Cover Me: McLemore Ave. as a Funeral March

The fine people over at Cover Me Songs have published my most recent essay. This one looks at the full-album cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road by Booker T. and the MGs, called McLemore Ave. They managed to release this album just eight months after the original. My thesis is that the artistry of this album from its name to its imagery to its music is like a funeral for The Beatles and for the Sixties. Here is a sample:

Like a funeral, McLemore Avenue takes you on a journey through the emotions of grief, fear, and celebration of life. And at the exact moment that the music world—and the world in general—was encountering these emotions, Booker T. & the MGs offered a tribute to serve as the processional.

There are scores of Beatles covers, as their music has been inspirational to generations of artists. However, given the Fab Four’s love for music by black artists from the ’50s and ’60s, covers by some of these artists are among the most intriguing. A few years ago, Cover Me Songs also did a feature on a Beatles covers compilation by soul and R&B artists.

I’m also partial when it comes to the legendary Aretha Franklin belting out “Eleanor Rigby” on her 1971 Filmore West live album.


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