The Cringey History Of Celebs Covering Beatles Songs
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It has now been almost two years since Gal Gadot, Will Ferrell, and other international sex symbols joined forces to attempt to heal our quarantined souls via the most cringe-worthy cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" imaginable. While the song remains unmatched in the arena of terrible Lennon covers, it turns out it's not the most baffling cover of a song Lennon originally played on. Feast your eyes and ears on the most random assortment of celebrities mathematically possible singing or (mostly) pretending to sing The Beatles' "Let It Be":
George from Seinfeld? Carlton from Fresh Prince? Norm from Cheers? Bud from Married with Children? Theo from The Cosby Show? Lou Ferrigno from King of Queens (and The Incredible Hulk, we guess)? Is ... is this where old sitcom stars go when they die? Are we looking at footage of purgatory? But no, you also have Tonya Harding, Leslie Nielsen, Roger Moore, Robert "Freddy Krueger" Englund, Dolph Lundgren, Pamela Anderson, Ricki Lake, Steve Guttenberg, the band Boyzone, and Glenn Close wondering what the hell she did to get lumped in with those other guys. Who picked these people? And why are most of them, not just the Milli Vanilli guy (of course there's a Milli Vanilli guy), lip synching?
Well, it turns out the song, recently unearthed by Twitter user @kolchak, is sort of a cover of a cover. Most of the audio comes from a 1987 charity event called Ferry Aid, put together to help the families of a ferry disaster where 193 people died. This one has even less recognizable faces in it, but kinda balances that out by also including original songwriter Paul McCartney (who is clearly not in the same room or possibly country as everyone else, but still).
In 2010, a Norwegian TV show called Gylne Tider grabbed the audio from that and put together the video up there to promote their enviable roster of interviewees. They also created a lip dub version of "We Are the World" featuring the faces (but not voices) of luminaries such as Lorenzo Lamas and two of the former girls from '80s girl group Bananarama -- a fact we'll now use as an excuse to expose you to this crime against humanity:
That is Bananarama and a Bananarama parody group called Lananeeneenoonoo injecting more '80s terribleness than medically advisable into The Beatles' "Help!" while gawking at a group of male strippers, again, as part of a charity effort that was no doubt well intentioned but probably not worth the psychic damage. If that makes you uncomfortable, be thankful it's not Bill Cosby shouting his way through "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Clubs Band" while sounding like he's been dipping into his Quaalude reserves. Unfortunately, this is:
That comes from Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band, an album that sounds like a charity thing but isn't. He did it just to spite us. Of course, not all Hollywood stars turned "singers" can have the poise and dignity of William Shatner in his famous spoken rendition of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds":
Or Sean Connery (the real one, not an impersonator, although there's no practical difference) speaking the lyrics to "In My Life" in an album by Beatles producer George Martin:
While at it, we might as well throw "Little" Joe Pesci singing "Got to Get You Into Your Life" in 1968, which is actually impressive because he wasn't even famous yet. Imagine the supreme self-confidence it must have taken to release this without 50 yes-men saying stuff like "No, Gal, that's a great idea! Everyone will love it! Your head isn't up your own ass!"
And finally, to cleanse your ears and bring things full circle, here's the Red Navy Singers' rousing rendition of "Let It Be," which was probably the point when the Soviet Union decided they'd peaked and it was time to pack things up.
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Top image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons, Parlophone Records