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Thanks to all who’ve shared favorite covers on Ed’s and my posts! Here’s another category: covers of an entire album. Not counting compilations of tracks from various artists or purely instrumental renditions, Sgt. Pepper’s alone has been covered at least three times that I know of: by Cheap Trick (live), by Big Daddy, and by the Easy Star All-Stars. Cheap Trick’s covers are pretty straight-up versions of the originals, but the Easy Star All-Stars and Big Daddy ring interesting changes on them.
Surely You Jest, Mon? A Reggae Sgt Pepper?
The Easy Star All-Stars prove that reggae can work well as a style in which to cover the Beatles, and they consistently sound like they’re having a lot of fun with it:
Big Daddy is a group that does oldies-style covers of later songs (for example, their 1985 album Meanwhile, Back in the States included 50’s-sounding covers of “Jump,” “The Safety Dance,” and “Billie Jean,” among others). Predictably, the degree to which this is enlightening or amusing varies, but their version of Sgt. Pepper’s is fascinating, to me at least, because in it Big Daddy goes back to the roots of the styles the Beatles employed on the album. Doo-wop, Dion-style emoting, and the instrumentation from songs like “Palisades Park” and “Peggy Sue” can all be found here. It’s a consistently interesting Historical Mystery Tour. Here’s their doo-wop version of “Good Morning, Good Morning”:
What other full albums of Beatles covers do folks recommend?
Booker T And The MG’s/ Abbey Road
Yeah, the Easy Star All Stars do really great cover albums. The Pepper one is really good and an enjoyable listen. My favorite tracks are She’s Leaving Home amd A Day in the Life.
However, their best album is their cover of Dark Side of the Moon. It is phenomenal. Check out Dub Side of the Moon and you won’t be disappointed.
They also did a cover of Ok Computer called Radiodread which is my least favorite partially bc I’m not a huge fan of Radiohead albums (but they are amazing live).
I saw Easy Stars perform at BB Kings in NYC a couple years back and they were great. A really fun band that has tons of talent. I’m thankful they’re around and contributing to the music scene.