Got To Get You Into My Life / Eleanor Rigby – The Third Wave

The Third Wave were an American-Filipino vocal jazz group featuring five teenage sisters from San Fransisco – Georgie, Reggie, Jamie, Stevie and Jody – who released one album Here and Now in 1970, and what a gorgeous platter of vocal harmonies, inspired arrangements and production it is. I mean, just listen to those voices and that piano solo on Got to Get You Into My Life.

Eleanor Rigby and Got to Get You Into My Life first appeared on The Beatles 1966 album Revolver, with the latter being iintended as an homage to Motown as well as (according to McCartney) “an ode to pot.”

The Third Wave presumably took their name from an experimental social movement created by California high school history teacher Ron Jones in 1967. Intended to demonstrate to his students how the German population could have accepted the actions of the Nazi regime during the rise of the Third Reich, as with a lot of social psychology experiments in the sixties, things got out a bit out of hand.

The late George Duke was a prolific keyboard player, bandleader, solo artist, music producer and musical director for film and television. As well as working with artists ranging from Sonny Rollins to Frank Zappa and Michael Jackson, he recorded 32 solo albums and his tracks have been sampled by hip-hop artists such as A tribe Called Quest and MF Doom. American bassist Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) recorded a version of Duke’s For Love (I Come Your Friend) for his 2011 album The Golden Age of Apocalypse.

Listen to Cover to Cover on Spotify

Cover to Cover on YouTube


Tequila / I Want To Hold Your Hand – Balsara and his Singing Sitars

As well as producing scores for dozens of Bengali and Hindi films, legendary composer and multi-intrumentalist Vistas Ardeshir Balsara (commonly known as simply V Balsara) pitched in to the Western sitar rock trend of the late sixties with a couple of his own albums including 1968’s Great International Hits from which these two gems have been plucked.

It Ain’t Necessarily So – Normie Rowe & The Playboys / Ian & The Zodiacs

Normie Rowe’s cover of George and Ira Gershwins It Ain’t Necessarily So was the Australian singer’s first single and a big hit for him in 1965. The song itself, from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess, was sung by the character Sportin’ Life, famously played by Cab Calloway on stage and Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1959 film.

Between 1965 and 1967 Rowe was one of Australia’s most popular stars but his career was cut short when he was drafted for compulsory military service in late 1967. His tour of duty in Vietnam effectively ended his stint as a pop singer but upon his return he turned his hand to acting and continued performing until the early 2000s.

The inspiration for Rowe’s cover of the song was a 1963 version by the British group Ian and the Zodiacs, who found fame in Germany in the wake of the Beatles success there and even worked a side gig as The Koppykats releasing two entire albums of Beatles covers.

Listen to Cover to Cover on Spotify

Watch on YouTube

Norwegian Wood – Circus

An epic heavy prog/jazz rock version of Norwegian Wood by the short-lived band Circus from 1969. Apparently drummer Chris Burrows now teaches Buddhism and Zen drumming while saxophonist Mel Collins went on to work with a ridiculous number of different artists including King Crimson, Bryan Ferry, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, Roger Waters, Trevor Horn, Bad Company, Joan Armatrading, Alan Parsons, Dire Straits and Tears for Fears to name but a few. Remember the sax solo in Tina Tina’s Private Dancer? That was Mel.

Norwegian Wood originally appeared on the Beatles album Rubber Soul in 1965 and is a cryptic account of an extra-marital affair that Lennon was invloved in. The title is a reference to a type of cheap wood panelling that was in vogue in London at the time. While John Lennon claimed the song as entirely his own, McCartney claims they wrote the track together. The sitar part played by George Harrison was the first appearance of an Indian string instrument on a Western rock track and sparked a late sixties sitar craze.

Listen to Cover to Cover on Spotify

Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds – William Shatner

Appearing on Desert Island Discs, actor George Clooney chose to take along with him a copy of William Shatner’s recording of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, explaining that it would give him a reason to get off the island. Listening to this record, he said “You’ll hollow out your own leg to build a canoe!”

Taken from William Shatner’s 1968 debut album The Transformed Man, released while he was still appearing in Star Trek, Shatner claims he recorded Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds in the voice of somebody tripping on LSD. Which only makes sense if you buy the idea that he recorded the whole album in the voice of someone tripping on LSD (on Mr. Tambourine Man he certainly seems to think he has transformed into a leprechaun). Waxing lyrical in the liner notes to the record, Shatner states:

“I’ve always had a secret ambition to do something with the spoken word combined with the magic of mushrooms music…and now the dream has become a reality…I’ve had some great thrills in my career…but the thrill I got from hearing this album all the way through was deeper and more satisfying that anything I had ever experienced.”

John Lennon who, along with lyric contributions from Paul McCartney, composed the song for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album in 1967, always denied that the song was a coded reference to LSD, and instead attributed his lryical inspiration to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and the title to a drawing by his four year old son Julian of one of his nursery school classmates, Lucy O’Donnell.

Listen to Cover to Cover on Spotify

Dear Prudence – Siouxsie & The Banshees

In 1983 Siouxsie and the Banshees released a cover of the Beatles’ Dear Prudence as a single, with the Cure’s Robert Smith temporarily standing in on guitar. It became the group’s biggest hit to date, reaching number 3 in the UK charts, only being kept from the top spot by Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon.

Dear Prudence was written by John Lennon in 1968 while the Beatles were in Rishikesh with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Lennon later said it was “a song about Mia Farrow’s sister, who seemed to go slightly barmy, meditating too long, and couldn’t come out of the little hut that we were livin’ in. They selected me and George to try and bring her out because she would trust us…She’d been locked in for three weeks and was trying to reach God quicker than anybody else. That was the competition in Maharishi’s camp: who was going to get cosmic first.”

Prudence herself (who only heard or even heard about the song after it was recorded) said: “I would always rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals so I could meditate. John, George and Paul would all want to sit around jamming and having a good time and I’d be9 flying into my room…they just weren’t as fanatical as me…[Dear Prudence] epitomized what the Sixties were about in many ways…it’s very positive. I think it’s an important song…It’s a beautiful thing to have done.”

Listen to Cover to Cover on Spotify

A Day In The Life – José Feliciano

José Feliciano’s solo acoustic cover of the Beatles’ A Day in the Life appeared on his album Alive Alive O! in 1969, which was recorded live at the London Palladium.

For me, this is one of the best solo acoustic covers ever. José captures and conveys the emotional core of the song whilst also making up for a lack of orchestra or studio possibilities with just his voice and a single acoustic guitar. It really is quite phenomenal.

A Day in the Life originally appeared on the Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. John Lennon attributed the inspiration for A Day in the Life to a Daily Mail newspaper report of Guiness heir Tara Browne (a friend of Lennon and McCartney) dying in a car crash in 1966. McCartney, remembering things differently, said:

It has been attributed to Tara Browne, the Guinness heir, which I don’t believe is the case, certainly as we were writing it, I was not attributing it to Tara in my head. In John’s head it might have been. In my head I was imagining a politician bombed out on drugs who’d stopped at some traffic lights and didn’t notice that the lights had changed. The ‘blew his mind’ was purely a drugs reference, nothing to do with a car crash.”

Later, however, in his 2021 book The Lyrics, McCartney said that the lyrics were about the death of Tara Browne.

A Day In The Life ends with one of the most famous final chords in music history: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Mal Evans shared three different pianos while George Martin played a harmonium, and they all produced an E-major chord simultaneously. The chord was made to ring out for over forty seconds by increasing the recording level as the reverberance faded out.

A Day in the Life‘s final chord went on to inspire composer James A.Moorer, who said that both A Day in the Life and a fugue in B minor by Bach were his sources of inspiration for Deep Note, the audio trademark he created for the THX film company.

On the Sgt. Pepper album, the end of A Day in The Life is followed by a sustained 15 khz tone – the same frequency as a dog whistle; beyond the upper limit of human hearing, and only audible to animals.

Yellow Submarine – Snoopy’s Beatles Classiks On Toys

From the 1995 album Snoopy’s Beatles Classiks On Toys, produced and arranged by Michel Laverdiere and Robert Lafond.

Written as a children’s song by Lennon and McCartney, Yellow Submarine originally appeared on the Beatles album Revolver in 1966. The song was also released as a double A-side single backed with Eleanor Rigby.

In 1980, Lennon said about the song: “Yellow Submarine’ is Paul’s baby. Donovan helped with the lyrics. I helped with the lyrics too. We virtually made the track come alive in the studio, but based on Paul’s inspiration. Paul’s idea. Paul’s title … written for Ringo [to sing].”

According to McCartney, the idea of a coloured submarine originated from a 1963 holiday in Greece, where he had enjoyed an iced dessert that was yellow and known locally as a submarine. Lennon had also thought of an underwater craft when he and Harrison and their wives first took LSD in early 1965. After visiting a London nightclub, they returned to Harrison’s Surrey home, where Lennon perceived the bungalow design as a submarine with him as the captain. Musicologists Russell Reising and Jim LeBlanc note that the band’s adoption of a coloured submarine as their vessel also chimed with Cary Grant captaining a pink one in the 1959 comedy film Operation Petticoat, made during the height of Grant’s own experimentation with LSD.

Yellow Submarine became the inspiration for the 1968 animated musical which, alongside new and existing songs by the Beatles, featured an orchestral score by George Martin.