4 of the Best Cover Tracks by Paul McCartney—Including Hits From Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly

Here’s wishing Sir Paul McCartney a very Happy 82nd Birthday. The former Beatles legend is one of the most famous pop singers and songwriters of the rock era.

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McCartney has composed or co-written dozens and dozens of enduring tunes during his 60-plus-year career. He’s also performed and recorded quite a few noteworthy and enjoyable cover tunes as well.

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In honor of McCartney’s birthday, here’s a look at four noteworthy songs by other artists that he’s covered:

“Love Is Strange” (1971)

Paul McCartney and his post-Beatles band Wings recorded a version of “Love Is Strange” in 1971. The track appeared on Wings’ 1971 debut album, Wild Life. “Love Is Strange” was written by rock ‘n’ roll great Bo Diddley and recorded in 1956 by Mickey & Sylvia. The duo who had a No. 1 R&B hit with the tune.

McCartney and Wings put their own laid-back, reggae-influenced spin on the song.

“Lucille” (1979)

In December 1979, McCartney and Wings headline a star-studded series of concerts the famed London venue the Hammersmith Odeon. The shows raised money for victims of the then-war-torn country of Cambodia. The finale of featured Wings playing with a supergroup called the Rockestra, which included many of the other musicians who took part in the shows.

[RELATED: They Say It’s His Birthday: Paul McCartney Turns 82 Today, as Famous Friends and Family Share Birthday Wishes]

One song they played was an inspired rendition of Little Richard’s 1957 hit “Lucille,” which was written by Albert Collins.

Among the many well-known musicians who joined McCartney and Wings for the performance were The Who’s Pete Townshend and Kenney Jones, The Pretenders’ James Honeyman-Scott, Rockpile’s Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner, The Faces’ Ronnie Lane, Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker, and Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones.

The Rockestra version of “Lucille” was released in 1981 on the live album Concerts for the People of Kampuchea.

“It’s Now or Never” (1990)

McCartney recorded a version of Elvis Presley’s 1960 chart-topping smash “It’s Now or Never” for a 1990 tribute album called The Last Temptation of Elvis. The collection featured various stars’ renditions of songs from Presley movies. Proceeds from the album benefited the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in London.

McCartney sounded like he was having a blast as he enthusiastically crooned his way through the cover of “It’s Now or Never.” The song features lyrics written by Wally Gold and Aaron Schroeder set to the music of the popular Italian tune “O Sole Mio,” composed by Eduardo di Capua.

“Maybe Baby” (2000)

McCartney is a huge fan of Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and he even acquired much of the late rock ‘n’ roll pioneer’s catalog in the early 1970s. Paul recorded a version of the 1958 Crickets hit “Maybe Baby” for the soundtrack a 2000 romantic comedy also called Maybe Baby that starred Hugh Laurie and Joely Richardson.

McCartney’s fun, upbeat version of the song also featured Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne. McCartney and Lynne co-produced the track.

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Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images

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