Ten Things Tuesday – August 31

31 Aug

There is a special edition of Rolling Stone out now, featuring the top 100 Beatles songs. How they were able to rank them all, I’ll never know. It’s certainly not something I can easily do. However, I thought that, in honor of how awesome they are and how in love with them I am, I’d post the list that Rolling Stone  came up with, and then try my hardest to rank my top ten. It’s going to be very, very difficult. This could take a while…

The top ten Beatles songs, as compiled by Rolling Stone:

1. A Day in the Life. “In truth, the song was far too intense musically and emotionally for regular radio play. It wasn’t really until the 80’s. . . that ‘A Day in the Life’ became recognized as the band’s masterwork. In this song, as in so many other ways, the Beatles were way ahead of everyone else.”

2. I Want to Hold Your Hand. “This song ‘was the apex of Phase One of the Beatles’ development’. . . ‘I knew they were pointing in the direction of where music had to go. In my head, the Beatles were it.'”

3. Strawberry Fields Forever. “George Martin later regretted the decision to remove [Fields and Penny Lane] from Sgt. Pepper as the biggest mistake of his career.”

4. Yesterday. “The tune that would go on to become the most covered song in history began as something called ‘Scrambled Eggs.’ It also began in a dream.”

5. In My Life. “It represented Lennon’s evolution as an artist. ‘I started being me about the songs, not writing them objectively, but subjectively.'”

6. Something. “‘George’s material wasn’t really paid all that much attention to – to such an extent that he asked me to stay behind after [everyone else had gone]. He was terribly nice, as if he was imposing on me. And then he plays this song that just completely blows me away.”

7. Hey Jude. “The ending refrain goes on for a full four minutes, even longer than the verses, which clock in at just over three minutes. The band hadn’t planned it that way, but McCartney was having too much fun ad-libbing to quit. . . Martin objected to its length, claiming radio wouldn’t play the tune. ‘They will if it’s us,’ Lennon shot back.”

8. Let it Be. “McCartney channeled Aretha Franklin’s soul in ‘Let It Be,’ recorded during the peak of the Beatles’ troubled times. A month after its 1970 release, McCartney announced the band had broken up.”

9. Come Together. “[This song] showed the four disparate talents of the boys and the ways they combined to make a great sound. . . the four of them became much, much better than the individual components.”

10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps. “The lyrics for George Harrison’s first truly great Beatles song began with him choosing the phrase ‘gently weeps’ from a random book. It wasn’t until Harrison pulled Eric Clapton in to play guitar that the arrangement was finished.”

The top ten Beatles songs, as compiled by Laura:

1. Helter Skelter. I know it’s a big mess of noise, and rambling, gritty attempt to usher in metal. But there’s just something so undeniably hot about that sound. It’s simply about a carnival slide – a helter skelter – but I just can’t get past that wall of sound coming out at you. Paul’s wailing voice – oh man, hold me back. I think it was unintentionally the sexiest song they ever wrote.

2. I’ve Just Seen a Face. It hits you in the face like a ton of bricks, and never lets up until it comes rushing to the end. You can literally feel the urgency with which Paul is telling the world about the girl he just met. I think love should be like that – when you meet someone, and you just know, you can’t wait to tell everyone. You end up stumbling over your words because you can’t contain your emotion, and you can’t get it out fast enough. The rhyme scheme is also terribly complicated, when you really look at it. Everything about the Beatles seems simple (and sometimes it is), but is also quite complicated and in-depth.

3. Free as a Bird. Not released until the Anthology came out – perhaps I love this one so much because of the music video. If you get the chance, you should look it up – it’s the perfect compilation and summary of the Beatles’ career. Don’t we all want to feel that way – just free to fly away and do whatever? I think at some point, we all want to know what’s like to be that free – to fly, to escape, to just live. If only life were really that uncomplicated.

4. Real Love. Such a simple message: everything in my life has led me up to this moment, the moment that I’m here with you, and it’s real love. God, if only we could all be so lucky to have that.

5. Good Day Sunshine. A song that truly makes you happy to be alive, and loving life. You can’t help but feel like the world is right, and everything is as it should be.

6. The End. As the finale of the Abbey Road medley, this is my favorite song. Really, what better way to end the record than with a song by this title? It’s the only drum solo in the entire catalogue. It’s the simplest of lyrics – repeating “love you” throughout most of the song, ending with the iconic message, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Really, nothing else could be said to better summarize their entire career.

7. And Your Bird Can Sing. I don’t know what it is about this one that I love so much. Maybe it’s the dual guitar leads. Maybe it’s the nonsense lyrics. Maybe it’s the demo Anthology version where they’re giggling like mad. Whatever it is, I love this song, with no explanation.

8. A Day in the Life. Truly brilliant, in every way. Two unfinished songs that seemingly don’t fit together, yet they find a way to make it work. I think this song, because of the interesting juxtaposition, shows the main differences between Lennon and McCartney. Lennon was a brooding pessimist, McCartney a practical optimist. Nowhere else is this more evident, in their entire catalogue.

9. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away. Quite melancholy – Lennon at his best. I’ll never forget the image of the four of them in Help!, sitting around that house build for four, Lennon off in his own world, George unsuccessfully flirting with Eleanor Bron, Ringo banging his tambourine right on time. For me, it describes what heartache feels like – feeling two foot small, like you can’t go on, like the entire world is looking at you. You have to put that love aside, and go one with life, even though it seems impossible and feels like shit.

10. I Saw Her Standing There. This song announced that the Beatles were here, and they were taking over. It blasts out of Please Please Me with Paul’s energetic opening count, just like a live show, right from the start. It’s an unapologetic proclamation that this was how it was going to be – that rock and roll was about to change forever. The rest is history.

This was truly difficult to write. How could you possibly find the ten songs you love the most? There are so many that I had to leave off. And I’m sure that, if you asked me another day, the list would be different. It just depends on what mood you’re in, where you’re at in your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact I think that’s one of the greatest things about the Beatles – they appeal to everyone, everywhere, no matter what’s going on. There’s always a song appropriate for your life. They’re always there for you, and they always know just what to say.

What are your ten favorites?


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