The origin of the cover: Released as a single
Original recording artist: The Beatles
The act of a fictional robot covering The Beatles sounds abnormal and fey. It even sounds slightly deranged.
But what remains even stranger is that this cover was not Metal Mickey’s début single. He had already released FOUR singles prior to the release of ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’.
His first single, a version of the Chordettes’ ‘Lollipop’, was issued by EMI in January 1979, just months after the robot made one of his earliest television appearances on Southern Television’s ‘The Saturday Banana’.
Meanwhile, on BBC One’s ‘Nationwide’, John Stapleton described him as a “friendly and an occasionally tuneful robot to keep you company while you work”. Yes, quite.
After the arrival of London Weekend Television’s family sitcom ‘Metal Mickey’ (produced and directed by Micky Dolenz, fact fans) in 1980, three further flops were released on Mickeypops Records: ‘Metal Mickey Magic’, ‘Sillycon Chipp’ and ‘Do The Funky Robot’. They all, quite frankly, sound terrible.
And then came ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’, a cover that doesn’t have any right to be good.
The problem with covering this particular song is that some artists can easily fall into the trap of coming across as needy and desperate, or just plain creepy.
Even worse, they could be dealt with a triple whammy of sounding needy, desperate AND creepy.
And this problem can be multiplied by a hundred if it involves a robot of some kind – especially one that has most likely uttered the words “[c]all my baby lollipop” on vinyl.
But, to be fair, this is a sweet – albeit extremely dated – version, and its relaxed tone certainly prevents it from becoming sinister.
More pressing issues, however, lie with the song’s production. Not only is it flimsy and sluggish but – astonishingly, for a song that lasts just over two minutes – it starts to outstay its welcome at the end.
The production ends up being far too weak to make any long-lasting impression, and it really lacks the glam rock fun of the theme music to ‘Metal Mickey’.
As a cover, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ just about makes the grade but, in all honesty, it offers nothing more than a brief fling of intrigue.