The music and magic of the Beatles come alive in Netflix’s new animated series Beat Bugs. The gorgeous show is the first to feature covers of Beatles music and features artists including Eddie Vedder, Sia, James Corden and Pink adding their own spin to over 50 Beatles classics like “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Blackbird.” While getting the rights to the Beatles’ Northern Songs catalog wasn’t easy, reveals Beat Bugs’ writer, director and producer Josh Wakely, getting music’s biggest names to join his project was a snap. “A lot of these artists have children or grandchildren, nephews or nieces, and they just love the idea of having this level of music in front of the special children in their lives.”
Wakely gives insight into a few of the artists heard in the series and shares, “Eddie Vedder was the first who rang and let me know that the show had a lot of heart, and he got behind it. His version of ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is, post the Beatles, a fairly definitive version. Sia, who I couldn’t respect more as an artist and is a very pure artist and very selective about what she does, signed on to do an extraordinary version of ‘Blackbird’ that’s going to blow people’s heads away. It empowers the episode in a way that’s amazing. The Shins, who’ve been a favorite band of mine for a while, did a great version of The Word.”
And Wakely reveals that part of the fun of the series was matching big names to even bigger songs. “It turns out there’d been a lot of thinking on their side about what Beatles song they wanted to do. Both character, song and artist matched up quite a few times.” Wakely shares that sometimes the artists were selected by the vocalization needed in the song, and sometimes, in a moment of kismet, the artists were matched with songs that happened to have special personal meanings. Wakely already mentioned Sia’s spellbinding version of Blackbird, and he joyfully adds, “We found out that when Sia was asked four years ago what her favorite song was of all time, her favorite song that she wanted to cover, it was Blackbird. So it was a meeting of minds there! Pink does a version of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds that is just breathtaking. It turns out that that was a song that was particularly special to her and to her children.”
Beat Bugs follows the adventures of five enchanting insects as they explore their suburban universe. The series is bright, colorful and joyful — a winning combination for children and their families. Wakely explains his series’ appeal: “I think you want your children in front of positive, wonderful, melodic, great art. And there has never been art that showcases this as much as the music of the Beatles.” And as Beat Bugs stands poised to introduce the legacy and legend of the Beatles to a new generation of fans, Wakely muses, “I think in 400 years people will be speaking about the Beatles the same way we talk about Shakespeare.”
Check out Sia’s gorgeous rendition of Blackbird
Beat Bugs is available for streaming Aug. 3 on Netflix.