Stevie Wonder. Earth, Wind & Fire. Michael Jackson. Many of music’s greatest have recorded Beatles covers over the years. From as early as the Fab Four’s rise in the ‘60s, through present day (and no doubt, for generations to come) musicians have been inspired to create unique interpretations of the beloved songs. And it’s no wonder – the songs of McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr transcend time and genre – and even gender.
Here are eight such classic recordings covered by eight classy music icons that not only reimagine but also lend a female perspective to the infamous Beatles catalogue.
Get ready to get obsessed:
Can’t Buy Me Love (1964)
The First Lady of Song herself released a big band version of The Beatles anthem on her 1964 album “Hello, Dolly!” As she belts out “who needs money?” her self-assured rendition makes clear how little she cares for the green stuff. As they say “money can’t buy you love” – nor can it replicate the stylings of a vocal genius.
Eleanor Rigby (1970)
From the First Lady of Song to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin’s version of the solemn Beatles’ tune is anything but lonely. The first person account of the neglected elder will have you cheering on Miss Rigby as she sings off the face she keeps in a jar by the door.
Fun fact: both The Beatles and Barbra Streisand recorded a version of “A Taste of Honey” for their respective debut studio albums, “Please Please Me” and “The Barbra Streisand Album.” This cover from the “White Album” beautifully closes out “What About Today?” and is one of three Beatles songs featured on the record.
Ticket to Ride (1969)
Possibly the most recognizable of these covers, the Carpenter’s cover is as much a Carpenters song as it is a Beatles one. Featured on their debut album, lead singer and drummer Karen Carpenter’s heartbreaking vocals are perfect for any rainy day or Monday.
Dame Shirley Bassey recorded the George Harrison classic from “Abbey Road” as the title track on her 1970 album. Her soaring vocals linger the way one wants that “new love” feeling to last. Her version ends with an upbeat tag that embodies that very excitement of a heart skipping a beat.
Here Comes the Sun (1971)
Another George Harrison track from “Abbey Road,” this anthem for hope simply starts with a piano accompanied by Miss Simone’s hauntingly soulful vocal. The playful piano solo mid-number could surely bring sunshine to the cloudiest of days.
The Long and Winding Road (1973)
Featured on Cher’s 10th studio album "Half-Breed,” this cover of the final single by The Beatles is less melancholic than the original. With a sense of urgency in the brisker tempo, the closing dramatic plea was possibly a foreshadowing to her future as an Oscar-winning actress.
In My Life (1991)
The Divine Miss M’s famed version of the “Rubber Soul” track was first released on the “For the Boys” soundtrack. The epic rendition overflows with a sense of gratitude for a life lived with many stories to tell – delivered in a way that only Miss Midler could. We can only hope a song like this would be playing as our final credits roll.
And for more Beatles love, don't forget to check out Ron Howard's new documentary "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years," premiering September 17 on Hulu.