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Club Sandwich 43

            Often, in the world of sport, a young player may end up playing with someone he idolized at School - what one might call the de Freitas-Botham syndrome. (Readers from non-cricketing countries should ring the British consulate/embassy.) A similar experience befell the Beatles when they burst to the top in America.
            When New Musical Express printed the Beatles' "Lifelines" in 1963, John and Paul listed as their favourite singers the Shirelles, the Miracles, Chuck Jackson, Ben E. King, Little Richard and Larry Williams. The group cited similar names on arrival in the US a year later, but few Beatle fans had records by these artists in their collections. So, struck by the quality and popularity of the Beatles' output, their original soul/R&B idols joined others in the queue to borrow a bit of Beatle magic.
            The first notable cover version of a Lennon-McCartney tune was Ella Fitzgerald's 'Can't Buy Me Love', to be followed in later years by Basie's Beatle Bag and Sarah Vaughan's 'Blackbird' among many others. But Ella and co. had not been the Beatles' main inspiration - though Paul had been known to warble 'September In The Rain' and 'Till There Was You'. More to the point, two years after girls outside .the Cavern had begged Paul to sing 'Searchin', the Coasters were copying those distinctive Beatle harmonies in 'The Wild One'. Even more strikingly, the Supremes' 1965 album With Love From Us To You contained songs made popular by the 'British Invasion' of beat groups - including 'Do You Love Me' and 'You really Got A Hold On Me', which were Tamla Motown songs in the first place!
            Though the terms "soul" and "R&B" have largely lost their meaning in the homogeneous music scene of the 1980's, Paul's recent collaborations with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder are further evidence of his continuing empathy with those two original styles and their offshoots. (Stevie had issued 'We Can Work It Out" in 1971.) In 1966, for instance, his production of Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers' 'Got To Get You Into My Life' brought out its strong soul flavour to the full.
            After Sgt. Pepper, a breath of simplicity was needed and McCartney responded brilliantly with 'Lady Madonna' - simple, but also clever and original. Yet there was a hint of Fats Domino about it, striking an immediate chord with the Fat Man himself, who rushed out a very respectable cover version. 1968's other single, 'Hey Jude', attracted a more strenuous performer - Wilson Pickett - to have a go. The Wicked Pickett could not out-scream Paul, but the results were justly celebrated, especially when it became known in later years that the menancing guitar was played by Duane Allman, briefly famous with the Allman Brothers and Derek and the Dominoes before being killed on his motorbike.
            Apart from faith in human nature and a general desire to make the world a better place ('Ebony And Ivory'), it's well known that Messages are not the McCartney style. Yet not everyone accepts this: 'Let It Be' was first seen as overtly religious; then, after Live Aid, Sting found the lyrics too passive, seeming to accept the sufferings of the world. (As Paul told Janice Long, "There will be an answer, let it be" means "Please, let there be an answer' "). With her gospel background, Aretha Franklin inevitably leaned towards the first interpretation and almost pulled off the coup of having her version issued first, a plan abandoned at the last moment. Less famously, she also tackled 'Eleanor Rigby' and the same two songs were done by Ray Charles, though 'Let It Be' had to wait till 1977 before turning up on a B-side.
            Joe Cocker's 'With A Little Help From My Friends' brought out and amplified poignant undertones hidden in the Beatles' light-hearted treatment. (This and some others mentioned are available on a K-Tel album, Forever Lennon & McCartney, a rather mixed bag which is nevertheless of interest.) Others have added personal touches which had probably never occurred to the composer. Tina Turner (with Ike) added 'socially conscious' sentiments to 'Let It Be', very much in keeping with the mood of the times. 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'Day Tripper' in Otis Redding's hands turn rapidly into grunting extravaganzas of the type he enjoyed: lively, but not much to do with the song. Less jarringly, Billy Paul adapted the sentiments of family togetherness in 'Let 'Em In', making them more obviously universal.
            More unusual are songs which reveal their true worth when someone else has recorded them. It's well known that Paul was not overjoyed with the orchestration which swamped 'The Long And Winding Road' on Let It Be - of all the classics revived for Broad Street, the new version of that one probably gave him most satisfaction. However, Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney) issued a classy rendering of the song at the time, even if the writer had had Ray Charles in mind.
            When 'Every Night' appeared on McCartney, it seemed a pretty good tune, but the agreeably rough-cut nature of the album obscured just how good. After Phoebe Snow had recorded it in 1979, it emerged as a fully-fledged McCartney classic. When the composer has a voice like Paul McCartney, "the original is still the greatest" is a sentiment which usually rings true, but it's still enjoyable to hear fine performers applying themselves to great songs. What's significant is how many of them are from the tradition which inspired the young Paul: proof that he progressed easily from emulation to an originality his heroes could admire.


Crossword compiled by CS reader Brian Pocock

Club Sandwich 43

1. Laurence ....., ex Wings guitarist. (5)
3. Otherwise known as "Suzy and the Red Stripes". (5)
4. Her Surname is G. (5)
5. Scottish flavoured ballad. (4,2,7)
11. "OldSiam, ...'(3)
12. Rocky Raccoon's rival. (3)
13. Single from 1973. (2,4)
14. First single release from Paul and Linda. (7,3)
17. 32 across was recorded here. (5)
18. Paul found fame as one. (6)
20 "Lady ......."(7)
23. A 56,000 crowd saw The Beatles at this American stadium. (4)
24. This band took flight in 1971. (5)
26. Proposed album of unused McCartney songs. (4,4)
30. Coloured flower speedway. (3,4)
32. "Band On The ..." (3)
33. Flipside to "Strawberry Fields Forever." (5,4)
36. "No More Lonely ......"(6)
37. The Beatles' first colour film. (4).
38. "Pipes Of ....." (5)
36. Single named after Paul's landrover. (5,6)
37. see 8 down.
1. 1973 TV show. (5,4,9)
2. "....... Dancing" (7)
3. 'Denny .....' sang "Go Now". (5)
4. Earthy song from "Wings Over America." (5)
6. Mr. McKenzie's title in "Eleanor Rigby". (6)
7. "Here .....", a tribute to John. (5)
8. & 40 across: Richard Starkey's familiar name. (5,5)
9. Paul was given this award in 1980. (4,7)
10. 'Humphrey .....', "Wings At The Speed Of Sound" artist. (5)
13. Paul says "Thanks .." at the end of "Get Back" (2)
15. "Venus And ....." (4)
16. "We All ..... Together" (5)
19. Film studios used for Broad Street" (7)
21. 'Bob ....." influential musician. (5)
22. Paul was required to do this in "Broad Street'. (3)
25. The Beatles were awarded this in 1965. (3)
27. EMI record company. (7)
28. "MotherNature's ..." (3)
27. The Beatles appeared on "The .. Sullivan Show" in America. (2)
31. &35 Popular British cartoon character. (6,4)
34. Company formed by The Beatles. (5)


            ACROSS: 1 Good times coming, 9 Plectrum, 10 Tenon, 12 Rule, 13 Footprints, 14 Save, 15 Lira, 16 Oasis, 18 Throngs, 20 Quarter, 23 Pomeranian, 24 Talk, 26 Amid, 27 More talk, 28 Stranglehold

            DOWN: 2 Only love remains, 3 Tick, 4 Marconi, 5 Sumatra, 6 Ontario, 7 Innings, 8 Genesis, 11 Press to Play, 17 Angry, 19 Sandman, 20 Quarrel, 21 Trail, 22 Rake, 25 Utah, 28 Kid