From 1963 to 1970, the Beatles reigned on the pop chart in the US and in Great Britain. Many music enthusiasts consider the Beatles to be the greatest band of the 20th century.
While they were all excellent musicians in their own right, they are best known for the songs many that have been covered by thousands of various artists. The Beatles sound changed vastly from their early playing days until the release of their final studio album, “Let it Be”. There music influences greatly ranged from the sounds of American R & B, to classical to Indian music. There are many great Beatles songs and to say what the 10 best are is no easy feat. The songs chosen here represent
10. Eleanor Rigby – Found on the Revolver Album this song also can be heard in the Yellow Submarine Movie. Eleanor Rigby was a departure musically from other Beatles songs at the time that instead of using guitars, drums and a bass guitar, the vocals were accompanied only by the strings of an orchestra. Lyrically, this song is a sad one as it sings a story of dieing and loneliness. But it is a masterpiece and shows their classical influence.
9. I Want To Hold Your Hand – This song was featured on the “Meet The Beatles” soundtrack. This song has a slick rhythm guitar intro, a catchy chorus and cheery harmonies. Even though the lyrics are tailored for children in their middle teen years let’s not forget this was still the early sixties.
8. “Hey Jude” Easy lyrics to remember, easy melody and who could forget the continuous running line at the end that seems to go for minutes at a time. It was one of the first big pop hits to ever break the 3-4 minute mark for radio songs.
7. “Something” – One of the few Beatles hits not written by John Lennon or Paul McCartney. George Harrison wrote this happy peaceful love song, and it is fair to say that he wasn’t sued for it like his “My Sweet Lord” as a solo artist. Legendary singer Frank Sinatra once remarked that he thought this was the greatest love song he had ever heard.
6. “Revolution” – The Beatles answer to the late 60s and all the political madness surrounding it. It promotes a message of change but yet of peace.
The guitar was massively distorted and could easily be considered a precursor to the loud distorted and screeching guitar sound of heavy metal.
5. “Norwegian Wood” – Originally on the Rubber Soul album, this song has a pleasant demeanor with harmonious vocals and a very catchy riff played by a sitar. It seems to be about a missed romantic opportunity with a woman because the songwriter fell asleep in the bath. With the release of this song and the Death of Jim Morrison of the Doors (he died in a bathtub), I think most men will now settle for the couch.
4. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” – Many rumors abound as to how this song got it’s title, it definitely is one of the weirder titles in the Beatles
Catalogue of songs. According to legend, John Lennon was inspired to write this song when his then four year old son Julian gave him a picture and said it was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Many people thought the song was based on the hallucinogenic drug LSD which some of the Beatles had experimented with. This song which first appeared on the “Sgt. Pepper Lonely Heart Club Band” Album has a strong psychadelic feel with organs sitar like sounding synthesizers. Lyrically, this is one of the strangest Beatles tunes ever, but he is so descriptive, you can almost see what he is singing about.
3. “A Day in the Life” – Another track off the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” album, this is perhaps the best musically arranged Beatle song. It is chilling with it’s chippy piano playing, powerful horns and wailing vocals. The song is climatic at certain points as the orchestra goes into crescendos and climaxes with surprising results. This song was really two combined into one as the middle portion was written by McCartney. The song was influenced by two newspaper articles Lennon had read, including one in which a friend of the Beatles had been killed in a car accident. However, this song may be most famous it’s final note. It was played on several pianos and struggles to sustain itself until it dies. It is often regarded as the longest chord in all of recorded music history.
2. “Let it Be” – Off the Album with the same name, this a very mellow song with a beautiful piano opening and soothing vocals by Paul McCartney. The organ playing by Bill Preston give it a slight Sunday church service feel. It has an excellent guitar solo and is well arranged with the horns in the background. Let it Be is song with a strong message of comfort and hope even though some think it was also a hymn to Christianity. According to lore, Paul McCartney wrote the lyrics after having a dream of his deceased mother appear to him in a dream.
1. “Yesterday” From the album, “Help”, this song was originally had the lyrics “Scrambled eggs, Oh, baby how I love your legs.” Years later, Paul McCartney changed the lyrics and this melody is the most covered song of the 20th century. It’s mood is somber as it consists of strings and an acoustic guitar. This is a song of love lost and regret. The vocals are some of McCartneys finest and the words flow smoothly. One does wonder though if the original title had been kept, would this song be the most covered in the world?