Beatles covers: better than originals?

Anybody know any artist cover performances of Beatles tunes that are better than the originals?

Most covers of Beatles tunes fall way short compared to the originals, in my opinion.

I can't think of too many that stand out in my mind.

On American Idol, during the two Beatles weeks recently, two performances stood out that I recall: "Let It Be" by Brooke White was very heartfelt and right on and "The Long and Winding Road" by the young 17 year old kid (David ???) was as good as anything I've ever heard. Watch that kid...he is extremely talented....when he is on, he is right up there with the best!
I also thought David's redition of John Lennon's Imagine was very good. This is not something I would say easily, but his was the only version that I truly enjoyed besides John Lennon's.
Listen to the "I Am Sam" soundtrack... many good Beatles covers on it.
A Little Help from My Friends, Joe Cocker
Gov't Mule: She Said!
I've only heard one cover that sounded close to my ears, Elliott Smith doing "Because". Can't say it's better, but it's good:
Finding covers that best the originals is extremely difficult, IMO. But I'll offer a second for the Joe Cocker version of "With A Little Help From My Friends" as I actually think it's a better rendition.
The only other Beatles cover that I feel betters the original is Patti Smith's version of "Within You Without You" on her album titled "Twelve." This is a very well recorded album with 12 covers from artists ranging from Hendrix to Tears For Fears. The Harrison song is my favorite cut on the album.
A lot of the early, popular Beatles' tunes are themselves covers.

In my view, your question really has absolutely no answer. Whether something is "better" to one person in terms of musical enjoyment is totally, utterly subjective.

With this in mind though, I will pitch in that Bryan Ferry's version of "It's Only Love" is my favourite Beatles cover. I prefer it over the Beatles' version.

And to reverse the question, although I like John Lennon's cover of "Stand by Me", I prefer the earlier Ben E. King version.
Al Green: I wanna hold your hand
Hard to beat The Beatles doing The Beatles, but here are a few of my favorites...

Fiona Apple, Across the Universe

Tori Amos, Happiness is a Warm Gun

Elliot Smith, Blackbird

Wilson Picket, Hey Jude

Eddie Vedder, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away

Johnny Cash, In my Life

Joe Cocker, With a Little Help from my Friends
I have always loved Emmylou Harris's Here There and Everywhere...better So there''''
Any one see the new movie, "Across The Universe"?
Just got it on BluRay - great flick!

Also Allison Krauss does several nice covers on her CD's.
In the Boston area there's a band named "Beatlejuice" that was headed up by Brad Delp ( of "Boston" fame). Great covers live. You could close your eyes and swear you were listening to the Beatles live, right there. They are still giving limited performances (pretty good), but it's just not the same without Brad doing the vocals. I don't believe there are any recordings out. Maybe they have material that can be issued in the future!!!
"Better" than originals? Nothing comes immediately to mind. But I do very much like Rufus Wainwright's cover of "Across the Universe," from the soundtrack for the movie "I Am Sam," which features lots of other covers of Beatles songs.

As for the new movie, "Across the Universe," directed by Julie Taymor -- sorry but I have to disagree with the previous post in favor of this movie. I found it charming for about ten minutes, then it started to take itself too seriously and lapsed into wretched excess. The director kept trying to force the Beatles' songs to fit her concepts, and too often it just didn't work. The cover of "Come Together," transformed into a hallucinogenic "Uncle Sam wants you" recruiting fantasy, went so far over the top that it hit bottom.
801 does a version of Tomorrow Never Knows that IMHO surpasses the original. Then again, also IMHO, the original was hardly the Beatles' shining moment.


I did see "Across the Universe". I liked the musical performances very much. The cast was very talented and put some nice different twists/edges on several songs. I would like to get the soundtrack.

The story line left a bit to be desired, I thought. These were clearly 21st century kids pretending to be in the 1960's. I thought they should have just gone with a more contemporary story line rather than trying to put a different edge/spin on the 1960's. That did not work for me.

I've seen several leading BEatles cover acts including "Classical Mystery Tour" (with symphony orchestra doing the fills, wonderful!), Rain (twice), 1964 (very good, early BEatles stuff only, simple arrangements), and others. All were most enjoyable and I would recommend each. Classical Mystery Tour, in particular, may appeal to many on this site due to the use of symphony orchestra.

All these acts do a good job reproducing the BEatles recordings live using modern techniques to great affect.
Aerosmith has done a few Beatles covers.Come Together is better than the original.Helter Skelter live is incredible.They also did I'm Down.
The 801 version of TNK is great. I like it better than the original but the original is one of my favs as is Revolver.
First off, I would like to tell Marty that "Tomorrow Never Knows" is very highly regarded among the Beatles legacy! Forging a head, I don't think anyone doing a cover of the Beatles is going to sound better than the Beatles themselves and I wouldn't think that to imitate their style would be very easy. They made it sound easy, but a lot of their songs are not easy to vocalise. I always felt that even when as solo artists, one of the Beatles would perform a Beatles song with other musicians, it still was not as good as when they performed it with each other. Anyway, that's only my opinion and I would like to add to the list Elton John's rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". I thought it was pretty good, but still not as good as The Beatles.
Steve Earle does a cover of "I'm Looking Through You" on his all acoustic album "Train a Comin'" that is totally amazing and in my opinion better than the orignal. That whole album rocks check it out!
There are none.
Didn't Judy Collins recently record an entire album of Beatles songs?

There's a group out there called "1964 The Tribute". Perhaps some of you may have heard of them. They've been doing this since the early 1980's I believe. I've seen them live twice in the past few years. They have are jaw dropping fantastic. They have a live double CD set that sounds better than the original Beatle cuts. It's called "All You Live". This is a live recording but it's done very well. Overall fidelity is great. If they come to your area, don't miss them if you're a lifetime Beatles fan. Website:
Hey, how about the Rutles?
Elliott Smith's version of Because from the American Beauty soundtrack is so good that George Martin used that version for the Cirque du Soleil/Beatles Love soundtrack.
the smithereens 2 latest releases are beatles covers cds.
Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater put together a Beatles cover band called Yellow Matter Custard a few tears ago. they released a live cd which was quite interesting. believe info available on DT website
Wanted to toss in Jeff Beck's instrumental take on "She's A Woman" from "Blow to Blow". Great interpretation, playing and recording. I think it was produced by George Martin as well if I remember correctly.
Ah culd shoot arf list o' fowertay wic cowers frum ban's none o' yews ewer 'eard of.

Bur..ter wot porpoise?
The Breeders KILL Happiness Is A Warm Gun.
Synthfreak should go loolallay fer NEW WORLD ELECTRONIC CHAMBER ENSEMBLE 'SWITCHED ON BEATLES' Vancouver? duo oan raithur rare Mushroom label. Beatifool gatefowld cowerart o' Yeller Submarine annermatioon characters oanneur feckin' greyt monstah-synth.

Bur, baist electro-Beatles WOBBLAY is MARTY GOLD 'MOOG PLAYS THE BEATLES'.
I purchased the "I Am Sam" soundtrack based on the recommendation in this thread. As I never saw the movie I was totally unfamiliar with this CD. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks!
Here are a few I like:

Magical Mystery Tour-Cheap Trick

Come Together- Aerosmith, and M. Jackson too

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds- Elton John
Elton's Lucy in the Sky better than the original?

That's funny.
One more interesting cover:

The Feelies cover "Everybody's Got Something To Hide, Except For Me & My Monkey". I never heard The Beatles (do this one) live, but The Feelies nail it in concert. I think they included this on the first Feelies CD, but it's pretty clear to me that it was intended for live performance.

At the risk of offending the Beatles scholars who objected to my lowish opinion of "TNK" in an earlier post to this thread, I would also humbly note that I believe that this song is not a Beatles classic.

Franky, I'm not sure anyone does them better than the originals but it is interesting to hear others interpretations and I enjoy it occasionally. Also, IMO some songs sound great by female vocalists. Certainly, a fresh take can be refreshing.
Elton's Lucy in the Sky better than the original?

That's funny.
"Better" is subject to opinion. If you read my post the first sentence was "Here are a few I like:". No insinuation of which was better. Even though that was the OP question, I don't feel throwing in a few I like is too far off topic.
>>I don't feel throwing in a few I like is too far off topic.<<

It is off topic nonetheless.

I like Lennon's solo work more than McCartney's but it is not germane to this thread.
I LOVE Shirley Bassey's cover of "Something"

Honorable mention:

I think the Grateful Dead did a good job covering Beatles tunes.
she said she said covered by gov't mule
yes, I agree. Shirley Bassey's cover of something is great.
But I quite like listening to Johnny Flynn's cover of Rocky Raccoon too. Ozzy Osbourne's cover of In My Life is alright too. But I do tend to go with the original versions...
Not better, but a completely different interpretation, bluesy and soulful- "With a little help from my Friends" by Joe Cocker
"She's a Woman" by Omar and the Howlers. Again, not better, but different and as enjoyable. Beatles did this song very well. For some reason I HATE nearly all covered Beatles songs. 'Taint seemly.
Not better, but Side 2 of the Concert for George CD is mighty good. Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Ringo, Paul, Billy Preston and more. A great man's great music, performed with love by some of his friends. What a wonderful tribute.
One of my favorite Beatles covers was one that I saw live. Frank Zappa and band playing "From Me to You" with Sting on vocal.

My favorite recorded cover is Peter Gabriel's "Strawberry Fields Forever".

I always disliked the Joe Cocker Beatles covers, which would put me in the minority, it would seem.

Hard to top the originals. They were fab!

One that I realy believe better than Beatles version is "You've Got to Hide Your love away" by the Silkie
"Here Comes the Sun", Ritchey Havens. I wouldn't say better, but my favorite
Beatles cover.
Help-Deep Purple!!!!
Shirley Bassey: "Something" is BEAUTIFUL indeed
Yes: "Every Little Thing" is WAY better than original, it´s astral
Frank Marino: "Norwegian Wood" great cover, great manly voice
Saga: "Taxman" not bad ? ...whatever