Sep 102010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

During his 2008 tour, Neil Young took to closing his sets with the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” (recently christened the best Beatles song ever by Rolling Stone). If there’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” Neil Young and “Heart of Gold” Neil Young, this performance is definitely “Free World.”

The version below comes from his headlining set at Farm Aid 2008. The “crowd of people” watching help out on the vocals, but the string-ripping freakout at the end is all Neil. Forty years on, this AARP member remains the biggest badass in music. Step up, young people.

Neil Young – A Day in the Life (The Beatles cover)
[youtube Hbet0Ck-zfE]

Check out more Neil Young at his website. Farm Aid 2010 goes down
October 2nd in St. Louis.

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  10 Responses to “Song of the Day: Neil Young, “A Day in the Life” (Beatles cover)”

Comments (8) Pingbacks (2)
  1. I think a better videeo to post of NY covering this is the one from Hyde Park Calling when he was joined on stage by Macca!

  2. Agreed Jim, fantastic clip. When McCartney joins though, it’s not exactly a cover. That’s why I went with this one.

  3. Hmm … interesting point! (Sorry – missed this reply at the time!). So, the question is then … Is a cover really only a cover if it features absolutely no-one from the original band/artist in any way at all? If Ringo had joined Neil on drums instead of Paul, I guess that would rule it our too? My guess is that you’ll say that R was just the drummer, but P co-wrote the song. I think I agree with you :-) So Roger Waters doing The Wall (I’m going to see that in London next May BTW) would not be a cover, even though all the rest of his band are not from P.F. I was debating this very topic with myself only yesterday :-)

  4. oops … can you get a grammar checker on this web site? our = out. :-)

  5. Hmm, interesting points. Actually though, I would say a version with Ringo does NOT count. It’s a fuzzy line, but “A Day in the Life” was originally a Beatles song. Ringo was in the Beatles, hence he cannot perform a Beatles cover.

    On the other side of the coin, Eric Clapton played on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” If he did the same song solo, would it count as a cover? I would say yes (though it’s shaky). Eric Clapton CAN cover a Beatles song because Eric Clapton was never a Beatle.

  6. I’m a little more strict on what constitutes a cover. Ringo can perform a Beatles cover if he did not write the song or get credit for it. Therefore, other than playing on a recording he has no personal affiliation with the song and could be considered, agian in the strictest of terms, a session player. Same for Eric Clapton on “As my Guitar Gently Weeps”. He can legitimately “cover” the song as there is no personal connection other than as a session artist. For me you can’t cover your own song, although Nickelback have tried what with all the plagerizing of themselves and all. If you wrote it it’s yours and you can’t cover it even if someone recorded it first. So any one of the members of Coldplay cannot cover one their songs because they all have writing credits. Even if it was only two who wrote it, they all get credit, therefore the song belongs equally to all and it can’t be considered a cover if one decides to record it for a solo project.

    Yeah, I know, I’m harsh about what makes a cover song, but someone has to stick up for whats right or it will be anarchy all over the place. ;^)

  7. OK Ray, I agree with you on Ringo. Eric wasn’t credited on WMGGW as far as I remember, so if he did it now, I think I’d agree with you, depending on whether he actually composed the guitar solo as a favour to George, or only played what George (or even George Martin :-) ) told him to play.. I believe that Steve Gadd wrote the drum solo which makes Paul Simon’s “50 ways” so memorable. Even though uncredited, I think (I have it on musicassette somewhere and can’t be bothered to hunt it down!), if he performed it now, it wouldn’t be a cover, I’d argue.

  8. Love your last sentence Sheila, LOL.
    So, if McCartney performs a Beatles song which we all know only Lennon wrote, you’d argue that it isn’t a cover because they always shared the writing credits. I guess I’d agree with that.

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