van" show us what this North Carolinian band can do in terms of a 50s/early 60s sound, which is exactly what "One After 909" calls for. 

10) The Long and Winding Road - Adele
I'm still not over Adele's voice. Although we threw around the names of other female singers (that seemed to be the constant for some reason), Adele was the only one we thought would be able to carry the depth and breadth of the song. 

11) For You Blue - Ben Gibbard
Long-time readers should know that I love Ben Gibbard's voice almost as much as I love George Harrison's songwriting. This song is strange and sweet. The parts are odd. But we felt that there was no better person to bring it together than Ben Gibbard. His range is fairly similar to Harrison's, and since he knows his way around an acoustic guitar, it's like it was meant to be. Gibbard did a full livestream of Beatles covers during the 2020 lockdown (unfortunately, it didn't include "For You Blue").

12) Get Back - Ben Folds Five
Whoever we picked for "Get Back" needed to be able to rock out. We wanted the piano too. Since Ben Folds is the guitarist and pianist for The Ben Folds Five, we think he can make it work. Folds covered "Golden Slumbers" for the I Am Sam soundtrack.

That's how (AJ and) I think it should go down. Questions? Better ideas? Drop me a comment. Or if you're one of the artists listed above, feel free to make this happen. 

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