Skip to main content

The Beatles Cover songs

The Beatles Cover songs
The Beatles some might say (arguably) are the best band in history. I say this! Few have amassed the body of work in the relatively brief time they were together, officially from 1960 to 1970. Ringo joined in 1962 to form the best-selling band of all time. And its not just about the quantity of songs but the quality.  Whether you are more a Lennon fan or McCartney, or you favour Ringo over George, they were all exceedingly talented.

I don’t want to get into the debate of Stones v. Beatles, hey straight up Rock and Roll and longevity needless to say the Rolling Stones win that battle! I shall blog the Stones as well in the future. So, just how many songs did they record? How many originals and how many were cover songs? Cover songs are important as they show some of the early influences on their music and songs they liked enough to re-record. 

According to Soundscapes the Beatles recorded 212 original songs between 1962-1970
Hal Leonard sights 213 original songs
Wikipedia lists 236 original songs and 69 cover songs for a total of 305

Seems odd we all can’t agree on a number, however for my purposes I’m going to focus on cover songs and my go-to authority on this is They have the Beatles being covered on 192 original songs, not sure which of the either the 212, 213 or 236 originals have not been re-recorded by I guess there is still time.

Accordingly, they have listed the Beatles recording 102 covers from other artists. Mind you they included 'technical’ cover songs like those of them covering their own songs and songs from Tony Sheridan who the Beatles backed up as “The Beat Brothers” and German versions etc. so the Wiki number of 69 seems more accurate.  I shan’t attempt to list them all, but I will talk about some of them and there’s enough to fuel several blog posts for sure. I’ll stick to actual Beatles songs originally done by someone else and not written by them. Just for your own edification I have over 200 Beatles songs in my library, and I have 85 songs in my Beatles covers/covered playlist.

Today I’d like to talk about some of the oldest ones, that is to say the originals that date back the farthest.
“Maggie Mae” recorded by the Beatles in 1969.  This was a staple song for the Quarrymen and was widely played and recorded in the UK in the 1950's and 60's.
The Beatles add their own words but the song was based on the Traditional Folk song from the mid to late 1800's but first recorded in 1905 as "Good-Bye Maggie May" by J.W. Myers

Here is "Maggie May" by The Vipers Skiffle Group 1957

And yes I believe that Rod Stewart took the name for his hit song, though that's the only similarity.

Here is a clip of Paul McCartney from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" singing a snippet of the song. Originally a sailor's song from what I've read so not out of place here.

This one is listed as recorded by the Beatles from 1963 but released on Anthology 1 in 1994.
Moonlight Bay” a silly version from a British Comedy show

The original song is from 1911 written by Edward Madden, and Percy Wenrich
Listed as ‘American Quartet and Orchestra’ first released in 1912.

Shimmy Shake” Live, At the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany 1962, Album released May 1, 1977

This song is based on “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” written by
Armand Piron but I think its just an instrumental only from 1921

Here’s one with lyrics from Muggsy Spanier “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” recorded in 1939

I would say this song inspired Chan Romeo in 1959 to write this song "Hippy Hippy Shake"

The Beatles did it in 1962

Part 2 of the Beatles cover songs has some you may actually recognize from regular albums and some you probably didn't know were covers!

Sources not mentioned; iTunes,,,


Popular posts from this blog

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs

25 of the Greatest Cover Songs

Nothing quite grabs the attention more than a list of the greatest this or that, so at 85 posts about cover songs I thought it about time to get to it. As I advised with my other 'Greatest' posts we all have our favorites so anytime there is a list, something or someone 'great' gets left off. And the debate ensues, why is this and that at #11 not #4 and vise versa. My list therefore, shall be no different for it is not scientific but subjective and it is biased by my own tastes and exposure to music. Having said that it's hard for me to have missed many of the truly great cover songs of all time, indeed I think I've talked about quite a few:

"Respect" from the writer and original recording Otis Redding and a cover she made her own, the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. More about the song and Aretha in these posts. Before I get to some cover's I've not mentioned, here are more songs from my previous issues that are …

Nina Simone

Central Park Blues” (1958) written by Nina Simone. From her debut album 'Little Girl Blue'. While best remembered for her vocal talents, Nina shows off her considerable chops at the piano.

On the same album her cover of  "I Loves You Porgy" from the opera 'Porgy and Bess' (George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin). This would be her highest ranking hit on Billboard at #18 on the Pop chart and #5 on the R&B. The video clip shows how brilliant she was and how effortless her piano playing appears, she was quite remarkable.

Born in North Carolina, Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) she was a student at the Juilliard School of Music. She changed her name when she was performing in nightclubs in Atlantic City, which is when she started to add vocals to her piano playing. She was really only interested in classical music and studies, so performing using pop music and later recording (income) was used to pursue just that.

My Baby Just Cares fo…

Happy Independence Day (updated)

Happy Independence Day/4th of July to our American Cousins! Seems appropriate we ( July 1, in Canada) have our birthdays so close together. And a hello to my new readers from!

When it comes to cover songs, I will never run out of blog ideas from the south, particularly when it comes to the roots of the blues, country and rock. Today I wanted to find some songs about the USA that focus on a Patriotic theme (not hard to find) but also have been a) covered by other artists and b) some that are not necessarily as 'pro' or at least painting a not so positive light on an aspect of American society and c) have been perhaps mis-interpreted by some.
Born in the U.S.A.” written by Bruce Springsteen from the album of the same name released in June 1984. My youngest sister and I went to see Bruce at the CNE stadium during this tour in July 1985, as always with Bruce, a great show. I have attached a link that includes lyrics, so you can see that this song is not very compl…