More Recent Comments

Friday, August 23, 2013

Best Beatles' Songs

Jerry Coyne thinks that the Beatles are the greatest rock group ever [Match this song!]. I'm pleased to announce that I agree with him on this point.

Jerry thinks that A Day in the Life is the best Beatles' song and that's where we part company. His second choice is Eleanor Rigby [Eleanor Rigby] and that's also one of my top ten.

We'll see what his other favorites are over the next few days. If he doesn't mention the very best song (IMHO) I'll correct him when he's finished.


  1. No-brainer: ‘I'm Looking Through You’ from Rubber Soul. In and out in under three minutes. Simple lyrics. The perfect pop song.

  2. Oh no, not more controversy in evolution !

    The IDiots and creotards will go wild.

  3. Got all of 'em on my iPhone and my audio server at home, and I'd be hard pressed. 'She Loves You' is great, the harmonies on 'If I Fell,' the great simple stuff from the middle period (Mother Nature's Son, Blackbird), the unbelievable combination of lyrics and melody on any of a hundred Lennon tunes like 'Hey Bulldog,' 'Happiness is a Warm Gun,' 'Across the Universe'* (or maybe the greatest cover of all time, the song that carried an entire movie, 'Twist and Shout'), George coming out from under Paul and John's huge shadows with songs like 'Here Comes the Sun'....

    * Saw two lyric notebooks at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, one Springsteen's from Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, the other Lennon's from Across the Universe. The former had nearly every word crossed out and written over multiple times. 'Across the Universe' had not one single word crossed out. He wrote those lyrics in one single go, whole.

  4. I really like "I want you (she's so heavy)". I am also inordinately fond of "Within you without you" and "Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite". But asking what's the best Beatles song is like asking what's the silliest creationist argument: embarrassment of riches (or, in the later case, of embarrassments).

  5. I enjoy reading Larry and the regular commenters on this blog, but this is the first topic where I feel I know enough to contribute.

    Revolver was indeed their best album, but a few months later, in just two months of recording, they created three amazing songs:
    Nov. 24, 1966 Strawberry Fields Forever
    Dec. 29, 1966 Penny Lane
    Jan. 19, 1967 A Day In The Life

    I think these three show the Beatles at their artistic peak. Penny Lane has a great melody by Paul (as usual) but also has fine lyrics, including his best line about the pretty nurse with a tray, who though she thinks she is in a play, is anyway.

    The other two are John's; they feature hypnotic vocals combined with simple but haunting lyrics. Paul made small, memorable contributions to both: e.g. the mellotron intro to Strawberry Fields and the bridge to A Day in the Life.

    Paul also recorded when I'm Sixty-Four in these two months.

  6. The beatles are the best music(not just rock) group ever. Just because of the volume of great songs.
    Not that song for song they were better then the Stones or Who etc etc.
    They were a rock group and so there best songs should be the rock ones. Not the ballads or soft things. Norb the songs like Strawberry fields. This I see as a prejudice against Rock songs by people thinking the seemingly more complex songs are better.
    Just like historically evolutionists said sponges or many creatures were inferior types relative to cows and bears. Likewise they tried to say marsupials were a inbetween type relative to reptiles and mammals.
    In fact mardsupials are not just NOT inferior in any way to placentals but are in fact the same creatures, I say, and the pouch etc in actually a minor local common development.
    Classification systems have been wrong just as they are wrong in decisions about how to judge beatles songs.

    John lennon dissed evolution later in his life. i think he dissed creationism too however.

    1. Thank you. No thread is complete without a Byers contribution. The great prince issues commands, founds states, vests families with fiefs. Inferior peoples should not be employed. Shoes for industry.

    2. Defoliating a victory garden certainly works up an appetite.

    3. Was there a Beatles song about "mardsupials"?

    4. "Plese, Mr Possum", and "She's a Wombat".

    5. Who could forget the classic "Red Back"? (from the concert on the roof of the outside dunny ...). Makes the Rutles spoof "Get Up And Go" seem even more relevant somehow.

    6. Of course there's the entire album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Bandicoot".

  7. I learned something new from Jerry Coyne's post on the Abbey Road medley:

    That being that the trading guitar solos on "The End" by Paul, George and John were all done live in a single take. Impressive.

    That said, that track wouldn't make my top ten.

    1. So, what would make my top ten? I'm glad you asked. Here, in alphabetical order:

      And Your Bird Can Sing
      For No One
      Happiness is a Warm Gun
      Hard Day's Night
      In My Life
      I've Just Seen A Face
      Paperback Writer
      Strawberry Fields Forever
      Tomorrow Never Knows
      The Night Before

      More a list of personal favourites than an attempt to identify the Best Songs Ever, and therefore concentrating more on perfect little gems than grand sprawling epics like "Hey Jude" or "A Day in the Life". And it seems I'm member of Team Lennon, though by a small margin.


  8. Coyne is right. :) "A Day in the Life" is an amazingly powerful song, and strangely, with a few minor lyrically changes, it could be about the end of John's life. For those of you who never got enough of "Paul is Dead".

    "Eleanor Rigby" is remarkable for its arrangement: entirely atrings, hardly Rock 'n Roll at all. And for those of us who were weaned on these tunes from The Yellow Submarine movie, they all have a haunting additional feel.

    "Yesterday" also deserves note, more timeless perhaps than any. If I had to wager on the one that'll be listened to 50 years hence, it'd be that one. "Let it Be" has to be considered on the same terms as well.

    For one that jumps out at you, give me "Paperback Writer" for instrumentation and harmonies.

    And how about the worst Beatles song? And I don't mean the dated Indian stuff or the experiments on the White Album. My vote is for "And I love Her", for lyrics as unimaginative as they come. It sounds like it was written as a joke.

  9. In my life

    The best insight into how humans relate to their lives I can think of.

    1. Yes, that one made my list as much for its lyrics as for its music. Profound truths expressed in very straightforward language, it sounds like someone just speaking to you, rather than a poem or a song.

  10. It's impossible to order them linearly. The first ones that I thought of were "Strawberry Fields Forever" for John, "Eleanor Rigby" for Paul, and maybe "Something" (not mentioned by anyone else so far) for George -- an absolutely impressionistic and subjective choice, of course.

  11. One that hasn't been mentioned (at least not at a brief glance) that I always thought had the most amazing chords is "Because."

    1. Maybe because John pinched them from Beethoven.

    2. Well, I like the Moonlight Sonata a lot, too. :)