Thursday, November 18, 2010

BEATLESQUE Albums: 200 Alternate Universe BEATLES Albums You Need!

With 2 Music Players!

So you're enjoying THE BEATLES now being available on iTunes...and what's next? Here are nearly 200 albums that homage the most diverse and eternal band in Rock history.

My recent music players have let you hear hundreds of artists from every era imitating the song styles of John and Paul. Now check out these full albums that directly homage the sonic styles or adventuresome spirit of particular Beatles albums, all in chronological order.

THE BEATLES are eternal for a few reasons: they opened the door for virtually every sound and style that has followed them; they embodied an ideal of a better world though creativity and compassion; and finally, you can't beat a great melody.

It's no wonder this list includes Psychedelic, Prog Rock, Funk, Power Pop, Jazz, Punk, New Wave, Hip Hop, and artists from then to now.

Follow the links in each album's title to hear each and learn more!

BEATLESQUE Albums: '1962-1966': This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


Be like everything before and sound like no one else.
R'n'B swagger, Girl Group polish, Everly harmonies,
and Carl Perkins and Chuck Berry clang.
And melody is absolute!

-THE LIVERBIRDS, "From Merseyside To Hamburg" (early 60's; comp 2010)
Women have always been in every movement of Rock, but playing groups were pushed out of the spotlight the first 30 years. The 60's was full of all-female combos and here is one straight from Liverpool itself, making their mark in the same German club The Beatles learned their craft!

-THE PLEASERS, "Thamesbeat" (1978)
A fixture on the late 70's UK Power Pop scene, it was clear where The Pleasers got their name (and everything else) from. The Punks sneered, but hey, these good melodies defy time.

-THE KNACK, "Get The Knack" (1979)
An American parallel to The Pleasers, The Knack had too much success with "My Sharona". What gets overlooked is what a consistently fine tunesmith leader Doug Fieger really was.

-NIKKI AND THE CORVETTES, "Nikki & The Corvettes" (1979)
Like The Ramones' sisters, this power punk trio left one great album and opened the doors for everyone from Dolly Mixture to The Donnas. And they were rockin' the baby doll irony long before Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.


The three minute Pop song is now a generational declaration of vitality.
Riff+hook+harmony= Joy.

-THE POPPEES, "Pop Goes The Anthology" (1975; comp 2010)
The Poppees were one of the first seeds of the Power Pop greenhouse. Many associate the 'skinny tie and suit/"The" band names/tight Pop style' with New Wave, when actually it rolled out of this scene's reinvention of the British Invasion.

-THE NERVES, "One Way Ticket" (1976)
Some bands were so important they just kept rolling over into other great bands. Paul Collins and Peter Case would next be The Breakaways, before Case then went into The Plimsouls and Collins forged The Beat. This band is most known for their original of "Hanging On The Telephone" which was covered by Blondie.

-THE RUBINOOS, "Everything You Wanted To Know About..." (mid 70's; comp 2007)
The Rubinoos were like a gentler version of The Raspberries. There's a lot of sugar and light in there, but you can't deny the songs are mighty catchy.

-THE SCRUFFS, "Wanna Meet The Scruffs" (1977)
"Apple scruffs" was a playful nickname George Harrison gave to the faithful fans who always waited outside Abbey Road studios. This band puts some extra New York english on their debut homage.

-ROCKPILE, "Seconds Of Pleasure" (1979)
Right when Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe were doing just fine rising on their own, they did a one-off band with excellent results. Everything from the Everly Brothers to The Fabs gets a new shine. They probably still get pestered with, "...but when will Rockpile get back together again?"

-LOCKSLEY, "Don't Make Me Wait" (2008)
Here's new up-and-comers whipping you smart on how to do it right.


You are you're own movie.
Make life one huge Mod stage.

-LOS SHAKERS, "Por Favor" (60's compilation; 2000)
"The Beatles of Uruguay" who even had their own film like "A Hard Days Night". They also did terrific songs that would make their heroes proud, spanning the Beat sound to the Pepper era.

-THE BREAKAWAYS, "Walking Out On Love" (1978)
True to form, Paul Collins and Peter Case broke away from The Nerves with this piledriving Pop. Songs that Paul later honed with The Beat were woodshedded here first.

-DOLLY MIXTURE, "Everything & More" (early 80's; box set 2010)
Perfect Pop with just the right amount of Punk scuff on it. This female trio wanted to cross The Shangri-Las with The Undertones and superceded that inspired splicing nicely.

-THE SHOP ASSISTANTS, "Will Anything Happen" (1984)
Scotland gets some kick in with this mostly female force, still a cult favorite.

-THE FLATMATES, "Best of the Flatmates" (80's comp)
The Power Pop and Mod Revival paved the way for many retro revivals in the dawning 80's, including this band steeped in mid 60's perfect hooks.

-THE PEBBLES, "First Album" (1997)
Japan is rich with great female combos in the great Pop traditions, like Shonen Knife, The 5 6 7 8's, and Puffi AmiYumi. This band had charm to spare and makes you wonder what happened to a second album.

-THE SPRAGUE BROTHERS, "Forever And A Day" (2000)
These unsung brothers deserve a sure sight better than to make great albums that nobody knows about. So spread the word and help a brother out!

-NIC ARMSTRONG AND THE THIEVES, "The Greatest White Liar" (2005)
Nic blasts out like a bastard son of Chuck Berry and John Lennon with a mission. Maybe later he felt he had the big head, because he brought the band forward under their new combo name as "IV Thieves".


Get a little ragged, a little wandering,
and make it all work as tight as ever.

-Various, "Destroy That Boy!: More Girls With Guitars" (mid 60's comp, 2009)
Anybody who thinks I'm going to keep the women out of the boys club is going to get a swift kick where they don't want it. Oh yeah, you heard me. Now listen to this plethora of Pop women who'll knock your cuban-heeled boots right off you.

-THE ROMANTICS, "The Romantics" (1979)
Didn't you realize that "What I Like About You" was 1965 as hell when you were belting it out all these years? ("Hey!") There's a lot more where that came from.

-LES CALAMITES, "C'est Complet" (mid 80's; comp 1999)
If sunshine was bottled like soda pop, it couldn't be any more of a lift than this French female combo. They were all good, all too brief.

-THE SMITHEREENS, "Green Thoughts" (1988)
Pat DiNizio writes mid 60's Beat songs with a certain introspective edge. Their songs always kick, stick in the memory, and touch on your own experience.

HELP!, 1965

Strong riffs, gentle ballads, impeccable style,
and above all...exuberance!

-THE KNICKERBOCKERS, "Rockin' With The Knickerbockers" (mid 60's; 2006)
This band is mostly known for the blaster "Lies". But they had crack tunes, tuff guitar, and smart harmonies on everything they did. Listen to how they arced toward "REVOLVER" with great songs like "High On Love" and "Love Is A Bird".

-THE RAMONES, "The Ramones" (1975)
The Ramones got their name from a hotel alias that Paul McCartney used in the early days. (It's also the pun in Paul's solo song, "Ram On".) Looking at The Beatles in their Hamburg days, wearing leather jackets, sporting long bowlcuts, and bashing out rock ditties in seedy clubs...well, do I have to spell it out? And then listen to "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" again on this album.

-THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES, "Shake Some Action" (1976)
The Flamin' Groovies had been a 60's band that, almost perversely, embraced Beat music again right as Punk exploded. But what seemed to make them irrelevant was actually prescient, as borne out by their influence on most Power Pop acts of the next decades.

-THE BEAT, "The Beat" (1979)
This album roars like "Day Tripper" in a hopped-up '65 Mustang. An unknown classic that should have sold just as mega-platinum as "Get The Knack" (but minus the kneejerk backlash, of course.) Essential. I'll say it again. Essential.

-MARSHALL CRENSHAW, "Marshall Crenshaw" (1982)
Marshall played John in a touring "Beatlemania" and later Buddy Holly in the film "La Bamba". You can hear a lot of their best in his music, but he has more than enough talent and range of his own to offer. His first two albums are winners on all fronts.

-THE BANGLES, "All Over The Place" (1985)
In the early 80's a loose congregation of Los Angeles bands with 60's affectations got tagged as the Paisley Underground. One of the best of them was the all-female group The Bangs. Some purists laud their rare indie releases, but this major label debut is rock solid. Besides the cover of Katrina And The Waves' "Going Down To Liverpool", it has killer originals like "James", "Tell Me", and "More Than Meets The Eye". An essential record from four talented writers and singers.

-THE SMITHEREENS, "Especially For You" (1986)
The Smithereens major debut with the classic "Blood And Roses". But every song on here is first rate. Kurt Cobain considered it one of his favorite records; tough guitars, strong hooks, a certain lyrical darkness...of course.

-CHRIS MARS, "Horseshoes And Hand Grenades" (1992)
The drummer for The Replacements (who cheekily made an album called "Let It Be") steps boldly forward with an album where he plays everything and even paints the covers. And it's all great! "Monkey Sees" is one of the coolest Beat rockers you can find.

-SHONEN KNIFE, "Brand New Knife" (1997)
Shonen Knife could melt winter in four notes. Once billed as The Osaka Ramones, Naoko Yamano and company put the joy back in life three perfect minutes at a time.

-MANDO DIAO, "Bring 'Em In" (2003)
Sweden had a great Garage Rock revival this decade with The Hives, Sahara Hotnights, The Flaming Sideburns, and Cato Salsa Experience. These guys have a decided Beat bent in their bashing.

-THE REDWALLS, "De Nova" (2005)
Listen to "Rock And Roll", with that tonsil-shredding Lennon vocal straight out of "Twist And Shout". Nuff said.

-SORROWS, "Bad Times Good Times" (2010)
On that note, here's some more guys to rip this joint and turn it inside out.

-THE LIKE, "Release Me" (2010)
Four girls are doing semaphore-ish moves like the "HELP" cover wearing Mod dresses that spell 'like'. OMG, why aren't you buying this album right now?!


Start experimenting, bring in Folk,
bring in the sounds of the world.

-THE BYRDS, "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965)
When the former folkies fused The Beatles with Bob Dylan, they paved the way for "RUBBER SOUL". Learn from the masters here and on the follow-up, "TURN TURN TURN". Songs like "Here Without You", "It's No Use", and "She Has A Way" are breathtaking.

-GENE CLARK, "With The Gosdin Brothers" (1966)
That classic Byrds line-up lost a lot with the flight of Gene Clark, but it was our gain with this spectacular solo album that is wall-to-wall great. "Elevator Operator", "The Same One", "Couldn't Believe Her", and the demo of "So You Say You Lost Your Baby"

-THE BEACH BOYS, "Pet Sounds" (1966)
"RUBBER SOUL" was a wake-up call for Brian Wilson, who suddenly knew that a cohesive album statement was the way to go. He stepped out of touring to craft a masterpiece of complex structure, introspection, and seraphic harmonies. It spurred The Beatles on the path to "SGT. PEPPER." Absolutely essential.

-THE MONKEES, "Headquarters" (1967)
The Monkees get tagged as the Prefab Four but they were no TV stunt. They took control of writing and playing their albums with this brash breakout, and only got greater as they went.

-THE RASPBERRIES, "Fresh Raspberries" (1972)
The previous single "Go All The Way" was a brilliant fusing of Paul McCartney ballads and Pete Townshend guitar breaks. But Eric Carmen and crew had more chops to spare here. Along with Badfinger and Big Star, The Raspberries are the holy trinity of 70's Power Pop.

-BLONDIE, "Blondie" (1976)
Blondie was an American Mod revival whether people realized it or not. This album cover even winks at "WITH THE BEATLES". Lesser known than their later hit albums, this debut charmer is stuffed with great Beatle, Spector, Bowie, and Shangri-Las moments.

-THE PLIMSOULS, "Everywhere At Once" (1983)
After The Nerves and The Breakaways, Peter Case hit it big with The Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away". Plenty of Byrds jangle and Dylan snarl throughout.

-THE dbS, "Like This" (1984)
'Stands for decibels.' Centered around the formidable songwriters Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, who went on to indie solo success.

-THE PRETENDERS, "Learning To Crawl" (1984)
Chrissie Hynde wore her Kinks and mid 60's influences with pride. After a regrouping in the wake of tragic loss, she let more of her Beatle shine with new guitarist Robbie McIntosh. Later, McCartney tapped him as his own guitarist in the 90's.

-CHRIS VON SNEIDERN, "Sight And Sound" (1993)
Everyone should own this album. It is absolutely perfect. The new documentary, "Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous?", says it all. Everytime I hear "Gemini", "Open Wide", and "Annalisa", they leave me speechless. Buy it now, tell everyone.

-FASTBALL, "Make Your Mama Proud" (1996)
Before their success with "The Way" ("where were they going without ever knowing the way?") came this punky pop fireball. Like "I Feel Fine" blasted out by The Jam in '78.

-REDD KROSS, "Show World" (1997)
Behind that uncannily Lennon voice, the McDonald brothers pumped out some tight raucous melodies, never better than on this all-around winner. They cover The Quick's "Pretty Please Me", itself a riff on "Please Please Me".

-CHRIS VON SNEIDERN, "Wood And Wire" (1998)
Here's our man again, with another strong effort. Opens with the astounding "Love", one of the best Beatles song never made, and contains "Split It".

-THE KNACK, "Zoom!" (1998)
Rickenbacker heaven with some of the solidest Beat era sounds you could hope to hear.

-SLOAN, "Pretty Together" (2001)
Canada's Fab Four, who all write and even rotate instruments. This one has the stellar "The Other Man", as well as "The Life Of A Working Girl", "I Love A Long Goodbye", and "Are You Giving Me Back My Love?"

-DRESSY BESSY, "Sound Go Round" (2002)
With a title that alludes to "REVOLVER", this is here because it mentions "RUBBER SOUL" in a sly lyric. Tammy Ealon's voice may remind you of a gentler Breeders doing Mersey pop, but she slides past that easy comparison with a host of solid albums and songs. Just check out "I Saw Cinnamon" and you'll be converted already.

-STEVE BARTON, "Charm Offensive" (2004)
A left-field choice of an indie songster with a decided Power Pop drive. Try "Kiss this" and the ramped-up cover of The Beatles "She's Leaving Home".

-CANDY BUTCHERS, "Hang On Mike" (2004)
The vehicle for Mike Viola, who sang the song "That Thing You Do" for the film of the same name. His title is a personal riff on John's "Hang On John", while the songs sound like Graham Parker recording "RUBBER SOUL" or "RAM ON".


The album is a personal statement now
of a generation that's just getting started.
Nothing is real, everything is permitted.

-THE ROLLING STONES, "Between the Buttons (UK)" (1967)
The Stones, guided by the ever expansive tastes of Brian Jones, grow fully out of their R'nB into much more with this cherished favorite. Listen to the textures, rhythms, and social subtext of songs like "My Obsession", "Cool, Calm, Collected", and "Complicated".

-THE WHO, "Sell Out" (1967)
The best Who album most have never heard of. A semi-concept album satirizing commercialism, this collection of stunning hooks, ethereal songs, and "PET SOUNDS" harmonies got even better when doubly expanded on CD. "Armenia City In the Sky", "Odorono", "Tattoo", "Our Love Was", "Glittering Girl", it never ends. Astounding!

-THE MERRY-GO-ROUND, "Listen Listen" (60's comp; 2005)
More glowing pop from band leader Emitt Rhodes, a cult hero most know by The Bangles' cover of "Live" and Fairport Conventions' "Time Will Prove the Wiser". This CD includes every Merry-Go-Round recording, plus Emitt's first solo album, "The American Dream".

-THE MONKEES, "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, And Jones" (1967)
Continuing their winning streak of independence, this one has "Love Is Only Sleeping", "Words", and "Daily Nightly" (one of the first uses of a Moog ever).

-CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, "Safe As Milk" (1967)
If The Beatles took a turn from their Beat style into odd soundscapes, Don Van Vliet thus corroded the Blues into avant noize. This immensely enjoyable Garage Rock record is propelled by young guitarist Ry Cooder, and foreshadows the inscrutably insane "TROUT MASK REPLICA" album.

-THE JAM, "Sound Affects" (1980)
Their first albums thrashed out Mod R'n'B with much spittle and vinegar, but Paul Weller relaxed enough at this point to admit their influences and expand their palette. "That's Entertainment", "Monday", and "Pretty Green"...

-SPLIT ENZ, "True Colours" (1980)
The Roxy Music and Sparks angularities start to fade back and Tim and Neil Finn's songcraft comes forward; "I Got You", "What's The Matter With You ", "I Hope I Never", and "Poor Boy".

-THE KNACK, "Round Trip" (1982)
Even the title forewarns this response to "REVOLVER", a surprising leap forward after a sophomore slamming by jealous kneejerks. Critics alienated by the band's sudden success were won back over by this one and you will too: "Just Wait And See", the Walrus-esque "We Are Waiting", and "Sweet Dreams".

-CROWDED HOUSE, "The Temple Of Low Men" (1988)
When Split Enz ended, Neil finn split to a packed house. Their debut was great, with the classic "Don't Dream It's Over", but the rich darkness of this elegant sequel is a marvel; the mellotron ache of "Into Temptation" is a stunner.

-LOS LOBOS, "Kiko" (1992)
Many bands have a "REVOLVER" moment, where they go into uncharted territory to try new things and the best come out even wider and better. This is Los Lobos' turning point. An amazing sonic adventure slightly askew, which ushered a decade of great records.

-ADRIAN BELEW, "Inner Revolution" (1992)
Adrian Belew was known for years as a sorcerer of skronk guitar for King Crimson, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, and Laurie Anderson. On his own records he owned up to his inner Beatle making pop gems with a touch of delirium.

-ADRIAN BELEW, "Here" (1995)
More neo-psychedelia from Adrian, including the terrific "Never Enough". With a reunited King Crimson, he then did a live version of "Free As A Bird" before The Beatles reunion version came out.

-THE LEN PRICE 3, Pictures" (2010)
A modern Garage Rock band with hooks galore and a fearless abandon.

BEATLESQUE Albums: '1967-1970': This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


Pop music is an art form, and everything is possible.
Pick everything great from time and then
live every moment like it's the first and the last.

-THE ROLLING STONES, "Their Satanic Majesties Request" (1967)
The "SGT. PEPPER" cover included the message "Welcome Good Guys The Rolling Stones". They responded by putting The Beatles' faces in the tableau of their cover and making a psychedelic statement of their own. "2000 Light Years From Home", "Citadel", and "She's A Rainbow".

-LOVE, "Forever Changes" (1967)
Arthur Lee thought apocalypse was coming and made a stunning cinematic screed out of it. A startling tapestry of sound, abetted by the deeply undervalued Bryan Maclean.

-JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, "Axis Bold As Love" (1967)
As if reinventing the guitar and unleashing modern RAWK on his first album wasn't enough, Jimi advanced further with tight songs, aural wizardry, and sci-fi surrealism.

-THE ZOMBIES, "Odessey And Oracle" (1967)
Many music peers like these guys witnessed the making of "PEPPER" at Abbey Road studios, and hustled hard to keep up with what The Beatles and Brian Wilson were doing. Here's Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent fully up to the task with this gorgeous record, topped out with "Time Of The Season".

-PINK FLOYD, "Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" (1967)
Another Abbey Road treasure is the debut of the outrageous Pink Floyd led by the alien Syd Barrett. "Lucifer Sam" and soundscapes that microwave your brain.

-THE PRETTY THINGS, "SF Sorrow" (1967)
Also recorded at Abbey Road was the first real concept album, a story with powerful songs, by the baddest of the bad boys. No one expected anything as beautiful as "Walking Through My Dreams" or as twisted as "Baron Saturday" from these hoodlums. Everybody missed it and you shouldn't.

-THE WHO, "Tommy" (1968)
David Gilmore loved "SF Sorrow" but it's a good bet that Pete Townshend would, too. Everybody has to give it up for the most successful concept album of all time, with a litany of songs that could fill a whole career by themselves.

-THE SMALL FACES, "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" (1968)
Another excellent concept album, this one by The Who's friends Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, with insane narration by comic Stanley Unwin and songs that were all over the stylistic map.

-BILLY NICHOLLS, "Would You Believe?" (1968)
Steve Marriott jumps in for a few tracks, including the scorching "Girl From New York", but it's Billy's sharp songwriting and glorious harmonies that make this 'british PET SOUNDS' a cult favorite heavily sought after.

-OS MUTANTES, "Os Mutantes" (1968)
From Brazil come the crazed Baptista brothers and Rita Lee. Hold onto your sanity and try to keep up without getting spun out.

-QUEEN, "A Day At The Races" (1976)
The influence of "SGT. PEPPER" bridges from psychedelia, baroque pop, carnivalesque, burlesque, and cabaret album styles to the rise of Progressive Rock, German experimental music ('krautrock'), and orchestral pop. Which brings us to Freddie Mercury. A whole other level of epic arrangements, stacked harmonies, and schizoid style shifts.

-PARLIAMENT, "The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein" (1976)
George Clinton finally honed all the anarchic maelstrom of his acidrock band Funkadelic into hits with the glossy Parliament, using the concept album approach that he so loved about "SGT. PEPPER" and "TOMMY". And if you notice the background chant of "goo goo goo joob", well, hey...

-"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" Soundtrack (1978)
This movie was pretty much a laundry list of 70's slick excesses. But along the way we get George Martin's almost Steely Dan-ish production, Aerosmith's "Come Together", Earth Wind And Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life", and Billy Preston's "Get Back" (who better?). Also notable is unknown Sandy Farina's beautiful take on "Strawberry Fields".

-ELVIS COSTELLO, "Imperial Bedroom" (1982)
Declan MacManus gets ambitious and makes a cubist Baroque Pop album that electrifies the critics and mystifies New Wave kids. Check Steve Nieve's homage to George Martin in the string and brass arrangements of "And In Every Home".

-PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION, "Purple Rain" (1984)
For some of us "Purple Rain" was the "SGT. PEPPER" of the 80's, for others it was "London Calling". We all win. And I wonder where he got that band name from. Or that coat.

-THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR, "Psonic Psunspot" (1987)
In the mid 80's, looking though the Import bins of record stores, you might find an EP and an LP by this mysterious band. It would take a lot of sleuthing to find out it was XTC traveling back through time with the master tapes.

-XTC, "Oranges And Lemons" (1989)
When those Dukes Of Stratosphear albums revealed their 60's wellspring, XTC just dropped any lingering avant angles and went straight forward with this pop-adelic double album classic.

-THE BEASTIE BOYS, "Paul's Boutique" (1989)
The "SGT. PEPPER" of Rap. I said it then and I'll say it forever because it's exactly true. They even sample "PEPPER" and "ABBEY ROAD" on it!

-PUBLIC ENEMY, "Fear Of A Black Planet" (1990)
Much as "PET SOUNDS" led to "SGT. PEPPER", Public Enemy was forced to raise its game to outdo The Beasties. Here's the "AXIS BOLD AS LOVE of Rap"; a dense collage of resounding textures. I can name around ten times when Chuck D has referenced The Beatles in lyrics over the years.

-JELLYFISH, "Bellybutton" (1990)
As late 60's and early 70's styles came back around in the early 90's, we got "PET SOUNDS" and "SGT. PEPPER" mashed up with Queen and Willy Wonka. Check out "Now She Knows She's Wrong". An MVP here is guitarist Jason Falkner.

-TERENCE TRENT D'ARBY, "Symphony Or Damn" (1993)
In many ways Terence preceded Lenny Kravitz with less acknowledgement of it. By this point one writer described him as "like Sam Cooke singing SGT. PEPPER", true of this album and the follow-up "Vibrator". The latter has three of the best ballads Stevie Wonder never wrote.

-FUGU, "Fugu 1" (2001)
This French composer makes artful arrangements inspired by, you guessed it, "PET SOUNDS" and "SGT. PEPPER". But they are elements of his own strong craft.

-BRIAN WILSON, "Smile" (2004)
Brian Wilson meant to respond to "SGT. PEPPER" in 1967 with an album called "Smile". Fate and fairweather friends put that on hold for many years. But in 2004, our man pulled off the impossible with a little help from The Wondermints by completing it. A glorious and timeless song cycle of shining beauty. Essential.

-CHEAP TRICK, "Sgt. Pepper Live" (2009)
Cheap Trick fearlessly wore their Beatles influences (and The Move, The Who, and T-Rex) all along. But their most overt homage is a complete remodel of "SGT. PEPPER" with crunchy guitars, capped by the medley from "ABBEY ROAD". And there's a DVD of the live performance.

-EASY STARS ALL STARS, "Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band" (2009)
John and Paul were hip to Reggae before most anyone, and it's all through their solo work from "Live And Let Die" to "Borrowed Time". Jamaica has been covering nearly every one of their songs since the 60's, and here's the latest love letter. Full of special guests for each song like Steel Pulse, Ranking Roger, and Sugar Minott. And what were some of those green plants on the original cover, anyway?


Try new things, indulge your dreams,
make mistakes, laugh it off, keep driving forward.
Are you on the bus or off the bus?

-THE MONKEES, "Head" (1968)
The Monkees throw it all away with hysterical abandon, leaving us a wild film and a great album. "Porpoise Song" and "Circle Sky".

-THE AEROVONS, "Resurrection" (1968/2003)
Imagine hearing The Beatles recording through a closed studio door and then recording songs from your muffled impressions. The Aerovons did this while working at Abbey Road and for, um, some reason it was never released. Until now, when we can enjoy these smeared and strangely familiar songs for their own merit. "World Of You" is a stone classic.

-PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION, "Around The World In A Day" (1985)
The Purple One christens Paisley Park records with this Psyche Pop album that recalls Jimi, Free Design, James Brown, and The Lemon Pipers.

-PM DAWN, "Jesus Wept" (1995)
Prince B loved "RUBBER SOUL" growing up and covered "Norwegian Wood " on the previous album. This one 'lets its freak flag fly', as Jimi would say. Check out "The 9:45 Wake Up Dream" and "Downtown Venus".

-BLUR, "The Great Escape" (1995)
Throw in copious doses of Ray Davies, Ziggy Stardust, and Pete Shelley and you get this Britpop cocktail. "It could Be You" and "Best Days".

-KOMEDA, "What Makes It Go?" (1998)
Another absolutely perfect Pop album, all 60's sunshine harmonies, funky bass, electrodelia, and godlike melodies. "It's Alright Baby" is one of the coolest songs ever made. And every other song is another jewel. Essential.

-MELLOW, "Another Mellow Winter" (1999)
French masters of mellotron, moog, and melody make electrodelic paradises.

-TARA BUSCH, "Pilfershire Lane" (2009)
The queen of keyboards with the voice of an angel takes you down to Strawberry Fields with Kate Bush, Brian Eno, and Edda Dell'Orso. "We Can See Mars" is absolute lysergic glory.


You've got so much to say you almost can't keep it all together.
You need room to expand, no matter what happens.

-JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, "Electric Ladyland" (1968)
Jimi's masterpiece, a stereophonic headtrip from earthy blues to ephemeral arias. Indescribable, overwhelming, indispensable. "Well, I stand up next to a mountain/ and chop it down with the edge of my hand..." All the photos were shot by Linda Eastman, who then met this other musician...

-THE KINKS, "Are The Preservation Green Society" (1968)
Baroque pop and country sunshine, social satire, and more good tunes than a writer has a right to. Try and get the expanded version.

-THE BEACH BOYS, "Friends" (1968)
The Beach Boys were afraid to lose their surf sound and audience, fighting Brian Wilson's efforts to expand their palette with "PET SOUNDS" and the kiboshed "SMILE". Ironically, as Brian faded, they ended up fulfilling his vision with fine sunshine Folk of their own. "Friends", "LIttle Bird", and "Be Still". On the cover you can see Paul McCartney in the left cloud.

-THE BEACH BOYS, "20/20" (1969)
The riches of "FRIENDS" continue with this pearl. "Be With Me", "Time To Get Alone", and "All I Want To Do" (the roaring reply to "Back In The USSR").

-LED ZEPPELIN, "Led Zeppelin III" (1970)
Just like The White Album, Zep stripped it down to folk melodies, blunt rockers, and a healthy dose of surprise in the arrangements. And every song a classic.

-BADFINGER, "No Dice" (1971)
The Beatles' true heir apparents, who always delivered and got few of the rewards. But Badfinger is more than just Beatle comparisons, Power Pop mantlehood, or a tragic story. They are four great songwriters with a knack for creating eternal songs uniquely theirs. God bless them all. "No Matter What You Do", "We're For The Dark", and the original "Without You".

-HARRY NILSSON, "Nilsson Schmilsson" (1971)
John Lennon called Harry his 'favorite group'. Many others called him 'The One Man Beatles'. A crazy man with a big heart and a golden voice. "Gotta Get Up", "Jump Into The Fire", and the still stunning cover of Badfinger's "Without You".

-STEVIE WONDER, "Songs In The Key Of Life" (1976)
A double album meant really stretching out, saying something, and showing what you can do. Stevie goes well past that with this cornucopia. "Sir Duke", "Summer Soft", and "As".

-CHEAP TRICK, "Heaven Tonight" (1978)
Cheap Trick really kicked into gear with their second album, "In Color", then revved it further with this edgy sequel. The snarky "Auf Wiedersehen", The Move's "California Man", and the moody "Heaven Tonight" that recalls "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". The hinge between John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.

-THE CLASH, "London Calling" (1979)
Strip down your sound, expand your styles, include world musics, be rough, be beautiful, be lunatic. And with a frontman with a smartass mouth and a sensitive heart. Completely in the spirit of The White Album! "Clampdown", "The Guns Of Brixton", and Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac".

-FLEETWOOD MAC, "Tusk" (1979)
Riding on top of the charts but fragmenting as a group, making personal demos as songs, releasing a sprawling double album that's all over the place. Completely in the spirit of The White Album! Throughout Lindsey Buckingham starts Bluegrass/Punking out, recording himself drumming tissue boxes in hotel bathrooms, going fuzz crazy on songs that fall apart before they can finish. Fantastic. "What Makes You Think You're The One", "That's All For Everyone", "Not That Funny", and "That's Enough For Me".

-ROBYN HITCHCOCK, "Black Snake Diamond Ride" (1981)
The love child of Syd Barrett and John Lennon. More mad and smart than you can keep up with. Formerly of The Soft Boys, our fiend unleashes "I Watch The Cars", "City Of Shame", and destroys the UK police with "Do Policemen Sing?"

-HUSKER DU, "Warehouse: Songs And Stories" (1987)
A band in tension, backing each other on swapping songs, on a double album, which brought up the eternal question, "Are you a Grant Hart fan or a Bob Mould fan?" Why not like it all?

-PRINCE, "Sign O' The Times" (1987)
His first double album, and an embarrassment of riches. Some would argue his last completely brilliant hurrah. "Starfish And Coffee", "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker", and the title cut. And that cover looks like a "PEPPER" outtake...

-LOVE AND ROCKETS, "Earth Sun Moon" (1987)
Bauhaus wore its Bowie on its black sleeve. Love And Rockets let some more light into the room. Here's a spartan album of side one rock side two acoustic. There's a strong dose of Lennon, especially on the explicitly Beatlesque "The Telephone Is Empty".

-U2, "Rattle And Hum" (1988)
U2's first double album, atmospheric, eclectic, political, with a remake of "Helter Skelter" no less. ("This is a song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles. We're stealing it back.") And a sequel to John Lennon's "God" called "God Part II".

-SOUNDGARDEN, "Superunknown" (1995)
The bastard scion of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Ozzy often worships The White Album for being "soooo heavy". In the spirit of that record's fuzz rockers, here's the heavy psyche of "Head Down", the magesterial acid trip of "Black Hole Sun", and the dark soar of "Fell On Black Days".

-AIMEE MANN, "I'm With Stupid" (1996)
There's a kind of melancholic undercurrent to the Beatle-ish work that Aimee Mann and her husband, Michael Penn, make. A little undertow behind that sunshine, produced by fellow Beatlemaniac Jon Brion. "Sugarcoated" and "All Over Now".

Another moody guy with pop chops. Gone too soon. "Sweet Adeline", "Baby Britain", and "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands".

-CHRIS CORNELL, "Euphoria Morning" (1999)
After Soundgarden, Chris guides us through the acoustic blues, luminous confessions, and grand chorals. "Flutter Girl", "Follow My Way", and the beautiful "Moonchild".

-XTC, "Apple Venus" (1999)
The acoustic and strings album, with "Knights In Shining Karma" (a wonderful rewrite of "Julia"), "I'd Like That", and "I Can't Own Her".

-TOM WAITS, "The Mule Variations" (1999)
A giant album that canvases all Tom's styles in one place. Bluesy stompers, tender ballads, cabaret, noize. Excellent record.

-FIONA APPLE, "When The Pawn..." (2001)
Soon after covering "Across The Universe" for a soundtrack, Fiona collaborates with producer Jon Brion (The Grays) on this stark, eccentric, tough, sensitive album. "I Know" is John incarnate.

-SAM PHILLIPS, "Fan Dance" (2001)
Tired of playing toward the Pop charts, she strips it all down to herself and a heartfelt guitar, moody backdrops, and sterling melodies. The White Album meets cabaret. "Five Colors", the mellotronic "Taking Pictures", "How to Dream", and "Love Is Everywhere I Go". Perfectly underproduced by partner T-Bone Burnette.

-SAM PHILLIPS, "A Boot And A Shoe" (2004)
This time with some hints of Americana and carnivale. "Open the World", "Love Changes Everything", and "If I Could Write".

-BECK, "Sea Change" (2002)
Beck gained mastery of his voice and his craft, and made a balming album for a broken heart. His father does excellent string arrangements to the beautiful folk ache. "Paper Tiger", "Sunday Sun", and "Little One".

-KEREN ANN, "Nolita" (2004)
An angel's whisper over acoustic guitar. "Chelsea Burns", "Roses & Hips", and the breathtaking "One Day Without".

-EARLIMART, "Treble And Tremble" (2004)
Elliott Smith's running buddies, with some Crazy Horse distortion and oddly luminous sing song. "The Hidden Track" and "Unintentional Tape Manipulations".

-LUCKY JIM, "Our Troubles End Tonight" (2004)
Dylan, Lennon, Cohen, Morricone, mercurial, unique. "You Stole My Heart Away" and "My Soul Is On Fire".

-TRACY BONHAM, "Blink The Brightest" (2005)
Tracy can out-Grunge anyone, but there's a crystalline glow in there, too. By this album more of the gentle luminosity was shining through. "I Was Born Without You", "Dumbo Sun", and the resplendent "Naked" ("Dear Prudence...").


Turn off your mind,
and float downstream.

-THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND, "Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse" (1968)
The court jesters, who appeared in the "I Am The Walrus" sequence of the "MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR" film. Holy fools who will take the piss out of anyone. Neil Innes would later be a Python and a Rutle.

-THE SOFT BOYS, "Underwater Moonlight" (1980)
Featuring Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberly Rew (who later wrote "Going Down To Liverpool"), The Soft Boys cocked a snook at their peers and proudly released 'the first psychedelic album in ages'. Demented, loopy, fun, bright, strobing. "Positive Vibrations", "I Wanna Destroy You", "Old Pervert", and "Underwater Moonlight".

-JON BRION, "I Heart Huckabees" Soundtrack, (2004)
Upbeat, trippy, lysergic, pop art, random. Jon Brion, the secret power, puts the pot into the potpourrie.


When you reach the crossroads together, remember everything you've come through,
and pave the paths for others to find their own way.

-BOOKER T & THE MGs, "McLemore Avenue" (1969)
"ABBEY ROAD" was fresh on the streets when the premiere Soul band of all time hit the pavement with their take on it. Named after the street in front of Stax Records. A wonderful funhouse mirror of equal goodness. Viva Booker, Steve, Duck, and Al!

-GEORGE BENSON, "The Other Side Of Abbey Road" (1969)
Not to be outpaced, a new Jazz guitarist put his best foot forward with his own stride down that street.

-SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1970)
Would this album's title song really exist without "Let It Be"? More in the sonic spirit of "ABBEY ROAD", with tuneful, upbeat arrays of songs that feel like a master statement. Check out the McCartneyesque "Why Don't You Write Me".

-THE MOVE, "Message From The Country" (1971)
The Move was blessed by the full-tilt partnership of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Before evolving into Electric Light Orchestra, they pumped out two master theses (see also "Looking On" album) with butch blues, soaring ballads, and cathedrals of sound. Absolutely excellent!

-THE ROTARY CONNECTION, "Songs/ Hey Love" (1971)
Here are two LPs on one Cd by one of the most innovative counterculture combos. A Rock'n'Soul band with stunning chorales and the radical avant-Jazz arrangements of producer Charles Stephney (Earth Wind And Fire). Hear a young Minnie Riperton and company completely turn classics by Jimi, Cream, and The Band inside out, and then top them with their own "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun".

-EMITT RHODES, "Emitt Rhodes" (1971)
After spinning out of The Merry-Go-Round, Emitt Rhodes made four solo albums that were sabotagued by bad biz, but which earned him cult idol status among the savvy. This second album is usually touted his best, but the link takes you to a double CD that has all four. (Which has a much cheaper price than the expensive and rare single discs.) Like Paul, Emitt made the entire albums by himself in a home studio, with terrific results.

-MARVIN GAYE, "What's Going On?" (1971)
One of the greatest albums ever made. As much a spiritual awakening as a political manifesto. A song cycle of great complexity and life-affirming warmth. Beyond essential.

-BADFINGER, "Straight Up" (1972)
This is Badfinger's "ABBEY ROAD". Rock solid from first note to last. You'll sing these songs in your head for years. The amen corner of producers included George Harrison, George Martin, Geoff Emerick, and Todd Rundgren. If I come by your house and you don't have this, I'm gonna be ticked off.

-FANNY, "Fanny Hill" (1971)
Fanny was the first all-female group signed by a major label to make albums. They could do anything, and here they are in Apple studios proving it with producer Richard Perry (Nilsson, Ringo Starr). Imagine Badfinger getting nervous over songs like "Knock On My Door", "Blind Alley", and the blistering cover of The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog". (Fanny's albums are compiled on a Rhino Records box set; this album is tracks #43 through 53 on the download player.)

-PINK FLOYD, "Dark Side Of The Moon" (1972)
After years of combing the stratosphere, 'the first band in outer space' came back with a concept album about inner demons. A sonic turning point in Rock history. And guess what studio it was recorded in?

-THE RASPBERRIES, "Raspberries" (1972)
Bright tunes, spiritual ballads, bluesy stompers. And who can resist "Go All The Way"?

-TODD RUNDGREN, "Something/Anything?" (1972)
Like a collision of Carole King's "Tapestry" and McCartney's "Ram" where no one gets hurt. A double album with the inspired ideas of a triple.

-CURTIS MAYFIELD, "Back To The World" (1973)
With string arrangements and street funk, Curtis makes his "What's Going On?" and proves that the personal is political.

-WE ALL TOGETHER, "We All Together" (1973)
Despite a military dictatorship banning English usage, this Peruvian band fights the power with this lovely field of flowers. Includes covers of McCartney's "Tomorrow" and Badfinger's "Carry On Till Tomorrow" and "Walking In The Rain" to rival the originals, and the "NUGGETS" classic "It's A Sin To Go Away".

-BADFINGER, "Wish You Were Here" (1974)
This is Badfinger's other "ABBEY ROAD". Hey, they're that good. Although their luck wasn't, as Pink Floyd overshadowed them that year with an album of the same name. Rectify that unfortunate fork in their rocky road by buying this fantastic, classic album. Peep "In the Meantime/ Some Other Time" and "Meanwhile Back At The Ranch/ Should I Smoke", for starters.

-ELTON JOHN, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (1974)
Another double-album bonanza when Elton and Bernie Taupin were on absolute fire. Just listen to the harmonies on the title song; is that "Because" or what? Lennon said at the time, "If something happened to Elton John, I'd throw my radio out the window."

-EARTH WIND AND FIRE, "That's The Way Of The World" (1975)
Bright, optimistic, anthemic, communal, prismatic. A crowning statement from a first-rate band.

-QUEEN, "A Night At The Opera" (1975)
The Beatles, The Move, Brian Wilson, The Who, and Sparks have a debauched jam and the C.I.A. thought to record it. The bookend to "A Day At The Races", of course.

-CHEAP TRICK, "Dream Police" (1979)
In the wake of the surprise overnight success of the "Live At Budokan" album, they go for glory with a widescreen set of epic roaring rockers and punching pop songs. Like "Baba O'Riley" brawling with "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Should've sold ten times more than it did.

-THE DAMNED, "Machine Gun Etiquette" (1979)
Punk firsts: first single, first break-up, first reunion, first to make an epic gamechanger album. They're even walking across a street intersection on the cover! (For a more explicit tribute to their 60's roots, listen to the 1985 song "Grimly Fiendish".)

-ROXY MUSIC, "Avalon" (1982)
Their ultimate statement, an otherworldly album of sensual beauty and glamorous cool.

-ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA, "Secret Messages" (1983)
Densely textured with alien synthesizers, choir chorales, and catchy songs. Could have been a gloppy mess of excess but Jeff Lynne pulls it off.

-LET'S ACTIVE, "Big Plans For Everybody" (1986)
The '80's indie producer of choice' Mitch Easter (REM, Marshall Crenshaw, Suzanne Vega, Pavement) steps out with a sparkling 60's style album that anticipates Jellyfish, The Wondermints, and Echobrain years early.

-SQUEEZE, "Some Fantastic Place" (1993)
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook always brought a fresh-faced Beat Music lilt to their early hits, but this mature statement after their reunion is a new level. The title song is a work of wonder that must've thrilled Paul Mc'. (Keyboardist Jools Holland interviewed all The Beatles for the "ANTHOLOGY" films).

-ULTRA VIVID SCENE, "Rev" (1993)
A dark kaleidoscope of dreamy ditties that came from tomorrow never knows. Like Love And Rockets led by Robyn Hitchcock. Check out the epic "Medicating Angels".

-THE GRAYS, "Ro Sham Bo" (1994)
An indie supergroup with Jason Falkner and Jon Brion (Jellyfish), a band of guys who hated playing in bands who got in and got out. Their one album, made by rotating songsters, sounds like the crowning statement of a long career that didn't actually happen. Rarer to find than it deserves but worth every minute.

-GUIDED BY VOICES, "Alien Lanes" (1995)
This lo-fi indie band led by Robert Pollard had an almost phobic mandate of doing fragments of songs and getting out immediately instead of over-doing them. Somehow that raw approach still adds up to this supple and huge album. It plays like a rush of White Album demos laced together in an Abbey Road medley. "As We Go Up, We Go Down", "Game of Pricks", "Closer You Are", "My Valuable Hunting Knife"...

-SUPERGRASS, "In It For The Money" (1996)
Imagine if The Beatles had jumped creatively right from "RUBBER SOUL" to "ABBEY ROAD"... and no one bought it. That's what Supergrass did, going from the snotty pop punk of their debut to a sophisticated exposition of shimmering delights. People bought whatever instead so what do you do next? They just kept trying new things and getting better. Set time to rights by discovering this brilliant album: "Late In The Day", "G-Song", "Hollow Little Reign".... There's a second disc of songs that didn't make the cut which beat any other band's best. Well, what are you waiting for?

-LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS, "Fabulosos Calavera" (1998)
This Argentinian band was known for its rowdy mix of ska, punk, and home Rock styles. But no one was prepared for this explosive blender of an album; thrash, ska, lounge... and that was in just one song. One writer gushed "is this the music of the 21st century?" If only. Put your G-Force seatbelts on and buy this album.

-JASON FALKNER, "Can You Still Feel It" (1999)
Fans of Neil Finn, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Fiona Apple, and Jon Brion should peek this multi-instrumentalist and crack songsmith. Sought out by everyone from Jellyfish and Air, to Beck and Paul McCartney, Jason even taught guitar to the actors in the film "Juno".

-FASTBALL, "The Harsh Light Of Day" (2000)
People expecting more versions of "The Way" must have bounced off of this follow-up, which is a more ambitious and nuanced record. Their flighty loss, your smart gain. "You're An Ocean" even features Billy Preston!

-SUPER FURRY ANIMALS, "Rings Around The World" (2001)
Another stunning hybrid of Brian Wilson harmonics and Beatle pagentry, with a serious dose of sly commentary under all that fun glow. If you think bands don't make them like they used to, catch up to the future. (Because Paul McCartney chewed celery on The Beach Boys' 1967 "Vegetables", they had him do it again on this album's "Receptacle for the Respectable".)

-THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, "Extended Revelation" (2002)
This Swedish band takes its name seriously, aiming to be every great sound from 1966 to 1975 all at once. Stones jang here, Floyd moog there, Beatle everywhere. Check out "Let It Come Alive" or "Safety Operation" and you'll believe me.

-THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS, "Electric Version" (2003)
The progeny of McCartney and Wilson, with some Ocasek and Shelley thrown in. All this and Neko Case, too! Perfect pop for a new future. Proof: "It's Only Divine Right".

-ECHOBRAIN, "Glean" (2004)
Kurt Cobain gets possessed by Syd Barrett and does a mash-up of Grunge dynamics and glorious Psychedelia. At times indescribably beautiful. Led by Dylan Donkin they made two astonishing albums everybody missed out on. "Knock 'Em Out", "Out Of Reach", and "Nobody".

-SLOAN, "Never Hear The End Of It" (2009)
Canada's most worthy pumps out an astonishing 30 songs and all of them smack perfect. Runs like a medley of a lifetime's greatest hits.

-LAWRENCE ARABIA, "Chant Darling" (2010)
From the first moment of "Because" harmonies that open the album, you know what street you're on.

LET IT BE, (recorded 1969, released 1970)

Let it become, let it be what it is, let it all go.
Let's be thankful for each other and go forward.

-BILLY PRESTON, "I Wrote A Simple Song" (1971)
Billy held The Beatles' sessions for "LET IT BE" together with his playing and friendship. This record is a stone classic, with touches of our foursome, Sly Stone, and Ray Charles all through it. "You Done Got Older" is a winking rewrite of "Get Back". (This is impossibly expensive right now so do some searching for a good price.)

-THE ROLLING STONES, "Exile On Main Street" (1972)
Tense circumstances, ramshackle recording, a back to basics rawness, accidental genius. Somehow The Stones made "LET IT BE" without coming apart.

-BIG STAR, "3rd/ Sister Lovers" (1975)
Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were unlikely anglophiles coming out of soul central Memphis, but their raspy take on Power Pop became a template for bands for decades. But no one wanted to know at the time. When Alex tried to make a solo album it somehow blurred back into a band album of shambling sprawl and alluring decay. A disaster that somehow works.

-CHRIS BELL, "I Am The Cosmos" (1978; '92)
Meanwhile Chris Bell made an album that never came out at all. But when it did years after his passing, everybody woke up to this yearning shimmer of Pop longing.

-PETE HAM, "7 Park Avenue" (1970's/ '99)
Badfinger was blessed with songwriters, but Pete Ham was its heart. Over the years the prolific popsmith made home demos of songs that never got made, and they were later released here and on "Golders Green". Simple and lightly adorned, they ring as pure and true as any work you can name. We were lucky to have this guy.

-LENNY KRAVITZ, "Let Love Rule" (1989)
The tryst of Sly Stone and John Lennon, with some Costello and Hendrix thrown in. Lenny's debut rebuked the slick production of the time by going all analog with traditional instruments. This album has a raw warmth and direct honesty that is completely timeless. Brilliant from start to finish.

-THE REMBRANDTS, "Untitled" (1992)
How many of you realize that the theme to "Friends" is a Beatles song? Well, it practically is, considering The Rembrandts' source sounds. Fans of Crowded House and The Plimsouls, this is there for you.

-PAUL WELLER, "Wild Wood" (1993)
Wandering in the wilderness for some years after The Jam and The Style Council, Paul Weller returned with a warm R'n'B style that hearkened more to Winwood's Traffic and McCartney's first solo albums.

-NIRVANA, "In Utero" (1994)
"Nevermind" had ended with the song "Something In The Way", with its Lennon wooze and title lifted from a Harrison line (lifted from James Taylor). It signaled the next. The tense final album had the band at cross ends, with some cellos and double-tracked vocals along the way. Listen to "Dumb" and "All Apologies" again...

-THE JAYHAWKS, "Rainy Day Music" (2003)
That title nails it; warm melodies for a bleary day. Wonderful tunes, slightly bruised, cathartic and haunting. Fans of country Dylan, America, the early Eagles, Gerry Rafferty, The Posies, and alt-country will drop their jaws.

-FISTFUL OF MERCY, "As I Call You Down" (2010)
A low-key supergroup making unpretentious roots-based songs, like an indie Traveling Wilburys: Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and some kid named Dhani Harrison who knows how to do everything really well.

PAST MASTERS, 1962-1970

In the 60's, singles were made between albums and not included on them. These two CDs compiled all The Beatles' loose singles, becoming a sort of alternate overview.

Some artists don't homage a specific album or sound, instead making tributes to varied sounds across The Beatles career. Here are some standouts.

-THE RUTLES, "The Rutles" (1978)
Monty Python colluded with SNL to make Eric Idle's almost shocking retelling of an alternate universe Beatles in the very first 'mockumentary' movie. Sacrilegious and yet touchingly reverential at its heart. Neil Innes of Bonzo Dog played the snide Ron Nasty (John) and made a soundtrack covering all their sounds that plays like the best Beatles album never made. Essential beyond words.

-THE RUTLES, "Archeology" (1995)
"Here we are/ once again/ somewhere in another universe..." Just in time for The Beatles' ANTHOLOGY came the return of The Rutles! Amazon says the joke's not as funny the second time. They missed the point entirely. Anyone listening will see this is a concept album where Ron Nasty is critiquing the greed, sell-outs, and complacency of the 90's (and even the counterculture) itself. Just like John Lennon would have done. Smart, sly, and the music is brilliant. Essential.

-UTOPIA, "Deface The Music" (1981)
Todd Rundgren glosses The Beatles' whole career with these terrific tributes to all their sounds. Harder to find than it should be and worth the finding. "Alone", "Take It Home", "All Smiles", and the Walrus-esque "Everybody Else Is Wrong".

-BILLY JOEL, "The Nylon Curtain" (1982)
Billy had done a few McCartney homages, but then in the wake of John's passing, he made a concept album that referenced many Beatles styles. "Laura", "Surprises", and "Scandanavian Skies". (Afterward he continued homaging the AM radio styles of his youth with the "Innocent Man" album.)

-"I Am Sam" Soundtrack (2002)
A great film, a sweet soundtrack of modern artists covering our band. Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright, The Wallflowers, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Ben Folds, The Vines, Stereophonics, The Black Crowes, Chocolate Genius, Paul Westerberg, Grandaddy, and Nick Cave.

-"ACROSS THE UNIVERSE" Soundtrack (2007)
What if you remade the film of "HAIR" with Beatles songs? Julie Taymor did basically that with this movie and it's a win-win. Actors sang the vocals live on location which brings a direct immediacy and freshness to this terrific overview of the greatest band of all time. Check out the album and the movie.

The Beatles are like the sun.
It always comes back around.
It brings warmth and life.
And it's all right.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lots of great choices here - surprised at how many I already had...and by how many GREAT bands I'd never even heard of! Thanks for turning me on to some super music!