Call this mix the postscript of Beatles Week at Popdose … a postscript that’s a couple of weeks late! But better late than never, right?Â There’s been a lot of talk about the marketing savvy of Beatles merchandise, and it’s pretty damn impressive. I mean, getting people to buy remastered recordings they’ve probably had in their collections for years (and I’m talking about vinyl, cassette, 8 track, CD, and mp3s) is no easy feat – unless the product really is superior to what came before.Â And yes, the remasters did live up to the hype.Â But if I may start a second sentence with a conjunction, what also lives up to the hype is the long shadow of the Beatles’ style of music on popular recording artists.Â Billy Joel, Andy Partridge, Roland Orzabal, Jeff Lynne, Neil Finn, and the Gallagher boys must have all, at one point or another, fantasized about being “The 5th Beatle” while singing along to one of the Fab Four’s songs.Â So much so, that they all wrote songs that were unabashedly Beatlesque.
“Scandinavian Skies,” Billy Joel (download)
Billy is certainly a singer/songwriter who doesn’t need to copy the style of musical giants since, well, he’s in that pantheon.Â I’m not a big fan of his music, but The Nylon Curtain was, for me, the most impressive of his catalog.Â The sappy love songs were absent and the themes tackled were certainly a step up from what came before and after this album — and having several nods to the Beatles only added to the depth of this album.
“Sowing the Seeds of Love,” Tears for Fears (download)
Watching the video on MTV back in 1989, it seemed a little old and tired to see Tears for Fears pushing flower power. The blatant Beatles parroting just seemed like a big bowl of wrong — to me, at least. Being a fan of the band, however, I was quick to forgive them of what I thought was a big transgression and bought the CD.Â I wasn’t disappointed, and over the years have grown to appreciate the sonic prowess of the studio production on this song.
“Morning Glory,” Oasis (download)
Talk about wearing your influences on your sleeve!Â Oasis really wanted to be the Beatles II, and one listen to this album and it’s pretty clear that there was nary a Rolling Stones album in the Gallaghers’ home.Â Christmas at the Gallagher abode is probably going to be awkward this year– what with all the fighting between the boys.Â No, don’t count on a Christmas photo of the brothers Gallagher sipping a nog by the fire while singing “Morning Glory” or “Wonderwall.”Â You’ll only see that happening at the McCartney household with Ringo.
“The Diary of Horace Wimp,” Electric Light Orchestra (download)
For those who live in the U.S. (and remember when this album came out), “The Diary of Horace Wimp” was a deep track. For those who live in the UK, it was top 10 single back in the day.Â Lyrically, the song is a pretty simple narrative of “Awkward boy gets the girl,” but the production on this song is anything but simple — and maybe that’s why Lynne became a much sought after producer after ELO broke up.Â But for all his love of the Beatles, Lynne is a guy who can put his unique stamp on artists whom he produces — so much so that he’s made George Harrison and Roy Orbison sound like members of ELO.
“Earn Enough for Us,” XTC (download)
Yes, people have asked why Andy Partridge is a wanker, but for all his brooding and pouting over his personal travails, his ability to craft amazing pop songs is, as Darth Vader said to Luke, “Impressive.” Skylarking is one big Beatles fest in style, but what struck me about “Earn Enough for Us” is the the wonderful Paul McCartney imitation Colin Moulding created on the bass guitar.Â Just listen to that closing riff as the song ends cold and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
“Not the Girl You Think You Are,” Crowded House (download)
What I like about Neil Finn is that he wasn’t shy about saying “Um, here’s a song that written in the key of Beatles.”Â That’s not a direct quote, but it’s clear that “Not the Girl You Think You Are” was written while drinking heavily from the Beatles’ well. Oh, and don’t forget that Jon Cummings’ interview with Neil Finn is coming to Popdose very soon – where he might be talking about the influence of the Beatles in his music.