There are thousands of covers of songs by The Beatles. Many famous artists have provided their own versions of classic Beatles hits, including Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, and Tom Petty. One Beatles cover arguably became more popular than the original track, and Paul McCartney called it “mind-blowing.”
Joe Cocker rose to fame with his cover of ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’
In 1967, The Beatles released their eighth studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “With a Little Help from My Friends” is the second track of the album and was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, with Ringo Starr on the lead vocals. The song has been covered many times, but arguably the most famous version was done by Joe Cocker.
In 1968, Joe Cocker completely reimagined the track, inspired by the blues and soul music. “With a Little Help from My Freinds” was the title track of his debut album, which peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard 200. Cocker received help from some of his friends for the track, which features guitar lines from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and organs from Tommy Eyre.
Paul McCartney said Joe Cocker’s Beatles cover was ‘mind-blowing’
Before “With a Little Help from My Friends,” Cocker covered another Beatles song in 1964 with “I’ll Cry Myself.” However, the song failed to chart, and Cocker had to wait a few years before finding success with another cover. This song became a hit in the U.K. and the U.S. and even received an endorsement from The Beatles. Following Cocker’s death in 2014, Paul McCartney released a statement (shared by Far Out ) saying he found his Beatles cover “mind-blowing.”
“I remember [Cocker] and Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Saville Row and playing me what they’d recorded. It was just mind-blowing … [he] totally turned the song into a soul anthem, and I was forever grateful for him for doing that.”
The cover hit No. 1 in the U.K. and peaked at No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. Cocker performed the song at Woodstock in 1969, and it later became the theme for The Wonder Years in 1988.
Other Beatles covers became hits for several artists
Many artists have covered The Beatles over the years and were commercially successful. A few successful covers include Elton John’s “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” Ray Charles’ “Yesterday,” Aretha Franklin’s “Eleanor Rigby,” Fiona Apple’s “Across the Universe,” Johnny Cash’s “In My life,” and Stevie Wonder’s “We Can Work it Out.”
The Beatles also gave The Rolling Stones their first hit with “I Wanna Be Your Man” in 1964. The song was written for them by McCartney and Lennon, and The Stones used the track as their second single. The Beatles did record their version of the song, but The Stones’ version became more successful, leading to the band becoming another central musical act of the British invasion.