Beatles cover compilations are a dime a dozen, but the world of Beatles tributes and novelty records has only recently started appearing in cd compilations, with the likes of Better Than The Beatles on Knight Records (not to be confused with the Shaggs tribute, also called Better Than the Beatles) and now Beatlemaniacs!!! The World Of Beatles Novelty Records on Ace Records.
There is some duplication between Better Than The Beatles and Beatlemaniacs, but seeing as how Better Than The Beatles is no longer available and was most likely a bootleg, Beatlemaniacs stands on its own as an incredible document of a time when The Beatles swept the world with their sound and influence. The liner notes alone to Beatlemaniacs are worth checking out for Beatles and 60s music fans, since they are so finely detailed.
Beatlemaniacs is filled with tributes to the fab four in a variety of genres, including the girl group sound, girl folk, 60s psychedelia, beat music and doo-wop. Ace has even included a couple of covers (probably of artists they have cd compilations from). Some of the best, most exuberant, and compelling tributes come from the girl groups and girl folk singers. Many of these were one-offs or singers trying to make a break in the business.
- I'll Let You Hold My Hand - The Bootles (1964) - this is a one-off girl group record on the GNP Crescendo label with a groovy handclapping sound.
- We Love The Beatles (Beatlemania) - The Vernons Girls (1963) - a UK girl group featuring Samantha Jones, who later followed in Dusty Springfield's footsteps, while some of her best work were jingles for Ford automobiles. Here the girls do it up novelty style, with over the top Brit accents.
- The Beatles Are In Town - The Fondettes (1964) - another one-off girl group on the Arhoolie label, which was actually best known for blues artists like Lowell Folsom or Lightnin' Hopkins, proving that pretty much everybody jumped into the Beatles foray.
- Only Seventeen - The Beattle-Ettes (1964) - an early girl group tune written and produced by George "Shadow" Morton, before he worked with The Shangri-Las. Something he won't wholly admit to doing when recounting his life story.
- John, You Went Too Far This Time - Rainbo (1968) - aka Sissy Spacek, here trying her hand at the folk sound circa the John Lennon/Yoko Ono Two Virgins nude album cover scandal.
- What's Wrong With Ringo? - The Bon Bons (1964) - a Coral label girl group, questioning why Ringo doesn't sing, but that doesn't matter to the girls in the Bon Bons who still love him.
- Beatles, Please Come Back - Gigi Parker & The Lonelies (1964) - a girl group song written by Chip Taylor & Ted Daryll with members of The Shirelles on backing vocals.
- We Love You Beatles - The Carefrees (1964) a play on We Love You Conrad from Bye Bye Birdie. Equally exciting, but not quite as exuberant (mainly because the boys weren't as happy with the fab four stealing their girls away), are the beat groups and doo-wop.
- John, Paul, George & Ringo - The Bulldogs (1964) - Bill Crompton & Morgan Jones, who wrote The Shadows' The Stranger, try their hand at a Beatles tribute tune in hopes to get themselves a hit. It didn't work.
- A Beatle I Want To Be - Sonny Curtis (1964) - Crickets member, who wrote I Fought the Law (just for that, this man goes down in history), here working solo with Lou Adler (the guy who discovered the Mamas & Papas) on a folky tribute to the fab four.
- My Beatle Haircut - The Twiliters (1964) - doo-wop from Julius Kruspir, manager of The Marcels (Blue Moon), in an attempt to cash-in on the Beatles moptop hair-dos.
- A Letter To The Beatles - The Four Preps (1964) - oddly enough a song The Beatles management at Capital Records stopped production on as it was moving up the charts - or so the story goes.
- I Dreamed I Was A Beatle - Murray Kellum (1964) - the follow-up to Long Tall Texan, a song The Beach Boys covered on the Beach Boys Concert album.
- The Beatle Bounce - Bobby Comstock & The Counts (1964) - Bobby worked with Wes Farrell, who actually co-wrote Boys, the Shirelles song the Beatles covered. Wes Farrell later went onto fame with The Rock Flowers and Partridge Family.
- Stamp Out The Beatles - The Hi-Riders (1964) - a Scepter Records release from some guys not to keen on the Beatles so they come up with some ways to stamp out the fab four.
- Beatlemania - Donnie Rae & The Defiants (1964) - a frat/surf/hot rod tribute to the fab four from some guys quite perturbed by Beatlemania.
- Beatle Fever - Bret & Terry (1964) - a groovy tune co-written by Dick Heard, who later wrote Elvis' Kentucky Rain.
- I Want To Be A Beatle - Bobby Wilding (1964) - sounding quite out of fashion for the Beatles' era, this was released on Don Costa's DCP label. Folk singers were equally perplexed as every other artist at the time, when The Beatles came to town. Some folk responses included: *Like Ringo - Dick Lord (1964) - a play on the song Ringo by Lorne Greene from Bobby Darin's close friend.
- Beatle Crazy - Bill Clifton (1963) - Bill was a bluegrass singer who re-located to the UK prior to the Beatles explosion, and recounts how it came about while he was there. In the later 60s, there weren't quite as many Beatles tributes, but they were definitely influenced by the later period Beatles sound in a 60s psychedelia kind of way.
- Saint Paul - Terry Knight (1969) - a mystical tribute from the man who tried to ape every sound he could in the 60s with his group The Pack - the group that later went on to become Grand Funk Railroad in the 70s.
- The Ballad Of Paul - The Mystery Tour (1969) - here's an oddity released in the midst of the Paul is dead craze recounting all the things that backed up this claim.
Ace has also included a couple of covers to round out the compilation. You Can't Do That by Nilsson (from 1967) is a fitting cover to include since it also has snippets from 15 other Beatles songs masterfully written into this song. Please Please Me (Take 1) by Link Wray & The Raymen (unreleased until 2002), doesn't quite fit as well, since it's the only straight up cover here, but must also be included on an Ace compilation of Link Wray material.