2002 – V2 Records – 65 minutes
A series of Beatles classics covered by a number of acclaimed contemporary artists, the 'I Am Sam' soundtrack comes about purely because the producers were not allowed to use the original versions. So the legendary difficulties on securing the rights to the Fab Four's music gives the new crop a chance to put their stamp on some classic songs.
The result? Well, in a word, it's solid. Thankfully, the artists involved here are of the left-field variety, and a look at the list is an indication that the emphasis was more on credibility than marketability – Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright, The Wallflowers, Paul Westerberg, Ben Folds and Nick Cave to name but a few.
Highlights would have to be Wainwright's soaring 'Across The Universe' and a touching rendition of 'Two Of Us' by Aimee Mann and Michael Penn. Elsewhere, the Vines' version of 'Julia' is intriguing, while Eddie Vedder's unique drawl lends 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' a raw, campfire honesty.
There are duds, of course. The Black Crowes' 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' is dull stuff, while the triumvirate of covers by Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow and Ben Folds pass by without any impact at all, good or bad. Still, considering that this album, if the sleeve is to be believed, was recorded, mixed and mastered within three weeks, things could have been a whole lot worse.
Tracklisting: Two Of Us (Aimee Mann and Michael Penn) – Blackbird (Sarah McLachlan) – Across The Universe (Rufus Wainwright) – I'm Looking Through You (The Wallflowers) – You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (Eddie Vedder) – Strawberry Fields Forever (Ben Harper) – Mother Nature's Son (Sheryl Crow) – Golden Slumbers (Ben Folds) – I'm Only Sleeping (The Vines) – Don't Let Me Down (Stereophonics) – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (The Black Crowes) – Julia (Chocolate Genius) – We Can Work It Out (Heather Nova) – Help! (Howie Day) – Nowhere Man (Paul Westerberg) – Revolution (Grandaddy) – Let It Be (Nick Cave) – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Aimee Mann) – Two Of Us (Neil Finn/Liam Finn) – Here Comes The Sun (Nick Cave)