During their baptism-by-fire apprenticeship in Liverpool and Hamburg, the Beatles were omnivorous when it came to repertoire. They learned hundreds of songs in order to keep their sets—which, in Hamburg, were multi-hour marathons—fresh. Fast-forward a few years, and the equation had flipped: the entire world was covering the Beatles, who, in no time flat, had become, as Nik Cohn sagely wrote, “the largest phenomenon that pop had ever coughed up.” Thus they remain. And so, with a revamped version of the final Beatles movie streaming this weekend (Peter Jackson’s Get Back, fashioned from footage shot in 1969 during the making of Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Let It Be), here are the Beatles, who delighted in playing the songs of others, as played by a panoply of artists, both renowned and virtually unknown.
Mark Rozzo is an Editor at Large for AIR MAIL