John Lennon once commented that he wanted to re-record every song released by the Beatles, a criticism of what John considered was excessive production by George Martin. Of course Sir George wasn't happy to hear this. ‘What about Strawberry Fields?’ said George. John looked at him and said, ‘Especially Strawberry Fields.’
John delved briefly into the Beatles catalogue during the Let It Be sessions on songs like Help & Run For Your Life but he never did get round to re-recording any Beatles songs intended for release during his lifetime.
Now you may say One After 909 could qualify but the original version remained unreleased until after the Let It Be version, so technically, this is getting complicated:-).
Although George Harrison never covered himself in glory he can be considered a borderline case. His classic self named LP 'George Harrison' released in February 1979 contained two interesting compositions 'Not Guilty' & 'Here Comes The Moon'. Not Guilty's an unreleased Beatles song from the Beatles White Album sessions. George put the Beatles through an incredible 99 takes in the quest for perfection, before abandoning the song. Not Guilty lay in the vaults for 28 years before it finally saw the light of day in October 1996 on the Beatles Anthology 3 album release. It was listed as Take 102, so how many takes was there in the vaults?
Here Comes the Moon has absolutely nothing to do with the Beatles. It's included here for the fact it's George's direct answer to the Beatles Abbey Road classic 'Here Comes the Sun, but it ain't no cover version!
There's a couple of Beatles who succumed to revisiting past glories, step forward Mssrs McCartney & Starr.
For a man who insisted he wouldn't play drums on any Beatles songs remade by Paul McCartney for his Give My Regards to Broad Street album, Ringo Starr has certainly gone back on his word when it came to his own recordings.
Five Ringo albums Stop & Smell the Roses, Vertical Man, I Wanna Be Santa Claus, Ringo 2012 & his latest release Give More Love contain a total of nine re-recorded songs by the Beatles and Ringo himself.
Song - Love Me Do Album - Verticle Man Released - 3rd August 1998
Vertical Man is an excellent album with many highlights including One, What In The... World, King Of Broken Hearts and La De Da. Ringo re recorded the Beatles 'Love Me Do' because George Martin wouldn't let him play on the original but alas it can't hold light to the Beatles version.
Song - Christmastime is Here Again Album - I Wanna Be Santa Clause Released - 19th October 1999
Christmas Time Is Here Again first appeared on the Beatles 1967 Christmas Fan Club Record. It was considered for release on the ultimately shelved 1985 Beatles LP 'Sessions' before a 3. 03 version of the song appeared as the closing track on the Beatles 'new' single Free As a Bird ten years later. While John & Yoko released the classic Christmas single 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over, Paul McCartney had a top 10 hit with 'Wonderful Christmas Time, a Christmas No.1 with 'Pipes of Peace' and George Harrison plumbed for a New Year song 'Ding Dong Ding Dong' , Ringo Starr declared 'I Wanna be Santa Clause' with an album full of original Christmas songs and festive cover versions including a spirited Christmas Time Is Here Again. Suprisingly, it was quite well received by the British press although sales were ultimately disappointing.
Song - Don't Pass Me By Album - Give More Love Released - 19th October 1999
While Ringo had sidetracked the Beatles remakes for a few years he had covered songs off his earlier solo albums with great success. 'Step Lightly' from 'Ringo' and 'Wings' from 'Ringo the 4th' were both revisited on his 2012 release Ringo 2012, while 'Back Off Boogaloo' his 1972 hit single has been re-recorded for his 'Stop and Smell the Roses' & 'Give More Love' albums although to lesser effect. Personally, I still love the original version.
Give More Love also contained two re-do's recorded with the band Vandaveer, Mark Charles Heidinger (on vocals, guitar and bass), Rose Guerin (vocals), J. Tom Hnatow (resonator and electric guitars) and Robby Cosenza (drums) namely 'Photograph' & 'Don't Pass Me By'. Produced by Duane Lundy the results are spectacular. Although I love the original versions these recordings both stand up alongside them which is no mean feat. Ringo should definitely get together with these guys for his next album.
Songs - Good Day Sunshine, Yesterday, Here, There and Everywhere, For No-one, Eleanor Rigby & Long And Winding Road Album -Give My Regards to Broad Street Released - 22 October 1984
The first Paul McCartney Beatles cover version which wasn't a cover version was 'Teddy Boy' released on his 'McCartney' album in 1970. The song had been recorded during the Beatles Let it Be sessions.
Although Paul was to feature Beatles songs in his live set from 1975, his first foray into re-recording Beatles songs was for his Give My Regards to Broad Street project in 1984.
He worked on no less than six Beatles songs with George Martin, Good Day Sunshine, Yesterday, Here, There and Everywhere, For No-one, Eleanor Rigby & The Long And Winding Road re-recorded for inclusion on the film soundtrack and subsequent CD soundtrack release.
Although they're all pleasant versions of Paul McCartney's Beatles classics there's only The Long and Winding Road where he really takes any chances with the arrangement. It features James E. Green on alto saxophone that gives the song a new set of clothes, it can't touch the original version but at least brings someting new to the table.
It was another five years before Paul would go anywhere near a Beatles song, when armed with an excellent new album 'Flowers in the Dirt' and a mammoth World tour ready to go, he decided to record new versions of Love Me Do incorporating PS I Love You, not for the faint hearted, although I have to admit the studio version released in Japan is much better than the awful 'live' we had to suffer that was released in the UK.
He also recorded a new studio version of The Long and Winding Road this time sticking closer to the original The Long and Winding Road and a lovely version it is too boot!
So, have Paul & Ringo covered themselves in glory or should they have left well alone?