*Image of Jagger, Wyman & the McCartneys (and unidentified groovy chicks) taken from the internet, and likely subject to copyright
The world has become a really divisive place. Whatever the issue, there always seems to be disagreement these days. Politics, don’t get me started. Religion, I’m not qualified to talk about. For every opinion in the universe there exists an equally strong, opposite one. Meat eaters vs the vegans, hedonists vs the devout, drinkers vs the sober, and I could go on and on. I believe it was Sir Isaac Newton, that groovy cat with the apple and gravity, who stated in his Third Law, that for every action there is an equal, opposite reaction. For example, I would like to quit my job and sit around listening to rock and roll records all day. Perhaps I would occasionally take a break from that strenuous activity to head down to the used record store to check out some additional vinyl, only to return home and hang out. My wife has the opposite reaction to this idea and wants to work me like one of the old mules from the farm she grew up on until I collapse. Marriage, it seems, like life is a compromise.
However, we shouldn’t pretend that these disagreements are a new and modern convention. I remember, as a child in the 70s, there were similar fault lines amongst the population. I remember there was a fierce, Superman vs Batman thing. You were either a fan of the man from Krypton or you were on team Caped Crusader, and you couldn’t dig both. Me, I was a Batman fan. Ironically I later roomed with a guy whose nickname was Batman. We’d get crank calls in the middle of the night from his friends asking for Batman… When I’d say he wasn’t home they’d ask to leave a message from the Joker, or Commissionor Gordon. Real fuckin’ funny guys at 3 am. I think which Super Hero you dug said a lot about your personality. You were either the ideal of virtue and the perfect man or you were a troubled guy who hung out late at night looking for bad situations. Hmmm.
Anyway, one of the fiercer battles in the old days revolved around the Beatles and the Stones. The Beatles were huge. They were, well, the Beatles. In the late sixties the Stones began to get tagged with the nickname, “The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World.” I don’t know if it was the nickname, but suddenly the debate was real. The feud began even before Led Zeppelin came along, so all you Zep fans, stay calm and keep reading. There was suddenly a Superman-Batman type of line drawn. You were either a Beatles fan or you were a Stones fan and never shall the twain meet, as they say. It was the 60s version of East Coast vs West Coast, without the guns. Lennon claimed once that everything the Beatles did the Stones would do six months later. While you might cite Their Satanic Majesties, the Stones ill-fated trip into psychedelic music (after the Beatles Sgt Pepper album) as proof, I think after that the Stones forged their own bluesy, rootsy road.
But once a feud always a feud. I have often thought of my brother and I as polar opposites, which isn’t true, but we all have stories we tell ourselves about our families. My brother, who got into music way before me was a solid Beatles guy. He had the Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks, perhaps the best “greatest hits” package ever released, but he had every Beatles album out there. I think he had UK and US versions of each album, although I could be wrong about that. I bet he’s sitting on a stack of very valuable vinyl. Anyway, my first love, of course, was the Rolling Stones. I can’t say that fueled any tension between he and I, but I’m sure it didn’t help.
Eventually, I realized feuds were silly. I like both the Beatles and the Stones. They’d both be on my greatest bands of all time list… although the Stones will always be #1 for me. That doesn’t mean I can’t love the Beatles too. Hell, Keith Richards once said, about John Lennon, that he wasn’t as “hen-pecked” by Yoko in his latter days as people say… he said whenever the Stones were in New York he and Lennon would party their ass off. Now that’s something I wish I’d have gotten in on. How much fun would that be? Lennon, Richards, I wanna party with you guys. Alas, I was just a kid in junior high school.
I was noodling around with some playlist ideas and I came across the idea of doing a playlist of Stones covers, of which there are too few. Then I started thinking of doing a list of covers of Beatles tunes, of which there are myriad artists to choose from. I was thinking of battling playlists, this could potentially be a B&V thing. But then a weird thing happened. I combined the two playlists and frankly I really enjoyed the results. Since it’s a slow time musically right now, I thought I’d share it with all of you. This is not a comprehensive or complete list of Beatles or Stones cover songs, it’s just a list of my favorites. As always you can find this playlist on Spotify by searching on kcorsini64 or BourbonAndVinyl (at least I sure hope so). Enjoy… and if you have any additions you think I missed, please mention them in the comments and I’ll add to the Spotify list. My comments on each tune below this link. And I’ll say again, there are always more Beatles covers than Stones covers… oh, well.
- Aerosmith, “Come Together” – What a great place to start. Lets all come together over the Beatles and the Stones.
- Black Keys, “She Said, She Said” – I love this song. I never figured the Keys to cover the Beatles but they do so beautifully.
- Peter Frampton, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” – I like the live version and the studio version.
- Linda Ronstadt, “Tumbling Dice” – My favorite song of hers, save anything she covered by Warren Zevon or Lowell George.
- David Bowie, “Let’s Spend The Night Together” – Bowie’s frenetic take on the classic Stones track.
- Soundgarden, “Everybodys’ Got Something To Hide (Except Me and My Monkey) – God do we miss Chris Cornell.
- Fiona Apple, “Across the Universe” – Great track from a soundtrack. A track also nicely done by Bowie… but he’s already on here.
- Phil Collins, “Tomorrow Never Knows” – Say what you want about Collins but it took some real balls to cover this song.
- Montrose, “Connection” – Great, slowed down version of the Stones track.
- Cheap Trick, “Magical Mystery Tour” – Was any band more influenced by the Beatles than Cheap Trick? Well, besides ELO?
- Billy Joel, “A Hard Days Night (Live)” – Ok, maybe Joel was as influenced by the Beatles as Cheap Trick. It’s probably a coin toss.
- Social Distortion, “Backstreet Girl” – Social D doing a a down and dirty Stones cover. Whats not to love?
- Siouxsie And The Banshees, “Dear Prudence” – I almost like this version more than the Beatles original.
- Joe Cocker, “A Little Help From My Friends” – This one was a huge hit for Joe.
- The Allman Brothers Band, “Heart of Stone” – From their last studio album.
- U2, “Paint It Black” – One of their best covers!
- Lindsey Buckingham, “She Smiled Sweetly” – Buckingham recreates a whole band just plucking an acoustic guitar.
- Johnny Winter, “Stray Cat Blues” – A lot of blues guys cover the Stones.
- Motley Crue, “Helter Skelter” – A lot of folks have done this one, but this is my nasty favorite.
- Ray Charles, “Eleanor Rigby” – Also done beautifully by Aretha.
- Aerosmith, “I’m Down” – Great track from Permanent Vacation.
- Billy Joel, “I’ll Cry Instead (Live) – Like I said, he rivals Cheap Trick in his love of the Beatles.
- Luther Allison, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – Obscure blues track but I love it.
- Guns N Roses, “Sympathy For the Devil” – From the ‘Interview With A Vampire’ soundtrack, believe it or not. This was the best thing to come out of that movie.
- The Who, “Under My Thumb” – Yep, the Who covering the Stones…worlds collide.
- Otis Redding, “Satisfaction” – The Rock Chick always laughs at me when I play this. I think it’s all the horns. Otis was soulful…
- Elton John, “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” – As a youngster I liked this track better than the original. What fools these mortals be…
- CSNY, “Blackbird” – Love the version on CSNY 1974. Stills takes the lead vocals, but those harmonies kick in, oh, man!
- Rod Stewart, “Get Back” – An outtake from the Tonight’s the Night album.
- Taj Mahal, “Honky Tonk Woman” – Stripped down to vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, it’s like a porch blues jam.
- Tom Petty, “Taxman” – Petty covering his friend George.
- Cheap Trick, “Day Tripper” – They do the Beatles rockier stuff so well.
- Rage Against the Machine, “Street Fighting Man” – I chose this version to show the diversity of groups who cover these two bands.
- The Longshot, “As Tears Go By” – Billie Joe Armstrong’s side project on a nice Stones’ cover.
- Dhani Harrison, Prince, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – From the Rock Hall of Fame ceremonies… Prince’s guitar solo is on fire. If you’ve seen the video, the other guys just stand there with their jaws dropped as Prince shreds… If Clapton was there I trust he snuck out quickly.
I may have dug deeper in some areas than most folks would have expected. I may have dug a little too shallow in other areas. But in the end, my Spotify playlists are for anybody whose interested. I add songs from the comments suggestions to the playlist all the time. Enjoy and I hope you all find this as an enjoyable a listen as I did! Beatles + Stones… Peace and Love, baby!