Some Good (Or at Least Noteworthy) Metal Covers of the Beatles
Yesterday, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson released a perfectly mediocre cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter”…
…and they’re not even the first metal musicians to do so.
This got me thinking: what other metal bands have successfully, or semi-successfully, turned the music of the Fab Four into that of the Fatal Four?
The first one which leaps to mind is the most recent: Ghost’s version of “Here Comes the Sun.” If you’re like me and you’ve always found this song just a wee bit too friggin’ happy to be relatable, Ghost’s moody, gothic take on the track should add just enough cloudiness to make it enjoyable.
Ozzy Osbourne has always cited the Beatles as his favorite band. So it’s understandable that he’s covered them one-and-a-half times: “In My Life” being the first, and the John Lennon solo track “How?” being the second. Unfortunately, he didn’t really do anything to make either song his own, and so they both end up being less entertaining than a fake video of the Black Sabbath singer performing with the band on Ed Sullivan.
Trouble have also taken on the Beatles twice; their version of “Come Together” isn’t all that interesting, but their take on “Tomorrow Never Knows” ain’t bad…
…although I think it’s inferior to Living Colour’s iteration of the same song.
Like Ozzy, Metallica have also covered “In My Life,” and they also failed to do anything to make the song their own. But there a few things which make it worth a listen, most of which stem from James Hetfield’s vocal performance. For example: he uses a falsetto at the end, he found a place to work in an “OOH!” (but not a “YEAH!” for some reason), and about halfway through, there’s a moment where he seems to forget the lyrics. Three cheers for some soft schadenfreude!
Speaking of Metallica and the Beatles: I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that most of you are already familiar with Beatallica, the Beatles/Metallica mash-up cover band that have gained quite a bit of notoriety in the past ten or fifteen years. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t even mention them, so I’m mentioning them.
Motörhead’s version of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” is also pretty straightforward, but it’s hard not to feel affection for anything related to Lemmy.
Endless War, the debut album from Milwaukee’s Realm (released on Roadrunner when it was still called Roadracer!), includes a cover of “Eleanor Rigby” which is pretty gnarly. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a thrash cover of the Beatles, but not in a bad way… and you gotta love that guitar solo.
Coroner’s take on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” may initially seem like a missed opportunity to make something much, well, heavier. Hang in there. About two minutes in, the band starts to add an increasing amount of their own flair, elevating the track from just a retread of the original with metal vocals.
Helloween, an insanely popular band whose acclaim I’ve never really understood, have a version of “All My Loving” that I think is pretty awful. But you can’t accuse the band of failing to make the track their own.
Ditto Dream Theater’s medley of songs from Abbey Road.
And finally, although they seem like unlikely bedfellows, there was one metal band that really went out of their way to show their affinity for the Beatles — Type O Negative. 1999’s World Coming Down included a seven-minute “Day Tripper Medley,” which melded together the song in the title with “If I Needed Someone” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” They also performed various Beatles covers live over the years. You can check those out below; I honestly may have missed some!
Which of these covers are your favorites? Least favorites? Ones you can’t believe I failed to mention? Obscure ones of which I may not be aware? Head to the comments section and discuss!