5 Cover Songs That Beatles Made Better
Rivals The Original
The Beatles were just like other rock ‘n roll bands when they started – they relied, albeit not too heavily, on covering songs by other artists. They especially liked taking songs by female groups and giving them the Fab Four treatment. Most of their versions are good but few actually rival the original.
Here are the tracks they truly made their own.
5. Words of Love (Buddy Holly)
It’s no secret that one of the major musical influences of The Beatles was Buddy Holly. And so it comes as no surprise that they took his 1957 composition “Words of Love” and they stayed faithful to Holly’s version. Featured on “Beatles for Sale”, it’s the only Holly track in the band’s canon even though they often performed his classics during their early days. According to Paul McCartney, “John and I started to write because of Buddy Holly. It was like, ‘Wow! He writes and is a musician’.”
4. Money (That’s What I Want) (Barrett Strong)
Written by Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford, The Beatles did seven takes and included it in their 1963 LP “With the Beatles.” They previously played it during their Decca Records audition with Pete Best on drums. George Harrison said, “Before going to a gig we’d meet in the record store, after it had shut, and we’d search the racks like ferrets to see what new ones were there… ‘Devil In Her Heart’ and Barrett Strong’s ‘Money’ were records that we’d picked up and played in the shop and thought were interesting.”
3. Rock and Roll Music (Chuck Berry)
One of Chuck Berry’s most popular songs, The Beatles frequently performed it at their shows in Hamburg, Germany and for the BBC program Pop Go The Beatles. John Lennon upped the ante with his amazing vocal performance and unsurprisingly, they only did one take during recording.
2. Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry)
Another Chuck Berry original, this was a favorite song of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Their cover features Harrison on lead vocals. He recalled, “I sang ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ for With The Beatles – it was a song I liked. I had the Chuck Berry record and I used to sing it in the clubs.”
1. Twist and Shout (The Top Notes)
Thanks to Lennon’s throat-shredding vocals, this became one of their best-known and most enduring covers. It was also a staple in their live repertoire. Producer George Martin revealed, “I knew that ‘Twist And Shout’ was a real larynx-tearer and I said, ‘We’re not going to record that until the very end of the day, because if we record it early on, you’re not going to have any voice left.’ So that was the last thing we did that night. We did two takes, and after that John didn’t have any voice left at all. It was good enough for the record, and it needed that linen-ripping sound.”