Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Weight - Birthday Countdown: 10 Days

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, "Yesterday" has the most cover versions of any song ever written. The song remains popular today with more than 3000 recorded cover versions, the first hitting the United Kingdom 'Top 10' three months after the release of Help!. BMI asserts that it was performed over seven million times in the 20th century alone, probably cementing the song as the most performed composition of all time as well. [Wikipedia] I am not posting a cover version of 'Yesterday'.

Today, I am posting Aretha Franklin's upbeat, soulful, gospel, rave-up of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby." She uniquely sings the tune in first person, starting it off with "I'm Eleanor Rigby..." and proceeds with that theme throughout. This version appears on her January 1970 album This Girl's In Love With You. She recorded it in 1969, only one year after the release of The Beatles' Revolver, the album on which it first appears. On that Aretha album, you can find her and Duane Allman's performance of The Band's "The Weight" (which reached #19 on the US charts in 1969), as well as her versions of "Son of a Preacher Man", "Share Your Love With Me", "The Dark End of The Street", and another Beatles classic, "Let It Be." Interestingly, Aretha's version of "Let It Be" was released before the Beatles own version, which did not get its official release until its A-side debut in March 1970 (it was recorded the prior year). A live version of Aretha singing "Eleanor Rigby" appears on her 1971 'Live At Fillmore West' album which received a re-release, with an additional 13 tracks on top of the original ten, in 2006.

Aretha Franklin - Eleanor rigby

Bonus Material:

Watch Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, and the incomparable Billy Preston take it to church at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1993, honoring gospel singer Marion Williams. I'm pretty sure Billy hasn't moved like that since The Concert for Bangladesh.

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