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4 Crazy, Early Foreign Language Versions of Beatles Songs

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It was 50 years ago this week that the Beatles first landed in the U.S. and set off a wave of Beatlemania from coast to coast with their historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. By the end of the 1960s, their music had spread worldwide, not only in their own recordings, but in versions translated into other languages and sung by local pop stars. Here are 4 of the …best?...strangest?...most dumbfounding? Whatever they are, you don't want to miss them.

1. Russian: "Let It Be"

Be careful with this one; you won't be able to unsee it. It's from a 1974 Russian film called Magic Lantern, and at the time this was one of the only state-sanctioned ways Soviet youth could get access to Western music. Here's what the lyrics are saying:

Everything's happened before in the world
People are always the same
That's how it was, it is, and always will be

Ah, refreshing Russian pessimism. The best part is at 1:04, where the woman singer reacts to the children's chorus joining in. You know that's the expression every pop diva secretly makes in her head whenever a children's chorus starts up in her song.

2. French: "When I Saw Her Standing There"

Johnny Hallyday, the first French rock star, has been huge in the French-speaking world for decades. His most recent album, a live recording of his Born Rocker Tour, just came out last year. Here he is 50 years ago, applying his signature rocker growl to "When I Saw Her Standing There (Quand Je l'ai Vue Devant Moi)". It will charm you, if you can just ignore the off-beat clapping of the audience.

3. Cantonese: "Eight Days a Week"

Chan Po Chu, otherwise known as Connie Chan, was the biggest teen sensation of 1960s Hong Kong. Here's a clip from one of her many films, where she and her friends use some of that newfangled music to distract a guard while they break out of prison. They sound so sweet and jolly. He'll never suspect a thing.

4. Hindi: "It's Been A Hard Day's Night"

I found this by chance on YouTube. There's not much information about it, but it's by Mahendra Kapoor, whose voice was featured on Bollywood movies for decades, and it's amazing. The syncopated beatnik handclapping, the sax solo, the male backup singers, the joyful background whoops and yelps—you never heard Beatles like this before.

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How to Perform the Star Wars Theme—On Calculators
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Star Wars © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The iconic Star Wars theme has been recreated with glass harps, theremins, and even cat meows. Now, Laughing Squid reports that the team over at YouTube channel It’s a small world have created a version that can be played on calculators.

The channel’s math-related music videos feature covers of popular songs like Luis Fonsi’s "Despacito," Ed Sheeran’s "Shape of You," and the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, all of which are performed on two or more calculators. The Star Wars theme, though, is played across five devices, positioned together into a makeshift keyboard of sorts.

The video begins with a math-musician who transcribes number combinations into notes. Then, they break into an elaborate practice chord sequence on two, and then four, calculators. Once they’re all warmed up, they begin playing the epic opening song we all know and love, which you can hear for yourself in all its electronic glory below.

[h/t Laughing Squid]

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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