. . .
Given how musically adventurous Siouxsie Sioux was, it’s not surprising that the sprawling, eclectic The Beatles was her initial go-to for covers. After all, it’s not every record that has room for both the big-ass rocker “Helter Skelter” and the lovely, psychedelic “Dear Prudence.”
And give that Beatles covers are a dime-a-dozen and that “Dear Prudence” is probably in my top five Beatles songs, maybe even top 2 (after “She Said She Said“), the Banshees’ cover of “Dear Prudence” had a pretty high degree of difficulty.
But they totally nailed it, remaking it in their own image while still retaining its initial flavour.
And so while The Beatles version was kind of a slow burn that got bigger as it went on, Siouxsie and The Banshees version started big and only got bigger, as Siouxsie’s voice, Robert Smith’s guitar and a wall of swirling keyboards all spun around each other.
Smith had joined Siouxsie & Banshees after guitarist John McGeogh left the band, and “Dear Prudence” was the first thing he recorded with them in the studio. That said, he really doesn’t make himself all that well known, contributing a couple of nice guitar tracks that played off of each other, but like the rest of the arrangement, the guitars were totally dominated by Siouxsie’s overlapping vocal tracks.
If, in the original arrangement, John Lennon is pretty tentative about whether or not Prudence is going to accept his invitation, and switched his focus to the lovely day outside, then Siouxsie is having none of that shit. John Lennon was asking Prudence, Siouxsie Sioux was commanding her. Using the Voice.
Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It’s beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won’t you come out and play
By the time Siouxsie was done, there was absolutely no doubt that Prudence was going to come out, even if she was dead. Or especially if she was dead, as the dead are no doubt huge Siouxsie fans.
Anyway with Budgie’s drum part going in the opposite path as Paul McCartney’s weird beat — while we were watching Get Back, at some point when George climbed behind Ringo’s kit and started to play, Rox exclaimed “is there any instrument these guys can’t play?” and I was like “well, it is the fucking Beatles” — which gives the whole track an extra drive.
I remember the import single of “Dear Prudence” as a pretty big song on KFSR in either late 83 or early 84; a precursor to their Geffen debut Hyaena, which came out in mid-1984 — and which Geffen naturally stuck “Dear Prudence” onto.
In the U.K., however, it became their biggest single, making it all the way to #3 on the U.K. singles charts.
“Dear Prudence” Official Music Video
“Dear Prudence” on Top of the Pops, 1983
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