Rarely Covered looks at who’s mining the darkest, dustiest corners of iconic catalogs.
So it’s early 1963 and you’re a British pop act in need of a new hit record. Maybe you’ve recorded a Goffin and King number already, and you’ve noted that the Shadows and their guitar instrumentals are on the wane. Maybe you want to tap into the new craze for beat music sweeping the ballrooms, clubs, and town halls of the nation, that melodic hybrid of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and skiffle. Or maybe you’re established in a beat group and just want to keep serving up those driving rhythms the best way you can.
So what do you do? Well, you might cover a song by a besuited Liverpool fourpiece enjoying huge chart success and popularity off the back of a distinctive self-penned number called “Please Please Me.” Especially if the guy who manages them, Brian Epstein, also manages you, and/or you’re traveling up and down the country with them on a tour bus. You can keep your hands off “I Saw Her Standing There,” though. That’s promised to someone.
Jump to early 2023, and, assuming you did make a deal with the Liverpool group, you’ve made history as one of the first artists ever to have covered the Beatles. Before “I Want To Hold Your Hand” happened, and before the big guns like Joe Cocker got involved, along with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and, of course, Alvin and the Chipmunks. The fact is you’ve covered a song that only about 23 other artists have ever covered, as opposed to, say, 573. Plus you did it in the historic initial year of Beatlemania!