Willy Chirino, “My Beatles Heart”

Willie Chirino’s 2011 collection of Fab Four songs, My Beatles Heart, is one of the few cover albums I listen to regularly all the way through. Chirino is a Cuban-American musician, singer, and songwriter who lives in Florida and was involved in the salsa-based “Miami Sound” back in the 1970s and 80s. I’m not familiar with much of his other music, but I highly recommend My Beatles Heart.

I love the way Chirino uses Latin rhythms and instrumentation on these covers and the creativity he shows in referencing other Beatles songs within a cover. On the “Yellow Submarine” version below, for instance, listen for the song “the band begins to play.”

Especially in the current climate concerning immigration, Chirino’s work with these Beatles songs is, for me, a reminder that much of the best and most enduring popular music is the product of a cross-pollination of cultures. The Beatles could never have created what they did without having listened to a host of other musicians, ranging from Buddy Holly, American girl groups, British music hall, Chuck Berry, Lonnie Donegan (himself a big cross-pollinator), and Ravi Shankar (to name just a few).

If you enjoy this version of “Yellow Submarine,” please check out the other songs on the album. I chose this one because it has a particularly Beatlesque sense of fun and wordplay.

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    I really like the way Chirino creates these little Ram-esque mashups within his Yellow Submarine cover. My favorite covers are those with the same playfulness and loose creativity of the Beatle originals.

    Mashing up the subject of Beatle song covers and female groups, I always liked what the MonaLisa Twins did with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It seems a new generation of young women understand Paul’s dark whimsy (they understand it a lot more than all the baffled, angry boomers who complained “what the hell is this crap?” while skipping to the next track). They appreciate Paul’s dark whimsy even more than George did!

  2. Avatar Nancy Carr wrote:

    That’s wonderful, Sam! And your reference to “Ram-esque” moments clarifies why I enjoy Chirino’s album so much. Check out Chirino’s “Helter Skelter” — it really goes in some unexpected directions with references to other songs.

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