Sunday, September 13, 2009

My 25 favorite Beatles songs

I tried my hand at doing a list of my top 25 Beatles songs.

A couple quick notes first. I must say I intentionally did not include "Strawberry Fields Forever," "All You Need is Love," "I am the Walrus" or "Yesterday." Some of the songs I really do like that probably would make up the next few slots on a longer list are "I'm a Loser," "Ticket to Ride," "Come Together," "We Can Work It Out," "Blackbird," "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," "Dear Prudence" and "Revolution."

I took the videos for these from the Entertainment Weekly's list here and here, which is a fun read.

25. Lady Madonna

24. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
"So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair." Good early use of the sitar, and a great, half-funny story.

23. Something

22. I Saw Her Standing There
"She was just seventeen, and you know what I mean." That's a great rock 'n' roll lyric for you right there.

21. I'm So Tired
Great John epic.

20. Can't Buy Me Love

19. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

18. Let It Be

17. Getting Better


16. Michelle

15. I Want to Hold Your Hand
The band's first U.S. hit, a monster.

14. Dig a Pony

From the first hit to one of the last ever Lennon/McCartney collabos. This is full-on late-stage weirdness, but it really works for me.

13. She's Leaving Home
The empathy Paul shows for the parents of this teen runaway is actually sort of stunning for a 1960s rock album, or any rock album.

12. In My Life

11. Here Comes the Sun

10. Taxman

An ode for today's Tea Partiers, maybe. Has a groove!

9. Hey Jude
Written by Paul for John's son, which I think is nice.

8. Good Day Sunshine

7. Help!

6. Eleanor Rigby

5. Tomorrow Never Knows

4. Hard Day's Night

3. A Day in the Life
John and Paul, separate but together. "Woke up, got out of bed/ Dragged a comb across my head" gets me every time.

2. She Loves You

Just one of the great rock 'n' roll songs of all time. Perfect.

1. Penny Lane

I just love the innocence/weirdness of this song. Before Sgt. Pepper's, the original idea was to make a concept album of songs about Liverpool, and this song sort of makes me wish they'd gone through with it. Here's something a tour guide in Liverpool told me: The lyric "fish and finger pies" refers to getting to third base with a girl, in the Penny Lane bus shelter which was a common make-out spot.

So. The point of doing these lists is to argue about it. What's your number one? What's too high, what's too low? What am I missing?


stridewideman said...

I like the mop tops, but I'm not knowledgable. But on this list, "Why don't we do it in the road" should be way up there as one of the greatest rock freakouts of all time.

Also Paperback Writer, for having what I think of as one of the first real, full on rock riffs.

haahnster said...

Rob - Clearly, posting a 'top 25 songs' list of such a hugely successful group is bound to generate a certain amount of disagreement. Instead, I'll keep it to 3 things I know I agree with: 1) I like that George gets a few in (Something, Here Comes The Sun, Taxman, While My Guitar Gently Weeps); 2) "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "A Day in the Life" would definitely be in my Top 5 also (maybe even Top 3); and 3) good call on skipping "All You Need is Love" and "Yesterday"... I can't recall ever being able to take them in more than very small doses.

In reply to Stride, let me offer "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" as possibly an even better rock freakout, and "I Feel Fine" as an earlier riff... or at least that plug-in feedback intro thing is especially sweet.

Wow, feels a little strange commenting on a blog again!

Rob said...

What with Beatlesreissuesmania, I've been looking at all these people's lists. And I think "Something" is kind of overrated! I've seen it in more than one top 5. I like it but I'll take "Taxman" and "Here Comes the Sun" any day.

I do like "Paperback Writer" a lot.

Haahnster, my question to you is: Would "Tomorrow Never Knows" top "A Day in the Life" on your list?

Logan said...

I actually don't like Here comes the sun. Can't say why, maybe too happy sounding?

I agree with the top two, though they may have been flopped in my case. I must have played She loves you 15 times in a row when I discovered it as a boy. Had it on tape back then. Tape!

I'm a big fan of Abbey Road and probably would have included something from that album. If not Come Together, I really get a kick out of Maxwell's Silver Hammer and I Want You (She's So Heavy).

I also would have included Back in the USSR. I love its harder rock influences. When the guitar goes up high at "Show me round your snow-peaked mountains way down south," it's awesome. Plus, back in 5th grade, I did a lip-sync of that song for a class party. Good times.