The Beatles were not a band to shy away from cover songs, or indeed from responding to how the music industry is and was constantly changing. Over the course of the band’s glory years their music evolved and morphed drastically, in order to both keep up with the ever-moving landscape, and indeed to keep their fans thrilled.
During an interview with Rolling Stone in 1968 John Lennon was deep in conversation about the newly released White Album.
But during the chat he was eager to delve into some of his favourite covers of his own songs by other artists.
He first said: “Well, Ray Charles’ version of ‘Yesterday’ – that’s beautiful.
“And ‘Eleanor Rigby’ is a groove. I just dig the strings on that. Like ’30s strings. Jose Feliciano does great things to ‘Help’ and ‘Day Tripper’.”
Although these other artists were eager to replicate the magic The Beatles had created at the time, Lennon went on to explain how they, in turn, influenced him and his music.
Speaking about one of the band’s songs, ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’, Lennon explained how it was influenced in a specific way.
“’Got to Get You Into My Life’ – sure, we were doing our Tamla Motown bit,” he said.
Lennon then explained how the influences of the music surrounding him always changes his writing.
He continued: “You see we’re influenced by whatever’s going.
“Even if we’re not influenced, we’re all going that way at a certain time.
“If we played a Stones record now — and a Beatles record — and we’ve been way apart, you’d find a lot of similarities.
“We’re all heavy. Just heavy. How did we ever do anything light? We did country music early because that was Ringo’s bit.”
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It seems as if the star was eager to keep his influences front-and-centre of his work, in order to make his best music.
Lennon wasn’t always calm and collected, however, as one of the gigs he was involved in was cancelled, prompting a vicious rant.
1964 saw the band arriving in Cleveland, Ohio to perform a normal concert.
However the crowd were so rowdy that the police intervened and put a stop to the gig whilst the band were playing.
Afterwards, Lennon was furious, and told a local radio DJ: “This has never happened to us before.
“We have never had a show stopped. These policemen are a bunch of amateurs.”
The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, saw things differently though, and also told the press: “The police were absolutely right.
“This has never happened before, but it was clear to me from the start that there was something very wrong. The enthusiasm of the crowd was building much too early.”
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