Top 10 Best Beatles Songs




It’s difficult to describe the impact The Beatles had on the world. There is a list of their achievements and accolades at the bottom of this post, but it wasn’t the number of records they sold or the number of times they topped the charts.

No, the impact The Beatles had went beyond music into the psyche of the generation that grew up with them. Truly life affecting.

But behind the impact and the charts were the incredible songs. Everyone will have their own favorites but we’re pretty happy with these ten.




10. Nowhere Man

Album: Rubber Soul
Release Date: December 1965

This was the first song that gave us an inkling of what was to come. It was the first Beatles song that was not about love, instead touching on existentialism, self doubt and hope.

http://youtu.be/yRv34Cat3Vw

 

9. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Album: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Release Date: June 1967

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was, and probably still is, the most influential album of all time. It introduced the idea of an album having a ‘concept’ and stunned the world with its daring and brilliance.

This song opened the album, introducing us to a world we’d never seen before. It has a sense of excitement and anticipation that provides the perfect introduction to the album.

As a standalone song it’s a rocking and rolling thrill. In the context of the album it is remarkable.

 

8. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Album: Abbey Road
Release Date: September 1969

Probably the most un-Beatles song they ever released, this is a dark and brooding beast with a blues feel (ironically for Lennon) and a long coda that increases in intensity until an abrupt end when everything just stops.

The song changes tempo several times but is relatively simple in its structure and lyrics. However the lead riff is addictive and ultimately mesmerising, finally succumbing to white noise from a moog and its rather unique finish.




7. Hey Jude

Album: B-side of the single Revolution
Release Date: August 1968

Released as a B-side of a single, Hey Jude went on to become one of the great anthems of the era with a coda that lasts for more than 4 minutes. It spent nine weeks at the top of the US charts, the longest time for any Beatles single, and was the longest playing song to reach number one at that time.

McCartney wrote the song as a ballad for John Lennon’s son, Julian, as his parents were divorcing. ‘Hey Jules’ morphed into Hey Jude. Julian only found this out twenty years after the song was released.

 

6. Tomorrow Never Knows

Album: Revolver
Release Date: August 1966

If the album Revolver ushered in the era of Beatles psychedelia, Tomorrow Never Knows was at the vanguard, letting the world know that something incredible was going on.

Tape loops, vocal distortion and the use of a mixing effect calling flanging gave the song an ethereal feel. An irregular drum beat and Indian inspired droning took Merseybeat in a whole new direction.

 

5. Yer Blues

Album: The Beatles (White Album)
Release Date: November 1968

After Sgt. Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour the Beatles seemed to need a break from changing the world and gave us a somewhat gritty double album with a plain white cover and a collection of songs that were, in the main, down to earth and without the psychedelic frills.

Yer Blues was Lennon’s statement about the blues explosion that was happening across the UK and the rest of the world. There are references to blues classics and hating rock and roll, but also an acknowledgement that the blues was a style of music that most British bands, including the Beatles, would never master.

As a song it overflows with blues-like passion and vitality and a rawness that permeates the album as a whole.

 

4. Strawberry Fields Forever

Album: Magical Mystery Tour
Release Date: December 1967

The Magical Mystery Tour album was a soundtrack to the film of the same name and a bonus EP. Although the film was a flop the album was a great commercial and critical success. Released not long after the ground breaking Sgt. Pepper’s album, this showed that the Beatles were in a truly inspired and innovative phase.

Strawberry Fields turned out to be a companion song to Penny Lane, both expressing Lennon and McCartney’s childhood memories of growing up around Liverpool and both becoming huge hits. Strawberry fields was the more adventurous track with a mixture of major and minor, fairground organ (Mellotron), brass and an amazing mixture of melancholy and psychedelia.

 

3. A Day in the Life

Album: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Release Date: June 1967

This is a mature, complex and trippy song that epitomises the Beatles psychedelic era. How could a band change so much in such a few, short years? It was a staggering time and incredible to witness.

The song was banned by the BBC and a number of countries around the world because of supposed drug references (which they were of course). Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and With a Little Help From My Friends were also banned in various countries.

A Day in the Life finishes with probably the most famous chord ever recorded. McCartney, Lennon, Ringo and Mal Evans, one of their studio assistants, all played an E-major chord simultaneously on three different pianos. The Beatles producer, George Martin, joined in on the harmonium, although that is difficult to hear. The chord lasts for 41 seconds.

An interesting studio version:

 

2. Medley

Album: Abbey Road
Release Date: September 1969

The Medley comprises all but the first two and last track on side 2 of the album – You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, She Came In Through the Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End.

Even though Let It Be was released after Abbey Road this was the last album the band recorded. What a way to finish. A diverse, energetic, sad, sprawling work that was the best sequence of songs they ever did. For the drummers out there it even included a mini solo from Ringo.

In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. Indeed.

http://youtu.be/MiMoAqFDIrU

 

1. Across The Universe

Album: Let It Be
Release Date: May 1970

There’s a feeling of melancholy throughout the whole of Let It Be as the fabulous four went about wrapping up the greatest band the world had ever seen. Two Of Us gets the ball rolling with a wistful appeal to return home, but it’s Across The Universe that will tear your heart out if you let it.

Nothing’s gonna change my world. We all wish.

Alternate version with some great footage:

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OddSpot

The Beatles were together for less than 10 years and their body of work doesn’t approach the volume of some other bands. However their impact was, and remains, peerless. Here are some stats and accolades:

  • - Sold more albums in the US than any other artist. Ever.
  • - Topped the UK album charts more than any other artist.
  • - Sold more singles in the UK than any other artist.
  • - Topped Billboard magazine’s list of all time Hot 100 artists.
  • - Have the most number one songs on the Hot 100 chart.
  • - Received 7 Grammy Awards.
  • - Received an Academy Award for the Best Original Score (Let It Be).
  • - Featured in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th Century.
  • - Sold more than one billion units. Billion. (EMI)

In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine rated the Beatles the greatest artist of all time.

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Top 10 Best Beatles Songs

Lyra Cam

Hi, I'm a marine biologist currently working in northern Queensland, Australia. I am fascinated by the amount of information we have access to and outside work I am addicted to researching unusual topics and summarizing my research in the form of lists.

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