Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Beatles Top 100 Songs: 30-21



30. "Octupus's Garden" Abbey Road (1969)
This is my favorite Ringo Starr song and like "Here Comes the Sun" it's a very pleasant and peaceful one (in a relax and enjoy way, not a meditative way). It's hard to deny how infectious the chorus is and how quirky the topic of an 'Octupus's Garden' is, but somehow this songs works.  Despite the weirdness of the title, give the song a few listens and tell me it doesn't begin to grow on you until you begin to become quite endeared with it.

29. "Please Please Me" Please Please Me (1963)
One of the earliest Beatles hits is also one of their greatest. The repetitive phrasing  "Come on...::COME ON::...Come on..." is great and the building guitar mirrors it in a way that gives this song a constant feel like it's picking up steam throughout. Adding to it is a great drum track from Ringo.

28. "Taxman" Revolver (1966)
One of the few political statements made by a Beatles song (the other on this list is "Revolution"), is a great uptempo rock song written by George Harrison. You can just jam out to this song or you can actively listen to it and enjoy the witty and pointed lyrics like, "Should five percent appear to small, be thankful I don't take it all" and "Now my advice for those who die, declare the pennies on your eyes". It's a great song that applies as much to today as it did then (even though our tax rate isn't anywhere near the 95% super tax rate in Britain at the time).

27. "I've Just Seen a Face" Help! (1965)
One of those songs that make you want to learn guitar just so you can play and sing this one for fun. This is about as country and western as McCartney gets, but his voice is very pure and clear on this track with a phrasing that feels faster than the song is actually going. The lyrics are pretty average, but there is a kind of melancholy to the tone of voice here that sticks with me more than usual. It's a song that I like to sing and were I able to play guitar, would probably annoy people by playing it so much.

26. "I'm Looking Through You" Rubber Soul (1965)
This was one of my favorite Beatles songs when I was kid and it's not hard to see why; it's an easy song to immediately like and enjoy. It's such a personal favorite that it was tough to leave it out of my Top 25, but the competition has gotten incredibly tight and I couldn't justify a single song in the current top 25 slipping out of it. I guess the plainness of the song ultimately knocked it down a notch when compared to some of the more memorable and unique songs populating the next 25 spots.


The Top 25 Beatles Songs

25. "You Never Give Me Your Money/Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End Medley" Abbey Road (1969)
The back half of the Abbey Road album contains a 16-minute monumental medley comprised of many short songs fused together. I would argue that it would be appropriate to understand this as one 'song' rather than trying to rank the individual parts of each song. Overall, I love this medley. It has some good moments (You never give me your money, She came in through the bathroom window) and it has some GREAT moments (Carry That Weight and the End). In fact, I would've included this in my top ten if it wasn't for "SUN KING"! As much as I would like for that part of the medley to never have existed, it does, and I have to treat it as such. That being said, the medley ends on an incredible note with "The End" featuring all four Beatles giving solos, including Ringo's one and only drum solo. A fitting song to start the Top 25 out as it arguably contains elements from many of the songs in the top 25. 

24. "And Your Bird Can Sing" Revolver (1966)
This song is included in the top 25 because I absolutely love the guitar riff that opens the song and continues to drive the song the rest of the way. It's a great rock song (with lyrics that don't really mean much) that just sounds incredible. It's the best guitar riff (not single chord, that belongs to "Hard Day's Night" or "A Day in the Life") the Beatles every produced, and it's stretched out into a great and rocking song.

23. "Please Mr. Postman" With the Beatles (1963)
The Beatles cover the motown hit, and I love how pleasurable and fun their version is. Like another cover to come later in this list, the Beatles infuse a level of energy into the song with their vocal performance and Ringo's 'wall of sound' drumming that really enhances the original recording. Extremely catchy and replayable, my top 25 wouldn't be complete without it.

22. "Blackbird" The White Album (1968)
A simple and beautiful song. The story of it's creation is interesting, so I recommend perusing the wikipedia link. I liked this song even when I was a little kid, as I always thought it was a fun song to sing. It's not till later of course that the civil rights message would hit home to me. This version is great, though I recently heard an acapella arrangement of this song that is absolutely incredible by the Florida State Men's acapella group Reverb, their version is embedded below


21. "Eleanor Rigby" Revolver (1966)
A great song, but two facts make the existence of this song even more incredible: 1) The Beatles did not know how to read or write music. 2) The song is played by a classical string quartet. A song this complex, with lyrics this heartbreaking and meaningful, written by someone who doesn't even know how to formerly read and write music? It shows the level of artistic genius these men (and in this case primarily McCartney) were working with. It's a beautiful song with many striking and memorable lyrics. It's a Beatles classic and one that stands out in there catalog as completely unique, something difficult to do.


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