Updated: Jun 4, 2021
50 years of the best Beatles-like music tracks from DJ Andy Bargerstock. You will hear contributions from bands like Green Pajamas (image), The Apples in Stereo, Claypool Lennon Delirium, Emit Rhodes, Klaatu, Lucy Schwartz, Idle Race, Nick Nicely, and Cotton Mather. Couldn't find Spotify tracks for two songs: "Tomorrow Drop Dead" by Fraternal Order of the All, and "I'd Rather Be Out in the Rain" by Shadow Kabinet.
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(material below from DJ Andy's article printed with permission from Iowa Source Magazine)
Ever since I listened to a radio program in 1966 that predicted the Beatles would transform the direction of popular music, I’ve searched for choice tracks of Beatlesque music as a way of acknowledging their influence. With the recent discoveries of a few more tracks, I created a shared Spotify list called “Beatlesque—Fringe Toast style.” All but two of the songs are available on Spotify. These are not Beatles' cover songs but music that sounds as though it could have been performed by the Fab Four.
“Tomorrow Drop Dead” by the Fraternal Order of the All (1997) features the songwriting, instrumental, and vocal talents of American Andrew Gold on a variation of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” In addition to this song, his album Greetings From Planet Love includes psychedelic tracks that echo other ’60s groups, such as the Moody Blues and the Byrds.
“Emma Is Crying” by the Green Pajamas (1997) is a purely magical musical tour. I love its Lennon-like vocals and Ringo-inspired percussion. I’ve always wondered why this very talented band with Seattle-based frontman Jeff Kelly never signed a major record deal—even after 33 studio albums.
“Strawberryfire” by the Apples in Stereo (1999) echoes “Strawberry Fields,” as you may have guessed. The Denver-based band is led by vocalist, guitarist, and producer Robert Schneider, who in 2018 received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Emory University.
“Flying” by Strawberry Walrus (2008) is an instrumental track that begins exactly like the Beatles song and then moves into a very pleasant electronic wash for a minute and a half. “Flying” is from a mediocre band that released a number of albums inspired by the Fab 4.
“Blood and Rockets: Movement I, Saga of Jack Parsons / Movement II, Too the Moon” by the Claypool Lennon Delirium (2019). Wow! What a tribute to John Lennon’s influence. From the wonderful collaboration between bassist/ vocalist Les Claypool and guitarist/vocalist Sean Lennon (John’s son), this track ends in a way similar to the final fading minutes of “She’s So Heavy.”
“Side We Seldom Show” by Emitt Rhodes (1970). Released while the Beatles were still together, this song exhibits a well-crafted Paul McCartney sound, one for which Rhodes won acclaim. Rhodes passed away in 2020 at the age of 70. Consider watching the 2009 documentary on him called The One Man Beatles.
“Kiss Them for Me” by Siouxsie and the Banshees (1991) features the epic talents of the UK’s Susan Janet Ballion (a.k.a. Siouxsie Sioux), whom some regard as among the most influential rock artists worldwide since 1976, when she founded her band. This song’s musical arrangement includes signature percussion, Indian sitar, and George Martin-like production flourishes.
“Sub Rosa Subway” and “Doctor Marvello” by Klaatu (1976), from their 3:47 EST album. Back in the day, many people speculated that this band was really the Beatles. However, they were a Canadian band featuring the duo John Woloschuk and Dee Long. The band was named after the alien in the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
“Captain Sunshine” by Lucy Schwartz (2013). Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Lucy Schwartz put out this track on her CD Timekeeper. Sink into the last half of the song with its horn section, choral harmonies, and McCartney-like song structure. I like to think of its fading violin pizzicato as a nod to George Martin.
“My Before and After,” “Homefront Cameo,” and “Private Ruth (acoustic version)” by Cotton Mather, from the 1997 album Kontiki. This band started in 1990 as an experimental duo on guitar and cello. They evolved into a four-piece rock group centered on the creative talents of Austin-based musician Robert Harrison. The band’s name comes from the famous 18th-century Puritan preacher.
“I’d Rather Be Out In The Rain” by the Shadow Kabinet, from the 2004 CD Hark!). This little-known band featuring the UK’s Steve Somerset is a splendid discovery from the McCartney side of Beatle-like compositions. If you like what you hear, check out their CD Smiling Worlds Apart (2008) for similar compositions.
“Morning Sunshine” by the Idle Race (1968). Jeff Lynne wrote this song during his years with the Idle Race before he founded the band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). In this song, you can hear the Beatles influence that carried over to some of ELO’s music.
“Hilly Fields” by Nick Nicely (1982). This track is classic Nick Nicely, an English composer of psychedelic and electronic music. Find the best version on Nick’s 2004 CD Psychotropia. Listen closely to the George Martin-like cello throughout the track and the first-ever use of tape-scratching on a non-hip-hop record.