Covering the Beatles

by Chris Bertram on December 22, 2005

Here’s a pointer to a piece of music that’s generating a lot a chatter here in the UK but which isn’t commercially available yet. I’ve listened a couple of times and I’m not entirely sure what I think (except that it is unusual enough to be worth a blog post). The song in question is Wyckham Porteous’s cover of the Beatles’ Please Please Me: very slowed down, semi-spoken, country-style arrangement (steel guitar). Bob Harris has been playing it on BBC Radio 2, as have Mark Lamarr and Jonathan Ross. It is currently available via the “Listen Again feature of Bob Harris’s Friday Show”: , but you need to use the +5 and +15 features of the BBC Radio Player to scroll through to about 1h 17 or so (you can use the “music played list”: on Harris’s website to help you find the right place). Porteous’s own website is “here”: .



brendan 12.22.05 at 6:41 am

Everyone knows the best ever Beatles cover is ‘The Beatles Play the Residents and the Residents Play the Beatles’.


KCinDC 12.22.05 at 10:05 am

I don’t understand why the BBC imposes that crippled interface on listeners. A direct link to the RealAudio file allows you to use the normal RA controls and thus advance to 1:17 without being limited to 5- and 15-minute jumps.


harry b 12.22.05 at 10:19 am

kcindc — how the hell did you do that?


riffle 12.22.05 at 10:58 am

Or using this link (it should stream via rtsp) you can listen to the file in your very own computer’s standalone Real player (or realAlternative). Or possibly download it.



KCinDC 12.22.05 at 11:20 am

I looked in the HTML source of the frame and found the URL. It turns out that link is in a noscript tag, so it presumably shows up if you disable JavaScript, which might be easier in this case than searching through the source.


KCinDC 12.22.05 at 11:24 am

Since I use Firefox on Linux, I’ve become used to finding ways to get to audio and video content that’s been gratuitously locked up behind embedded interfaces that don’t work on my platform, when a simple link would have worked fine.


wcw 12.22.05 at 2:27 pm

Back on topic, not having heard the tune, I can already say that it meets what I consider to be one of the two only justifications for recording a cover song: it must be either much, much better than the original, or very, very different. This one is unlikely to be the former, since after all Please Please Me is from back when the Beatles were still young, fun and good, but per the description certainly fits the latter.

Note that I am a big fan of live covers. This is about recordings. Call it the “Pat Boone” law.


vasi 12.22.05 at 4:17 pm

The Mac version of RealPlayer allows you to right-click (or control-click) on any player embedded in a website and choose “Play in RealPlayer”. RealPlayer opens, and you get all the normal controls. The start time is about 1:17:45.


Brian 12.23.05 at 3:40 am

As others have pointed out, there are easier methods to use. Most plugins have right-click (or ctrl-click) menus that allow access to other options, although some content providers disable these menus, the @#$%^!

This URL starts RealPlayer as Bob is introducing the song.



Chris Bertram 12.23.05 at 5:30 am

I’m pretty sure that the feed will lapse at midnight tonight: that’s 00.00 GMT on 24 December 2005. Adjust for timezone as appropriate.


Tom Parmenter 12.27.05 at 6:15 pm

Missed it. Does this cover get into the interpretation that the song is about oral sex?

Last night I said these words to my girl,
I know you never even try, girl,
Please please me, whoa yeah, like I please you.

You don’t need me to show the way, love.
Why do I always have to say “love,”
Please please me, whoa yeah, like I please you.

I don’t wanna sound complainin’,
But you know there’s always rain in my heart (in my heart).
I do all the pleasin’ with you, it’s so hard to reason
With you, whoah yeah, why do you make me blue.

Last night I said these words to my girl,
I know you never even try, girl,
Please please me, whoa yeah, like I please you.

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