Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So a couple weeks ago, EW released their 50 Best Beatles Songs list. I got very frustrated reading it because, well, because it was littered with songs that weren't my favorites and omitted tons of songs that were. Now, obviously, a best Beatles Songs list is a VERY personal thing and no two people will ever ever have the same list. Still, I found it necessary to respond with my own Top 50.
Keep in mind, this list is very personal to me, as yours would be to you. You may not agree, and I encourage you to explain why in the comments section, but just remember I'm not claiming these are the 50 BEST, these are simply my own personal favorite 50.
I have been heavily influenced by a couple factors. 1. I love the movie Across the Universe & Beatles covers in general. A good cover can often put a song in my top 50 that wouldn't have been otherwise (see #50). 2. My parents. My mom's favorite Beatles album is Rubber Soul and I've listened to it probably more than any album ever in the history of mankind. So expect a lot of Rubber Soul on this list. 3. I haven't been able to stop playing Beatles Rock Band for ten days. 4. The psychedelic era of The Beatles has never been huge in my family, plus when I hear most of those songs I get flashbacks of being a 15 year old stoner. So. Don't expect TOO much Sgt Peppers/Magical Mystery Tour
Also, I thought it was COMPLETELY insane to try and rank them, but I'm bored and thanks to Beatles Rock Band, am on the biggest Beatles high I've had since I discovered the White Album in 10th grade. I sort of did it FlickChart style i.e. "Well, I like this song more than this song, therefore..."
(Note: I didn't really proof this....so...expect a lot of redundant diction...cause...that's just the way it is)
And I Love Her
Eight Days A Week
When I'm 64
Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds
It Won't Be Long
Ticket To Ride
Strawberry Fields Forever
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Top 50 after the jump
50. Across the Universe (Lennon, Let it Be, 1969)
A song that only made this list because of A. the association I now have with the song due to the movie and B. all the amazing covers of it (Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, ATU film). I don't particularly care for the version The Beatles recorded, but I still feel enough of a connection to this song for it to make it on my list. Barely. Fun factoid - The song was written in 1969 for a charity compilation album, then modified for Let It Be in 1970
49. We Can Work It Out (Lennon/McCartney, Past Masters, 1965)
Fun, circusy, classic John/Paul juxtaposition in outlook, nice shift between verse & bridge. Originally written in 1965 as a double A sided single w/ Day Tripper, its official album now is considered Past Masters. Let's all try to forget Archie's sad sad version of this song during American Idol season 7. Blech.
48. Cry Baby Cry (Lennon, White Album, 1968)
Supposedly disowned & dismissed by Lennon, it's still a favorite of mine. Lullaby-like & not very well known, it hit just the right spot for me when I discovered it at age 14. The song closes with a short bit by McCartney that didn't fit anywhere else known as "Can You Take Me Back" that acts a proper, semi-haunting close to the all-four-beatles section? of the White Album. Directly afterwards we get NUMBER 9 NUMBER 9 NUMBER 9 and then Ringo telling us to sleep tight & have a good night. Aw. You so crazy, White Album, I love you.
47. And Your Bird Can Sing (Lennon, Revolver, 1966)
Another song dismissed by Lennon after he wrote it, I say I DEFY YOU, LENNON, AGAIN. THIS SONG IS GREAT. Another one I only discovered recently, but now absolutely love.
46. Wait (Lennon/McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)
This song is ridica-fun to sing and OHEMMGEE when I get to sing this on Rock Band. Also, the lyrics are particularly poignant to anyone who's been in a long distance relationship or had to be away from their relationship for a while. Like me.
45. Can't Buy Me Love (McCartney, Hard Days Night, 1964)
Just TRY not to sing & dance to this one, just TRY I DARE YOU I LOVE THIS SONG. So fun to sing on Rock Band.
44. In My Life (Lennon/some McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)
Obvious, yes, but you can't deny the simple beauty of this song. And the piano break. The. Piano. Break.
43. Come Together (Lennon, Abbey Road, 1969)
Haven't always loved this song but, man has it grown on me. Especially getting to sing it on Beatles Rock Band. Makes you feel sexy even though it's not even remotely about sex :) This, like Day In the Life, is universally recognized as one of the greatest songs of all time and should maybe be higher on my list, but whatever, it's not, deal with it.
42. Here, There & Everywhere (McCartney, Revolver, 1966)
Sappy, melodic, gorgeous, pretty pretty love, not given enough credit for its musical dynamics. WANT on Rock Band. Really gives stuff for the backup singers to do. WE RIDE!
41. A Day In The Life (Lennon/McCartney, Sgt. Peppers, 1967)
Some may argue that this should be higher on the list, and maybe it will be on yours, and maybe it'll jump higher on mine in years to come, but for now, it's doing just fine at #41. This song is EPIC and I appreciate & love EPIC songs even if they don't fit into my normal preferred genre. Rolling Stone lists this one at the #26 greatest song of all time!
40. Dig A Pony (Lennon, Let It Be, 1970)
Wasn't even on my RADAR til Beatles Rock Band. But it's grown on me like crazy and managed to steal the slot that may have gone to Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds for a better "switch", I say. Meaning from verse to chorus. You know what I mean. The part where it switches from nonsense to John singing to Yoko "ALLL I WAANT IS YOOUUUU." Also from the Apple Corps Rooftop Concert. So. +5. Oh and another song Lennon says he hates, even though he wrote it. Siigh. Stop being so self-deprecating, John Lennon in the 70s!
39. A Hard Day's Night (Lennon, Hard Days Night, 1964)
It's a classic that's fun to sing to, dance to and harmonize to. Would be higher on my list if it wasn't so overplayed on my brain radio.
38. I Should Have Known Better (Lennon, Hard Days Night, 1964)
Well, waddya know! The B Side to Hard Days Night edges out Hard Days Night by a hair! Discovered this song fairly recently and I absolutely love it. Features the final harmonica intro from The Beatles. Me LOVE harmonica intro. One of the best bridges ever. PS. Oddly accessible as ...Hawaiian Surf Rock?
37. For No One (McCartney, Revolver, 1966)
I didn't even consider this song until I was going through my iTunes, pressed play and thought "OH GOD, THIS ONE!!!!" I love this song, and ultimately, chose it over the similarly veined She's Leaving Home & Eleanor Rigby. John Lennon loved this one :). Plus french horn solo.
36. I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Lennon/McCartney, Past Masters, 1963)
The song that it started it all - The Beatles' first number one hit, released as a simple w/ I Saw Her Standing There in the US, but not released on an album til Past Masters. Took the ATU cover for me to understand the true sensuality of this song, but god DAMN. Slowing this song down & singing it to a cheerleader was a brilliant idea & completely changed the way I listen to this song.
35. You Never Give Me Your Money (McCartney, Abbey Road, 1969)
Actually part of the epic 16 minute medley that ends Abbey Road, I'm keeping this one solo, as I feel like I'm cheating putting 9 songs in one. That being said, even though it is part of a medley, I had to give this song its own slot, because it's that good. Not only is it incredibly dynamic, but here's a verse for you,
"Out of college, money spent, see no future, pay no rent, all the money's gone, nowhere to go"
34. I Will (McCartney, White Album 1969)
I forget why, but this song has been important to me for a while. It's sweet, romantic, beautiful and one of my favorite sweet ones from Paul. Beatles love songs are so much better than other love songs. Siiiigh.
33. You Won't See Me (McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)
"Ooohhh lalala ooooh lalala" is why this song will be amazing on Beatles Rock Band when it comes out as part of the Rubber Soul package in December! Depressing, great lyrics paired with a fun tune & backup singers, You Won't See Me is both musically & thematically similar to I'm Looking Through You. In fact, I believe they are both about the same failing relationship of Paul's, yes? Been one of my favorite songs for a long, long time.
32. Sgt Pepper/With a Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney, Sgt Peppers, 1967)
Yes, they count as one, shhh. Sgt Pepper is too rocktastic to not include and With a Little Help from My Friends, sung by Mr. Billy Shears (aka Ringo) is sweet, delightful, fun, interactive, eternally covered & equally rocktastic when it appears in Across The Universe.
31. Honey Pie (McCartney, White Album, 1968)
Silly little ditty that I love love love. Musical Hall-y, 20s LOVE! That is all.
30. Hold Me Tight (McCartney, With the Beatles 1963)
It was either this or It Won't Be Long, and Hold Me Tight made it in the end. Not considered a great song in the end by even The Beatles themselves, Across the Universe made me love it. Makes me wanna dance & sing & wear my hair in a ponytail and be innocently in love. Great covers go a long way on my list.
29. Norwegian Wood (Lennon, Rubber Soul 1965)
Beautiful, exotic, dark, and very representative of the switch from early carefree songs like Hold Me Tight to more cynical tunes about love that pop up more often in mid-late Beatles. I was obsessed with this song for a good portion of middle school.
28. Run For Your Life (Lennon, Rubber Soul, 1965)
And here we get sliiightly more dark & cynical with the brilliant (and somewhat scary?) tune off of Rubber Soul. Lennon said he most regretted writing this song, while George once said it was his favorite song from all of Rubber Soul. I'm in the George camp here. This song is amazing.
27. I'm Only Sleeping (Lennon, Revolver, 1966)
Dreamlike, psychedelic, yet still melodic & fun to sing, I'm Only Sleeping perfectly represents Revolver and the musical bridge between Rubber Soul & Sgt Pepper.
26. Mother Nature's Son (McCartney, White Album, 1968)
One of the great underrated McCartney songs. Intricate & simple at the same time, and just beautiful. Inspired by their trip to India.
25. Here Comes The Sun (Harrison, Abbey Road, 1969)
Welcome George Harrison! Harrison only rocks my top 25. He wrote this song while he was going through a rough time in his life. One day he thought to himself "fuck it", and instead of going to the studio, went to Eric Clapton's house and wrote this on one of his acoustic guitars. That moment of escape felt to him like the moment spring finally arrives in London and that sentiment rings very true to me. Me love.
24. Oh! Darling (McCartney, Abbey Road, 1969)
This song really feels like a trip back to songs of a different era, even in 1969. It's the most classically rocktastic number on Abbey Road and can you IMAGINE getting to sing this on Beatles Rock Band next month? CAUSE I CAN AND IT'S AWESOME.
23. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (Lennon, Help, 1965)
It's been said that this song is just Lennon doing his best Dylan but...well, I can't really complain about that, can you? I'll take Lennon doing Dylan over pretty much any combo ever, sooo...that's fine. Great, simple, lovely song and one of the first I learned to play on guitar.
22. Revolution (Lennon, White Album 1968)
THAT OPENING GUITAR. Nomnomnom. This song marks the beginning of Lennon shifting towards more politically minded songs. And it's also rocktastic. And just awesome.
21. She's A Woman (McCartney, Past Masters, 1964)
Originally the B side to I Feel Fine. One of the most fun Beatles songs to sing, hands down. And I was actually introduced to this song from AMERICAN IDOL. Thank you, Chekezie, for this awesome bluegrassy cover that made me fall in love with this song. And in the same way that #23 was Lennon doing Dylan, #21 here is McCartney doing Little Richard. Not half bad.
20. Things We Said Today (McCartney, Hard Days Night, 1964)
That's my impression of the awesome guitarness that helps make this song so effing awesome.
One of the earlier musically darker Beatles songs, and oddly enough, written by Paul, not John! About the same relationship (with Jane Asher) that inspired Wait, I'm Looking Through You & You Won't See Me. Became one of my favorites when my dad introduced me to it a few years ago.
19. I'll Follow The Sun (McCartney, Beatles for Sale, 1964)
I first fell in love with this song a few years ago when my boyfriend's band performed a cover of it at an event honoring a friend of theirs who had died. Their cover involved 3 acoustic guitars & 3 part harmony, plus the song was significantly slowed down. It was beautiful and I'd link you to it if I could. Luckily, the original version is amazing too :)
18. I Me Mine (Harrison, Let It Be, 1970)
A truly fantastic song that I only discovered oooohhh about two weeks ago when we got Beatles Rock Band. I mean, I'd heard the song before, but I'd never actually listened to it. Now, it's in my top effing 20, people. You know why? CAUSE IT'S A GREAT SONG. PS check out Elliot Smith's cover from 2000.
17. If I Fell (Lennon, Hard Days Night, 1964)
This song gets me right in the heartstrings, whatever those are. I'm sure we've all thought about the proposition being made in this song at one point or another.
"If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true and help me understand? Cause I've been in love before and I've found that love is more than just holding hands." Siiiigh. Oh, Beatles.
And be sure to listen to this slowed down version from Across the Universe. Tis pretty times.
16. Girl - (Lennon/McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)
I've loved this song for a long, long time. Has a similar circusy tone at parts like We Can Work It Out, also written in 1965. Then switches to the swoony, sensual chorus consisting of one word - "Girl." That sound. Let me tell you. That sound. I don't think it's meant to simulate smoking a joint...though yes, it does sound like that...I think it's Lennon & McCartney going"omg this girl, hotttt omg want her so bad ahhhhh!" That was Muse-speak. Anyway. Also, I like what Across the Universe does with it...lalala
15. I'm Looking Through You (McCartney, Rubber Soul, 1965)
Like You Won't See Me, an utterly depressing song set to a jaunty tune. Super fun to sing on Beatles Rock Band, especially if you nail the harmony, but will hurt your hands on expert guitar. Full of all kinds of win.
14. It's Only Love (Lennon, Help, 1965)
Surprise surprise, another Lennon song that Lennon hated. Stop it. I love this song. AND I love the lyrics, John. He didn't. "I get high when I see you go by" Teehee.
13. Two Of Us (McCartney, Let It Be, 1970)
I was first introduced to this song when the I Am Sam soundtrack came out. I was obsessed with Aimee Mann at the time, so naturally HAD to hear her cover of a BEATLES song!!! And I loved it. Paul wrote it for Linda, though some say there are parts definitely addressed to Lennon & their complicated relationship at the time. Well, whoever anyone is singing to, the song is still fantastic.
12. Hey Jude (McCartney, Past Masters, 1968)
Hey duh. The clip linked to above features The Beatles being silly on David Frost. Haha, I'm happy. Originally released as a single in 1968, this song is the longest Beatles song to ever hit number one. Obviously. It's 7 minutes long. 4 minutes of the song involves The Beatles saying "nanananananananananana Hey Jude" over and over and over. It's long. But it's also epic and amazing & the Beatles' most commercially successful song of all time. Plus PIANO!
11. I Feel Fine (Lennon, Past Masters, 1964)
One of the best early Beatles' songs. One of my favorites on Beatles Rock Band and just to listen to and sing to in general. Great great great. And it has that killer guitar riff.
10. Because (Lennon, Abbey Road, 1969)
Because. When originally recorded, they got the 9 parts by overlaying George, Paul & John's three part harmony, three times on the same track. In Across the Universe, they used nine singers (and no real audible music til halfway through) to acheive the same effect and it's also amazing. Oh, also, this song is amazing in surround in the DVD audio disc version from LOVE. I think what I'm trying to say is, this song is...amazing.
9. I've Just Seen A Face (McCartney, Help, 1965)
Heard this song in Across the Universe before ever hearing the original version of it, true story, and I was bizarrely and intensely obsessed with this song when the film came out. Listened to it over and over. And I still love it. Both versions. All versions. I love Beatles songs about falling in love and all its forms!
8. I Want You (She's So Heavy) (Lennon, Abbey Road, 1969)
A sexy rock masterpiece. I don't know if anything else needs to be said. Would be higher on my list if I was more musician than singer (there are 14 words in 8 minutes) but it's still genius and hands down in my top ten.
7. All My Loving (McCartney, With the Beatles, 1963)
This song has always been one of my favorites from the early era of the Beatles. It wasn't until...you guessed it...Across the Universe, that the song became cemented as one of my top ten. I love seeing how creative you can get with Beatles songs. The a cappella opening masked as Jude singing to his girlfriend as he says goodbye just makes me get all mushy. I love early Beatles song about love, don't I? I'm such a girl.
6. Happiness is a Warm Gun (Lennon, White Album, 1968)
Another work of genius from The Beatles and John Lennon in particular and McCartney's favorite selection from the White Album. The song is actually comprised of five totally different, movements, I wanna say?, that Lennon was working on. Apparently the song is also what inspired Radiohead's Paranoid Android and I think that's awesome.
5. Blackbird (McCartney, White Album, 1968)
One of my all time favorite songs. Learned to play it on guitar in Ireland when I was 16. Was the most complicated thing I had ever played on guitar up until that part & has a lot of personal significance to me. Originally written as a response to racial tension in the US, the song has grown to mean something very specific to anyone who hears it. I love this cover and this cover too :).
4. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End (McCartney, Abbey Road, 1969)
Epic epic epic epic epic. And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. Lullaby-Dance-Rock feat. Ringo's only drum solo!
3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Harrison, White Album, 1968)
Still not my favorite Harrison song, but damn close. This song is brilliant. Featuring lead guitar by Eric Clapton. Harrison's acoustic version (with added strings for Love thanks to George Martin) is gorgeous and Across the Universe's cover shows a whole other side to the song. And makes it difficult for me to sing it during Beatles Rock Band cause I just wanna slow it down and riff....Anyway, brilliant song.
2. I Saw Her Standing There (Lennon/McCartney, Please Please Me, 1963)
The first track on their first album and the B side to their first #1 hit, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, I Saw Her Standing There takes the top "Early Beatles" spot for me as I have to dance & sing every time I hear it, sing it if it's at Karaoke or coming up on Beatles Rock Band, and it's plainly put, a perfect innocent, fun rock n roll song.
1. TIE Something & Let It Be (Harrison, Abbey Road, 1969, McCartney, Let It Be, 1970)
The second most covered Beatles song (after Yesterday) and the final Beatles single before they announced the break-up. Am I that cliche? Maybe. But it's fine, it is what it is. Let It Be is the kind of song that, regardless of why it was originally written, can take on many different meanings. I'm currently going through a phase where the song makes me cry every time I hear it. And if it's an option at karaoke, I have to sing it like this, in the gospel style of an amazing cover that makes me cry cry cry. And the harmonies you can add to the song on your own are amazing. Plus PIANO! Something is maybe the sexiest song ever ever ever and makes me go swoooonnnnnnnnn. Also love the ATU cover. Also love singing my own harmonies along with the track. Check out this acoustic version by Harrison that appeared on Anthology 3.
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