For awhile now I've been doing these top ten lists for bands I love. Often times it's easy enough to figure out my favorites, but this time proved very difficult. In the search and work to get to the top 10 songs from the best, most important band ever to exist it became obvious that ten songs wasn't going to happen. Thus, the decision came to make a top twenty list. Even that proved daunting. Going over hundreds of songs from the masterful career was tricky, and time consuming, but I think it figured it out.
Among these songs you'll likely disagree some, agree with others, but the fact is that everyone who has ever loved this band likely has a very different list when it comes to their best works. For me it changes often, depending on mood, time of day, and various other aspects of my day to day life. This list has a little bit of everything, and I hope you enjoy the first ten entries.
20. Yellow Submarine, Yellow Submarine
At this point the band doesn't really have any albums that aren't extremely well known, but the title track from this album is a stand out even among the classics. For instance, as a teenager this fantasy filmed album was among the first things I was exposed to from the band. It's quite a jolly song, and among an album of jolly tunes, it's a highlight. The cartoon created from it is also worth checking out if you haven't. One of the best things about the song though is how in tune with each other they seem to be. The harmonies are great and joyous, and honestly, it makes me want to live in that world, which I guess means the song did it's job
19. Lady Madonna, Released as a single
For some reason I always thought this was released on an album, but upon research have discovered that is simply not the case. Either way, the song is excellent. The piano, topped with the jazzy and flamboyant nature of the tune are what really get it going. Paul's voice is crisp and warm, just like a nice fire in the cold winter. One of the many great things about this band is the ability to tell a story that goes in various directions. Sometimes it linear and other times it's the farthest thing from it, but it all works in the precise way it's intended. This song is agreat example of bringing all of those things together.
18. Sgt, Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, Sgt, Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
The opening track to a concept album about a band within a band, this track is pretty steady and dirty for the duration. For the band it was a way to change things up a bit, but it's still definitely has the vibe of a Beatles song, which is totally fine. The horns are integral to the overall flow of the song, and the hurried vocals from McCartney are a nice bonus on top of already rocking track. It's a brief song but it manages to pack some wallop into it.
17. The Long and Winding Road, Let it Be
One of the best songs that happens to be extremely emotional and heartfelt. It's always been a song about the stubbornness of love and how it is unrelenting in it's goal to exist. Take any relationship. It has amazing highs that you want to last forever, but also horrible detours you think will break everything apart. The lyrics are deeply personal, but what really makes the song a classic is the orchestral aspects of the song arrangement. The strings are really quite peaceful, and they add a great juxtaposition to the heartbroken tone of the song lyrically.
16. Blackbird, The Beatles(The White Album)
Such a pretty, pretty song. Written by McCartney as a kind of response to the ongoing Civil Rights movement in the United States, it's a very powerful song dealing with the difficulty of existing and never giving up when something wrong is being done to people. It takes guts to keep your head up, especially if you consider the tension happening in the country at that time. The Beatles as a band were never afraid to make political statements, and this song about a simple thing such as a Blackbird proves to be a powerfully strong statement, even decades after it was written.
15. Come Together, Abbey Road
If you read my countdown of my favorite all time albums, you remember this album being mentioned and written about. “Come Together,” the opening of the last proper album, has a certain amount of grit to it. The band was near it's end, but they were still in the process of making their best album, at least in my opinion. Lennon's voice and use of word play here is pitch perfect, and the whole song has a smoky late night bar feel to it. The level at which this band operated is quite incredible, and even on this track they kill it. One of the other great things about this is that while it opens the album, it's not your typical album opener, but when you're dealing with a legacy like this, you don't need to be typical.
14. Lovely Rita, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
The opening speaks to me as if the window was opening up on a beautiful day. However if you're to go by the lyrics, Rita probably is the one person you don't want to see while trying to enjoy your day. But like I mentioned earlier, the songs theme changes and by the end Rita is a somewhat decent person. Musically though it's a pretty upbeat song and very easy to dance to.
13. Back in the U.S.S.R., The Beatles
I mean seriously who is happy to be in Russia, ever? Moving on, this song has the uncanny ability to seem both chill and fasted paced. Anyone else sensing a Beach Boys vibe also? Hopefully it's not just me, but this song is all about the beat, and in that way it delivers way more than it should. Hearing these songs I can't even imagine what the world initially thought of them. Even today they're still five hundred miles ahead of the curb, and the music is still as prevalent, maybe more so than it was when it was initially released.
12. Being for the Benefit of Mr. K, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
The world they create here is unparalleled in regards to their other songs. The pandora's box being opened to unveil this funny and mystical world is one of my favorite parts of this album, and as you can see by the number on this list, it's also one of the best songs. Harrison especially here is killing his parts, while Lennon's voice sounds like a mix between a high priest of magic and a man who may have lost his mind. It's just such a great song and an even more interesting world. Yet another example of how they good and careful they are with showing us something different.
11. Paperback Writer, Released as a single
As a person who found the love of writing, this song has always been close to my heart. Indeed the struggle to become a writer is difficult, but anything worth doing should be difficult. Speaking to the music though, the background vocals compliment the revolving door nature of the music, and the fast moving guitar, combined with the ease of the bass is what really makes this song a powerhouse, but fun song regardless.
Return Friday for the top ten of my favorite Beatles songs. Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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