We all love The Beatles. Well, most of us, as music fans, at least appreciate them. And of course the majority of us will be happy to sing along at the top of our lungs on a night like the three Please PleaseRock Me (from the lads who brought you Y-O-U and other PleaseRock goodies) has created for Smith’s Olde Bar.
We asked the group to tell us about their favorite Beatles tunes, but first, singer Nick Niespodziani gave us this brief introduction:
First an explanation: Please PleaseRock Me won’t be a traditional Beatles “tribute” band – we won’t be dressing up like the Beatles. With the exception of my unfortunate resemblance to John Lennon (unfortunate because I’ve wanted to be exactly him my entire life), we don’t look like the Beatles.
But we can sound like the Beatles – and we can sound like other bands as well. Which is why we’re not only doing verbatim Beatles versions of songs, but also famous covers of Beatles tunes (think Joe Cocker’s “Little Help From My Friends”), our own versions of Beatles songs, and any songs the Beatles did in other bands or in their solo careers. So we’ve got lots of options!
Nicholas Niespodziani (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards): The pop perfection of “She Loves You” captures an enthusiasm for life that can defeat the bluest of the Blue Meanies. Hooks flow from lead vocals to backing vocals to drums to guitar, showcasing the Beatles’ effortless genius. Every time I hear it I want to jump out of my own skin, fly in a glorious burning rocket ship to the moon of harmonic perfection where daisies chime in the wind, and land screaming at the top of my lungs… perfectly in tune.
Peter Olson (Bass, Vocals): I don’t know that I can pinpoint exactly what draws me to “Dear Prudence,” but it became one of my favorites on my first listen when I was in high school. The wistful drone of the picked guitar part and the descending bass line are definitely two of the sonic attractions for me. Not to mention, the lines “The sun is up/The sky is blue/It’s beautiful/And so are you” landed it as the opening track on the first mix-tape that I ever made for my wife. Oh, hopeless romanticism. Guilty.
Mark Cobb (Drums, Vocals): My favorite Beatles song as a drummer would have to be “Rain.” No other drummer back then would have made the decisions Ringo made in the studio with his choice of fills and playing around with the tempo the way he did. It might not be the most memorable or emotionally charged Beatles song, but it’s one of the most inspiring as a drummer to listen to.Greg Lee (Guitar, Vocals, Percussion, Keyboards): “I’m Only Sleeping” is a great example of the depth of range in Lennon’s songwriting and vocal performance. It shows how sophisticated an image he could create by marrying the music and the subject brilliantly. He sings about how treasured an escape he’s having by dreaming, and pleading with the world to not break the spell, and the band pleads right along with him. Some of the best sounds the boys ever created, surely.
David Freeman (Horns, Keyboards, Vocals): The high school jazz band played “Hey Jude” when I was in elementary school, and I was instantly hooked on playing an instrument. Hearing that song was a huge first step in my musical career.
Mark Bencuya (Keyboards, Vocals): I always dug “Sexy Sadie” for the circling chord progression. I can listen to that song for an hour straight and stay entertained. It’s a combination of the awesome piano sound, ethereal background vocals, intimate vibe plus one very bitter John Lennon. There’s nothing else like it on any of their records and it remains a favorite of mine since childhood. I used to listen to it over and over again while looking at all of the snazzy Beatles’ portraits that came inside the original vinyl of the White Album.
Mark Dannells (Guitar, Vocals): “Tomorrow Never Knows” might not be their best song in the traditional sense, but it’s a landmark work for record production and its use of non-musical elements in the pop idiom. Things we take for granted today such as drum loops and sampling all have their roots in the recording of this mind-f$#k of a song. Main engineer Geoff Emerick pretty much broke every rule of standard recording to capture the sounds in the band’s collective chemically altered minds. On the other hand, it is probably indirectly responsible for me having to listen to 7 hours of straight techno by the pool at our hotel in Cabo San Lucas…