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In this thread I rank my favorite Beatles songs: 204-1.


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7 minutes ago, Mister CIA said:

Hey nerds, talk to me about George Harrison and how his contributions to the Beatles rank in comparison to Lennon and McCartney (and Ringo too, I suppose). In my formative years I pigeonholed him as distinctly and firmly 3rd place, but this thread has given me pause.  His legacy sounds heavy and important.

I always looked at George as the late runner. John dominated the early years, Paul came on strong in the middle period and George had his best stuff later in the stretch run.

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Maybe I should wait until I'm drunk and sappy, but I want to thank deeply and sincerely the people who participated in this thread.  Actually all of them, because even the ones who irritated me earlie

The Background: I don’t remember exactly when or why I decided to do this, but it’s been rumbling around in my head for a while to put the Beatles song into an order of personal preference.  When

1.  In My Life (Rubber Soul, 1965) Beatles version:  Spotify  YouTube There are only two songs I’ve ever heard that I thought were perfect in their composition and recording, by which I mean

Not that I'd ever have what it takes to pull something like this off, but I think my list would be pretty similar.  Keep a bunch of early tunes and corny Paul stuff at the bottom and let the rest float to the top.  Love that "Hello Goodbye" is already past us. Only quibble is "Yes It Is".  I don't think I'd have listed it yet.

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48 minutes ago, krista4 said:

This one's a bit of a surprise.  Eager to hear your thoughts when we get to it, which will be before we get to the rest.

Good to see other love for If I Needed Someone. Would probably be my #2 right behind While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

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Not sure if we're supposed to wait on this, so I'll put it in spoilers... second pass at a top-X:

  • #1 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • #2 Hey Jude
  • #3 Let it Be
  • #4 Abbey Road Medley
  • #5 A Day in the Life

I feel like these are more "serious" and "great" songs than the rest, which I love purely for the listening pleasure.

  • #6 I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • #7 Hello, Goodbye
  • #8 Penny Lane
  • #9 Paperback Writer
  • #10 We Can Work It Out
  • #11 Help!
  • #12 Got to Get You Into My Life

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48 minutes ago, Leroy Hoard said:

I always looked at George as the late runner. John dominated the early years, Paul came on strong in the middle period and George had his best stuff later in the stretch run.

George was like James Worthy to Magic Johnson (Paul) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (John). Quiet, unassuming and didn’t get as many accolades, but virtually just as valuable.

Edited by zamboni
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6 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Good to see other love for If I Needed Someone. Would probably be my #2 right behind While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

That's why this is fun.  Everyone's tastes and favorites are so diverse.  Of course I love If I Needed Someone, since we haven't gotten to it yet in the countdown, but I wouldn't have expected it to be in anyone's top 10, just like I wouldn't expect a top 10-25 with Old Brown Shoe, and you guys wouldn't expect someone to love Honey Don't more than She's Leaving Home.  :thumbup: 

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6 minutes ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

Not sure if we're supposed to wait on this, so I'll put it in spoilers... second pass at a top-X:

 

  Hide contents

 

  • #1 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • #2 Hey Jude
  • #3 Let it Be
  • #4 Abbey Road Medley
  • #5 A Day in the Life

I feel like these are more "serious" and "great" songs than the rest, which I love purely for the listening pleasure.

  • #6 I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  • #7 Hello, Goodbye
  • #8 Penny Lane
  • #9 Paperback Writer
  • #10 We Can Work It Out
  • #11 Help!
  • #12 Got to Get You Into My Life

 

I was just showering (I work from home, so shut up) and thinking I was surprised not to have seen "Help!" on anyone's list (until now); also surprised not to have seen A Hard Day's Night.  It's possible I've missed them on a list, though.

Edited by krista4
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On 1/11/2019 at 3:59 PM, krista4 said:

I’m going to start the actual countdown Monday.  I’m just posting this now because Mr. krista claims I’m never going to do this.  Speaking of Mr. krista, these are his nine Top 10 songs, in no particular order:

Taxman

Hey Bulldog

Helter Skelter

I’m So Tired

And Your Bird Can Sing

Rain

Across the Universe

I’ve Just Seen a Face

Happiness is a Warm Gun

 

A hint to my top 10:  he and I have at least one of these in common.

Again I can’t emphasize strongly enough that this will just be my own preferences.  My top ten doesn’t look like yours would.  If I were to try to describe what I like, I’d say…  I’m not sappy.  I’m not a fan of nostalgia.  Like @Gr00vussaid about himself in his thread, I’ve found that I like songs based on feel more than anything.  Unless lyrics are particularly great (see, e.g., Leonard Cohen or Townes Van Zandt) or particularly awful (see, e.g., this), they don’t move the needle that much for me.  When I do connect with lyrics, it’s not because I’m looking into them deeply to give me some inspiration on how live my life, but because they do a compelling job of evoking how I’ve already lived.

My top 10 consists of one song from Help!, two songs from Rubber Soul, two songs from Revolver, one song from Sgt. Pepper’s, one song from the White Album, one song from Abbey Road, one song from Let It Be, and one single.  Feel free to wager.

I'm bumping this post and ANNOUNCE-ing a second donation to be made.  Another $100 will go to the charity of choice of whoever can name the most songs in my top 10.  A few rules/thoughts:

1.  If there is a tie, I will then go to a tiebreaker based on who named my #1, or if no one did, who named #2, etc. until we break the tie.  I will donate $100 to the winner's charity and another $50 to anyone else's who lost only by virtue of the tiebreaker.  (By the way, I will also donate $100 to each person who wins the "name my #1" contest; no tiebreakers there.)

2.  If the same person wins this who won the "#1 song" contest, I'll donate $200 to that person's charity plus also donate $100 to the charity of the runner-up in this contest.

3.  Read the post above carefully, especially regarding which albums my top 10 come from.  Check post #2 for a listing of which albums I'm attributing each song to or if they're listed in the singles/other category.

4.  I have lists already from @simey, @Mister CIA, and @timschochet.  Any of you can redo your lists right now if you wish, and tim you definitely will wish to since I already spilled the beans on Octopus's Garden.  If I missed anyone else's, let me know.

I will also include a BoC for the winners of both contests, if they are comfortable sharing their home/personal info.

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9 minutes ago, krista4 said:

I was just showering (I work from home, so shut up) and thinking I was surprised not to have seen "Help!" on anyone's list (until now); also surprised not to have seen A Hard Day's Night.  It's possible I've missed them on a list, though.

I think Dinsy’s comment (in the spoiler box) about “serious” Beatles songs versus less-serious songs is spot on. For me, nothing pre-1965 holds up next to something like “A Day in the Life” because of the sheer musicality and sophistication of that “serious” song. The five that he listed may not be at the top of list for some, but to me they are just objectively better songs so I’d rank them higher. In other words, for me, that pure excellence trumps anything that I might “like” more because it is catchy or clever. I could see “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “Hard Days’ Night” top the list for some, but in my eyes it’s like comparing a lollipop to filet mignon, just totally different leagues.

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13 minutes ago, zamboni said:

George was like James Worthy to Magic Johnson (Paul) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (John). Quiet, unassuming and didn’t get as many accolades, but virtually just as valuable.

I put together a George greatest hits the other day inspired by this thread.  Was kinda interesting to try to come up with bands/artists that could match it.  Fewer than I would've thought at first.

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10 minutes ago, pecorino said:

I think Dinsy’s comment (in the spoiler box) about “serious” Beatles songs versus less-serious songs is spot on. For me, nothing pre-1965 holds up next to something like “A Day in the Life” because of the sheer musicality and sophistication of that “serious” song. The five that he listed may not be at the top of list for some, but to me they are just objectively better songs so I’d rank them higher. In other words, for me, that pure excellence trumps anything that I might “like” more because it is catchy or clever. I could see “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” or “Hard Days’ Night” top the list for some, but in my eyes it’s like comparing a lollipop to filet mignon, just totally different leagues.

Yes, absolutely agree regarding A Day in the Life.  That's why I made it clear in the first post, which no one read, that this isn't a list of what I think is objectively best and that if it were, that would be #1.  That list would look a lot different than this one, but really if anyone wants that, there are plenty of those out there from music critics and scholars.  This is just me, talking about Beatles songs and what I love, with like-minded and non-like-minded Beatles fans.

Hell, even A Fool on a Hill would be above Honey Don't if we're talking objectivity.  Hi, @Getzlaf15!

7 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Would be unfair for me to change my list  now. I’ll stay with what I got. 

Besides, you might change your mind. Think about it: you could sing and dance around, because you know you can’t be found.  

It's not unfair to change Octopus, because everyone else has the benefit of knowing it's not top 10, while you didn't.  :shrug: And the top 10 are not changing.  The top 13 are not changing.  After that...things can still be fluid.  :) 

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11 minutes ago, Bonzai said:

I put together a George greatest hits the other day inspired by this thread.  Was kinda interesting to try to come up with bands/artists that could match it.  Fewer than I would've thought at first.

What did you come up with?

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10) Across the Universe

9) And Your Bird Can Sing

😎Yesterday

7) Norwegian Wood

6) In My Life

5) Dear Prudence

4) Eleanor Rigby

3) A Day in the Life

2) Abbey Road Medley

1) Hey Jude

That’s not my list, it is a prediction for Krista’s.

Edited by pecorino
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1 hour ago, Mister CIA said:

Hey nerds, talk to me about George Harrison and how his contributions to the Beatles rank in comparison to Lennon and McCartney (and Ringo too, I suppose). In my formative years I pigeonholed him as distinctly and firmly 3rd place, but this thread has given me pause.  His legacy sounds heavy and important.

On top of his musical prowess, his DGAF personality and sense of humor made him the glue guy and kept him from being bristled about being in the “shadows” of Lennon/McCartney until the final few years when he was ready for more of a spotlight role.  Even his early songs were imo simple but intriguing (Don’t Bother Me, If I Needed Someone etc)

Plus he was always the coolest of the four. Loved his main scene in Hard Day’s Night for example.

 

Edited by Ted Lange as your Bartender
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All right. I will replace Octopus with “Day Tripper”.

I want to disagree slightly with the serious song talk. Although I Got A Feeling is my personal favorite Beatles song, as far as I’m concerned they were at their very best around 1965, with songs like “Ticket to Ride” and “Day Tripper”. Popular songs don’t get any better than that IMO. 

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4 minutes ago, simey said:
33 minutes ago, krista4 said:

4.  I have lists already from @simey, @Mister CIA, and @timschochet.  Any of you can redo your lists right now if you wish, and tim you definitely will wish to since I already spilled the beans on Octopus's Garden.  If I missed anyone else's, let me know.

So I can redo my list? 

Gonna overstep my role and say yes.

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13 minutes ago, timschochet said:

All right. I will replace Octopus with “Day Tripper”.

I want to disagree slightly with the serious song talk. Although I Got A Feeling is my personal favorite Beatles song, as far as I’m concerned they were at their very best around 1965, with songs like “Ticket to Ride” and “Day Tripper”. Popular songs don’t get any better than that IMO. 

Pretty sure 1965 will go down as the most awesome year in history, ever.

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14 minutes ago, Bonzai said:

We should all just list them at the 100 mark so no one has an advantage.

Let's say that anyone can submit or resubmit a list until I post song #102.  That will get us through the bottom half.  I don't think anyone has selected anything in my bottom half yet (that sounded dirty), but I'd have to double-check, and of course there is the shifting.

Btw, nice to see you back in the thread.  

14 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

I'm still surprised Magical Mystery Tour is at 132.   Love the seamless tempo changes.  Just incredible work by the Beatles.  

Krista is a master of surprises and still owning this site.  

It's one of the songs that moved around a ton on my list, and its ultimate spot was probably as low as it ever was.  Agree on the tempo changes; those are just phenomenal.

Edited by krista4
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I think George more than any of the others progressed in his musicianship and his songwriting over the years.  In the early stuff, which you can tell by my rankings I love, he was sometimes...not good.  You can hear a lot of flubs in the guitar parts, and I don't think his voice was very developed.  Which song was it that they gave to George because at the time they alleged he could only sing a few notes?  I think it was Do You Wanna Know a Secret.  

Later, as he developed as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, he still had that reputation within the band of being the "little brother," and he never really shook that despite his increasing prowess.  So he was generally still relegated to his "one song a record" for a while even though he was writing good stuff.  By the way, I don't mean to imply his early songs weren't good - Don't Bother Me was fantastic IMO - just that he really came into his own later.  This is why in my opinion he had the best solo stuff coming out of the gate, because he had such a backlog of great songs.  And though he wasn't a flashy guitarist, he developed a signature style that I personally love.  

ETA:  the Worthy analogy was apt.

Edited by krista4
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4 minutes ago, krista4 said:

I think George more than any of the others progressed in his musicianship and his songwriting over the years.  In the early stuff, which you can tell by my rankings I love, he was sometimes...not good.  You can hear a lot of flubs in the guitar parts, and I don't think his voice was very developed.  Which song was it that they gave to George because at the time they alleged he could only sing a few notes?  I think it was Do You Wanna Know a Secret.  

Later, as he developed as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, he still had that reputation within the band of being the "little brother," and he never really shook that despite his increasing prowess.  So he was generally still relegated to his "one song a record" for a while even though he was writing good stuff.  By the way, I don't mean to imply his early songs weren't good - Don't Bother Me was fantastic IMO - just that he really came into his own later.  This is why in my opinion he had the best solo stuff coming out of the gate, because he had such a backlog of great songs.  And though he wasn't a flashy guitarist, he developed a signature style that I personally love.  

Hmmm...George was, technically, a much better guitar player than L and M at least in the early years. 

I think the little brother thing is true. Both L and M have admitted they “negged” him during the early years. He was better but they didn’t want him to know that. 

I suppose he was just happy to be a “silent partner” in the whole deal for a while.

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6 minutes ago, Officer Pete Malloy said:

Hmmm...George was, technically, a much better guitar player than L and M at least in the early years. 

I think the little brother thing is true. Both L and M have admitted they “negged” him during the early years. He was better but they didn’t want him to know that. 

I suppose he was just happy to be a “silent partner” in the whole deal for a while.

Don't agree at all.  IMO Paul was the best guitar player.  He only moved to bass since both John and George could play guitar.  From tales of their recordings, there were also plenty of times that they had to work through George's guitar parts over and over and over, because he just wasn't getting it.

What's weird about the little brother thing is that Paul was closer in age to George than he was to John.  But not only was Paul there "first," but he took over and was kind of the control freak (which they needed), so he "seemed" older.

Yeah, I think he was happy in the silent partner role for a while, but he was probably happier than even John was when it ended.

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11 minutes ago, krista4 said:

Don't agree at all.  IMO Paul was the best guitar player.  He only moved to bass since both John and George could play guitar.  From tales of their recordings, there were also plenty of times that they had to work through George's guitar parts over and over and over, because he just wasn't getting it.

What's weird about the little brother thing is that Paul was closer in age to George than he was to John.  But not only was Paul there "first," but he took over and was kind of the control freak (which they needed), so he "seemed" older.

Yeah, I think he was happy in the silent partner role for a while, but he was probably happier than even John was when it ended.

Found the person that hasn’t heard the Beatles 

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129.  Tell Me Why (A Hard Day's Night, 1964)

Beatles version:  Spotify  YouTube

Mr. krista:  "That’s a great jam.  Ringo’s drumming is particularly good.  He’s super-fast on the fills."

Suggested cover:  It's a @rockaction special!  The Beach Boys

128.  Another Girl (Help!, 1965)

Beatles version:  Spotify  YouTube

Mr krista:  [singing] "'I don't want to say that I've been, unhappy with you.' Guitar playing was awesome, great bluesy guitar.  If The Who played that at that time, it would be a rocker.  Sounds like a Who kind of song."

Suggested cover:  Since I can't find a proper cover, here's Paul McCartney doing it a few years ago.  Rock on, Sir Paul.

 

I'm grouping these two together because, after I saw they had ended up side-by-side in my rankings and checked my initial notes, I saw that I had written similar write-ups for both, making reference to their being enjoyable but kind of messy.  Also both were written in a hurry as "filler" for their records - "we needed a song and so I ripped this one off" in only the way that John or Paul could do.  Maybe someone loves one of these so much they'll make a case for one as being substantially better than the other.  

"Tell My Why" stands out to me for the manic drumming, and, for those who've expressed a soft spot for three-part harmonies, these are complex and twisty in a good way. The John falsetto is a bit jarring to me, though, and something about the vocal tracking sounds off, which accounts for the "messiness" I referenced in my initial notes.  As was often the case during this time, John seemed to have his tortured feelings expressed in his lyrics juxtaposed with some cheery vocals.  Sardonic, I guess, but with a positive "resolution" in the last chord that I doubt John truly believed.  This one seems simple on its face but has so much going on beneath.

"Another Girl" is another standout "filler" song, with a fascinating structure and again with fantastic three-part harmonies, but this time with some biting, acerbic lyrics.  I had written in my initial notes:  "Kinda mean."  John's not the only one who could be a bit cruel, as this was thought to refer to Paul's relationship with Jane Asher: 

You're making me say that I've got nobody but you
But as from today well I've got somebody that's new
I ain't no fool and I don't take what I don't want

For I have got another girl, another girl
She's sweeter than all the girls and I've met quite a few...

Paul replaced George's lead guitar on this song because George was having trouble with the solo, though @Officer Pete Malloy will insist that is really George playing it.  Don't know what George's version sounded like, but I love Paul's wacko sound on this.

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5 hours ago, pecorino said:

In case anyone is near Pittsburgh, my brother’s band plays gigs every now and then. They are a pretty good Beatles cover band called Eleanor Walrus. https://eleanorwalrus.com/

So cool!  I have a friend who’ll be in Pittsburgh this weekend, but it looks like the band isn’t playing for a couple of weeks.  One of these days I’ll have to visit Mr krista’s ancestral homeland outside Pittsburgh again; maybe they’ll be playing then.

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5 hours ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:
  • Taxman
  • Hey Bulldog
  • Helter Skelter
  • I’m So Tired
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • Rain
  • Across the Universe
  • I’ve Just Seen a Face
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun

Choose your weapon and your second, @Oliver Humanzee.  We duel at dawn.

He’s working constantly right now and informed me that, other than the Richard Thompson show we’re going to next Tuesday, I won’t see him for two weeks, so I’m not sure he’ll be checking the thread.  What exactly will you guys be dueling about?  :lol: 

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3 hours ago, krista4 said:

129.  Tell Me Why (A Hard Day's Night, 1964)

Beatles version:  Spotify  YouTube

Mr. krista:  "That’s a great jam.  Ringo’s drumming is particularly good.  He’s super-fast on the fills."

Suggested cover:  It's a @rockaction special!  The Beach Boys

Strong notebooking. One of the first American bands to have the nerve to cover the Beatles.  The link goes right away to Party!, which as Mister CIA talks about the year, was released in '65. The Beach Boys had such a good year for music that year. Unbelievable. 

Anyway, thanks for the shout-out. Back to the Beatles...

 

Edited by rockaction
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