Words by Dwellephant
Last week, while listening to J. Period’s latest, incredible, and FREE mixtape, I heard two versions of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” that I didn’t know existed. And for as much as I love The Beatles’ version of their own song, I think these two cover versions steal it away.
First up is Ray Charles’ version. He takes The Beatles tightly orchestrated tune and loosens the screws a bit, giving the sound a looser, freer feel, like it was meant to come out of HIS mouth all along. You can find an MP3 of it on Ray’s long sought-after 1968 album, A Portrait of Ray, but nothing beats the sheer coolness of this live performance on Dick Cavett’s show:
Up next? Queen Aretha Franklin. If you thought Ray brought a little soul to the tune, just wait until you hear/see this. She abandons the original’s slowed-down melancholy, and charges full-steam ahead. You can find it on countless greatest hits compilations, or the fantastic 1970 recording, The Girl’s In Love With You. We’ll be watching a video, though, because watching her belt this out while playing piano floors me every time: