Tag Archives: The Beatles

9: Abbey Road (The Beatles)

Album: Abbey Road
Artist: The Beatles
Year: 1969

1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus’s Garden
6. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
7. Here Comes the Sun
8. Because

Medley

9. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr. Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came In Through the Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty

The last album The Beatles recorded, where they were all pretty much pissy with each other, is my favorite, mainly because of the epic sixteen-and-a-half medley at the end.  In fact, I combined the nine songs into a medley for my MP3 player, though I left She Came In Through the Bathroom Window and Golden Slumbers as individual songs as well. The latter is an amazing lullaby while the former showcases McCartney’s passionate voice at his best. Actually, Oh! Darling showcases McCartney’s voice at it’s best. He sang the song relentlessly for a week before recording it so the final track would sound like he was hoarse, much like on Twist and Shout.  It’s definitely a song that can only be sung by a young man. I heard Paul try to sing it a few years ago and my skin nearly crawled off my body to hit the mute button.

Harrison’s Something isn’t quite as ambitious but it’s a subtle, romantic song without being cloying. Come Together is pretty damn popular and I like it alright, but I think Lennon’s best song on the album is I Want You, but then again I’m a sucker for eight-minute songs that are mainly extended jams. In fact, only fourteen different words are spoken during the eight plus minutes.

The album’s major weak spot is from McCartney with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. It’s a fun song the first few times through, but I’m pretty much done with it by now. It’s silly and belongs on Yellow Submarine, not here.  Starr’s Octopus’s Garden comes close to falling into the same trap, but is low-key enough to not seem completely out of place.

Many feel that Her Majesty should not have been tacked on at the end, what with The End being a poetic and fitting end to The Beatles. Ah, whatever. I like it.

Like with The Barenaked Ladies, there are a plethora of songs from The Beatles that make my Top 500 that didn’t get showcased on this countdown due to being on mediocre albums (or not on albums at all!).  Here they are, a whopping eighteen more:

If I Fell
And I Love Her
I’ve Just Seen A Face
Yesterday
Two of Us
I Am the Walrus
Penny Lane
Baby You’re a Rich Man
Blackbird
Happiness is a Warm Gun
I’m So Tired
Rocky Raccoon
She’s a Woman
Paperback Writer
Eleanor Rigby
I’m Only Sleeping
She Said She Said
Hey Bulldog

In fact, Hey Bulldog is a top fifteen song for me. Yeah, who’d of thunk, it being on Yellow Submarine and all.

21: Rubber Soul (The Beatles)

Album: Rubber Soul
Artist: The Beatles
Year: 1965

1. Drive My Car
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
3. You Won’t See Me
4. Nowhere Man
5. Think for Yourself
6. The Word
7. Michelle
8. What Goes On
9. Girl
10. I’m Looking Through You
11. In My Life
12. Wait
13. If I Needed Someone
14. Run for Your Life

After five albums, The Beatles had slowly been getting away from boy-band pop. Most of their pure rock songs were covers, but they had been showing signs of maturity with their writing, with numbers like And I Love Her, Yesterday, and I’ve Just Seen a Face. Whether it was age, practice, or good drugs, it finally all came together for Rubber Soul.

Drive My Car is pop no doubt, and a song that turned me off a bit at first. But Paul’s energy is so infectious that I now I can’t help but sing “Beep beep beep beep, yeah!”  John then follows it up with my favorite Beatles song, Norwegian Wood, a short but powerful tale of sexual frustration and arson. Plus, they bring out the sitar, which is perfect here.

Speaking of frustration, I’m Looking Through You and Run for Your Life are as bitter as you can get. While these songs have been accused of being misogynistic, I’d like to think Paul and John were not monsters and were just exposing and then exaggerating their raw emotions after dealing with difficult personal relationships.

The album isn’t all about anger. In My Life is one of my favorite love songs, simple but endearing. I’m also a fan of Michelle, You Won’t See Me, and Harrison’s Think For Yourself.

Despite four top-tier songs, the album falls a bit for me because the filler is pretty unimpressive. It’s not as mindless as their filler on previous albums, and shows some creativity with their use of various instruments and vocal stylings (e.g. The Word is mostly just one note), but if I never heard Girl, Wait, or What Goes On the rest of my life, that would be just fine.

65: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (The Beatles)

Album: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Artist: The Beatles
Year: 1967

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With a Little Help from My Friends
3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing a Hole
6. She’s Leaving Home
7. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
8. Within You Without You
9. When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day in the Life

Considered the best album of all-time by more than one publication run by Baby Boomers, Sgt. Pepper is also one of the best-selling albums of all time. I hesitate to call it overrated because that only comes off as snobbish, but it’s not even my favorite Beatles album. Perhaps I’m not that big of a fan of psychedelic rock, but I think the album’s biggest problem is that despite having the appearance of a concept album, it is very disjointed.

Both Sgt. Pepper songs contribute nothing to the album, being essentially the same boring, uninspired song twice. Thankfully, the rest of the album makes up for it. While I don’t like it as much as Joe Cocker’s cover, With a Little Help from My Friends is a pretty sweet album opener. Lucy has a pretty boring melody, but then the album takes off with seven solid songs in a row. She’s Leaving Home has great harmony and a nifty little message about runaways. Harrison’s Within You Without You, an Indian song (complete with Indian instruments such as the dilruba, tabla, swarmandal. and sitar) has grown on me over the years.

But the reason Sgt. Pepper makes this countdown is A Day in the Life. Rolling Stone ranks it as the 28th greatest song of all time. In my top 100, which includes genres besides 60s and 70s rock, I have it as the 37th greatest song of all time. John and Paul are never more perfect together, and the orchestral glissandos and final sustained piano chord round out the lyrics–and the album–beautifully.