Entries in Andy Summers (1)


A Baker's Dozen: Artists muse on their favorite Beatles Tracks.

NOTE: This article first appeared in December, 2009, when we didn't know what the hell we were doing.



Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana)


If I could write just one song as beautiful as "Julia”, I would achieve my life’s goal. This song has such a soothing and healing quality to it. I could hear it a thousand times in a row and it would draw me in every time. The guitar and vocals are so delicate and right – almost celestial. And when I found out it was about his mother, who abandoned him, returned, and then died - it just made it all the more amazing.



Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day)

"In My Life”

There are Beatles songs that are way more punk rock than anything the Circle Jerks or Bad Religion ever put out. That guitar figure at the beginning introduces the song perfectly. Plus the harmonies and backup playing are terrific .John Lennon is analyzing his past, all the people that came in and out of his life. He’s sort of bitter, but he’s trying to be levelheaded about it. I can imagine him singing it and having a very sly smile on his face. It’s almost like he’s sincerely bidding someone farewell - but telling them to f*** off at the same time.



Lemmy (Motorhead)

“I Saw Her Standing There”

It was the first track on their first album. Paul counted them in with 1,2,3,4, - a great introduction to the greatest rock band of all time. Nobody even comes into the same planetary system in terms of songwriting and presentation, They never repeated themselves, they kept going from strength to strength. Liverpool was only 60 miles from where I grew up in Wales, and lots of girls would come down from there for holidays - and we would try and shag them (laughs). This one girl wrote ‘Beatles’ all over my wall, and I asked who they were. She said they were this incredible new band in Liverpool. So I hitch-hiked up there - this was late 1961- and saw them play a number of times at the Cavern. And I can tell you the intensity and excitement everybody felt a couple of years later was already happening...A magic time.


Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac)

“I Saw Her Standing There”

When you think about the Beatles, it’s usually about the sophisticated way they used pop elements and whatever they were being turned on to by George Martin to do things that hadn’t been done before. This is just a standard three chord song, but it’s a rock and roll classic. It still explodes at you when you hear it today. There’s even a terrific live version on the first Beatle’s Anthology album that made me go , “My God, these guys could really play." It represents in its earliest and most naïve incarnation all the buoyancy the Beatles had to offer.


Gene Simmons  (Kiss) 

“Across The Universe”

The Beatles were a big slice of our lives, and this is one of the most hauntingly lilting songs I’ve ever heard. I don’t know what it means to this day, but I don’t care. The song works as word imagery. Lennon sings this half-tone movement back and forth repeatedly; it’s like the two-note theme from Jaws.Lennon did that in a lot in his songs, including “I Am The Walrus".  It’s very unusual, but effective.


Joe Satriani (Chickenfoot) 

"Across The Universe"  

It’s such a beautiful song, and it captures the naiveté of the time. Lennon was so talented in that he could be the funniest, the snidest, and yet ultimately the most poignant guy in the band. Often you find that when the joker in the crowd finally says something serious, it’s far more profound than what the so-called "serious" guys come up with.


Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains)

"A Day In The Life"

I always considered John Lennon the "dark" Beatle, and I guess I always dig the dark horse guys. But there was always a lot of heart in his songs. This is a really magical one about how there are beautiful things in life, though it’s a journey through some heavy stuff. 



Angus Young (AC/DC)

"I Want You (She’s So Heavy)"  

Even a great band like the Beatles goes off on a detour and does a bit of cabaret for awhile. But you’ll find that the truly great ones always come back to playing real rock and roll, I thought this whole album got a bit glossed over at the time it was released. But those bluesy fills and huge riffs showed they were still terrific rockers right to the end.


Joni Mitchell 

“Norwegian Wood”

Rubber Soul was the Beatle album I played over and over. I think they were discovering Dylan, and the songs often had an acoustic feel, I used to sing this one in my coffeehouse days in Detroit before I started writing for myself. The whole scenario has this whimsical, charmingly wry quality with a bit of a dark undertone. I’d sing it to put some levity in my set. I got a kick out of throwing it in there amongst all these tragic English folk ballads. Besides, I have Norwegian blood!



Richard Thompson


My favorite Beatles track – I just love the sounds on it. You could strive forever to get that fantastic guitar tone, which is probably some crappy old Epiphone Casino run through who knows what. But what a fabulous sound and performance.  The economy and tightness of it is amazing. The bass line is brilliant, and McCartney also does the guitar solo, which is like Hendrix crossed with a bit of Indian raga. He found something really unique there.


Andy Summers (The Police)

"Strawberry Fields Forever"

I was drawn to this one in particular because it’s dark and a bit twisted. Plus they had that fascinating backwards thing going around in it. And the Lennon vocal gets me every time. McCartney wrote the up, ingratiating melodies while Lennon usually wrote f***ed up and down. So even though this is sort of an avant-garde pop piece, Lennon brings an aspect of the blues to it.


Eddie Van Halen (Van Halen) 

“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)"

That whole album takes you for a ride. And this song takes you for a ride within that ride. Those monster riffs seem to go on forever and then suddenly drop you off a cliff. Lennon’s vocals are just so passionate. He hated his voice, as Hendrix hated his. I think the fact that they weren’t typical singers made them even more expressive. A lot of trained singers have less impact than someone who’s just flying by the seat of his or her pants.


Ozzy Osbourne  (Black Sabbath, Self-Proclaimed Beatlemaniac)

Be afraid, metal heads. Be very afraid. The Prince of Fookin’ Darkness may be the most rabid Beatles fan of all. “What I do professionally and what I like are sometimes two different things.” explains Ozzie. Here’s Mr Osbourne on his three top Beatles tracks. (We had to stop himsomewhere).

“Strawberry Fields Forever”

What an amazing song. They’re the only band that went from bubble gum to psychedelia - and then on into heavy metal, country, even reggae on “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. They did every form of music and made it their own. I owe my career to the Beatles. I wanted that excitement - they gave me a reason to carry on with my life.

“I Am The Walrus”

John Lennon was my God. When I heard, “You’ve been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down”, I knew we’d moved beyond the era of silly love songs that didn’t mean anything. Lennon could deliver the heaviest message with a terrific melody. And all the while he’d be painting this Salvador Dali image in your head.

“The Long And Winding Road”

Okay, everybody knows what an incredible Beatles fan I am by now (Laughs). But they influenced everybody, in one way or another. I loved Nirvana, and people say they took a lot from Sabbath. But when Kurt sings "hello, hello, hello" in Teen Spirit - that comes from John Lennon. But this was the saddest song I’d ever heard, because I knew it was the end for the Beatles: they were breaking up, and my bubble burst. If I ever get some terminal disease, just give me my medication, put on any Beatles album, and just let me die like a bloody Viking. That’s my last request.


-Vic Garbarini