[23 April 2008]
PopMatters Interviews Editor
Though the Beatles songbook has been raped and pillaged countless times (most recently with Across the Universe), rarely has it yielded such a left-field, oddball joy as Easy Beatles. With original recording dates ranging from ‘64-‘72, Easy Beatles features jazzy, largely instrumental versions of countless Fab Four classics, all sounding like music that would be played before a commercial break on the set of Laugh In!. Ever wanted to hear “Eight Days a Week” redone in a style reminiscent of the theme song to The Dating Game? Sammy Kaye has got you covered! How about “Paperback Writer” reassembled almost entirely with Moog keyboards? That’s what Gershon Kingsley does best! It’s not all capital obscura though: Ella Fitzgerald gives a fairly restrained rendition of “Savoy Truffle”, the Lettermen deliver an appropriately dreamy rendition of “I’m Only Sleeping”, and Nancy Wilson’s innocuous rendering of “And I Love Him” is just kitschy enough to work. Although Easy Beatles is ultimately nothing more than an entertaining detour, it’s still represents a fascinating microcosm of pop music: Beatles covers redone as unabashed pop fluff, somehow retaining the original songs’ rigidity in the process. Inexplicable and joyous.