10 Worst Beatles Covers


I am a positive person. I believe that if you can’t say something nice, it’s better to say nothing at all. When it comes to music, I think too many people are predisposed to saying that this sucks and that sucks, when they could spend the same energy speaking highly about some music they like. Music has such positive properties, and I think music fans are always better off when they focus on the positive.

Having said that, however, there are times when you gotta call a spade a spade. There’s no sugarcoating thick enough to protect these egregious examples of awfulness.

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10. Cher – The Long And Winding Road

Look Cher’s a nice lady, and a rock trailblazer alongside Sonny Bono, but there’s no unlistening to this dreck once you’ve heard it.

9. Bing Crosby – Hey Jude

You know I wanted to give Der Bingle the benefit of the doubt on this two-worlds-colliding effort, but the “pump um pum pum, Hey Jude” is just too funny to ignore. A modern day equivalent might be Tony Bennett trying to cover Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead”.

8. Vanilla Fudge – Eleanor Rigby

For god’s sake get to the song already, the old girl’s fading fast.

7. Sean Connery – In My Life

Connery shows Shatner that spoken word covers can be merely ridiculous, and not necessarily abject buffoonery. But that’s not what yer mother said last night, Trebek.

6. Bill Cosby – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

I hate to kick a guy when he’s down, and I know he was going for laughs here, but this is clearly more evidence of Cosby’s questionable judgment.

5. The Cyrkle – I’m Happy Just To Dance With You

After the success of “Red Rubber Ball” and “Turn Down Day”, it sounds like the Cyrkle had had enough of show business, so they released a virtually unlistenable song that sounds like a record as warped as a cowboy hat. Problem solved.

4. James Last — Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

I’ve always imagined that The Gates of Hell would have music like this playing out front, and not death metal as most people would suggest.

3. Xaviera Hollander – Michelle

Luckily she didn’t charge extra for inflicting this painful torture. I love the exuberance of the bass player, who’s probably got his eyes closed imagining he’s backing up Aretha and not the Happy Hooker.

2. Telly Savalas – Something

Lover. Cigar smoker. And the toughest damn cop in Hell’s Kitchen. Is there a woman ever who could resist the allure of this man?

1. William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

The perennially favorite choice for worst Beatles cover ever. A truly remarkable performance. At one point it sounds like he’s screaming in terror, as if Lucy was some kind of Romulan death ray. On the other hand the thought of Shatner on acid ought to scare anyone.

Photo credit: “Cher – Casablanca” by Casablanca Records – Original photo from Light Show. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cher_-_Casablanca.jpg#/media/File:Cher_-_Casablanca.jpg

3 comments to “10 Worst Beatles Covers”
  1. #3 is my pick for the worst. I would say Shatner but it has some comedy value. Was it supposed to be serious or funny? I’m not sure what to think of the Sean Connery one. There’s something cool about it but it’s also strange.

    • The Shatner track was recorded in 1968, and neither Shatner nor the rest of the world had the inclination for irony that he does or we do now. We can be reasonably certain it was an honest attempt at some kind of performance art.

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