I once thought I might be from the last generation to have spent a good part of their youth in front of a pair of speakers, playing their parents’ Beatles records until they memorized every note. Abbey Road was a special favorite in our house. I must have heard the outro medley a hundred thousand times or more. Now that reissue vinyl is everywhere, or something resembling the original records, there are loads of people who can say the same thing—and loads more who have streamed Abbey Road on repeat until it’s seared into their memories.
I ask those people now, young and old and middle-aged, whose familiarity with Paul McCartney’s voice on “Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End” comes from this kind of obsessive listening: do you think the cover version above posted on YouTube by AndyBoy 63 sounds exactly like the recording made at EMI Studios (renamed Abbey Road after the album) in 1969? Answer before listening to the original “Golden Slumbers,” below. A fair number of YouTube commenters say they mistook this for the album version or an outtake.
DUDE I THOUGHT I WAS LISTENING TO THE REAL THING I DIDNT REALIZE IT WAS A COVER!!! YOU SOUND JUST LIKE PAULIE
By far the most accurate cover ever of any song.
I thought this was the Beatles for about three minutes…. I knew it wasn’t Abbey Road but thought it was some track off the anthology. This is good enough to make me think it’s actually the Beatles!
It sounds to me like a cover version that approximates the timbre of dynamics of the original, impressively so, but is also clearly not The Beatles.
We can hear the differences between Sir Paul’s voice and piano and Andy’s recording in the first few phrases, but it’s not as if Andy has set out to deceive listeners, marking the songs as covers in the description. His intention is to pay tribute. “As a child,” he writes on his YouTube channel, “I always wanted to learn to play guitar, bass, drums and piano so that I could play and sing my favourite Beatles songs.” You’ll find several more, including “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from My Friends,” just above. Again, it sounds to me like a faithfully earnest cover created as a labor of love. And again, for many reasons, not the Beatles. (His cover of “Help!” on the other hand is scarily good. I think he does a better Lennon impression.)
You’ve got to hand it to Andy for taking his fandom to this level of imitation. The sincerest form of flattery may not produce the best cover version, but it is an excellent way to show off one’s musicianship. Still, no one does McCartney better than McCartney (see him play himself below).
Other artists playing his songs might sound best doing it as themselves. But as an exercise in studious recreation of Beatles arrangements, AndyBoy 63’s proves he’s even more of a fan than those who can hum every bar of Abbey Road without missing a note. While we warble “Here Comes the Sun” in the shower, he’s single-handedly, persuasively rerecorded some of The Beatles’ most famous songs. He’s also covered Lennon’s solo hits and songs by Buddy Holly and Elvis, as well as releasing original music. Check it out here.
And for an absolutely fab version of the Abbey Road medley, watch the Fab Faux’s pretty impeccable version right below.
Paul McCartney’s Conceptual Drawings For the Abbey Road Cover and Magical Mystery Tour Film
Beatles Tribute Band “The Fab Faux” Performs Live an Amazingly Exact Replica of the Original Abbey Road Medley
Hear 100 Amazing Cover Versions of Beatles Songs
209 Beatles Songs in 209 Days: Memphis Musician Covers The Beatles’ Songbook
The Band Everyone Thought Was The Beatles: Revisit the Klaatu Conspiracy of 1976
Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness
Come on, anyone that “have spent a good part of their youth in front of a pair of speakers, playing their parents’ Beatles records until they memorized every note” simply can’t mistake this for the real thing.
At 65, even with ears that have lost dynamic range, and having listened to the Beatles since 1965, I can quite easily tell it was Paul. The are always certain vocal cues and inflections that I have memorized from hearing the original so many times which, if the singer misses any of them are glaring clues. He is good, but nobody else is Paul McCartney.
I thought it sounded slightly different. More tinny.