Thanks to The Wall Street Journal, you can endure boxer Manny Pacquiao singing a version of John Lennon’s 1971 peace anthem, Imagine. It’s pretty painful, not quite as painful as taking a Pacquiao punch, but painful nonetheless. We floated it on Twitter (follow us here) and we were quickly reminded that Pacquiao is hardly the first person to butcher The Beatles. (No real knock on him, we’re just having some fun here.) So we started pulling together your favorites. What are the worst Beatles’ covers you’ve ever heard — ones so bad, they’re good? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter, and we’ll start adding them to the post.
In 1968, William Shatner, riding high on his Star Trek fame, released his first music album, The Transformed Man. It featured poetry mixed with pop lyrics and a nearly blasphemous version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. It’s here that the cheese began.
Also in 1968, the young comedian Bill Cosby released Bill Cosby Sings Hooray For The Salvation Army Band!. The parody album starts with Cosby singing a semi-serious version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was a high point for neither the comedian nor the band.
Telly Savalas — you know him from Kojak — sings George Harrison’s Something in a very lounge lizard kind of way. So awful it’s awesome.
Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap!) offers up this: Milton Berle singing The Yellow Submarine. It wasn’t one of The Beatles’ best songs, let’s admit it. But Berle didn’t exactly elevate it. Uncle Miltie’s recording was made in 1968 (do you see a trend here?), not long after the animated Yellow Submarine hit theaters.
From her 1966 album Way Out West, old time movie star Mae West sings Day Tripper. Recommended by @tonymolloy.
Sean Connery talking his way through In My Life. And amazingly George Martin is responsible for this.
You can’t talk about so-bad-they’re-good Beatles covers without giving a nod to Wing. The Hong Kong-born singer, now based in New Zealand, has recorded a full album in her out-of-tune singing style. Is it parody? Is it serious? Who knows. Her album can be had here: Wing Sings the Beatles
Elva Ruby Connes Miller, otherwise known as Mrs. Miller, covered numerous songs during the 1960s, including A Hard Day’s Night. Her voice was compared to the sound of “roaches scurrying across a trash can lid.” More recently, this clip was featured on EarBleed.com … for pretty good reason. Good find Daniel.
And now the male answer to Mrs. Miller, the immortal Tiny Tim and his version of Nowhere Man.
Here is Germany’s answer to Wing. It is Klaus Beyer’s remake of Back in the U.S.S.R.
This is from “Banda Plástica de Tepetlixpa.” According to legend, John and Paul went to Mexico, to a town called Tepetlixpa, where people received them as distinguished guests. Local brass bands started playing the Beatles’ music and moved the singer-songwriter duo to tears. Some time later, the Tepetlixpa band recorded Adios a Los Beatles (Goodbye to the Beatles), a 10-song tribute to the geniuses from Liverpool. Jaime Ortega has more backstory in the comments section below.
@Brian_M_Cassidy asks: Is this what you’re looking for? Indeed it is. The Red Navy Singers, Dancers & Musicians sings Let It Be, during the final days of the Soviet Union.
We wouldn’t want to leave France out. Here, Les compagnons de la chanson sing Le Sous-Marin Vert. Thanks Pierre.
And finally pulling up the rear, The Metropolitan Police Male Voice Choir sing When I’m Sixty Four. H/T Olidez