For this episode of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss the incredible song “With A Little Help From My Friends” originally by The Beatles and most famously covered by Joe Cocker. The song for The Beatles was off their 1967 album ‘Sgt. Pepper & the Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and it was never released as a single until a re-issue of it in 1978. Joe Cocker’s version was off his 1968 album of the same name. His version went to #1 in the UK and only #68 in the US but is a signature song for him.
The song was written by the great writing duo of McCartney and Lennon and according to John Lennon, the song was mostly written by Paul with a little help from his friend. They wrote the song specifically for Ringo Starr who sings lead on the track. I found where the original working title of the song was called “Bad Finger Boogie” because Lennon played with only his middle finger on the piano as he hurt his forefinger. That title is said to have inspired the band Badfinger. Now, only believe this if you believe everything wikipedia tells you.
The song is said to be about drugs as even former U.S Vice Presidential candidate, Spiro Agnew, stated it was and wanted the song to be band. That claims is completely denied by the band. The song could be just about how no matter hard it gets, you can make it through it with the help of your friends. I mean John and Paul wrote the song for Ringo so that was helping their friend. Let’s get to the music.
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For this version of The Original vs. The Cover, we are going to discuss a Beatle’s Song, “Come Together”. I have always been nervous about talking about the Beatles because it is holy ground and plus what hasn’t already been said about them. However, I love this song and there are some great versions out there and I thought it was about time I did something on them. So we are going to compare the two versions of “Come Together”, the Beatles and Aerosmith. Two heavy weights in the music world.
“Come Together” came about because Timothy Leary wanted Lennon to write a campaign song for him off this phrase, but Lennon was unsuccessful and a good thing to as Leary’s campaign run for California governor came to an abrupt end when he was arrested for pot possession (hell, he would be celebrated today). He might have been unsuccessful with the campaign song, but he did succeed with this version of the song.
An interesting story behind the song, Lennon was sued by Big Seven Music Group which was the publisher of Chuck Berry’s song “You Can’t Catch Me”. They argued that the song was too similar to the Berry song and I am guessing the lawsuit had some merit as the band settled out of court. Now there are no writing credits other than Lennon & McCartney on this song still today so it must have been all about the money up front. Too bad they didn’t fight for a writing credit.
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