Dan Lauria (Jack Arnold): I’ve heard it a couple times now that The Beatles had never allowed any of their music to be used on television. They did not own the rights at that time. It wasn’t Michael Jackson; I think it was Apple Records who owned it when we did The Wonder Years. But the story I got was that they showed Paul McCartney the pilot with them singing their version of it, and Paul McCartney made a call to Apple Records and said, “If you’re ever going to let The Beatles be used on television, this is the show,” and Apple Records said, “Ya know what, we’ll let them use the song, but we’re not going to let them use the version of you singing it.” So they got Joe Cocker to sing it. Now, I don’t know if Paul McCartney recommended Joe Cocker, but supposedly, and I’ve heard this a couple times, that he [McCartney] was the one that made the call after seeing the pilot before it was put on the air. I’ve always wanted to meet him to find out if that was true and to thank him.

Paste Magazine has an oral history of The Wonder Years with some of the actors from the show. The Wonder Years is finally being released on DVD this fall, after years of delay due to music rights issues. (Cocker originally performed “With a Little Help From My Friends” at Woodstock in 1969, and that version ended up being used for the show.)

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