John Lewis Christmas Advert Song: As Elbow Cover 'Golden Slumbers', 12 More Artists Who Reinvented Beatles Tracks
Every year when the countdown to the festive season begins, attention turns to the annual John Lewis Christmas advert, and which artist has landed the honour of recording the song to accompany the clip.
While recent years have seen relatively unknown artists featured in the advert, this year you can hear Elbow’s Guy Garvey performing a John Lewis-ified version of The Beatles’ ‘Golden Slumbers’.
Inspired by the song that will inevitably have us all talking during every ad break we encounter, we’re delving into the music vaults to find 12 more reinvented Beatles covers you need to hear, including a line-dance-ready version of ‘Help!’, a noughties take on ‘All You Need Is Love’ and *sigh* William Shatner...
1. ‘Come Together’ - Michael Jackson
At the height of his success, in 1985 Michael Jackson bought the rights to the majority of the Fab Four’s back catalogue, which he gave a nod to three years later when he covered ‘Come Together’ as the finale for his ‘Moonwalker’ film.
With just a few funk-inspired tweaks to the original arrangement, MJ was able to make the track sound right at home among songs like ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Man In The Mirror’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’.
2. ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ - Wu-Tang Clan
While the hardcore hip-hop group might not be the first ones you’d ring if you needed someone to perform a Beatles tribute (particularly a solemn ballad such as this one), they put their own spin on this classic in 2007, reworking it as ‘The Heart Gently Weeps’.
As a tribute to George Harrison - who penned the original - producer RZA invited his son Dhani Harrison to play guitar on the track. Perhaps wisely, he abstained from joining in the rap bits, though.
3. ‘Day Tripper’ - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
Sergio Mendes has covered a number of Beatles tracks throughout his career, but our favourite is this 1966 cover of ‘Day Tripper’.
A year after the original pop rock song was first released, Sergio and Brasil ’66 went totally back to the drawing board with their version, re-arranging it as a toe-tapping Bossa Nova that we could easily imagine someone throwing some shapes to on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.
4. ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ - William Shatner
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It tends to be Shatner’s covers of ‘Rocket Man’ and ‘Common People’ that get the most attention, but this… erm… unique take on an already-bizarre song is definitely worth a spin too.
Opening with a Disney-fied version of the psychedelic staple, the ‘Star Trek’ actor’s spoken-word take on the verses kick in soon enough, and while it’s not one we’re in a mad rush to listen to ever again, we can’t fault his enthusiasm.
5. ‘Across The Universe’ - Rufus Wainwright
This simple acoustic arrangement allows the focus to shift from the music’s production to the dreamy lyrics and Rufus’s vocals which are as ethereal as ever on this cut.
Although listening to it these days does give us the sudden urge to buy a Samsung phone...
6. ‘In My Life’ - Johnny Cash
John Lennon was just 25 years old when he recorded the lyrics to this reflective track, and still managed to give the impression he’d seen it all (which, in fairness, he probably had by the time ‘Rubber Soul’ came out).
Country legend Johnny Cash was in his seventies by the time he released his version of the track for his ‘American IV’ album, which really added gravitas and emotion to his delivery of Lennon’s original lyrics. Anyone moved by Johnny Cash’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’ should definitely hit play on this one.
7. ‘Help!’ - Dolly Parton
And at the complete other end of the “country covers of Beatles classics” spectrum is this knee-slapping cover of ‘Help!’ by Dolly Parton.
Anyone who ever felt the original Beatles version of ‘Help!’ was simply too short will be pleased to hear that Dolly has the solution - a line dance-ready fiddle solo right in the middle of the song. Now, who fancies a hoedown?
8. ‘All You Need Is Love’ - One Direction
Probably not one that music purists are going to enjoy, 1D performed an updated version of ‘All You Need Is Love’ when they were still contestants on ‘The X Factor’ during Beatles week.
What the boys probably didn’t realise at the time was that they’d be experiencing their own version of Beatlemania when they made it big across the pond just over a year later.
9. ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ - Ella Fitzgerald
The same year The Beatles topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald covered the track for her album, ‘Hello, Dolly’.
Completely putting her own spin on the song, Ella’s swing-inspired version includes a full brass section, and a passionate vocal delivery which completely separates it from the Beatles’ original.
10. ‘All My Loving’ - Amy Winehouse
Without wishing to disrespect the legacy of John Lennon or Paul McCartney, it’s not unfair to say that neither of them will go down in music history as powerhouse vocalists, so to hear Amy Winehouse’s take on one of their sweetest songs makes for a really interesting listen.
In true Amy style, her version of ‘All My Loving’ is powerful without crossing the line into overbearing, making it a must-listen for Beatles and Amy Winehouse fans alike.
11. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ - Mrs Miller
If you were only taking the musical production into account, you’d be struggling to see exactly where the so-called “reinvention” of this Beatles original was.
But that vocal delivery is… well, it’s something different, isn’t it?
12. ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ - Joe Cocker
Arguably the definitive Beatles cover version - if not the definitive cover version of any song ever - Joe Cocker took what was a fairly unremarkable composition (the fact it was written for Ringo Starr to sing should probably tell you everything) and absolutely blew it up.
The backing vocals, the heavy guitars, that passionate delivery… this is truly a masterclass in how to make a memorable cover version.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.