PLEASE PLEASE ME from Please Please Me (1963)
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Twist and Shout, I saw her standing there
Those opening chords. I really like them, as I love how they hit you straight away, unlike the prog rock I usually listen. I am not really a fan of the earlier Beatles boy band sound, as it does sound a bit before my time, but there are a few songs I like from those earlier years of the group.
It sounds very pop music, and is very much a product of the ’60’s, which to be fair, I think that’s what they were going for. A really good song, and was a very popular album, Please Please Me hit the top of the UK album charts in May 1963 and remained there for 30 weeks before being replaced by With the Beatles, their second album.
This was surprising because the UK album charts at the time tended to be dominated by film soundtracks and easy listening vocalists. For a new band just hitting the charts, that is pretty amazing.
ALL MY LOVING from With the Beatles (1963)
I am not so fond of this album, but this was also very successful when it was released. If Please Please Me was a success, then With the Beatles was a beheamouth, replacing its predecessor on the top of the British album charts, and taking America by storm.
This was Beatlemania, people. What I notice about With the Beatles is how it isn’t as timeless as later releases by the band, a lot of covers, a very 60’s pop sound, which I stated it isn’t my favourite. But this song is pretty good. It’s a typical 60’s love song, and its what I think of when I think Love songs, along with my next pick.
This choice has a poppy, and quite an optimistic sound to it, which is why I love it, and hearing the young McCartney sing it reinforces that. I do not like Paul that much, but he fits for this choice, and the next one I will put in…
AND I LOVE HER from A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Honourable mentions: A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t buy me Love
I view this song as the twin of my previous choice, the night to its day if you will. Its a slower love ballad than its younger twin, and compared to the faster tempo and major chords, this slower, mainly minor chorded song is very much the twin of that song. What I especially love are the lyrics of this song, as it shows that the band were beginning to mature, compared to the first two pop albums. While A Hard Day’s Night would stick to that formula, it was beginning to change. And after the next album, it would have begun to evolve further…
EIGHT DAYS A WEEK from Beatles for Sale (1964)
This album would be the last to really feature that distinctive early 60’s sound that the band has had in all its albums to this point, and I must say, it is for the best. The band was huge, but things can be huge, and eventually fizzle out, The Beatles evolved their sound and image. Not to say that this album didn’t have evolution in it, as we saw Lennon’s songs become more about him as a person, and the lyrics often being a little darker, but for the most part, it was a send off to that old sound. Eight Days a Week is a good send off to that classic sound, with the group singing together, and the song being overall quite light and poppy, even if the band disliked it in retrospect. Its a simple piece, but I feel its a good one.
YOU’VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR LOVE from Help! (1965)
Honourable mentions: Help!, Ticket to Ride, Yesterday
I remember first listening to this song on the film Help! and I remember really loving it. And after all these years, I still do.I feel this is the point the Beatles started to get good. They’d been a group, in one form or another, since the late 50’s, and the sound was evolving and maturing, with this choice having more of a folk rock style sound, and I love it. Acoustic Guitars are always great for a slightly rustic, intimate sound. I love it, and it fits Lennon’s Bob Dylan esque sound very well.
NOWHERE MAN from Rubber Soul (1965)
Honourable mentions: In my Life, Norwegian Wood, Drive my Car, Girl
If I could pick a song that I felt described my character perfectly, I would have to pick Nowhere Man. For me, this song perfectly describes me to a tee. I feel that Nowhere Man is an outsider, who keeps himself to himself, beats his own drum on his own unique beat. I really like this song, and it makes me a little emotional at times, because it is a sweet song. Overall, this is my 3rd favourite Beatles album, as it has a lot of my favourite Beatles songs, and this song in particular is featured on the film Yellow Submarine, which is one of my favourites, and is used to describe one of the colourful characters the band meet on their wacky, Submarine based adventure.
TAXMAN from Revolver (1966)
Honourable mentions: bascially all the songs on this album
And this is my favourite Beatles album, because this is where all the evolution comes to a head. In my mind, this album is the best Beatles album, and I feel it is better than Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper’s. This makes it very hard to choose one favourite, so instead, I will pick the first song to demonstrate it. And finally, I get to talk about my favourite Beatle, George Harrison, who sang this song, and it is a bitter critique on the money that the band had to put in the state’s coffers. The whole album ushered in the beginning of their psychedellic era, which would last 2 years, and 3 albums, or there about. This era was full of various drugs and halloucinagens (I hope I spellt it right), including LSD. But damn, wasn’t it creative?
BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF MR. KITE from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Honourable mentions: A Day in the Life, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, She’s Leaving Home
Similarly to Revolver, hard to choose one song I like above them all, but this choice (which I will refer to as Mr. Kite) has it, because I admire the craftmanship of this song, with all the little sounds within the song. The version on the LOVE soundtrack compilation (which I recommend that you buy) is particularly epic, but the original is pretty good.
This album is the seminal Beatles album, in all honesty. This is the definitive Beatles album, and it isn’t hard to see why, as it is an epic like no other. I love concept albums, and to hear The Beatles take their sound to new heights is really impressive, wearing all the band’s influences, from the contemporary pop of the time, the experimental sounds of their previous album, and the Eastern flavours brought in by George Harrison, and a load of Acid collided to make a colourful mess.
This song is in fact based on a poster that Lennon saw for an old Victorian circus act, and boy is it whimsical. I really like this song, it is crafted very well and is always a good listen.
BLUE JAY WAY from Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Honourable Mentions: Strawberry Fields Forever, Fool on the Hill, I am the Walrus
I was going to put I am the Walrus on as my choice, but I have more to say about Blue Jay Way. This song used to scare me as a kid, because of the tone it set, the vocals peformed by a chilling George Harrison, and the imagery made by it is just epic. Its apparently about a street in LA, and boy do I want to avoid there. Fortunately, its in America, so I’ll be safe.
Interesting tidbit, this wasn’t originally released as an album in the UK, but as a Double EP, while in America had it as a single album. The UK would get it as an album eventually but in 1976. It was also a soundtrack to a BBC Television Movie starring the group, but it wasn’t very good. The EP/LP was, however, as it had three of their most famous songs on here, Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, and All you need is Love.
GOOD NIGHT from The Beatles (1968)
Honourable Mentions: Piggies, Revolution 9, Helter Skelter, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
This album is technically not called The White Album, but that’s what it is known as, because the cover is white. Oh well. This album is the longest, as it is a Double Album. And with this album, I feel like the content suffered a little, with the number of songs on it, some of them not being that good, but there is a lot of good on here.
This album would mark the beginning of the end of The Beatles after Brian Epstein died. The egos of the band started to flare, and the band began drifting apart. Despite this, the band’s last 2 years produced some great music, and Good Night is an example. THE ONLY SONG Ringo Starr sung on this list and that is saying something.
I didn’t even recognise his voice at first, and it is the most Disney esque song the band ever did, and it is beautiful. I absolutely love it. Another reason I like the album is that Piggies is perhaps the best George Harrison song he ever wrote, Piggies. And yes, I will link it below…
ONLY A NORTHERN SONG from Yellow Submarine (1969)
Honourable Mentions: Hey Bulldog, All Together Now, It’s all too Much
It is hard to call this an album, as it is technically a soundtrack album and a contractual obligation, with a few previously unreleased, or non album, tracks. I thought I’d include it here to talk more about my favourite Beatle. This track is played when the band (in the film) goes through the sea of science, and I do love this part of the film, for the weird images they see on their journey. The song isn’t really about that though, as it is more about Harrison feeling that his music was being used, and how he was only listed as a contracted performer for a publishing company. But the overdubbing makes this song a unique creature. One to listen to whilst High, Drunk, or otherwise inebriated with insomnia or something. And the film is like that too. This song is pretty cool, and it worth a listen.
HERE COMES THE SUN from Abbey Road (1969)
Honourable Mentions: Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Something, Sun King, Come Together, Because
I said at the start that this was in the order of the albums as they were released, and it was important I did it like this as there were multiple releases, and also this was the last Beatles Album recorded, but not released.
Let it Be was recorded before this, under the Get Back Sessions. These weren’t very good, resulting in an abandoned album, and this one being produced. I’ll talk more about Let it Be in my last pick, but this was their last album and would have been a great swan song, and it technically is. Here Comes the Sun is a lovely track, with an optimistic sound and optimistic lyrics, like things were getting better all the time. This was a fine song and would have been a great last album. But when you spend so much money on recording stuff that isn’t going to get released, you’re not just going to leave it a half baked mess…
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE from Let it Be (1970)
Honourable Mentions: Get Back
The official last Beatles album, in terms of release, and it wasn’t good. As I mentioned, this was what the band were working on first, after The White Album. But remember when I said that tensions rose then, after Epstein died? they came to a head here.
The album was going to be called Get Back, and was going to be stripped down, and be a straight forward rock album, at least according to Paul McCartney. But the best-laid schemes of mice and men often go astray.
The ego of McCartney, Lennon’s overall dissatisfaction and relationship with Yoko Ono, and the rebellious nature of the more independent Starr and Harrison basically made this album fall on to the floor like a cake.
After Abbey Road though, the album was revisited by one Phil Spector, who overdubbed the crap out of it and made it into Let it Be. And it sucked. Not entirely though. Across the Universe was one of the best songs made for the album and one of the few I prefer the album version to over the Anthology version, as it has that slightly spaced out sound that fits the imagery of the song.
And with that, those are my picks. I hope you enjoyed them. And all I will say is, looking back at The Beatles, it truly is an interesting band to look at, with a rich history. My retelling of it was worse than a Wikipedia article, so I encourage you to read up on it. Peace and Love.
Honourable mentions: Bascially all the songs not on albums.
- Paperback Writer
- Lady Madonna
- Hey Jude
- The Inner Light
- Revolution (the ROCK version)