The Beatles are a band so synonymous with pop music there we’re betting that a large chunk of the world’s population has had a go at singing one of their songs—and it’s not reserved for the public either, as even famous Hollywood actors can be inspired.
One of The Beatles most well-known songs, ‘I am The Walrus’, has been covered many times and has long been a track that critics love to try to unpick. It was, perhaps most notably, covered by the likes of Britpop icons Oasis who carried the song as part of their live set for a number of years.
Written by John Lennon in an attempt to deliberately confuse his audience, the exact inspiration for the song may well be lost to the ether, if not deliberately constructed from there, but that hasn’t stopped the song acting as one in a long line of influential tracks from John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Their influence truly knows no bounds.
In 1998, ‘fifth Beatle’ Sir George Martin produced the album In My Life, a record comprised largely of Beatles covers from various different artists, in a sort of tribute to the band. One of the more notable names on there Sean Connery lends his voice to the title track In My Life with a quite ludicrous result. Other names include the likes of Robin Williams, Celine Dion, Billy Connolly and Phil Collins appeared on drums. It’s a star-studded set.
The record, looking back, seems a strange culmination of artists with a mixture of actors, comedians and pop aficionados. Not your average tribute but perhaps a fitting reminder of the wide-ranging impact The Beatles had on the world. Whether a musician or a comedian or indeed a Hollywood star, chances are the Fab four showed you the way.
The compilation album was received with mixed reviews as Sarah Zupko, of PopMatters, once wrote: “[Martin] has chosen to go out with a whimper instead of a bang” and of the album in general, added: “I don’t really have to tell you that Goldie Hawn impersonating a chanteuse on ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ or Sean Connery literally reading ‘In My Life’ is an embarrassing display, do I?”
Out of this mixed bag of artists came the great Jim Carrey. Long before he became a bastion of free-speech and free-thinking Carrey was just your run of the mill Hollywood superstar. In 1998, in fact, he was about the hottest actor on the planet. Even for George Martin, it was a bit of coup.
In a clip captured for the making of the album, we get a performance that can only be described as quintessential Carrey as he embodies the Walrus just like he embodies any character that he takes on. Short of around 200kg in blubber and tusks, Carrey does a stand-up job of emulating the lumbering sea mammal.
Those to have seen his portrayal of Andy Kaufman, and the subsequent documentary that was released later, will show Carrey’s method acting knows no bounds—as you can see in his very special rendition of I Am the Walrus. Whether or not he brought in a bucket of fish to help he seal the character, we will never know, but at least we have this visual representation of one of the weirder moment sin Beatles history.