Beatles Song Countdown: 20-16

20: Penny Lane

Album: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer: McCartney
Singer: McCartney

Verdict: Such an evocative song, probably because it’s about a real place and about real things. Probably more than any other Beatles song I have a hard time describing what I love about it. It’s not Paul’s best voice work. And there’s perhaps too many background instruments. I’m not even sure how I feel about the piccolo trumpet solo. Very strange, indeed.

19: I’m So Tired

Album: The Beatles
Writer: Lennon
Singer: Lennon

Verdict: One of John’s favorites. “I sing it well,” he said, and I agree. There’s so much going on here. It starts out with a slow, drowsy voice that makes you go, “Yup, he’s tired.” And then for the chorus he cranks it up, but in a stilted way that would indicate someone snapping awake for a few seconds before slowly drifting away again, cursing an ancient explorer for introducing cigarettes to Britain.


18. Paperback Writer

Album: Past Masters, Volume 2
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Singer: McCartney

Verdict: A much better attempt (After “The Word”) by the band to play a song entirely using one note. I don’t totally dig the intro, but that leads to four consecutive frenetic verses about some dude wanting to make a living writing trashy novels. Awesome.

17. She Said She Said

Album: Revolver
Writer: Lennon
Singer: Lennon

Verdict: A song about an acid trip with Peter Fonda and the Byrds. Paul didn’t do LSD, and didn’t take part in this song either. The lyrics don’t hide their inspiration, but I just adore this for the amazing guitar, drums, and John’s trippy delivery of the verse, “you’re making me feel like I’ve never been born.”

16: Yesterday

Album: Help!
Writer: McCartney
Singer: McCartney

Verdict: Famously (I think?) a melody Paul had in his head for a year with a working title of Scrambled Eggs. He said when he found the word Yesterday he used it because so many words rhymed with it. The lyrics themselves aren’t terribly inspiring, and it does seem like someone squeezing in the best rhymes they could find into the rhythm they want. That said, that melody is killer. The first solo performance by a Beatle; even Paul’s humming is nice.

3 thoughts on “Beatles Song Countdown: 20-16”

  1. “Penny Lane” kind of surprises me up here. “Paperback Writer” too, but I guess I don’t remember the verses.

    As much as I like Revolver, I’m not sure why I always forget “She Said She Said” is on there. I can never even place it when I see the title, which is odd because I do kind of dig it.

    “Yesterday” is awesome, duh.

  2. “I’m So Tired” is pretty weak from a lyrical standpoint. The rhymes are level one stuff. Not sure about this one.

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