My Top Ten Beatles songs

09.09.09 8 years ago

The world does not need another article about the Beatles remasters being reissued today. If you’re looking for one, I recommend the New York Times’ recent piece. 

Instead, I decided to share my Top 10 Beatles hits. These are the Beatles songs I turn to in times of trouble (sorry, I couldn’t resist). There is no thought given here to song structure or whether it’s Lennon or McCartney singing lead or instrumentation, just how the song makes me feel.  Picking only 10 was next to impossible. What’s your favorite Beatles tune?

1) “A Day in the Life”: Producer George Martin takes a trippy John Lennon song and a peppy Paul McCartney song and glues them together with 90 seconds of cacophonous sonic netting. Perhaps the first industrial bridge in a song ever.

2) “Eleanor Rigby”: An aching meditation on loneliness. Bernard Hermann’s score for “Psycho” influenced the staccato strings.

3) “Penny Lane”: As joyous musically as “Eleanor Rigby” is sad and a fitting tribute to the band’s hometown.

4) “A Hard Day’s Night”: Is there a more instantly recognizable opening chord than this one?

5) “Let It Be”: Supposedly inspired by a dream McCartney had about his mom, the song serves as one of the most beautiful benedictions ever written-both to the end of the Beatles (it was released after they’d announced their break up) and to anyone who hears it. A comforting, loving touch to anyone who needs it.

6) “Hey Jude”: McCartney’s song to Julian Lennon following his parents’ divorce. Impossible not to sing along. Just try not to.

7) “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight”: It’s not just about the ending statement: “And In the end…” It’s the whole suite and the wistfully beautiful “Once there was a way to get back homeward.”

8) “Back in the USSR”: Pure fun. McCartney said he wrote it as a parody of a Beach Boys song. I’ll disconnect the phone to listen to this one anytime.

9) “In My Life”: One of the most beautiful love songs ever because it is so simple both lyrically and musically: “In my life, I loved you more.” Who ever needs to hear more than that?

10) “Revolution”: I’m talking about the electric, distorted, unhinged version where John Lennon goes crazy, not the slower album version. A political song from a decidedly apolitical band.

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