Are there 100 excellent Beatles songs?


Even casual Beatles fans will admit that the flashy little band from Liverpool put out a lot of really good songs. But are there as many as a hundred we could honestly call "excellent?"

First, some guidelines. What am I calling a Beatles release?
  • Pre-Ringo-era material? No, with one* exception.
  • Bootlegs and BBC Radio tapes? Executive decision: No.
  • Post-breakup solo tunes? No, thank you. Not even ones that started out pre-breakup, such as "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "All Things Must Pass."
  • How about Lennon-McCartneys written for or doled out to others? Unfortunately not. Sorry, Mary Hopkin ("Goodbye") and Peter & Gordon ("World Without Love").
  • But cover oldies performed by the Beatles? Reluctantly, yes.
I am resurrecting the rating system I used as a newspaper music columnist. Instead of stars, guitars, or musical notes,
I used @ symbols. Long before email and Twitter, they looked to me like little ears. To be counted as Excellent for this list, a song has to earn at least four Earwaves ears on this scale:

@@@@@   Celestial
    @@@@   A keeper
        @@@   Some flashes
           @@    Not delightful
               @    Landfill

Composers are in parentheses; LM for Lennon-McCartney,
H for Harrison, and S for Starkey. Where Paul or John
wrote all or most of a song, I'm italicizing his initial. Known collaborations, mostly early, are left plain, as are those whose main authorship is unclear.

Underlined titles link to YouTube videos, but. . .

[2017 update]
Since I first created this page, Sony music lawyers have blocked many YouTubes containing finished Lennon-McCartney or Harrison audio, whether on Capitol promo films or used in fan-made versions. 
      So I've replaced the many dead links with whatever is now available. Some are from post-breakup solo concerts. Others are alternate Abbey Road takes or tribute-band versions that give close approximations. Where there is nothing else decent, I've just linked to A to Z Lyrics' files and Amazon music samples.
     These should hold, at least until the legal eagles swoop down again, talons extended.

Agree or disagree with my opinions, feel free to pitch in your own two pence worth here and I'll add your comments.
  • Across the Universe (LM)
    After a nice slide guitar intro, "Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup." Zheesh. Seriously whiny, lyrics and melody. @@

  • Act Naturally (Johnny Russell)
    Turned a lot of non-country fans on to Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. A fun song, perfect for Ringo's voice. Off-tempo harmonies add to its freshness. @@@1/2

  • All I've Got To Do (LM)
    A little edge, a little angst, a nice chord shift, but not quite the Smokey Robinson gem Lennon had hoped for. @@@1/2

  • All My Loving (LM)
    Lyrics beyond the first four seconds are sap dripping from the you/true tree. But how could a song that charges right in with "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you," then Tilt-a-Whirls its way to the end be anything but @@@@? 

  • All Together Now (LM)
    Written as a children's song for the Yellow Submarine movie, Paulie sneaks in "Can I take my friend to bed?" for any grownups listening in. @@@1/2

  • All You Need is Love (LM)
    It takes a big band to start making fun of itself at the end of a four-minute song: "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" and other tidbits in the fade-out. Written as a singalong for the world, it still pulls us in almost 50 years later. @@@@

    And I Love Her LM)
    Not the most beautiful song McCartney ever wrote -- one of many inspired by Jane Asher--but beautiful enough. @@@@

  • And Your Bird Can Sing (LM)
    Paul duels George in a lead guitar battle to the finish. We win. Composer Lennon called it a throwaway. I don't. @@@@1/2 

  • Anna (Go to Him) (Arthur Alexander)
    On the other hand, John just loved this one, overwrought as it is. Plunging backup vocals may cause vertigo. Here's Alexander's original. @

  • Another Girl (LM)
    Fine example of melody and vocals triumphing over rather dippy lyrics.The last word in the line "Through thick and thin, she will always be my friend" rides an unexpected half-note up. @@@@

  • Any Time At All (LM)
    Early instance of guitars echoing the vocals: "Any time at all" (doomp-doo-doo-duh-doomp) . . ." Joy of recording really comes through here. @@@@

  • Ask Me Why (LM)
    Dangerously close to jazz with those minor chord changes. The Smithereens liked it enough to put it on their LP of B-sides. Choppy guitar licks on "mis-er-y" line are kind of nifty, though. @@@
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  • Baby It's You (Burt Bacharach-Luther Dixon-Mack David)
    Both the Fabs' and the original Shirelles' versions die in comparison to the later powerhouse delivered in Del Shannon's arrangement and Gayle McCormick's voice. Smith, '69. Sha-la-la-la-lah indeed. @@

  • Baby, You're A Rich Man (LM)
    Odd, experimental flipside, supposedly directed at manager Brian Epstein's new "beautiful people" lifestyle. Pre-synthesizer clavoline is like an oboe on mescaline. In 2014, Circe Link took the electronics a step further. @@@

  • Baby's In Black (LM)
    Unusual waltzing rhythm and great, double-lead vocal. @@@@1/2

  • Back in the U.S.S.R. (LM)
    With the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, and even Hoagy Carmichael as inspiration, this tune couldn't help but sound "American." Some theorize that the Beatles had more to do with the overthrow of communism than Ronald Reagan. At least until Putin, one of McCartney's joys in life was to sing it in Red Square. @@@@

  • The Ballad Of John And Yoko (LM)
    Pros: Catchy melody, sarcastic lyrics, upsetting to conservative radio station owners (for "Christ" and "crucify" in the chorus). Cons: Sounds as slapped together by John and Paul as it was, weak imitations of Ringo's drumming and George's guitar work. In the end, unsatisfying. @@1/2 

  • Because (LM)
    Sweet nine-part harmony (three Beatles x 3 takes), early synth, and George Martin's electric harpsichord make this a pretty song . . . pretty listless, that is. @@

  • Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (LM)
    Lennon told Martin that he wanted post-production to bring out the "sawdust on the floor." Many days and snipped tape in the air later, he got his wish to bring his 19th-century poster to life, with a little help from 1960s high technology. @@@@

  • Birthday (LM)
    Out-of-the-blue drum guns launch this power popper, made up and recorded in a single day in '68. After "You say it's your birthday," the next line sounds like a drunken retort: "It's my birthday too, yeah." @@@@

  • Blackbird (LM)
    Paul's "civil rights" song, written while watching coverage of U.S. racial unrest. Foot taps, string squeaks, and bird sound effects might have been distracting in a less-gorgeous song. @@@@

  • Blue Jay Way (H)
    I realize George was going for a certain mood in this slow, dragging piece. Unfortunately, he found it. @

  • Boys (Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell)
    Another Shirelles cover. They wanted to get a "Ringo song" in the can. @
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  • Can't Buy Me Love (LM)
    Book-ending pieces of the chorus was producer George Martin's idea. Bouncy tale told from the point of view of pre-millionaire lads, directed toward a fickle, materialistic lass. Interesting shifts, British vs. American, in the pronunciation of the a in "can't." Sudden starts and stops are surprisingly exhilarating. @@@@

  • Carry That Weight (LM)
    Sewn together with "You Never Give Me Your Money" and part of the Side 2 medley on Abbey Road, it's supposed to be about the band's business disputes. Despite the nice howling four-Fab harmony, "Carry That Weight" seems a bit lightweight. @@@  

  • Chains (Gerry Goffin & Carole King)
    Inferior in every way to the Cookies' 1962 sweet, swaying original. @@

  • Christmas Time (Is Here Again) (LMHS)
    Absolutely silly holiday ditty for the worldwide fan club--yes I was a member--in 1967. Not officially released until 1995 (with "Free as a Bird") at 3:03, thankfully; not the six-minute version, which is even more repetitious. "Ain't been 'round since you know when / O-U-T spells Out."  Joyful, dopey, but no keeper. I remember it more fondly than I enjoy it now. @@@

  • Come Together (LM)
    Dopey, but not joyful. Lennon's non-sequiturs, many of them sort of smelly, are just annoying. McCartney's thumping bass is catchy, though. @@1/2

  • The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (LM)
    As the title implies, it's a narrative and a true one at that. There aren't very many story songs in the band's repertoire, are there? This one is OK, using juvenile phrasing and inflections to make fun of a young American who shot a tiger during the Beatles' India trip. @@@

  • Cry Baby Cry (LM)
    Even more childish--or childlike, if you want to be kind--is this nursery rhymer. Sunny verses vs. dark, mysterious choruses. It is an appropriate lead-in to the weird, experimental "Revolution 9." @@@

  • Cry For A Shadow* (LH)
    Two "onlies" here: a Lennon-Harrison composition and Pete Best on drums. Considered an official 1964 Beatles release, though it was written and performed in 1961. Named thus because John and George were trying to sound like contemporaries Cliff Richard and the Shadows, I find the soothing, rocking beat fits its working title better, "Beatle Bop." @@@@
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  • A Day in the Life (LM)
    "Woke up, got out of bed" part sewn into the dreamlike "I read the news today, oh boy" verses, crazed orgasmic crescendos played by a 40-piece orchestra, punctuated by a 30-fingered chord, ending in a closed piano lid and the hum of Abbey Road's air conditioners. Amazing then. And still. @@@@@

  • Day Tripper (LM)
    It's sort of a blues song, with the first two lines (almost) repeated. Yet the fourth line of the quatrain runs off in its own melody. There are no rhymes. The lyrics are pretty vague; something about a liberated young woman. But that famous 11-note lead (not Paul on bass) line both ties it all together and drives it forward. @@@@  

  • Dear Prudence (LM)
    Pretty and poetic, but written by John, not Paul. @@@@

  • Devil In Her Heart (Richard Drapkin)
    Originally recorded by a Detroit girl group, the Donays, as "Devil in His Heart," George Harrison loved it enough to inflict it on the band and us. Lover vacillates between self-delusion and realism. No vacillation here: A to D, to paraphrase Comic Book Guy, worst Beatles release ever. @ 

  • Dig It (LMHS)
    Jam session. Five guys (with Billy Preston) having musical fun. But why record it, much less release it? @@@

  • Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Larry Williams)
    Insipid lyrics overcome by the interweaving of John's begging vocals and George's twanging, nasty lead guitar. Here's the honky-tonker original, sung by its composer. @@@@

  • Do You Want to Know a Secret? (LM)
    I think Harrison's singing here is among his best as a Beatle, maybe even better than on his own "Something." The Lennon composition has three different melodies, all sweeties. @@@@1/2

  • Doctor Robert (LM)
    Nifty Lennon/McCartney harmonies, given an edge by very slightly delaying John's on a later track. Tale of pill-pushing celebrity doc still relevant. @@@@

  • Don't Bother Me (H)
    George was sick in bed and wondered if he could write a good song. He could. Ringo's drumming slams the door on the sudden end-of-verse halts. @@@@

  • Don't Let Me Down (LM)
    Lennon-to-Yoko love plea must take years to grow on a person, because I never used to like it. Smooth lead guitar lines and hollered three-part harmonies must have finally won me over. @@@@

  • Don't Pass Me By (S)
    Yes, I know it falls into the stereotype of "Hapless Ringo," but countrified, second-person tale of a naïve lover is a fun listen. Nutty nine-bang trashcan intro. @@@@

  • Drive My Car (LM) Another second-person POV, this time an ambitious female bragging to her boy friend (two words). Paul on twangy lead guitar, George on guttural bass. How about an Excellent? Well, as we say in the Holyland of east-central Wisconsin: pr't' near. @@@1/2 This 2006 version isn't bad either. That's the year I saw him in Mlwaukee.

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  • Eight Days A Week (LM)
    Unusual fade-in beginning, very catchy melody, staccato hand claps, imaginative Lennon vocal bends, and teenage exaggeration. @@@1/2.

  • Eleanor Rigby (LM)
    Big step up from everything else every rocker had even done, including the Fabs' own "Yesterday." Producer George Martin scored and directed the string octet. Band mates, technicians, and hangers-on all seemed to have contributed key phrases. Sad Eleanor and isolated Fr. McKenzie finally meet--at her funeral. @@@@@

  • The End (LM)
    Three-way lead guitar battle. Economical--the whole song is only 2:20--but as exciting as other groups' 20-minute axe wars. Then, after all the fast, loud, heavy metal, they surprise us with sweet, orchestra-backed philosophy: "And in the end / the love you take / is equal to the love / you make." @@@@@

  • Every Little Thing (LM)
    Double-string intro anticipates Everly-esque harmonies later in the song. Very romantic and, with Ringo on tympany, a bit dramatic. Rare Lennon vocal of a McCartney song. @@@@

  • Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey (LM)
    Raucous, speedy rocker driven along by splashing guitar chords and frantic, jangling percussion. Again they murder the criticism that they were getting too soft. @@@@ Then again, listen to John's demo or Bo Diddley's rendition

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  • Fixing a Hole (LM)
    Deceptively casual tune elevated by minor to major key shifts, harpsichord intro, plunging bass bridge and quick three-man harmonies. One of the rare songs that benefits from a fade-out ending. @@@@

  • Flying (LMHS)
    Two minutes of Magical Mystery Tour video underscore, originally more than nine minutes long. Free drug trip without the hassle of back-alley dealing, flashbacks, or possible DEA involvement. @@@

  • The Fool on the Hill  (LM)
    Aside from the "They don't like him" line, no edge to this song whatsoever, but none needed. Cool flute interplay. @@@1/2

  • For No One (LM)
    Gorgeous, bittersweet  story of "a love that should have lasted years." The French horn work usually gets the attention, but I like the "pre-echo" piano chords of the verses: "[thoom] The day breaks [thoom] your mind aches [thoom] you find that . . ." @@@@

  • For You Blue (H)
    Maybe the only 12-bar blues song containing the words "12-bar blues." Paul on honky-tonk piano and "Go Johnny Go" Lennon on slide guitar don't quite cancel out George's voice at the edge of his range and the insipid lyrics. @@1/2

  • Free As A Bird (LMHS)
    Composition built around a 1977 Lennon home cassette tape. Producer Jeff Lynne leaves the same ELO odor here as he did on the Traveling Wilburys albums. Grade A for effort on behalf of fans, but @ for the funereal result. 

  • From Me To You (LM)
    Do-wacka-do beat, infectious melody, and strong harmonizing made this a chart and heart winner. According to Cousin Brucie Morrow, this is also the first cover a Beatles song, released by Del Shannon, just before the "real" one. @@@1/2

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  • Get Back (LM)
    Starting off as a melody-only jam, a variety of lyrics were tossed in as the music was polished with each new take. Along the way, Puerto Ricans, Pakistanis, a Prime Minister, and perhaps Yoko Ono were all insulted. Somehow cowboy "Jo Jo" and trans-
    "Sweet Loretta Martin" arrive in the verses. @@ for the words, @@@@ for the stalking, boogie-woogie musical arrangement. @@@

  • Getting Better (LM)
    Alternating lead guitars, hammers chopping on steel strings, fade-in harmonizing, and a gliding tamboura. Just another extraordinary day at the Sgt. Pepper office. @@@@

  • Girl (LM)
    Gently undulating rhythm with tricky background counterpoint, it's an early ('65) example of instrumental experimentation. Now, are the background Beatles singing "Dit dit dit dit" or its anatomical rhyme? @@@1/2 

  • Glass Onion (LM)
    In an album full of the guys imitating other singers, The Beatles (White Album) features one song referring to their own: "Lady Madonna," "I am the Walrus." etc. Ringo's gunshot rim shot opening contrasts with Paul's recorder bit and the eight-string ending. @@@@

  • Golden Slumbers (LM)
    Another octave-jumping beauty by Paul--the melody and vocal anyway. A nearly verbatim lift of a 17th century poem gave him the lyrics and George Martin gave him the 30-piece orchestra score. Is it possible to be a little too bittersweet? @@@

  • Good Day Sunshine (LM)
    Mysterious, drum-and-bass intro nudges us into one of the sunshiniest measures in Beatledom, outshone only by the beginning of "Hello Goodbye." This song is so irresistible that it is used to wake up astronauts and had "Here, There and Everywhere" for a B-side. @@@@1/2 
  • Good Morning, Good Morning (LM)
    One of John's best performances on record: Grumbling brass chords, acid lead guitar, and frantic, almost reckless vocal. Oh, and the animal sound effects are fun, especially the dog growl which turns into a cat meow. @@@@ 

  • Good Night (LM)
    John wrote this lullaby for little Julian. It was the perfect track to calm things down after the crazed "Revolution 9" and as a coda for the final of four sides of The White Album. But much too lush and corny to stand on its own. Is it just me or does Ringo's whispering creep you out too? @@

  • Got To Get You Into My Life (LM)
    Did you feel a little duped when you found out that "Martha My Dear" is really about a sheep dog? You'll have to decide for yourself if McCartney's claim, that "Got to Get You into My Life" is an ode to marijuana, ruins it for you. I choose to judge it on the trumpets, saxophones, and Paul's voice battling for air supremacy. @@@@

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  • Happiness Is A Warm Gun (LM)
    I never thought the irony here was accidental: Lennon's always-unnamed murderer studied the lyrics. John got the title from the cover story in a hunting magazine. Did his mocking "Bang, bang, shoo-oo-oo-oot" help get him killed? Musicially, one of the band's most complex. @@@

  • A Hard Day's Night (LM)
    Harrison's 12-string F chord with Martin's matching piano and McCartney's D thump make up that famous opening twang. The same notes dance off in the fade-away. In between is a tune ad fun as the movie--and Ringo Starr's malapropism--that insprired it. @@@@
  • Hello Goodbye (LM)
    I don't apologize for this being one of my three personal favorites, despite its reputation as a lightweight. I think it's the ultimate Beatles joy-of-life song. Besides, that sound wasn't perfected till the 19th take. Listen for the nutty background vocals. @@@@@

  • Help! (LM)
    Speaking of what's in the background, this one has the lead singer's words pre-echoed by the other singers. A very polished rock and roll gem. @@@@

  • Helter Skelter (LM)
    Mr. Townsend of The Who made the mistake of bragging that
    "I Can See for Miles" was the loudest, noisiest song ever. Mr. McCartney of The Beatles took that as a challenge, turning the description of an amusement park ride into one of the first heavy metal songs. @@@@

  • Her Majesty (LM)
    Like the "inner groove" snippet next to the label of Sgt. Pepper, this cute little poke at the Queen is a surprise gift to listeners. After a gap of dead air at the end of Abbey Road--bwoing!--it's 23 more seconds of fun. @@@1/2

  • Here Comes The Sun (H)
    Meteorological magic, composed in Eric Clapton's garden on a sunny spring day. @@@@ 

  • Here, There And Everywhere (LM)
    Vivid, romantic poetry + a soaring, imaginative melody = @@@@@. The guitar string squeaks are cool too.

  • Hey Bulldog (LM)
    How can a song be bouncy and skulking at the same time? Deep thumping bass lines as infectious as "Peter Gunn" or "Pretty Woman." @@@1/2

  • Hey Jude (LM)
    Part consolation for Julian Lennon, whose parents were divorcing, and part encouragement to shy young lovers. An okay singalong. @@@

  • Hold Me Tight (LM)
    As underrated as "Hey Jude" is overrated, even the Fabs called "Tight" an album filler. I like its relentless drive, sudden speed changes, and in-and-out backing vocals. @@@1/2 

  • Honey Don't (Carl Perkins)
    Another "cowboy" song for Ringo. Here's Perkins' original and a later, live version. Choose among bland, corny, or a tinge of Jerry Lee Lewis. Not one of these vocals lives up to the superb guitar work. @@@

  • Honey Pie (LM)
    Old-fashioned number straight out of the Paul's childhood visits to Liverpool music halls, complete with 78 RPM scratchiness and an off-sync moment between singer and piano player. @@@

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  • I am the Walrus (LM)
    Poking fun at those who, even in '67, were overinterpreting the band's lyrics, Lennon poured phrase after phrase of nonsense, as if it were, well, yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye. Sort of a four-minute musical version of his books A Spaniard in the Works and In His Own Write. @@@

  • I Call Your Name (LM)
    There's more anxiety in the words than in the perky melody, especially when it shifts into the "Don't you know I can't take it" bridge. Interesting bit of guitar improv, before it degenerates into a limp fade-out. @@1/2

  • I Don't Want To Spoil The Party (LM)
    I could almost have copied and pasted the review for "I Call Your Name," except that this one's ending is much more solid. @@@

  • I Me Mine (H)
    It's a waltz. It's a blueser. It's a song that can't decide its own speed. It's awkward. It's @.
  • I Need You (H)
    On the other hand, this Harrisong is smooth, slightly innovative (pedal guitarwork) and worth a listen. @@@1/2

  • I Saw Her Standing There (LM)
    How did "She was just seventeen / You know what I mean" get past the censors in 1963? Maybe they were too embarrassed to explain their objections out loud. No better song was ever written that captures the giddy excitement of sudden infatuation at a teenage dance. @@@@

  • I Should Have Known Better (LM)
    Quick, what's the first word that comes to mind when you see this title? To me, it's harmonica. Before Lennon, there was Dylan, the Harmonicats, Woody Guthire, Little Walter, and that's about it for famous harmonica players. Insipid lyrics saved by bounce-along melody. @@@

  • I Wanna Be Your Man (LM)
    The early Rolling Stones were looking for a hit single. Paul McCartney finished this one off and gave it to them. The jolly Ringo version (@@1/2) pales next to the intense, almost psychedelic treatment in the Stones' rendition

  • I Want To Hold Your Hand (LM)
    Quite simply, this is the song we had been waiting for. The 3-3-15-note fanfare announced to our generation that we no longer had to settle for Pat Boone, Brenda Lee and Bill Haley. @@@@@ 

  • I Want To Tell You (H)
    A neat little gem with thoughtful lyrics, jump-in harmonies and that quirky, discordant piano line. @@@@

  • I Want You (She's So Heavy) (LM)
    Well, I do like the meat-cleavered ending. @@1/2

    However, reader Scott, of Lompoc, Calif., says, "I have to disagree with you right off the bat, though . . . . 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)" only @@1/2 and you only like the abrupt ending?! I'd give that one at least @@@@ if not @@@@@. that opening riff is so damn heavy and dark. The guitar/vocal duet, Paul's killer bass and the rhythm changes. The aural splendor of the increasingly louder wind sounds. The wonderfully repetitive lyric. I love it all! It's one of my faves. Hehe; just my "two pence." ;) 
  • I Will (LM)
    McCartney makes love songs seem so simple to write. Just close your eyes, think about Jane Asher, add octaves. But the White Album recording took 67 takes! Here's a nice solo acoustic version from 2006. @@@@

  • If I Fell (LM)
    Ditto. But it's (probably) not about Jane and it was written by John! @@@@

  • If I Needed Someone (H)
    Sounds a bit Byrds-y, doesn't it? Harrison credits Jim/Roger McGuinn's "Bells of Rhymney" for the opening jangles.  @@@  And here's Roger's George rendition.

  • I'll Be Back (LM)
    Odd mix of pessimistic sulking in the verses and optimistic cheerfulness in the two different bridges. @@@ You might want to skip the first 44 seconds of the video.

  • I'll Cry Instead (LM)
    Frustrated by fame--or perhaps by his first marriage--Lennon packs his complaints in this bouncy country tune. Interesting transitions in and out of the bridges. @@@

  • I'll Follow The Sun (LM)
    McCartney's turn to take a sad song and make it better, so to speak. Short, lilting ballad features bottleneck guitar in the instrumental repeat of the verse. Here's Paul in '07, sans the bottleneck. @@@1/2

  • I'll Get You (LM)
    The Fabs weren't as perfectionist here as they became later, as you can hear in John and Paul singing two different lyrics after "'Cause there's gonna be a time . . ." Does this contain the lowest notes of any of their tunes, the "Oh-ohh, yeah" at the end? See the next one. @@1/2

  • I'm A Loser (LM)
    Even more countrified than "I'll Get You," George fingerpicks Nashville style between verses. John hits a low G note at the end of the phrase, ". . . I should never have crossed." His idol Smokey's "Tears of a Clown" shows its influence here too. @@@

  • I'm Down (LM)
    The greatest flip-side bargain in rock and roll. Manic, frantic, frenetic, crazed, and all the other synonyms for frenzied in Roget@@@@@

  • I'm Happy Just To Dance With You (LM)
    Maclen wrote it to get Harrison's voice on an album. Good job on both ends, thanks to Bo Diddley rhythms, George's earnest rendition, and the sudden upshift at "Just to dance with you," which gets picked up in the backing "Oh-ohhs. @@@@

  • I'm Looking Through You (LM)
    In the great pop tradition of the breakup song, carried on today by Taylor Swift, McCartney says adios to Asher (even though it was he who cheated on her). Decent running pace and melody dives are squandered by the dorky fade-out ending. @@@

  • I'm Only Sleeping  (LM)
    Early attempt at backwards taping. @@1/2

  • I'm So Tired (LM)
    Why don't I hate this as much as I did in '68, White Album in hand? Maybe it's the way some verses jump out of the haze. The cutesy mumbling at the end is still irritating, though@@1/2

  • In My Life (LM)
    John's quiet and introspective look back on his pre-fame life. This one could be labeled Lennon-McCartney-Martin, because it was their indispensable producer who came up with the featured piano bridge. @@@@

  • The Inner Light (H)
    Obscure "Lady Madonna" flip side fluctuates between Eastern droning and Western perkiness. @@@

  • It Won't Be Long (LM)
    With all the calls and responses here, it could be classified as gospel rock. The deep guitar plunges make it clear that we're not in church. Fun to sing along with, isn't it? @@@1/2
  • It's All Too Much (H)
    Underappreciated Yellow Sub treat. Foot-tapping rhythm and a wonderful philosophy of life: "All the world is birthday cake / So take a piece, but not too much." @@@1/2

  • It's Only Love (LM)
    Both John and Paul blow this off as filler. But it seems that Lennon's mixed feelings toward Cynthia are leaking out, to a fine acoustic guitar accompaniment. @@@

  • I've Got a Feeling (LM)
    Not all conjoined Lennon + McCartney songs are "A Day in the Life." Paul's funny, soulful "Feeling" sections are rudely interrupted by John's "Everybody had a" lines. @@@

  • I've Just Seen a Face (LM)
    Of the 216 songs on this long page, "Face" has been my favorite for many years. It's a non-stop race to the finish between McCartney's vocal and the band's instruments. The final jump chord still gives me chills. Can't I give it more than @@@@@?!

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  • Julia (LM)
    Stunning, haunting tribute to Lennon's mother. The words seem suspended in midair, with tiny shifts in key to help it glide along. @@@@1/2

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  • Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey (Jerry Lieber-Mike Stoller)
    Maybe a live crowd pleaser in '64, but pretty weak nowadays. @@

  • Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand (LM)
    Einige Plattenmanager dachte, es würde europäischen Rekordumsatz helfen, wenn die Jungs aufgezeichneten eine spezielle Version nur für die deutschen Fans. Es war kaum nötig. Was ist in ein paar hunderttausend über frühere gazillions für diesen Song? Dennoch ist es ein Spaß hört für uns Hochschulschool deutschen Studierenden. 

  • Lady Madonna (LM)
    Paul wanted to write a boogie-woogie tune in the style of Fats Domino. Mr. D must have been impressed, because he himself covered it later that same year. (I've always thought that McCartney here sounds more like Elvis than Fats.) Early-stage feminism in a tale of an unemployed single mom. @@@@

  • Let It Be (LM)
    How did they manage to create a piece that is sad, sweet, and soaring at the same time? "Mother Mary," of course, is Paul's late mum, lost to cancer when he was only 14. Billy Preston and the four all perform at their peak. Avoid the 45 single, all but hidden behind Phil Spector's Wall of Schlock. @@@@
  • Little Child (LM)
    Just barely pleasant. @@1/2

  • The Long and Winding Road (LM)
    Melancholy song, perfectly timed for the group's impending breakup, punctuated by McCartney's bittersweet "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah" at the finish. @@@@, for the Naked version, sans Spector's harps and angels.

  • Long, Long, Long (H)
    Soft and leisurely falling-back-in-love song, perked up briefly during the "so many tears" bridge and weird ending. @@@

  • Love Me Do (LM)
    The first single. It's always seemed too slow to me, maybe played to accompany a stripper (performing onstage in Hamburg between Beatles sets). Cool Lennon harmonica, though. @@1/2 Here's an even worse version, done seven years later.

  • Love You To (H)
    "Norwegian Wood" was a rock song with a sitar part. This one is a sitar song by a rock band, complete with tune-up, mood-setting intro and Indian percussion. Odd, speeding fade-out, almost as odd as the title. @@@1/2 

  • Lovely Rita (LM)
    Funny, spicy story possibly inspired by a parking ticket given to Paul by a traffic warden named Meta. Sexy sound effects and panting add to the fun. @@@@ 

  • Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (LM) 
    Another In His Own Write-style string of images, but much more poetic than daffy. Lush without being corny, no easy task. @@@@1/2 

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  • Maggie Mae (traditional)
    Paul and John sang this over the years, begining when they were members of the Quarrymen. The Let it Be album version is a snippet of warm-up playing. A Liverpool hooker is arrested for robbing a sailor just off his ship. @@@

  • Magical Mystery Tour (LM)
    Title tune for the band's one-hour TV film, inspired by actual British bus tours to destinations not announced in advance. I love the staccato trumpets and the stereo bus zooms from left track to right. @@@1/2

  • Martha My Dear (LM)
    Very interesting piece with its shifting keys and sudden tempo changes. McCartney uses his sheepdog as a metaphor for the 1968 breakup with Asher. Music-hall piano, self-taught, and George Martin's arrangement of 15 strings and horns enrich it even further. @@@@
  • Matchbox (Carl Perkins)
    The germ of this song might be a hundred years old. Even before Blind Lemon Jefferson wrote "Match Box Blues" (1927), older ballads had a line about a guy who is so poor he wonders if his traveling clothes would fit into a matchbox. The Beatles' Ringo version adds the priceless request, "If you don't want my peaches, honey / please don't shake my tree," itself borrowed from a 1914 Irving Berlin composition. @@@

  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer (LM)
    Besting even "Bungalow Bill," and "Warm Gun," "Max" is the most gruesome in the catalog. Its chipper melody and ploinky piano are pure irony. And it's perhaps the only use of anvil percussion since "John Henry," that steel-drivin' man. @@@

  • Mean Mr. Mustard (LM)
    Another character sketch, this one about a "mean," that is, miserly, man with an unlikely alliterative name. One of the pieces of the Abbey Road Side 2 puzzle. @@1/2

  • Michelle (LM)
    This is so mainstream, it won the 1967 Grammy for best song, the only Beatles single to do so. It didn't start out that way, born as Paul's spoof (with fake words) of French folk singing. Lennon told McCartney to make it into a "real" song and wrote the gorgeous  "I love you, I love you" middle eight to get him going. @@@@

  • Misery (LM)
    Written on spec for teen songstress Helen Shapiro (who never recorded it), the whiny lyrics are balanced by a bopping rhythm and fine, raw harmonies. @@@ 

  • Money (That's What I Want) (Barry Gordy-Janie Bradford)
    Another John howler, a favorite of many bands, especially in their early, 20-a-gig career. @@1/2

  • Mother Nature's Son (LM)
    Really close to being a piece of sugary manure. But not quite. Its softness sets up the acidic next White Album song, "Me and My Monkey," perfectly. @@@

  • Mr. Moonlight (Roy Lee Johnson)
    Ugh. @
  • The Night Before (LM)
    Sort of a reverse "Angel of the Morning," in which the woman takes advantage of the man. "Uh, treat me like you did the night before," he begs. Great, sustained background harmonies and smooth Hammond organ work. @@@@

  • No Reply (LM)
    Like a scene out of "Cheaters," the guy makes a test call to his girlfriend. She's home but doesn't answer. Over-dramatic chords and lyrics . . . until you think back on your own first jolt of jealousy. @@@

  • Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (LM)
    More infidelity! Based on a real affair, but trying to hide it from his wife, Lennon bent the story to claim that nothing happened and that he spent the night in the woman's bathtub. Add a bit of arson at the end and Harrison's first-ever-in-rock lead sitar and--ta-dah--an instant innovative classic. @@@@

  • Not A Second Time (LM)
    Boy meets girl. Girl dumps boy. Girl changes mind. Boy dumps girl. @@@

  • Nowhere Man (LM)
    No boys, no girls, no lovey-dovey. It's John in a downer mood, picking us all up with a sparkling tune full of three-part harmony and brilliantly chopped guitars, especially at the very end. Enjoy this live version. @@@@@

  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (LM)
    Some see this as a failed reggae attempt and put it on their "worst" lists. Like many Beatles songs, though, the finished product ends up something different. In this case, it's a fun, bouncy tune signaled by Lennon's crazed piano intro and driven by McCartney's bouncy bass. @@@1/2

  • Octopus's Garden (S)
    One of two Starkey-only originals, it's a sweet little children's song, later made into a book. @@@@

  • Oh! Darling (LM)
    Unfortunately, Paul vacillates between heartfelt and hokum in this performance of his piano-laced blues number. @@@

  • Old Brown Shoe (H)
    George's rhymes and sometimes the pronunciation accent seem forced. Cute Ringo harmony on "wear rings on every finger" and driving bass line is wasted here. @@1/2

  • One After 909 (LM)
    Great live rooftop take of John and Paul's early rockabilly train song. @@@@

  • Only A Northern Song (H)
    Harrison, ticked off because of a messed-up publishing deal, created a deliberately screwy tune featuring distortion, off chords, McCartney on bad trumpet, and Lennon on drunken glockenspiel. @@@  

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  • Paperback Writer (LM)
    Between their moptop and their genius phases, the guys were deeply into 1966 cool. Medium-length hair, silver-edged sunglasses, muted mod clothing . . . and songs like this one. Paul's machine-gun bass is the star. Contrary to the lip-synced video, he was not playing his famous violin Hofner on the recording. @@@@1/2

  • Penny Lane (LM)
    Collage of Liverpool images from John and Paul's teen years. Fairly traditional, polished pop tune. Once I heard the "missing" seven piccolo trumpet notes at the end of the Rarities take, I can't help but whistle them in myself.
         In 2017, I was in that famous neighborhood. I got my hair cut in the barbershop, withdrew pounds from the bank, rode past the four-of-fish shop and walked around the roundabout. No firemen or pretty nurses, though. @@@@1/2

  • Piggies (H)
    If Warren Buffett were a songwriter, he might have penned something like "Piggies;" rich guy mocking his piggy colleagues. George was a mere millionaire when he, with a little help from his mom, wrote his quick treatise on greed. @@@@

    Please Mr. Postman (Georgia Dobbins-William Garrett-Freddie Gorman-Brian Holland-Robert Bateman)
    What kind of accent was John going for with "Delivah de lettah / de soonah de bettah"? @@1/2

  • Please Please Me (LM)
    The first big hit, for many reasons. Leaping bass, blasting percussion, back-and-forth vocals, and a harmonica line which somehow keeps up with it all. @@@@

  • Polythene Pam (LM)
    Woman dressed in plastic. Plenty speedy, but plenty greasy too. @@

  • P.S. I Love You (LM) 
    A mix of cornball jump-in harmonies ("you love," "do love"), cha-cha-cha (maracas!), and an interesting shifting bridge. Would it still make teenage girls sigh today? I don't know. Ask one. Until then, @@@1/2

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  • Rain (LM)
    In the same '66 session and the same '66 groove as "Paperback Writer." The backwards vocals were so smooth that people didn't notice them right away. @@@@1/2

  • Real Love (L)
    Another Anthology-era tinkering with a 10-year-old Lennon cassette tape. Decent job of it this time. Fine, swaying harmonies by George and Paul; all-pro instrumentation by the three 1998 survivors. @@@@

  • Revolution (LM)
    This could be the perfect protest song, especially in that climactic '68 year of assassinations, Vietnam marches, and Mayor Daley's police riots. Both sides disliked it: liberals because John urged change without anarchy; conservatives because--well, who knows--they had long hair? Solid, solid rockin' rock. @@@@@

  • Revolution 1 (LM)
    The White Album version, with strong lyrics against a mellow sound. Lennon further confounded the critics by singing "in" at the end of the line "But when you talk about destruction / don't you know that you can count me out . . ." @@@@

  • Revolution 9 (LM)
    Messy, often pretentious, sometimes fascinating sound collage assembled by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and, just getting into electronic music, George Harrison. My poor elementary students had to put up with me saying "Numbah nine, numbah nine . . ." after word No. 8 on every spelling test. @@@

  • Rock And Roll Music (Chuck Berry)
    Despite the title, it's not as much of a rock anthem as Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." Johnny B. Lennon does a nice hollering rendition here. @@@1/2

  • Rocky Raccoon (LM)
    Having lived in the "black mountain hills of Dakota," I am qualified to label Paul's "Western" accent as pretty awful. Not that he was trying to fool anyone. Just the lads being silly. George Martin's honky-tonk piano sounded authentic enough though. @@@

  • Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry)
    George Harrison sings and plays lead on the Chuckster's classic. The Beatles' version is a little crisper than Berry's original. Long as she's got a dime, the music won't ever stop. Chuck gets most of my four ears. @@@@

  • Run For Your Life (LM)
    No doubt beloved by wife beaters everywhere, it was denounced by Lennon as his least favorite Beatles song. The happy ending, though certainly not in these lyrics, is that John became one of the earliest outspoken male feminists. @

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  • Savoy Truffle (H)
    Before there was Google and when dictionaries didn't list proper names, I wondered what a Savoy truffle was. So I wrote to someone I figured would know. In one of my two letters from Louise Harrison, she informed me that it's a brand name of a chocolate candy and that her son was just back from the dentist. Odd but strong combination of acid guitar and electronically distorted horns. @@@@ Check out this interpretation by, of all people, jazz great Ella Fitzgerald!

  • Sexy Sadie (LM)
    Disillusioned with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's brand of mysticism, John wrote this mocking tune, which turned into not a bad little lilter, musically anyway. @@@

  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (LM)
    Soon the Sgt. Pepper album will be "fifty years ago today." Zheesh. This is its clarion opener of electric guitars, growly vocals, and a Baroquey French horn quartet. @@@@

  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (LM)
    Quicker. Sparser. Rockier. Better. @@@@1/2

  • She Loves You (LM)
    From Starr's rumbling intro until the final hanging guitar chord (Harrison's idea), this is the ultimate wing man story, told in flying second-person singular. It's one of many examples of why the band's music has endured: There is freshness within every song, i.e., the way they play each verse and each repeated chorus, changes just a little as it moves along. @@@@@

  • She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (LM)
    Oh, look out! Part of the sewn-together scraps on Side 2 of Abbey Road. Let's just be polite and call it "nonessential to the catalog."

  • She Said She Said (LM)
    Born of actor Peter Fonda at an LSD party repeating "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon got so bored with him that he turned the sentence into a filler song on Revolver. George's warped, twanging guitar is its only redeeming feature. @@1/2

  • She's a Woman (LM)
    Strangely, this song earns a spot in both my "Good Rhymes" and "Bad Rhymes" pages (tabs above): "presents / peasant" and "jealous / as well as." But the melody and back-beating guitar combination are so pleasant that it's . . . a present. @@@

  • She's Leaving Home (LM)
    Still poignant after all these years, even the self-serving parent parts. A true Lennon-McCartney partnership, both in the writing and in the interwoven singing. Rock and roll with strings and a harp. @@@@1/2

  • Sie Liebt Dich (LM)
    See "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand." @@@ Here's a pretty good cover of the whole song.

  • Slow Down (Larry Williams)
    Needlessly somnambulant intro, but enthusiastic Lennon vocal. You might prefer Williams' original@@1/2

  • Something (H)
    George's lyrics here come dangerously close to schmalz. But by not crossing over, he may have written the perfect love song. It's filled with lines like the realistic "You're asking me, 'Will my love grow?' / I don't know, I don't know" or the wry "Somewhere in her smile she knows / that I don't need no other lover." Haven't we all wanted someone to woo-oo-oo us? @@@@@

  • Strawberry Fields Forever (LM)
    Sometimes I wish I hadn't read about all the tape splices, speed changes, and other tricks needed to put this one together, or even about Lennon's boyhood Strawberry Field connection. With a blend of cynicism, mischievousness, a sci-fi sound, and still-relevant lines such as "Living is easy with eyes closed / misunderstanding all you see," this tune easily stands on its own. @@@@1/2

  • Sun King (LM)
    Just the opposite of "Strawberry Fields," this one doesn't stand on its own at all, but does work as a slow, sleepy mood changer inside the Side 2 Abbey Road medley. @1/2

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  • A Taste Of Honey (Bobby Scott-Ric Marlow)
    Most fans were baffled to hear this dollop of Fluff on a Beatles album. Dah-doo-duh-doo. @

  • Taxman (H)
    Not even in the UK does the taxman take "19 for me" (95%) anymore. Fifty years later, the issue is income, not revenue, inequality. Appropriately fierce lead guitar. Enjoy Eric Clapton's bridge solos and George's added lyrics in this video. @@@@

  • Tell Me What You See (LM)
    Another second-person poem, this one falling somewhere between seduction and gentle persuasion. The beat is 4/4, so why does it feel like a waltz? @@@

  • Tell Me Why (LM)
    Lennon's doo-wopper features the Fabs' laughable attempt at falsetto. Saved from Not Delightfulness by a nifty start/stop rhythm. @@1/2

  • Thank You Girl (LM)
    Notice how, on the second time they sing the phrase "in love with you," they delay the vocal against the instrumentation. T
    he harmonies are almost scratchy and the scale descents are almost too sing-songy. But, somehow, as if by Liverpudlian magic, another @@@@.

  • There's a Place (LM)
    Except for the "In my mind there's no sorrow" part, there-ere-ere-ere-ere's no place for this dog. @1/2

  • Things We Said Today (LM)
    McCartney describes this heady composition as "future nostalgia." The triple-strummed guitar intro and the downshifts into a minor key inject of a skulking, ominous element. @@@  Click here at your own risk. 

  • Think For Yourself (H)
    Didactic breakup song from George, known more for Paul's electronic "fuzz bass" guitar attachment. I enjoy the way it's used to stutter-step down the scale. @@@

  • This Boy (LM)
    Very velvety three-part harmonies and John's soulful lead work may have finally achieved his goal of writing a Smokey Robinson-worthy piece. @@@@

  • Ticket To Ride (LM)
    As mentioned in my "She Loves You" review, the band manages to sneak small changes into songs as they move along. Here it's what Ringo does after each "Ri-i-ide." After the first occurrence, he plays a tom-tom rumble; after the second, a snare roll; then surprises us with a simple gunshot whack after the third. That does make sense after all the ricocheting guitar twangs. @@@@

  • Till There Was You (Meredith Wilson)
    As dubious a choice as "Taste of Honey." This one at least has the advantage of Paul's pronunciation of the word saw: "There were birds in the sky / But I never sor'r them winging . . ." @@

  • Tomorrow Never Knows (LM)
    It sounds no less odd than it did in '66. Indian tamboura drones,
    hiccupy percussion, tape loops galore, and Timothy Leary philosophizing. @@@

  • Twist and Shout (Phil Medley-Bert Berns)
    John's legendary "sore throat" studio vocal rivals the Isley Brothers' earlier rendition. And here's the besuited Beatles' "rattle your jewelry" version. @@@@1/2

  • Two of Us (LM) 
    Despite the line,  "You and I have memories / longer than the road that stretches out ahead," this song turns out to be not about longtime mates Lennon and McCartney, but about Paul's excursions with girlfriend Linda Eastman. @@@@

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  • Wait (LM)
    One of their few releases that really sounds repetitious. Double-lead L-M vocal, except during what they always called the "middle eight" (bars), in which Paul solos. @@1/2

  • We Can Work It Out (LM)
    After a single guitar thump, "Try to see it my way" leaps out and gets the song underway. The lyrics are much more mature here in '65 than even in the '63-'64 mania days. John plays a piano-like harmonium, George contributes the little waltz licks for the chorus, Paul adds an aggressive acoustic ramble in one verse, and Ringo's drumming is sparsely perfect, with just a touch of cymbal. @@@@

  • What Goes On (LMS)
    The untrustworthy lass theme prefigures Starr's White Album track, "Don't Pass Me By." Harrison could have played in any American country band, showing off at the end with a fast-fingered cowboy flourish. @@@

  • What You're Doing (LM)
    You know the Byrds were paying attention here, at least when it came to George's 12-string 10-note electric lead line, which drives this song. It's another of Paul's complaints about the never-named "girl," a bit whinging at times. But leave it to these guys to turn whiny into shiny. @@@@

  • When I Get Home (LM)
    John's "got a whole lot of things to tell her" when he gets home, but probably not about the one he's explaining it to, the one whom he's "got no business being here with you this way." Rare example of the lads allowing a cliche--"till the cows come home"--into the lyrics. The others would usually mock the writer until he changed such a line. @@@

  • When I'm Sixty-Four (LM)
    A little country twang, a bit of 1940s clarinet, and lot of local pub singalong. Paul wrote it as a teenager and still performs it in his seventies. Great phrasing and inventive interplay between music and vocals. @@@@@

  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps (H)
    Temporary "fifth Beatle" Eric Clapton plays the weeping solo guitar. Preacher George scolding someone again. @@@1/2

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  • Why Don't We Do It In The Road? (LM)
    No one will be watching us. @@@

  • Wild Honey Pie (LM)
    The less said. @

  • With A Little Help From My Friends (LM)
    The famous Q&A song, with Ringo singing answers to the other three guys' questions. Very hard not to sing along with. Here are the surviving friends bringing it back. @@@@

  • Within You Without You (H)
    The only traditionally rock instrument here is a Harrison's acoustic guitar. The rest are classical strings and various Indian pieces. It comes pretty darn close to sluggishness, but interesting lyrics manage to ride the slight ripples of a melody. @@@

  • The Word (LM)
    Precursor to "All You Need is Love," without the celebrity cast. Unusual in that the verses are shorter than the chorus. @@@

  • Words Of Love (Buddy Holly
    The intense guitar line in Buddy's '57 original might well have influenced the Beatles' "What You're Doing" (above) and in turn handed the Byrds their trademark jingle-jangle sound. Simple lyrics give the singers something to harmonize with. @@@@

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  • Yellow Submarine (LM)
    Beloved by children of all ages and cultures, this completely Liverpudlian piece might be the most sung-along song of the past 50 years. (No, not even "Call me Maybe." Sheesh.) Rich enough as a 2-1/2-minute tune that it triggered an hour-and-a-half-long movie. @@@@

  • Yer Blues (LM)
    Meant to satirize
    white British blues singers, Lennon ends up with a pretty good blueser himself, despite some of the graphic, over-the-top lyrics. @@@1/2

  • Yes It Is (LM)
    Told from the perspective of a guy not really over his ex. I've always wondered how ticked off the new girl must be when she's told not to "wear red tonight" because it reminds him of that other woman. But I try to ignore that and enjoy the mellow harmonies, strong lead vocal, and Harrison's understated use of his new wah-wah pedal. @@@@ 

  • Yesterday (LM)
    There are more than 2000 different "Yesterdays" on tape, LP, CD, and digital. Masterpieces do attract attention. As Paul himself admits, there's a bit of irony in him thinking back on his life--at the ripe old age of 22. @@@@1/2

  • You Can't Do That (LM)
    Another pre-enlightened Lennon threat, this time against a woman who dared to talk with some other guy in public. I give it an extra Ear for its offbeat rhythm and spiffy lead guitar. @@@

  • You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (LM)
    So-called comedy tune, mocking lounge singers. Breaks the Beatle rule of only putting quality material on 45 RPM B-sides. The Stones' Brian Jones, strangely, is on saxophone. @

  • You Like Me Too Much (H)
    Slightly dysfunctional couple, at least as told from the viewpoint of the singer, alternating between teasing ("You haven't got the nerve . . . to leave me") and shame ("I admit that I was wrong"). Bluesy piano intro and closing seem out of place. @@@

  • You Never Give Me Your Money (LM)
    This beginning of the Abbey Road medley starts sweet, jumps into rocking, then ends in a nursery rhyme. Supposedly, it's  about the group's financial entanglements. @@@

  • You Really Got A Hold On Me (Smokey Robinson)
    It's darn good lyric writing when you can start a love song with "I don't like you" and it becomes a hit for many artists, including, of course, Robinson's own Miracles. Smokey fans John and George deliver a heartfelt double-lead vocal. @@@@

  • You Won't See Me (LM)
    The lovely Jane Asher strikes again. She won't answer Paul's phone calls, so he simply writes another brilliant pop song about it. Isn't it interesting how every line in the verses ends after a three-note rest, followed by two syllables? When I call [x-xx] you up [x-xx]  your line's [x-xx] engaged [x-xx]. Listen for the intricate counterpoint in the "Time after time" chorus. It's a complex arrangement, expressing genuine emotions. @@@@1/2   

  • Your Mother Should Know (LM)
    McCartney probably had the most appreciation for old-timey music, his dad Jim having played in jazz and ragtime bands. So it's no surprise that several of Paul's tunes, including this one, have a music hall feeling. We boomers especially appreciated the line about our mothers being born "a long, long time ago." @@@@

  • You're Going to Lose That Girl (LM)
    Wing man threatens his buddy with the possibility of losing his girlfriend to the likes of him. Yikes! I find the bongos a little corny, but I enjoy George and Paul's jump-in harmonies versus the way John's lead vocal cuts in on the end of them with his "Yeah-eh-eahs." The three voices then come together smoothly at the end. @@@@

  • You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (LM)
    Although his friends tell him to hide his love for someone, his response is written in pure poetry: Here I stand, head in hand / turn my face to the wall. Even the ex-love tries to console him, but all she (or is it he?) has to offer is Love will find a way. The lullaby bass lines and flute fills fit perfectly. @@@@

    The answer is . . .
So, are there 100 excellent Beatles songs? Nope. There are "only" 98. Ninety-eight beauties. A jewelry box stuffed with gems, filled in less than nine years of songwriting. That's almost one a month. And if you throw in the @@@'s and @@@1/2's, there are 72 more you would not change the radio channel on.

Here's the final total, after we rolled all our way down the Alphabet of Beatles Songs.



 Not Excellent 

 Percent Excellent Ear Average 




I once talked to Jim Post about his lone Friend and Lover hit, "Reach Out of the Darkness." He is rightly proud of having contributed a tune which still has meaning to so many people. Imagine what Paul and Ringo must feel looking back on their work. I hope John and George had the chance to do the same.


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