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Hi there. We’re calling this page the “Blog”, but it’s really just an assortment of posts that aren’t the podcast.. Still, there’s lots of fun video links posts to read and watch, and some other great surprises.

A Hard Day’s Night Covered!

by David Dedrick on January 21, 2014

A-Hard-Day's-Night-Covered

A Hard Day’s Night was not only the soundtrack to the Beatles’ first movie, it was also the first album to contain only songs written by the Beatles. We thought it would be fun here at Compleatly Beatles to re-create the Beatles first cover-free album with covers!

For most of the songs there were lots of cover versions to choose from so I’ve tried to vary genres and find the most interesting version of each song. (Admittedly that’s a pretty subjective thing!) So let’s take a look at our alternative version of A Hard Day’s Night!

First up is the title track to the album and I’ve found a fun version of the song by Brazilian superstar Rita Lee who covered it on her collection of Beatles covers Aqui, Ali, Em Qualquer Lugar. In the Sixties, Lee was a member of Os Mutantes, the psychedelic pranksters of Tropicalia – the revolutionary musical movement inspired in part by The Beatles.

The second track is “I Should Have Known Better” and, sure, I could have gone with The Beach Boys from their album Party!, but isn’t it more interesting to hear a SKA VERSION of the song performed by the immortal Skatalites in 1966:

Next up is “If I Fell” and a wonderful version of the song by Cilla Black and Dudley Moore from Moore’s show with Peter Cook Not Only…But Also – much of which was bulk erased by dummies, but thankfully this little gem survived:

You probably never thought you’d see this, a Beatles cover by a plastic doll, but, yes, Barbie and the Rockers covered “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” in their fabulous limited animation special: Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World. Actually, the singing and playing is “Tiffany singing in a mall” competent, but that animation…oy!

Well, we’ve heard Brazilian bossa rhythms, ska, and (literally) plastic pop, so it’s time we upped the sophistication with some jazz! Put on some sunglasses and a beret, for multi and multiple-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk with “And I Love Her” from his 1965 album Slightly Latin.

Once again, I could have used a version of the next song from The Beach Boys album Party!, but this video is so obnoxious that I had to include it. Plus April Wine is a Canadian band and since Compleatly Beatles is a Canadian podcast we have to meet Canadian content requirements. So here’s April Wine with their soppy version of “Ask Me Why”:

The Beatles were inspired by many girl groups early in their career and covered quite a few songs on their first two albums. Well, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, I’ve heard, so here’s a little tit for tat with The Supremes‘ version of “Can’t Buy Me Love” from their 1964 album A Bit of Liverpool.

In the Seventies, rock or “rawk!” replaced the poppier sounds of the Sixties. It was up to a few stalwarts to keep the pop sounds of the Sixties alive in the form of power pop. Bands like Big Star, The Raspberries, The Flamin’ Groovies, Badfinger and this band, Blue Ash waved their pop flags high.  Blue Ash even covered The Beatles “Any Time At All” on their 1973 album No More, No Less.

Johnny Rivers, best known for his 1963 hit “Secret Agent Man”, was a bit of a musical chameleon, changing his style to suit the times. Unlike many of his contemporaries, who disappeared under the tidal wave of Beatlemania, Rivers smartly incorporated the new sound into his act. Here is a countrified “I’ll Cry Instead” from his 1965 album Meanwhile Back at the Whisky a Go Go.

Speaking of Rivers, next up is Dick Rivers who was actually born Henri Fornieri, but took his stage name from Elvis Presley’s character in Loving You, Deke Rivers. Also an actor, Rivers was an important figure in the introduction of rock and roll to French culture, but, as you’ll hear in this song, while you can take the boy out of the Gallic pop, you can’t take the Gallic pop out of the boy. This is “Ces Mots Qu’on Oublie Un Jour” (I think Beatle fans will enjoy the presenters on this show.)

Do you know what’s hard to find? Covers of “When I Get Home”. Apparently covered by The Hassles (a Sixties group featuring Billy Joel), I could find no trace of it at all. So, instead, I’m giving you a drum cover of the song so we can see exactly what Ringo does. Notice how much the open hi-hat cymbal is played during the song (a real feature of Ringo’s Beatlemania-era style) and the economy of fills. Very simple, yet very effective.

We can’t have a covers version of a Beatles album without Harry Nilsson and what better song than his inventive version of “You Can’t Do That” from his 1967 album Pandemonium Shadow Show, which contains references to twenty different Beatles songs. Listen carefully!

Like the original album, we’re going to end our cover version with a bit of a downer. Now, as performed by the Beatles, “I’ll Be Back” is a minor key declaration of intent; as performed by Herb Alpert, it’s a mournful song of resignation. Still, a great version to finish the album.

Well, if you made it to the end: congratulations! Perhaps this will inspire you to make your own Beatles albums out of cover songs. There are so many great ones to choose from it’s hard to go wrong.

However, if you think I’ve made a terrible omission in my choices of songs for A Hard Day’s Night Covered, let me know in the comments section or on our Facebook page. We’re always happy to hear from you.

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