My top 15 Beatles songs

I had an iTunes gift card, and most of the music I listen to comes via Rhapsody (similar to Spotify), so I mostly don’t need to buy tracks. But the Beatles are not available on Rhapsody, so that is the most glaring hole in my music listening habits. So I figured I’d put it all toward buying as many of their songs as the card would supply, which turned out to be 15.

I spent hours combing through lists of pretty much everything they ever released, using YouTube to play the tunes to refresh my memory. In the end, while I certainly wouldn’t have minded getting a few more, I was pretty satisfied with my list. Looks to me like maybe half of it would be on a typical top 15 list, and the other half not so much (though I wouldn’t say any of the tracks are really obscure).

I should note that the playlist is partially intended to brainwash my four children into becoming Beatles fans. I didn’t think about that super consciously as I chose, but I think had that not been the case I might have leaned more toward leaving off a couple of the songs I’ve heard over and over through the years (like “Hey Jude”) to give them more of a rest, and gone deeper into the catalogue. I might also not have felt it necessary to include both early and late Beatles; OTOH “And I Love Her” and “I’ll Follow the Sun” are both such great songs they probably make the cut regardless. “All My Loving” might be the borderline case there, as it has a kind of “historical” sound to me, making me picture them on Ed Sullivan (and indeed, as I go to check just now, that was in fact the first song they played in their first of three appearances on the show–although the song surprisingly only made it to #45 in the U.S.)

Curious to hear opinions on the list. What were the criminal omissions IYO? And which of my picks would you eliminate to include them? Is there any consistent pattern to the songs I picked, that says something about my personality or tastes?

“Across the Universe”
“All My Loving”
“And I Love Her”
“A Day in the Life”
“Eleanor Rigby”
“Here Comes the Sun”
“Hey Jude”
“I’ll Follow the Sun”
“Let It Be”
“Norwegian Wood”
“Rocky Raccoon”
“When I’m 64”

While My Guitar Gently Weeps jumps out at me as a glaring omission. I’d swap it in a heartbeat for 64.

WMGGW was definitely an “honourable mention”. I used to love that song, actually; but I think I’ve gotten more tired of it than even “Hey Jude” or “Let It Be”, so that feeling overrode the notion of curating for my kids.

I absolutely love your list, agree entirely and wouldn’t change a thing. Of course, my list is almost entirely different. :slight_smile:

Oh! Darling
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
Martha My Dear
For No One
Across the Universe
In My Life
Within You Without You (yeah, I know, but I like it)
Here Comes the Sun
We Can Work it Out
I’m Looking Through You
Two of Us
Come Together

Also a good list! Commentary on the crazy goodness of the Beatles that two such lists can both be so strong.

In particular, “Two of Us” came close to making it, but it was tainted by being too much of a song my ex-wife and I got into together (everything else I considered were songs I already knew well before I got married the first time).

No love for “All You Need Is Love”?

I never liked Rocky Raccoon. I’d replace that from something from the Beatlemania days. “I Should Have Known Better” was the first Beatles song I taught myself; I must have practiced it for weeks, if you wanted to total the times up. Or maybe “Please Please Me” or “From Me To You”.

What would you knock off to include it?

Ranger Jeff, “Rocky Raccoon” is, for me, one of the top songs on the list! No matter how many times I hear it, I still enjoy the little story it tells, and never fail to smile at the line “Her name was Magill, and she called herself Lil, but everyone knew her as Nancy”. There is some kind of screwball genius at work there.

It’s tough, since they did so much, and so much is great.

If I had to pick the #1 underrated Beatles tune, it would be “The Night Before.”

Some ones to think about:

•The Night Before
•(I Have Got) Another Girl
•You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
(I’m a big fan of the album “Help,” as you might have deduced by now…)
•You Can’t Do That
•Your Blooz
•Don’t Bother Me

I also agree with the suggestion of “Martha My Dear.”

In no particular order and not sorting through all, I’m just picking out 15 really fun songs, and counting the Suite on side 2 of Abbey Road as one.

Side 2 Suite on Abbey Road
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Get Back
Revolution 9 (just kidding)
Penny Lane
Stawberry Fields
Hey Jude
Tomorrow Never Knows
Come Together
Octopus’ Garden (why do you suspect I have a favorite album?)
With A Little Help From My Friends
A Day In The Life
I Want You
A Hard Day’s Night
The Long and Winding Road (original version, sorry boys, but Phil the murderer was right on this)

Also a good list! I chuckled at your “Revolution 9” fakeout there. I am simultaneously discussing my new batch o’ Beatles tunes on Facebook; as I was doing so and listening to the tracks on my “iTouch” (iPod Touch) on shuffle, I was thrown off to hear the weirdness appended to the end (sort of like a short “secret track”) of “Day In the Life”. I commented:

In iTunes, you can actually go in and set up a custom time for the track to end–I’ve done it with Nights in White Satin so that I never have to hear the unintentionally hilarious spoken word bit at the end. A Day in the Life is certainly another good candidate.

I agree. I would much rather listen to that song multiple times. The kids might rather hear “When I’m 64”, though.

Wow, I did not know that–thanks! Very cool feature.

I don’t think I know the spoken word you mean. But I have only heard that song on the radio so I assume DJs never play it?

My list, posted before looking at others’:

Tomorrow Never Knows
Strawberry Fields Forever
A Day in the Life
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
I’ve Just Seen A Face
Eleanor Rigby
In My Life
We Can Work It Out
She Said She Said
Penny Lane
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
I Am The Walrus
Got To Get You Into My Life

Fwiw, I don’t understand how it is humanly possibly to progress from composing ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ to ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ in about 36 months. It doesn’t seem possible to gain that much experience and knowledge and just development in that time, never mind while defining the rock 'n roll era, touring, writing three albums, going to India and conquering most of the world. TNK is just so far ahead of anything … 3 years between those compositions.

If there’s a more acute development curve in the history of the creative arts I’m not awarfe of it.

This is the closest I’ve seen to my thinking - what’s amazing is that the posted lists have so many solid songs to choose from.

I wouldn’t know how to NOT include early stuff like Twist n’ Shout, Money (I don’t care if they’re covers, when John shreds his vocal cords at the end of TnS, it is epic) - mid-period stuff like Things We Said Today, Day Tripper and Ticket to Ride - it’s just too hard. I mean, how can you not include I’m Only Sleeping!!! (although She Said is pretty much a favorite of mine)…

BrokenBriton - that’s what makes them The Beatles. The convergence of songcraft, move to studio, updated production techniques, drugs, and great influences to build off of (Elvis, Buddy, Dylan, Motown, Brian Wilson, etc.) - it was just perfect. Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…

Fwiw, this is the fullest explanation I’ve seen of how TNK came to be created:

/ARRGGHH!!! so angry had perfectly crafted list of Beatles songs to Brainwash your children and its GONE!!!

Ok…some highlights- I only kept one of yours, SlakerInc, sorry…( Something)

Dig a Pony, Don’t Let me Down, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, She came in through the bathroom window, I’m only sleeping, Obladi Oblada, Helter Skelter, Come Together, Hide your love away and dammit I forgot the rest…

My personal favorite since I was knee high to a grasshopper is I Wanna Hold Your Hand, I really identify with all the screaming girls in the audience, and I get the urge to scream hysterically too when I hear the song…sometimes I do scream, lol…

It really says something about the quality of the whole catalogue that there is usually only a one-or-two-song overlap between lists. I think mine would have to go something like this:

Let It Be (Overplayed? Maybe. Still amazing.)
Rocky Raccoon
Twist & Shout
Helter Skelter
Rock & Roll Music
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
I Saw Her Standing There
Hello, Goodbye
Lady Madonna
Dear Prudence
We Can Work It Out