Ten Versions Of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” Every Music Fan Should Hear
Will the real Lucy step down from the sky please?
On this week in 1975 Elton John started a two week run at number one with his version of The Beatles "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". John Lennon even contributed backing vocals and guitar to a song he co-wrote with Paul McCartney back in 1967.
As if the song itself weren't entertaining enough there is the story behind it. That story has been the subject of speculation and mystery for years. It was allegedly inspired by John's son Julian who brought home a drawing from nursery school one day called "Lucy - in the sky with diamonds". It wasn't long before fans - possibly the same ones who enjoyed playing records in reverse and finding secret messages - picked up on the fact that the first letter of the words of the song title spelled out "LSD". John denied that he had intended it to be a drug song but he did admit to being inspired to write it while on an LSD trip. He also took inspiration from the Alice in Wonderland books by author Lewis Carroll.
Elton's version of "Lucy" is easily the most successful of all them but it's far from the only one. In fact, there are some really good ones out there. There are some really bad ones too. Let's take a trip and listen to some of them now shall we?
Ah yes, the great William Shatner's version from 1968. The song starts off nice enough with some female singers and a solid band. Then Bill Shatner starts.....talking? It's so bad it's great.
Now that Elton John version from '75. Elton called the Beatles version "one of the best songs ever written". John Lennon appears on the track but he was credited under the pseudonym Dr. Winston O'Boogie. Winston, if you didn't know, was Lennon's middle name.
Here is a beautiful rendition of "Lucy" from The London Symphony Orchestra. How amazing would it have sounded if The Fab Four got together with the LSO and recorded this song together?
The Beatles influence has reached many musicians from all backgrounds. Here Natalie Cole shows that her legendary father Nat King Cole's jazz roots weren't the only part of her DNA. Clearly she tripped out to some Beatles albums in her day.
The Hooters became famous in the 80s for hit songs "All You Zombies" and "And We Danced". Here they perform a live cover of "Lucy" and come up with some amazing results.
Leave it to Frank Zappa to incorporate the beautifully crafted music of The Beatles music into a scathing Jimmy Swaggart song. Zappa pointed out the hypocrisy of the shamed evangelist Swaggart with a medley he performed live. The "Lucy" portion went under the title "Louisiana Hooker with Herpes". Hilarious and well-deserved.
Chris and Rich Robinson may not be able to make sweet harmony as brothers but they have proven they can do it in the studio. Here's a Black Crowes version of "Lucy" coming from the "I Am Sam" soundtrack.
U2's Bono and The Edge teamed up for this beautifully haunting version of "Lucy". This one comes from the soundtrack to a British-American film called "Across The Universe".
If you're a Cheap Trick fan you know how important The Beatles are to their sound. In 2009 the band showed their appreciation to The Fab Four by recording and releasing a concert entirely devoted to The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album called "Sgt. Pepper Live". Here is their version of "Lucy". It's so good you'll forget it's a live recording.
We finish out this list of "Lucy" covers with Pink who I am still hoping that she one day shelves her "pop" label and forms an all-out rock band. This woman can belt out the notes as good as any female rocker in classic rock history. Here she does a cover of The Beatles song for a Netflix series called "The Beat Bugs".