Page from a book on fish from the rare book section of the Japanese National Library, c. 1880
Harry Nilsson is best known for his cover of Badfinger's "Without You", which still gets played on the radio a lot, evoking the common response, "Whoa, who did this awful cover of that one Mariah Carey song?" But the songwriter is also known for his Grammy-winning cover of Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'" and for his palship with John Lennon.
Yeah, "palship" is a real word - look it up.
But before he was a friend of former Beatles, Nilsson was a HUGE Beatles fan. You don't have to look any further than Pandemonium Shadow Show, his 1967 debut album (not counting an earlier singles compilation). The album contains a cover of "She's Leaving Home" from Sgt. Pepper's, an album that had only been out for a couple months at the time. The album also has a "cover" of the Beatles' "You Can't Do That", but the track is actually a medley of all the Beatles' best hooks smooshed into two-minute pop songs. It's a fun but headache-inducing listen.
Nilsson's Beatles love continued with 1968's Aerial Ballet, which has some very Beatles-esque songs like "Good Old Desk". That album also featured the single "One" (later a hit for the excellent bands Three Dog Night and Filter), and "Sister Marie" was the single's non-album b-side. "Sister Marie" is another excellent Beatles pastiche, an attempt at "Lucy in the Sky"-style hazy psychedelia. It also sounds a lot like "I am a Tangerine" by Tommy James and the Shondells, but this is We Love the Beatles, not We Love Tommy James and the Shondells.
And I was totally kidding about Filter, by the way. Those guys were terrible and I hope the soundtrack to X-Files: Fight the Future goes straight to hell for featuring their cover of "One". Execrable.
"Sister Marie" by Harry Nilsson