Tag: the Beatles

21: Rock on Strings

I always liked songs with special arrangements. For example, rock versions of classical pieces, like Bouree by Jethro Tull:

Or, how about this (Hall of The Mountain King by Apocalyptica)?:

But today I’m in a more romantic mood and this takes me to songs with a (predominantly) string arrangement – songs that use only or mainly string instruments as their accompaniment. These songs have a beautiful, melodious sound and give a bit of a sense of classical romantic music. So here are some examples:

We start with the great Beatles. Here are three of their greatest hits, all with a beautiful string arrangement. You surely (should) know these songs. You have heard them a million times. If you haven’t, you must be very, very, very young and shame on you. But did you pay attention to the accompaniment? Here is your chance. Try to focus on the arrangement, rather than the lyrics:

First, Yesterday:

Next, Eleanor Rigby:

And finally, She’s Leaving Home:


The eternal Beatles taught us everything in pop/rock. Even how to use string arrangements.

Now, we take this concept to the next level in scale. Not just a string quartet but a whole orchestra string section. The Israeli pop/rock singer Yehudit Ravitz with a powerful performance of End of the Story (סוף לסיפור). Again, pay attention to the accompaniment:


There are many covers to Queen’s super song and super hit – Bohemian Rhapsody. I would never have believed it’s possible to render a good cover of this song using a string quartet, but I was proven wrong:

And last, we go to something minimalist and unique. A very unusual artist and unusual accompaniment. Joanna Newsom singing Leaving the City, accompanying herself with a harp:

Hmmm. So special. She reminds me a lot of Kate Bush.

So here we are. Rock/Pop songs with string arrangements. I’m sure there are many more beautiful examples. Can you share?

9: I Saw Them Playing There

I always thought the Beatles were the greatest pop/rock band ever. I still think so. Yes, today much of their work sounds naive and sort of silly/childish. But back then they were by far the trail blazers. They didn’t just bring a new style of singing. They defined a whole new culture. Only people, who grew up with the Beatles, can understand and appreciate their groundbreaking work. And I’m not even talking about their commercial success, still unrivaled to this day.

I am generally not a big fan of covers of great originals. If the original performance was good, any cover just “kills the fun” for me. No wonder then that I am even less excited about covers of Beatles songs. How dare somebody imitate the Fab Four? But as time goes by, here and there I encounter a nice surprise – a cover of a Beatles song that I actually like. Here is one I “discovered” just a few days ago.

I was watching A Musicares Tribute to Paul McCartney. One of the songs there really made me jump up and dance, more even than the Beatles’ original performance. Neil Young and Crazy Horse doing I Saw Her Standing There.


I am generally not a big fan of Neil Young either. I just don’t like his high-pitched and nosy voice. But here it worked great. The band just felt down to earth, unpretentious, having fun. Felt more like a bunch of people in a bar just standing up and having some improvised fun. The performance wasn’t the cleanest and highest quality but they produced a great sound and rhythm. You just have to get up and dance. Good job guys.