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Beatles covers

BEATLEMANIA HISTORY MONTH: With the news that Warner Bros.' Gary Clark Jr. will bring some Blues-Soul fire to the upcoming Grammy Beatles tribute special (on which he'll perform "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl)—and since February marks not only the anniversary of the Fabs' U.S. arrival but also Black History Month—it seems an opportune time to note that some of our all-time favorite Beatles covers come from artists who emerged from the Soul/R&B world. A few examples: Stevie Wonder's exuberant "We Can Work It Out," Wilson Pickett's rapturously gritty "Hey Jude," Al Green's driving transformation of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," Otis Redding's steamrolling "Day Tripper," Ray Charles' exquisite "The Long and Winding Road," Aretha Franklin's transcendent "Let It Be," virtual Beatle Billy Preston's barnstorming "Get Back," Ike & Tina Turner's lethally sleek "Come Together" and of course Earth Wind and Fire's wildly ambitious, jazzy scrambling of "Got to Get You Into My Life." Then there's the Macklemore Avenue album, in which the Stax house band Booker T & The MG's brings the (instrumental) funk to Abbey Road and a handful of other Lennon-McCartney chestnuts. Check 'em out as you ride the nostalgia wave this weekend, which of course will culminate with Neil and Ken's Sunday night CBS special. (2/6p)

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