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Freaky Friday: Elliott Smith covers The Beatles' 'Yer Blues' off the 'White Album'

by Caitlin Carter   Nov 22, 2013 15:00 PM EST

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At Music Times, we love a good cover song. There's something wonderful about repurposing music and essentially bringing life to another creation. Music is not a rigid and inflexible product but rather a malleable one that allows songs to take on a new life as others reimagine it. Nothing gets a crowd more excited than seeing one of their favorite bands cover one of their favorite songs. The cover song makes music accessible to new audiences, and spreading music is what we are all about.
Welcome to Freak Friday. Each week we highlight a new cover song that we're crazy about. Have suggestions? Send them our way! This week, we give you...

Song: "Yer Blues”
Cover Artist: Elliott Smith
Original Artist: The Beatles

Why We Love it: Today is the 45th anniversary of The Beatles’ White Album. We wanted to pick a cover song from that album that wasn’t necessarily their biggest hit. Elliott Smith took on a cover of “Yer Blues” in 2001 at a show at Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon. He was struggling deeply with drug addiction at the time, making his rendition of the song take on even more meaning with the words “Yes, I’m lonely / Wanna Die.”

Background: “Yer Blues” was featured on side three of the album and was written by John Lennon while in India (although McCartney was credited on the song, too). It is considered Lennon’s most emotionally revealing moment on the White Album. It also came a time when the media was debating the authenticity of white men singing the blues, so the song is also partly satirical.

About the song, Lennon noted “In Yer Blues, when I wrote, 'I'm so lonely I want to die,' I'm not kidding. That's how I felt.” Ringo Starr mentioned the song as one of the best on the album, “Yer Blues, on the White Album, you can't top it. It was the four of us. That is what I'm saying: it was really because the four of us were in a box, a room about eight by eight, with no separation. It was this group that was together; it was like grunge rock of the sixties, really — grunge blues.”

Check out the Elliott Smith cover and compare it to the original here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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