The Frankie Machine MP3 Blog of Choice

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Better Beatles

The Beatles? Commonly held to be the best pop band the planet has ever produced? So what could be better than The Beatles?

The Better Beatles of course. Again a band I know nothing about, except Lord Google tells me they came from Omaha and released one 7" single on Woodgrain Records in 1980.

In the mid 90's John Peel did a couple of shows on Radio 1 dedicated solely to cover versions and that's where I first heard their mental yet brilliant version of Penny Lane (and indeed the version of Penny Lane here is ripped from that tape - the version of I'm Down was ripped from a streaming radio show on the web).

Rather than try to match the melody of the originals, these versions reinvent the tunes with nagging hooks, chanted vocals and rudimentary keyboard riffs until they are almost MORE catchy than the Fab Four could have ever hoped for. You can imagine that Lennon would have loved them but Macca just doesn't get it and looks on disapprovingly..

I have a vague memory that Peel mentioned there were other similar releases from the same ensemble under names such as The Better Rolling Stones etc. I'd love to track down more of this stuff..

Covering The Beatles is generally asking for trouble - doing them BETTER is a tall order. So with brave abandon the challenge was met. In victory here are the Better Beatles.

Better Beatles - Penny Lane
Better Beatles - I'm Down


  • At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Francis,
    when you heard the Better Beatles it was not the first radio airplay. It must have been in the early 80's when i heard John Peels
    music and he played two or three tracks of a complete record of the Better Beatles. He also told the listeners an address to write to were they possibly had the chance to get a copy of it. Sadly i didn't have this on tape and i'm searching for the record now for over twenty years.
    I never liked the music of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones but the cover versions of the Better Beatles are simply great !!

  • At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Jean pSmith said…

    Thanks for posting this. It is due to the enthusiasm of bloggers and their readers- that we former Better Beatles are currently discussing the possibility of a release of some material we recorded in the same session.
    Hey- maybe a Better Beatles reunion! Ahhhaaahaaahaa!

    If this happens I'll be sure to let you know!

  • At 2:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    yo this shit is tit. they should be banned from using the name beatles in there name.

  • At 11:43 PM, Blogger Luke said…

    Hook or Crook Records just put a 10 song reissue LP of Better Beatles called "Mercy Beat"

  • At 4:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jesus Christ. I came across the 10 track EP Mercy Beat and couldn't think of anyone who could possibly enjoy it. It seemed like a joke at first. You sir, are fucking whacked.


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