Monday, August 2, 2010

'Taxman': Beatles> The Jam> Beasties> Cypress Hill

Today's relay race of cultural handoff is the song "Taxman" by THE BEATLES.

George Harrison wote the original in 1966, with the unusual assist of John Lennon on a few lines, and the even more unusual twist of Paul McCartney on lead guitar! George's frustration over the insanely high tax rate of the UK at the time has become a perennial anthem because of its lyrics as much as its terrifically funky riff line.

THE FABS -"Taxman" (1966)

Almost immediately the great garage rock band THE MUSIC MACHINE, led by Sean Bonniwell, did this seething cover. Lennon had contributed the two harmony lines calling out Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who ran the two political parties of Britain. But Bonniwell changes that to President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary Of State Dean Rusk, as an unusually early and gutsy dig against the Vietnam War.

THE MUSIC MACHINE -"Taxman" (1966)

Pleasantly unexpected was this soulful version by Memphis great JUNIOR PARKER, with its slinky groove and reflective stance.

JUNIOR PARKER -"Taxman" (1970)

Later, anglophiles CHEAP TRICK did an original sequel, which mentions The Beatles and probably took its title from the lyrical cue "ah-ah, Mister Heath" in the original.

CHEAP TRICK -"Taxman, Mister Thief" (1976)

Contrary to their Punk peers, THE JAM openly owned up to their Mod and Beat roots. The bass riff of "Taxman" first triggered this song...

THE JAM -"Dreams Of Children" (1980)

...and then another song in the same year! (They also did a cover of "And Your Bird Can Sing" from the "REVOLVER" album, as well.)

THE JAM -"Start!" (1980)

Having sampled The Beatles on their epochal "PAUL'S BOUTIQUE", which many consider the "Sgt. Pepper" of Rap albums, here's THE BEASTIES bringing it oddly full circle by covering The Jam.

BEASTIE BOYS -"Start!" (2000)

Staying on the HipHop tip, remember Junior Parker's version? Well, CYPRESS HILL did when they sampled it for this spliff bliss anthem.

CYPRESS HILL -"I Wanna Get High" (1993)

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