My 10 Favorite Beatles Songs of All-Time
10. It’s Only Love-Like most people I know who were raised in the U.S., I was “weaned” on the U.S. version of Rubber Soul, which of course contained this song, while the original, UK version did not. I know that, with the 9/10/09 release of The Beatles remasters the U.S. Rubber Soul is considered to be “obsolete” in the minds of many, but you can’t count my mind as one of them. Until they erase my memory banks, the U.S. Rubber Soul will always be the one for me; besides being ingrained in my consciousness, I think it flows more cohesively than the UK version…and it doesn’t have “What Goes On”, which I don’t think is any good.
John reportedly hated “It’s Only Love”, mostly because he loathed his own lyrics, but this doesn’t stop me from loving its melody lines and that beautifully flanged guitar, especially the way it counterbalances John’s “ooooooooooo” at the end of the song!
9. The Long And Winding Road-Although in 1970 I was very aware of The Beatles and knew about their breakup, the significance of this being their final single release didn’t really mean much to me as an 11 year old kid. However, the sad, yearning melody lines and the lavish, Spectorian production hit me really hard; as 1970 was (and still is) my favorite year for Top 40 radio, and I have since become a Beatles freak, “The Long And Winding Road” will always hold a special place in my heart.
In the mid ’70s I started hearing the bootleg version, without Spector’s production. A lot of Beatles fans who knew way more about the band than I did at the time had been turning their nose up at what Spector had “done to” the song, and saw the stripped version as a revelation. I didn’t then, and I still don’t: I think Phil’s strings and vocal overdubs did a marvelous job of embellishing the songs sentiments.
8. Martha My Dear. I came very late to the table with respect to Beatles albums; I pretty much bought all of them in 1975 when I was 16, and soaked it all in very quickly. Although I’d been to England a couple of times as a younger kid I really never had a chance to absorb its culture, so for me my conception of the UK was still what I’d seen on TV. For whatever reason, “Martha My Dear” always aurally encapsulated my image of the UK in its 2:30, as it seemed both proper and whimsical, but more importantly it has a wonderful Paul melody line and some amazing changes throughout!
7. I Am The Walrus. We all know the profound influence The Beatles have had on millions of other bands, but for me, it’s most evident in this song, as its classical bent must have inspired artists like ELO, Klaatu and so many others who favored the later Beatles period. I’m in love with most of those artists, and I’m in love with this song.
6. She Loves You. In definitely one of the greatest debates of all-time: “I Want To Hold Your Hand” vs. “She Loves You”, you know where I stand…well, you’ll know in about 5 songs. 😉
This was the first Beatles song I remember hearing; as a five year old boy, I would constantly scream “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!!” in my parents living room.
I wish I lived in a world where fantasies could be granted, because then I could finally hear a stereo mix of this, which could’ve been made if the master tape hadn’t been lost forever!
That last “Yeah” is one of the greatest moments in rock ‘n roll history!
5. Hey Bulldog-As I kid I hadn’t seen Yellow Submarine, so my first exposure to this song was on the album. I still think that this is the greatest bass line of all-time, not just by Paul but by anyone.
4. Here, There and Everywhere. As a true romantic, even as (maybe especially as) a teenager, this song really spoke to me. Its fragile beauty and its verbal images really made me long for a time when I would have a true love in my life. Many people who say Revolver is their favorite album place this song in its bottom half, and to them I say “you ain’t got no romance in your soul”!
I could always tell when my stereo and cartridge were truly “good”, when I could hear Paul sing the “I” before “will be there”, in the refrain.
3. Think For Yourself. My favorite George song with The Beatles; the moment I heard that fuzz come in, I was hooked, but I also love the ascending change in the melody line and the way the vocals counterbalance the fuzz. I also love the one time, after “for your own sake”, there’s a delay before the guitar comes back into the mix.
2. Hello Goodbye. As a non-musician/songwriter I should probably keep my opinion to myself here, but for me the most important quality of lyrics is that they *sound good*, rather than they have deep meaning. Paul seemed to wholeheartedly subscribe to this theory, which is why 1) he was constantly vilified for his lyrics, and 2) he most often had the biggest hits, both with and without the Beatles.
The lyrics to “Hello Goodbye” mean virtually nothing, but I don’t care: I love the way they sound…and this is one of the greatest pieces of ear candy anyone has ever recorded!
1. Getting Better. When I first got Sgt. Pepper and played this song, I didn’t think much of it, but by the third time its subtleties came through and I was forever hooked…
I know it’s never going to be a Sgt. Pepper fave for most people, but I give you this: as someone who has run the IPO festival for 15 years and has written reviews of pop CDs for even more, I have heard more Beatles influenced songs with that “Getting Better” cadence and its melody lines than I have any other Beatle type influence, so its effect has obviously been quite profound.