Sunday, 27 February 2011

Please, Please Help Me

A mega post today – a full dozen tracks for you to enjoy (if that’s the right word), many of them once again provide by long-time WWR contributor Ross Hamilton, and all of them in honour of George Harrison’s 68th birthday. Yes, I know that was on Friday, but indulge me.

All together in one handy zipped file, The World’s Worst Records present the World’s Worst Beatles covers. Such are the number of appalling attempts to disembowel the Fab’s finest I’ve no doubt that there will be a volume two at some point. The twelve tracks are:

Norwegian Wood by the Folkswingers, a cut from the studio band’s 1967 album Raga Rock (which also featured awful versions of Hey Joe and Eight Miles High). Ross and I would both like to know how the cow got in on the act.

Help by Cathy Berberian – an operatic soprano who carved out a weird career for herself covering hits of the day (especially Beatles’ tunes) opera style;

I Am The Walrus by Lord Sitar, from the album Lord Sitar which also includes his mangling of Blue Jay Way and Eleanor Rigby as well as a handful of other pop standards;

Eleanor Rigby by Chim Kothari from the 1966 album Sound of Sitar on Deram;

Ticket to Ride by Cathy Berberian;

Help (again, sorry) by the fabulous Madame St Onge (read more about her here);

Day Tripper by the Beatle Barkers from a mad-as-you-like early 80s album full of synthesised animals ‘doing’ the Fab Four;

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds by William Shatner. If you haven’t heard this before where have you been?

She’s Leaving Home by Big Jim Sullivan, a London-born session guitarist who has been around since the late 50s and has worked with everyone from Marty Wilde and Tom Jones to Elvis Presley and is reputed to have played on George’s Wonderwall album (although he, like many others including Peter Tork of the Monkees and Ringo Starr, is uncredited);

When I’m Sixty Four by Keith Moon. Many of you will already know Moon the Loon’s dreadful take on In My Life from his one and only (thank God) solo album, but this more obscure cut comes from the soundtrack to the movie All This and World War Two, made up entirely of bad Beatles covers;

Can’t Buy Me Love by Cathy Berberian (and I promise, this is the last you’ll be hearing from her for a LONG time) and finally

Strawberry Fields Forever by Balsara and his Singing Sitars, bizarrely originally released as a double a-side single with his version of Penny Lane on the flip.

Anyway, have a great weekend, and I hope you enjoy.

By the way, the next WWR post will be my 100th. I’ll have to dig out something VERY special for you!

Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison


  1. 3/1/11 wrote:
    Those were interesting & bizarre cover versions you have there. A little info about the Folkswingers: They were a non-exsistent studio group that were made up of well-known studio veterans at the time (Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco,Hal Blaine,Carol Kaye, Howard Roberts, Billy Strange,Douglas Dillard,etc.)who simply recorded three instrumental LP's for World Pacific Records of straight Folk, Folk Rock, & that strange Raga album.The group never toured, since there were only studio musicians recording under a pseundenom, so no group information ever was officially formed or disbanded between 1963-1967 with those three albums and a handful of singles.Tom Jones' backing group during the 1960's were officially called "The Squires", & Jim Sullivan has been with them from 1967-1977. Other guitarists backing Tom Jones in the studios included Heinz Burt of The Tornados (when he recorded early in his career for Joe Meek), Jimmy Page (who played lead guitar on "It's Not Unusual"), & coincidentally, John Paul Jones( before JPJ & Page thought up another direction for a band by the end of the 1960's.)No one at EMI Records seemed to locate the real identity of Lord Sitar,but it most certainly wasn't George Harrison, who was rumored to be that sitarist back in '67-68. Maybe it was one of the session men he occasionally employed on one of his solo sessions from India (such as "The Inner Light", which had Indian session men backing George instead of John, Paul, & Ringo.)

  2. 3/1/11 wrote:
    If you thought those Beatle covers were atrocious, how about these questionable Beatle covers (among thousands of covers):
    1)Mrs. Miller's tortured rendition of "A Hard Day's Night".
    2) Deep Purple's spaced out rendition of "Help', complete with extraterestrial space sound effects.
    3)Bernard Cribbins' moronic version of "When I'm 64."
    4)Vanilla Fudge's far-out six-minute jams of "Elenor Rigby" & "Ticket To Ride".
    5)The Chipmunks' entire album from 1964 of Beatle songs was actually funny (at least to me), & the Beatles themselves were amused by these versions.
    6)Arthur Feidler's classical-inspired Beatles album from 1969, particularly his bombastic version of "Elenor Rigby".
    7)Milton Berle's idiotic version of "Yellow Submarine" (I kid you not.)
    8)Randy California's psychadelic coke-addict cover of "Rain", complete with Chipmunk noises at the intro.
    9)The ridiculous soundtrack of "All This Plus World War 2", not to mention the already well-known "Sgt. Pepper" movie soundtrack (Ok, that's too easy...)
    10)Bill Cosby's screeching version of "Sgt Pepper" with the Charles Wright 103rd st. Rhythm band (at least the backing band sounded great.)
    Finally, while were on the subject, have you tracked down many of the "fake" demos & outakes that wound up on Beatle bootlegs, such as "Have You Heard The Word " by Fut (supposedly Maurice Gibb & an anonymous backing band), "L.S.D. Bumble Bee" by Dudley Moore & Peter Cooke, & "We Are The Moles, parts 1&2" by The Moles,AKA Simon Dupree's Big Sound.These oddities are all well worth a listen just for a laugh by people who were not tricked into thinking they were The Beatles under psuendenoms.

  3. Hi Rob,

    thanks for the list and all of that extra background info. I already know and/or have a bunch of those (including the dreadful Bill Cosby cut and most of the 'fake' Beatles tracks you mention) and some of those may well make it onto Volume Two. I'll have to hunt out the others - the Randy california sounds like a must!

  4. The Beatles Barkers and Cathy Berberian's version of Can't Buy Me Love are two of the funniest things i've ever heard--Thank You! I assume the Barkers is intentionally hilarious, while the Berberian renditions are not. In regards to the Barkers it sounds like the animal sound effects from Good Morning Good Morning have escaped their holding pen and landed onto this instrumental Day Tripper. Good Fun!

  5. 3/19/11 wrote:
    To get Randy California's version of "Rain" is to seek out a copy of his lone solo album from 1972 titled "Kaptain Kopter & his (fabulous) Twirly Birds" (original release number Epic Records KE#31755)& re-issued on compact disc in 1993, though it may be currently out of print. Not only does this fascinating spaced-out album have two Beatles covers (the other one is a cover of "Day Tripper"), but also has psycho covers of Paul Simon's "Mother & Child Reunion" & "James Browns' "I Don't Want Nobody To give me Nothing (Open Up The Door, I'll Get It Myself)",shortened in title as just "I Don't Want Nobody" on the cover & label. It's a far-out collector's item for psychedelic fans & Spirit fans equally.

  6. Thanks! Love your site.

    If you haven't heard Joah Valley before you should seek him out:

    He made a whole album of Beatles covers called: The New Wave Sound of Joah Valley
    It's available here:

    Keep up the good work!


    Wow, you're right about Joah Valley! Just awful!
    My favorite is his version of Help, where the drumming is *almost* as bad as Mr. Valley's vocals. Almost, that is! So bad--it's bad!

  8. Uh-Oh, after doing some research it seems Joah Valley's real name was Clyde Diltz; and it appears he also did some recording for the dreaded songpoems! See below for a listing of "Andrew Clyde Diltz". Awful Beatles covers and a songpoems link! It's all starting to make sense now!

    Vellez Records, P.O. Box 248, Lomita, CA
    motto: "The Songs They Play Are On Vellez"

    -- Singles --

    1404: Mickey & Margo, The Four Fellas with The Vellaires -- Hi! Honey, Baby Baby (Francis Parkins) / The Four Fellas with The Vellaires -- Hop, Skip, Jump (Andrew Clyde Diltz) (1958)

  9. Hi. Just stumbled across your great website and I too am a Beatles hound, so thanks for this. I actually prefer the most horrible covers because I can't stand the so-called good ones. I have a great mashup of the Lord Sitar and legit MMT version of "Blue Jay Way" that I'll email to you Great site! -jrsfarm'-

  10. This collection should aughto be in a new catagory; "World's BEST Beatle Covers". On account of because these are priceless gems dedicatingly dedicated to out defecate your diseased mindlessness. Why not share these songs with the world under a new light of enlightenment? Take a couple doses of Chet Baker's version of "Something" & call me in Hell.

  11. 10/17/11 wrote:
    The mysterious sitar player on "Lord Sitar" has just been revealed by a fan on You-Tube as none other than Big Jim Sullivan himself! Some "mysterious sitar player from India mistaken for George Harrison",eh? Sullivan was born in England, and had Irish ancestory within him, and was mainly a session guitarist through the 1960's-70's just trying out sitar noises spread onto three albums worth of material issued by EMI of England, with only two getting U.S. Release. Sullivan, of course was Tom Jones' main guitar player in his live concerts,often jokingly referred to by Jones as "that six-foot leprechaun with a guitar" to his audience. If you think that Sullivan/Lord Sitar was far out on Beatle covers, wait 'till you hear what he does to The Who's "I Can See For Miles!"


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