Without The Beatles, the face of British music would look terrifyingly different without their presence, and two people that owe a great deal to the Fab four are Paul Weller and Damon Albarn, who once teamed up to cover ‘Blackbird’.
The Merseysiders were Weller’s first introduction to music filled with authenticity, and they opened his eyes to a bright new world after he bought Sgt. Peppers. The former Jam leader appreciated how they’d shaved off their whiter-than-white image by making an unapologetic ascend into manhood.
Speaking to The Guardian, Weller said: “As a small kid, they were the first group to make me sit up and take notice of their songs. I guess I really started to check them out in ’63 or ’64. I was six years old. Their music had always been on around the house, but that was the first time I got to know all their names”.
Weller added: “I became a total Beatles fanatic. I loved everything about them – their clothes, their music and, when I was a little older, their attitude. I wanted to know all of John’s thoughts – on religion, politics, pop culture, young people, whatever. The first time I saw them was on TV at a Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium”.
In 1995, Weller even recruited Paul McCartney to record a version of ‘Come Together’ alongside Noel Gallagher, Steve Cradock, Steve White, and Carleen Anderson as the Smokin’ Mojitos, which was a dream come true for the Style Council founder. Furthermore, he was even afforded the chance to share the stage with McCartney years later at the Royal Albert Hall to perform Beatles classic ‘Get Back’ with the assistance of Ronnie Wood and Roger Daltrey, in aid of charity Teenage Cancer Trust.
Albarn, meanwhile, is yet another artist in debt to The Beatles, and in 2014, he spoke about how the current generation of pop artists are doing a disservice to their great work. “It’s a shame because the three-minute pop song was such a great way to express discontent. But we have allowed our pop music to become dumber,” Albarn explained. “You have to look to the margins for a lot of the really interesting stuff. With the mainstream, it’s like we’ve gone back to showbusiness again. It’s a pop landscape that exists like Dylan and the Beatles never happened, never mind the Specials”.
The two joined during a charity concert at the Koninklijk Theater Carré in Amsterdam alongside the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, and they performed a heart-melting rendition of ‘Blackbird’ from The White Album. Once you consider how much the group mean to both men involved, the gravitas of their cover is only heightened further.
See the clip, below.