A scholar with whom I correspond frequently has begun to think about some songs covered by the Beatles, mostly early in their recording career, some quite late however (e.g., the Let it Be sessions, Jan. 1969). He has asked himself this question: What was the earliest cover song they recorded? One of his criterion became to exclude mere fragments-- Danny Boy would otherwise qualify. Also, he arbitrarily excluded material from the 1950's, which he believes would have been rather too near them in time. Let me know if you think of others he may have missed. This is a work in progress, and the comments below are his. I'm just sharing in the interest of hearing what others think. Here is the link to his page: http://pyegar.livejournal.com/ **************** I think My Bonnie would be just about the oldest -- but what do you make of Maggie Mae? Also to consider: When the Saints go Marching In, and, oddly, Moonlight Bay. That's All Right, Mama (1946). A bit of a stretch. Their Cavern Club, Hamburg, and BBC versions of this come from Elvis's, obviously I should think. But Crudup's original is from the 1940's. Bésame Mucho (1946). I don't much enjoy this song, either from the Decca audition or from Let it Be. I think they did it mostly as a gag. That's When Your Heartaches Begin (1941). Another Elvis cover, re-covered by the Beatles. I Remember You (1941). Yet another cover-of-a-cover. The Beatles were covering Frank Ifield's 1962 version. Your Feets' Too Big (1939). An oddball tune by Fats Waller. September in the Rain (1937). I don't like this, but there it is. Someone must have. Possibly Paul. Red Sails in the Sunset (1935). Ditto. When the Saints Go Marching In (traditional; this version is based on one from ca. 1927). I think the Beatles/Sheridan rock & roll arrangement is original with them? Sheik of Araby (1921). Another humorous track. Why have the Beatles never released a "Beatles Comedy Box Set"? Moonlight Bay (1912). A soppy standard, included almost by accident due to the Beatles having been pressed into singing it during a TV appearance. My Bonnie (Tune, 1881). Traditional, like The Saints, and reinterpreted variously since. (Some sources have the tune much earlier than this, around mid-eighteen century.) Maggie May / Dirty Maggie Mae (exact date unknown; possibly late 1800's). Arguably, this should be included under Fragments. But, it was included -- perhaps regrettably -- in the track listing for Let it Be (movie and album). The old and unofficial Liverpool national anthem, the album credits attribute this arrangement to the Beatles, but I think that is absurd. It is just "an old song everyone knows." Fragments (some traditional), such as Londonderry Air / Danny Boy.