Eleanor Rigby does not immediately seem like the kind of song which would sound good as a cover version, but this fantastic version by Oscar Peterson proves otherwise. It opens with a simply heavenly string sequence from Claus Ogerman. Then Peterson’s gentle and percussive piano comes in backed with an driving bossa nova guitar and a huge, rich string arrangement. The tempo then switches over to a more jazzy style with a walking bass.
12 Feb 02 ·n-jeff: For a version on another tack theres Enoch Lights' (I can't remember if its from Spaced Out or Brass Menagerie 73). But its a cracker. Driving bass, swinging horns and electric guitar taking it to a whole groovy level the Beatles wouldn't imagined for their ballad.
What can be said about this? Long before Tony was on MTV Unplugged, he tried this misguided attempt to 'get hip with the kids'. Funny thing is, I love it. He doesn't sing this so much as emote it. It's reminiscent of some of Shatner's finer moments. I should also note that the album is worth seeking out for the uber-psychedelic cover art alone.
from Tony Bennett Sings the Great Hits of Today (Columbia)
I couldn't possibly say that this is the best version of the old MacLen chestnut (there are simply too many of them out there for me to ever hear them all), but it probably qualifies as one of the most original. Hyman's virtuoso keyboard skills were already quite reknowned, but on this album he tackled an entirely different animal...the harpsichord. On this track, he starts out using the harpsichord in a very conventional fashion, performing a baroque solo. About two-thirds of the way into the song, however, comes a drastic slowing of the tempo, the bass & drums come in and it mutates into a jazz trio arrangement! He even plays solos on the 'chord that make it sound like a Hammond organ...absolutely amazing!! Much of this album is rather difficult to listen to, but when it's good, it's sublime.