Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Beatles Songs I Love

Today is the day. All of the Beatles' original albums are being re-released in new, improved, remastered versions. We've bought these albums before, and we're buying them again. They're worth it, aren't they? I can't afford to buy too many right now, but I'm starting with the must-have: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

In honor of this special day, I am presenting here a list of Beatles Songs I Love. This isn't an exhaustive list, nor is it a definitive list of my favorite tracks. These are just Beatles songs that have moved me, made me say "Hell yeah!" and have become part of my life. A few things to know: I haven't heard every Beatles song yet, and I strongly prefer the late-era Beatles. The White Album is my favorite Beatles album thus far. With that in mind, in no particular order, here are some Beatles Songs I Love:

I Want To Hold Your Hand

This is it. The perfect love song. This is, in my opinion of what I've heard, the cream of the crop of the early Beatles recordings. It has a great melody and a very simple but powerful message. It's also quite innocent considering what kids today want to hold.


Crunchy electric guitars! This is Heavy Metal Beatles. I just love the layers upon layers of thick, loud guitars. The lyrics are quite deep, too. The Beatles progressed quite a bit by the time they released this. It wasn't all about holding hands anymore.

Dear Prudence

This song has a wonderful sound. Absolutely wonderful. I love the chiming guitar, the punctuation of Paul's bass, and John's lazy melody. I also love how the song gets more and more frantic as it nears the end. "Dear Prudence" is my favorite song on the White Album. This song is really inspirational. The sun is out, and the sky is blue. Come out and play.

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Never before had there been a perfect synthesis of lyrics and music to create an image in a listener's head. This song is pure candy, an audible dream. It takes you to a place of magic and wonder. This is a good song for getting out of whatever rut or trouble you're in and surrendering to the dream world. This is one of my favorites. It still sounds great 40 years later.

And Your Bird Can Sing

As soon as that happy guitar melody kicks in, you know you're in for a treat. The Beatles were changing by 1966, but they could still make a perfect pop song. That's what this is. The harmonies, the melody - it's all a big bundle of joy. I always want to sing along, and sometimes I do.

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

Again, the lyrics and music create a picture for you to relish. That's what I love about John's songs on Sgt. Pepper - they're more than mere songs. Right in the middle of the album, we get a circus! The sound effects really make this one special, as does John's carnival-barker singing as he tells a tale he read off a vintage poster. Ideas like that made Sgt. Pepper a great album.

Hello, Goodbye

Why are the Beatles so loved around the world? They made songs that you can instantly love. This song may be simple, but it's another that I always wish to sing along with. I'm a big fan of melody, and this one is all about the melody.


Remember what I said about "I Want To Hold Your Hand"? I was wrong. This is the perfect love song. It might be the best Beatles song ever, and it was written by George Harrison.

Paperback Writer

This song rocks! Why does it rock? Because it features one of Paul's best bass performances. The bass is so thick on this song, you can almost grab it!

I Will

The Beatles did some wonderful complex songs, but they also excelled at the simple. This is simple and straightforward, and all the more powerful for it. I like how the Beatles weren't afraid to make a song only as long as it needs to be. They knew the perfect thing to do each time. I also like this song because it reminds me of a good memory. I was at the Farmers' Market last year, and a singing group was performing this song. Hearing it made me happy.

Her Majesty

By 1969, The Beatles had been to the top of the world and were about to come crashing over the edge. It's highly appropriate, then, that the last track on their last recorded album be a silly little throwaway. It brought back the essential Beatles ingredient - fun!

Hey Jude

Why is Paul one of pop's best songwriters? He can get anyone to sing along to his songs. "Hey Jude" is the best example of why that is true.

Rocky Raccoon

Who doesn't love a good story? Paul tells a great story on this song. I like Paul's voice here (he was really the best singer in the Beatles). I like how he gives it an old-west feel. I also like how the Beatles were willing to try anything.

I Feel Fine

Years before Jimi Hendrix was doing it, the Beatles were using distortion in their songs. That opening whine of the speaker lets you know you're about to hear something wonderful. John's vocal, Ringo's crazy drumming, George's great guitar tone - everything works well.

Let It Be

Paul is the master of simple, direct messages. What better message to the world than "Let it be"? Ironically, at the time of the recording of the Let It Be album, the Beatles were fighting with each other and getting nearer to a breakup. If they had just followed Paul's advice, they might have stayed together longer. Also, this is a very beautiful song, one of the Beatles' most beautiful.

A Hard Day's Night

Forget Michael Jackson - John, Paul, George and Ringo were the Kings of Pop. I don't know what to say about this song, other than it's just simply great!

Helter Skelter

Paul McCartney had developed into a very awesome bassist by the time of the White Album. Oh, he was always good, but this song makes him great. Here he's almost playing lead bass. It's that thick and loud. Matching his booming bass is his booming voice. Some people associate the Beatles with poppy love songs and flower power, but they could rock as hard as anyone. Other things to love about this song are the false ending and Ringo's "blisters on (his) fingers!"


Just like the above song, here Paul is nearly playing lead on bass. Keeping up with him is Ringo, pounding the crap out of his drum kit. Set against that blast of sound is John's lazy vocal performance. This song is enough to put you in an altered state of mind. Everything seems slowed down and surreal. Especially freaky is the backward lyric near the end. This song relaxes me and makes me think of home. It's rather hypnotic.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

People say that Paul was taking more control of the band in the last few albums, but John's contributions to those albums (and singles) were nothing short of magnificent. One example is this mish-mash from the White Album. It sounds like John crammed three or four songs in here! John even breaks out a falsetto in the last part. This is weird, wonderful and all Lennon. My favorite bit is the heavy part in the middle with the "I'm going down" lyric.

Penny Lane

This would have fit perfectly in the Sgt. Pepper album. The melody is incredibly catchy and the whole song brings a smile to your face. It makes me feel like a child. The Beatles can do that. I dare you not to sing along with the chorus.

Tomorrow Never Knows

It may be repetitive, but Ringo Starr's drumming on this groundbreaking track is funky! This was one of the strangest Beatles songs released, and it still sounds fresh today. There are many things to love - the lyrics, the effects, the leslie vocal in the last verse - but for me, it's all about that drumming.

Come Together

This is absolutely one of my favorite Beatles songs of all time. It has a great sound, especially because of Paul's heavy bass and the unique rhythm the song has. John's lyrics make no sense, but the song just sounds so great that I don't care. It's just a cool song, and that's why I like it so much.

Getting Better

The harmonies on this song are just incredible. No one could harmonize like the Beatles, and they weren't even related! I have always suspected a Beach Boys influence in this song. The tambura appearance from George midway through the song takes things to a new level.

Polythene Pam

This almost sounds like a punk song to me. I like the crunchy, lo-fi sound and the rough guitar playing. You just can't categorize the Beatles because they did it all.

Cry Baby Cry

John Lennon had a very powerful singing voice (as shown on "Twist and Shout"), but he could also sing gently when needed. This song is one of his most gentle, and it's wonderful. It's almost like a nursery rhyme. Like many White Album songs, this one gets me relaxed and reflective. It's one of the hidden gems on that great album. I especially like the guitars and the pounding piano. I can't wait to hear this in remastered form. Paul's bit at the end is kind of creepy.

If I Needed Someone

It's kind of sad that this is the only song from Rubber Soul on my list, but I guess that album hasn't really made much of an impact on me. I really need to get the remastered version someday, because the sound on the older CD isn't the greatest. As for this song, it's one of George's best with the Beatles. I don't know why, but I really like it. The harmonies are lovely, as is George's singing. It's a job well done.

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