Robin Williams & Bobby McFerrin Sing Fun Cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together”

In 1998, leg­endary Bea­t­les’ pro­duc­er George Martin—all set to “hang up his ear­phones” and retire— brought togeth­er the most unusu­al assort­ment of peo­ple for In My Life, a trib­ute album com­posed entire­ly of Mar­tin-pro­duced Bea­t­les’ songs per­formed pri­mar­i­ly by actors and come­di­ans. Goldie Hawn gives a “gig­gly night­club chanteuse” read­ing of “A Hard Day’s Night,” Bil­ly Con­nol­ly does a slight­ly cracked ver­sion of “Being for the Ben­e­fit of Mr. Kite,” Jim Car­rey cov­ers “I Am the Wal­rus” (in a musi­cal per­for­mance sur­pris­ing­ly sub­dued next to, for exam­ple, his ren­di­tion of ”Some­body to Love”), and Sean Con­nery clos­es things out with a somber read­ing of “In My Life.”

But the album’s open­ing track is its best: Robin Williams and Bob­by McFerrin’s duet of “Come Togeth­er” redeems many of the record’s weak­est moments. Just above, hear the track over a fan-made slideshow of Williams high­lights. Williams and McFer­rin had teamed up before in the won­der­ful­ly sil­ly video for “Don’t Wor­ry Be Hap­py.” Here, with ample help from Martin’s lush pro­duc­tion, they man­age to evoke the slinky, seduc­tive weird­ness of the orig­i­nal song while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly hav­ing a goofy old time of it. Pop­mat­ters edi­tor Sarah Zup­ko, a self-con­fessed Beat­le­ma­ni­ac who oth­er­wise found the album a supreme dis­ap­point­ment, calls Williams’ “leer­ing” through the song “a hoot,” and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Just above, watch a one-hour BBC doc­u­men­tary on the mak­ing of In My Life. At 9:30, see Williams, Mar­tin, and McFer­rin in the hys­ter­i­cal record­ing ses­sions for their “Come Togeth­er” cov­er. Mar­tin admits that he asked Williams to join the project “with some trep­i­da­tion,” then real­ized that “it was with some trep­i­da­tion” that Williams accept­ed. It was Williams who sug­gest­ed “bring­ing along a mate,” McFer­rin, whom he calls “a one-man accom­pa­ni­ment.” Among many oth­er charms, the short doc fea­tures Mar­tin through­out explain­ing not only the process of record­ing In My Life, but also his mem­o­ries of the orig­i­nal record­ing ses­sions for these songs, clear­ly so dear to him and his proud­est lega­cy. But of course, giv­en our nation­al peri­od of mourn­ing for the warm, bril­liant­ly fun­ny, deeply humane, and trag­i­cal­ly sad Robin Williams, the real joy is see­ing him here in much hap­pi­er times, encour­ag­ing and prais­ing the tal­ents of oth­ers even as he shines so bright­ly along­side them.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Robin Williams (1951–2014) Per­forms Unknown Shake­speare Play in 1970s Standup Rou­tine

Bob­by McFer­rin Shows the Pow­er of the Pen­ta­ton­ic Scale

George Mar­tin, Leg­endary Bea­t­les Pro­duc­er, Shows How to Mix the Per­fect Song Dry Mar­ti­ni

Jim Car­rey Sings a Pret­ty Damn Good Cov­er of The Bea­t­les “I Am the Wal­rus”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness


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