The Beatles song “With a Little Help from My Friends” has been taken to the number one spot in the UK charts on three different occassions by three different artists. Here we will take a look at the three cover versions. Better or worse than the original, decide for yourself?

When the Beatles released the album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band they were at the peak of their creative genius. Touring had long finished; the studio was where they could concentrate all their efforts on. The results were astounding. All of the songs on the album have become famous but one seems to have been covered more than any of the others.

‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ was never considered as a single by the Beatles, it was a simple song with a basic range written quite deliberately for Ringo Starr to sing. It was a song that was destined to be covered by many diverse artists but who could have predicted that it would be taken to the number one spot in the UK on three separate occasions by three different artists. Here we will take a look at the three cover version that reached the top spot.

Joe Cocker

This cover version was released the year after the original. A slower version with a different arrangement, it still managed to capture the imagination of the record buying public in the UK. Cocker’s version featured B.J. Wilson of Procul Harum and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. It reached number one in the UK on the 6th of November 1968, but was knocked off the top spot the following week. This cover version was used as the theme tune to the TV programme ‘The Wonder Years’

Wet Wet Wet

Twenty years later, the song was back at the top of the UK charts. This time it was the Scottish band Wet Wet Wet, their version was much closer to the original. Within 2 weeks of being released, on the 9th of May 1988, it had climbed to the top of the charts where it stayed for 4 weeks. The proceeds from the song were all donated to the charity Childline.

Sam and Mark

Who are Sam and Mark I hear you ask; well they were two of the finalists on the TV programme Pop Idol. They finished second and third behind the winner Michelle McManus. After the show had finished they decided to get together and form a band. They released, as their first single, the cover version of ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ in February 2004 and it raced to the top of the charts. Their music career was all down-hill from there on in. One more single was released; it did nothing, they were dropped from their record company. Nowadays they can still be found together hosting children’s TV programmes.

P.S. This article was originally published by the same author on Triond on the 27th of September 2009 and can be found by clicking HERE.