Edward Sharpe reimagines Beatles classic

October 1, 2013
David Wexler

Community Music is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Beatles tracks from 1963 and 1964 with the launch today of Beatles Reimagined.

For Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, it’s a chance to pay tribute to a band that has influenced every member of the band. ESMZ recorded an interpretation of the classic “I Saw Her Standing There,” which was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and is the opening track on the Beatles’ debut album, “Please Please Me.”

“There has been a lot of discussion about the Beatles and the choices they made, and the songs that they write,” said the band’s manager, Bryan Ling of Community Music. “They’re one of the bands that are unanimously loved by all of the members of the band.”

“The Beatles are the band I think of the most when I’m considering if the music I’m making is good enough,” frontman Alex Ebert said.

Community Music released the project in an effort  to introduce the younger generation to older Beatles music.

“There’s been so much music since then that the younger generation may know the Beatles existed and their music existed, but are not quite familiar with their songs,” Ling said. “This project is relevant because it is hopefully going to turn the younger generation on to the classics and maybe open their ears to discovering more Beatles music.”

Music exec Owen Husney decided to take matters in his own hands when one youngster tweeted after Paul McCartney closed last year’ Grammy’s: “Who is Paul McCartney?”

“I was so angry,” Husney told Rolling Stone. “There is a whole audience born around 1990 that knows the Beatles, but is wholly unfamiliar with their writing.”

Husney teamed up with a small music publisher, Round Hill Music, and Herb Jorda, CEO of the Adage Group, an intellectual property rights firm. They bought the rights to six early Beatles songs that were previously held  by the Pincus family, including “She Loves You” and “All My Loving.”

Ebert was approached about the idea of the cover album by music producer Tim Anderson, guitarist from Ebert’s band Ima Robot.

“The discussion went further about how to release it and Alex and I said he we would be happy to put it out through Community Music,” Ling said.

Community Music is releasing the album through its charitable wing, Community Projects, with 100% of the net proceeds benefiting Rock N’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles.

Community Music says these new interpretations are not simply covers, but have acts “reinvisioning the songs in their own unique language and sounds from acoustic folk, new-wave, and downtempo through retro pop and new-rock.”

“We told any band or artist that wanted to be a part of it that they had to reimagine it,” Ling said. “It couldn’t be just a straight cover.”

Of the six Beatles song that were available to record, Edward Sharpe liked “I Saw Her Standing There” the best. The song, released in March 1963, was named No. 140 on the Rolling Stones Greatest Songs of All Time list.

ESMZ recorded their interpretation of song in Ojai, Calif.

“We had just recently been in Nashville at some bar behind the Grand Ole Opry and saw a band play there – older guys, just singing it straight and narrow,” Ebert told Rolling Stone. “It was that sort of no-frills thing that middle-aged country musicians who can play their asses off do. . . . Something about it made an impression on me – something about the simplicity of it, almost a happenstance feel.

“Later we were in the studio recording an album . . . I thought ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ would be a fun song to do,” Ebert added. “We learned the song by listening to it a couple times. . . . We decided to do it in that same un-trying way, same as that night in Nashville, just everybody playing at once straight down the line, nothing special – and that’s part of why it was so fun to do.”

Beatles Reimagined features covers from 10 bands, including indie bands Badwolf, Adventure Gallery and the Well Pennies. It also includes Mobley’s version of “From Me To You,” which has been picked up for this season of HBO’s True Blood.

“There’s an electronic element, electronic songs, real stripped-down folky songs and each one of them,” Ling said. “The heart of what I believe was happening with lyrics and melodies still exists in a lot of these interpretations. But they are that – fully their own visions of these songs. You can expect to be surprised.”


1. All My Loving – The Well Pennies
2. From Me To You – Mobley
3. Misery – Feverbody
4. I Saw Her Standing There – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
5. I Wanna Be Your Man – Night Panther
6. I Feel Fine – Jhameel
7. There’s A Place – Leftover Cuties
8. She Loves You – Badwolf
9. Please Please Me – Adventure Galley
10. And I Love Her – Doom & Gloom

11. There’s A Place – Brett (iTunes Exclusive)

12. I Wanna Be Your Man – Gypsy Death Star (iTunes Exclusive)

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