Stepping back into the Far Out Magazine vault, we’re revisiting a moment when The Beatles performed an impromptu cover version of Elvis Presley’s hit song ‘Blue Moon’.
Recorded during a session for the White Album in September 1968, the version includes three Beatles; John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr as they attempted to lay down a rendition of their song ‘I Will’. The same recording session included versions of ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, ‘Los Paranoias’ and ‘Step Inside Love’.
With McCartney on lead vocals, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that his mind would wander across to ‘Blue Moon’ while recording ‘I Will’ given the backstory of the Beatles track. While scribing the lyrics, McCartney once recalled that while he was in India, he and Donovan had written a set of lyrics with a “moon theme” before later changing them to “very simple words, straight love-song words.”
With Ringo playing the snare rim, Lennon joins in with the same woodblocks the band used while recording ‘I Will’ and, in doing so, created a typically unique rendition of a song that was made famous by Elvis. While ‘Blue Moon’ was originally written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, Elvis’ 1954 rendition of the track propelled its notoriety when it remained in the charts for seventeen weeks.
The international recognition and major commercial success, however, first came in 1961 when doo-wop group The Marcels took it to number one in the charts—a move which further benefitted Elvis’ version as he toured the track as part of his setlist for years to come.
Below, enjoy a rare version from the Fab Three… on this occasion and notice the similarities to ‘I Will’ with the video further down.