A&M Cover Versions 1965-70: "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"

Which cover version is your favourite?

  • Paul Desmond

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • Nick De Caro

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

    Votes: 7 58.3%
  • Shango

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Vote for your favourite cover version and tell us a bit about why you made your selection. (The selections are listed in release order.)

 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Herb's Version gets my vote Nick DeCaro comes in second as a good Easy listening instrumental I voted for Herb's Version as it was the first cover Version of this tune i heard as I was already familiar with The Beatles original
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Desmond's light and nifty version is my favourite.

Truth be told, aside from The Beatles' version, I'm not much for the piece. Desmond gives a floating, kempt quality that is A+ in my book. As for the others, Herb's county fair version comes off like a throwaway -- though I do like the high trumpets on the call-and-response part. De Caro's version -- like his One&Done LP -- is disappointing; it's weighty and drags. Shango's, like Herb's, is festive, but seems too forced with the accents, steel drums and such.

That the Beatles apparently spent more time in the studio working on this piece than any other recording indicates it's one of the "problem songs" that only the writer (McCartney) could successfully nail down. Desmond's retooling was a stroke of genius where the stars aligned -- particularly so given Sebesky's other Verve / CTi arrangements, at least from what I've heard, arguably don't indicate anything similar. Dig how Sebesky throws a few changes of Hey Jude in there, as well...
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Well, Desmond may have a barrow in the marketplace, but I gotta go with Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. That their version appears on WARM, which is my favorite of all their albums, probably has a lot to do with my choice, but I do really like Herb's take on the song. I like Desmond's too. Not crazy about De Caro, and until this moment I've never heard a note from Shango.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
I don't even like this tune. Paul Desmond's is the only one I don't bother to skip, so I guess it "wins" by default of being the least obnoxious of the bunch? 🤷‍♂️
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
I'm like Rudy on this. Herb's version was the version I enjoyed most until I discovered Shango's version. That version quickly became my favorite, and hence got my vote (as I like to go for the underdog and suspected Herb's would be the top vote getter)...

--Mr Bill
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
The TJB version is the first one I heard, and I'm pretty sure the first time I heard it was on the radio. There was a station in Billings that we always had on at work, and they played a lot of TJB, Mendes, Bacharach and such in that era. The station still exists but has since pivoted to country music.

I first owned the song on a Warm 8-track, where it was just called "Ob-La-Di." I have always liked the "rehearsal" quality of the trumpet on it. I also like how they sing "Hey!!" in the choruses as opposed to the original "brah" -- it just makes the song sound more TJB-ish.

I gave a listen to all of the other versions here, having never heard any of them before. They're all just irritating to my ears. But outside of the TJB version, I'm not a big fan of the song -- I don't even like the Beatles version much.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Am I the only one hearing strains of All You Need Is Love along with Hey Jude in Desmond's version? It's almost like a medley of the three songs...very creative.
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Am I the only one hearing strains of All You Need Is Love along with Hey Jude in Desmond's version? It's almost like a medley of the three songs...very creative.
Desmond was good about quoting other tunes in his solos, so (without listening to his version at the moment) it would not surprise me at all.

It escapes my mind at the moment, but on his version of Milton Nascimento's "Catavento," he quotes a famous jazz tune:

 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Desmond was good about quoting other tunes in his solos, so (without listening to his version at the moment) it would not surprise me at all.

It escapes my mind at the moment, but on his version of Milton Nascimento's "Catavento," he quotes a famous jazz tune:

Sonny Rollins' St Thomas.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
until this moment I've never heard a note from Shango.
OK, it's possible that I've heard their "Day After Day (It's Slippin' Away) (A&M 1014)" as it appeared on that HISTORY 100 compilation from Japan.Folder.jpg
 
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