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20 Scintillating Beatles Covers That Stand Up To The Originals

  • Michael Jackson - 'Come Together': The King of Pop famously owned the rights to the Beatles songs in the 1980s, and took full advantage of this in '88, trading the 'Abbey Road' classic's bluesy guitar grind for fist-pumping stadium pop euphoria. It appeared in his 'Moonwalker' film and later served as a B-side.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 08 Aug 2014

  • St Vincent - 'Dig A Pony': Having stepped into Kurt Cobain's shoes to play 'Lithium' with Nirvana at their Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame induction this year, the mercurial Annie Clark obviously isn't daunted covering even the most iconic alt acts. You can imagine Lennon digging her screeching, contorting take on this 1969 track.

    Photo: Shamil Tanna/NME

    Added: 12 Feb 2014

  • Otis Redding - 'A Hard Day's Night': Peppered with Motowny trumpets, Redding's vibrant, deliciously dancey spin on this Lennon-penned third album title track is a gem. The soul hero's breathless growls hammer home the song's work-weary complaints with brilliant conviction.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • Al Green - 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand': Green's smokey, seductive '69 rendition of this early Beatles favourite underlined the soulfulness inherit in the original while taking the track into slick new territory, slowed it to a saunter and dotting brass around Green's inimitable rasps.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 10 Apr 2014

  • David Bowie – ‘Across The Universe’: No wonder Bowie's 1975 rework of 'Across The Universe' fizzed with charisma: John Lennon had a hand in its production. Rather than reel off a sycophantic, faithful tribute, Bowie tore the track apart, demolishing its chorus and reconstructing it in his own image.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 16 Oct 2014

  • Candy Flip – ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’: Hazy electronics and crunchy drum machine loops (nabbed from James Brown's 'Funky Drummer') gave Madchester scene mainstays Candy Flip a Top 3 UK hit with this cover, dragging the original's murky psychedelia into the '90s by the scruff of its neck.

    Photo: Press

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • Stevie Wonder - 'We Can Work It Out': A high point of his '71 'Signed Sealed & Delivered' album, Wonder's gloriously fun turn on this '65 single did away with Lennon and McCartney's acoustic guitar-driven wistfulness, but kept its heart-warming hippy-dippy message.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 06 Mar 2014

  • Nina Simone - 'Revolution': You won't hear a more commanding spin on the Beatles than Simone's jazzy, goosebump-inducing 'Revolution' cover. Lurching between smooth piano and thrilling jolts of dissonance, its power is palpable.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • Harry Nilsson - 'You Can't Do That': At a 1968 press conference, Lennon and McCartney both named Nilsson their favourite favourite American artist, impressed by his slowed, druggy spin on 'You Can't Do That', featuring echoing backing vocal references to other Beatles classics.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • The Black Keys - 'She Said, She Said': An early sign of the Ohio duo's ballsiness - slathering this Lennon-penned 'Revolver' standout in crunchy distortion and bluesy terror on their first album, 2002's 'The Big Come Up'.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Apr 2014

  • The Rolling Stones - 'I Wanna Be Your Man': Written by Lennon and McCartney, recorded and released by Mick Jagger's swaggering rock 'n' roll greats then re-recorded by the Beatles, this blues freakout was a moment of cross pollination between the '60s two most important bands. (Listen)

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 10 Oct 2014

  • Elliott Smith - 'Because': The 'Roman Candle' troubadour's whispery, wistful indie was heavily influenced by the Beatles' clever, baroque pop chord-shifting. So it made total sense when he covered 'Because', using choral vocal harmonies to deliver an arresting tribute.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 02 Sep 2014

  • Jimi Hendrix - 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band': Ever bit as wild and electric as you'd hope. Having purchased the album of the same name on the day of its release, Hendrix learned the title track, performing it just two days later at London's Saville Theatre in front of Macca, who called it "simply incredible."

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 27 May 2014

  • Pixies - 'Wild Honey Pie': Cranking the Beatles' original to antagonistic levels of distortion, screaming its title lyric with throat-shredding intensity, the Pixies' Maida Vale live version of 'Wild Honey Pie' is a frantic, nightmarish punk destroyer.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 21 Mar 2014

  • Oasis - 'Within You Without You': Alright, so their detractors would say their entire catalogue is made up of Beatles covers. But the Gallagher's trippy, punishing 'Within You...' cover is a freakbeat juggernaut powering to completion in spasmodic fits of guitar histrionics.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 05 Nov 2014

  • Sonic Youth - 'Within You Without You': Featured on their 2007 deluxe reissue of 'Daydream Nation', Thurston Moore's band took George Harrison's track in a less frantic direction than Oasis, turning it instead into a mesmerising slow-burn of tribal drums and shoegazy echoes. Shiver-some stuff.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • Bill Withers - 'Let It Be': A gospel-infused charmer of a Beatles cover that swaps the minor chord melancholy of Macca's original chorus for spirit-lifting soul euphoria.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • Fiona Apple - 'Across The Universe': Featured on the soundtrack to US indie film 'Pleasantville', Apple's husky-voiced brand of introspection-soaked piano balladry was a perfect fit for this Fab Four favourite, weaving Rhodes keyboards around the song's enigmatic lyrics.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 17 Nov 2014

  • Elvis Presley - 'Something': One of the group's biggest early influences and an idol to Lennon, it was a marker of the Beatles massive, generation-defining success when The King covered the heartstring-tugging 'Something'. Luckily he did a bang-up job, capturing Harrison's song's effusive charm.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 10 Apr 2014

  • U2 - 'Helter Skelter': Whatever you make of Bono's iPod-gatecrashing dad-rockers, their skyscraper-sized spin on 'Helter Skelter' is pretty scintillating. A glimpse into what the Beatles might have sounded like had they become a stadium band.

    Photo: Getty

    Added: 10 Nov 2014