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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming The Beatles 9 of X: Covers

Rob Sheffield sticks in an "Instrumental Break" of a chapter about a third-way through his exceptional Dreaming The Beatles, about covers of Beatles songs and other recordings that for one reason or another bear strong influences of Beatles music.

Confession: I don't like covers.  I can't think of even a single example in which I liked a cover of a recording better than an original that I loved or even liked a lot.  (Ok, I guess one example - Carl Carlton's 1974 version of "Everlasting Love" was better than Robert Knight's 1967 original, but that's just one lone example.) This is what I've called the "first love syndrome" at work - when there is more than one version of a creative work afoot, we like best what we came to love first.

If you think this is too obvious to call a syndrome, consider this: I once ran into someone at a science fiction convention who told me his favorite Star Trek narrative on screen was the first Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, so generally disliked that it's been called Star Trek: The Motion Sickness.  We had this conversation well after Star Trek: The Original Series and The Next Generation had made their impact.  I asked this guy if he had seen them.  He said yes, but he didn't think that either measured up to the movie.  He then offered that his first Star Trek experience had been that first motion picture.  Q.E.D the first love syndrome.

So, though I guess it would be instructive to speak to someone who heard a cover of a Beatles recording prior to the Beatles recording, for me the question is always how much did the cover ruin an original that I loved.   Whether it's Tony Bennett or a garage band, I'd always rather hear the Beatles.   When Sirius XM's Beatles channel plays another artist's interpretation of the Beatles, I always take that time to catch up with some Trump atrocity on MSNBC.

But Beatles influences on other artists are a lot different that covers, and Sheffield's mention of Dylan's "I Want You" and "Just Like A Woman" as influenced by Rubber Soul is one of the delights of this chapter and the book as a whole.  I also watch Prince's beyond breathtaking guitar work on "As My Guitar Gently Weeps" in the Hall of Fame George tribute concert at least once a month on YouTube - it's far and way the best guitar solo I've ever seen and heard -- and I was glad to see Sheffield discuss that, too.

Actual collaboration is another facet of this chapter, and I always found Lennon's work with David Bowie so noteworthy that I actually wrote a whole novelette in which that figures  - Ian, Isaac, and John.

And I'll be back with more pretty soon.

See also Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 1 of X: The Love Affair ... 2 of X: The Heroine with a Thousand Faces ... 3 of X: Dear Beatles ... 4 of X: Paradox George ... 5 of X: The Power of Yeah ... 6 of X: The Case for Ringo ... 7 of X: Anatomy of a Ride ... 8 of X: Rubber Soul on July 4 ... 10 of X: I. A. Richards ... 11 of X: Underrated Revolver ... 12 of X: Sgt. Pepper ... 13 of X: Beatles vs. Stones ... 14 of X: Unending 60s ... 15 of X: Voting for McCartney ... 16 of X: "I'm A Loser" ... 17 of X: The Split ... 18 of X: "Absolute Elsewhere"





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