Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The 100 Greatest Beatles Songs Of All-Time.

Picking a favorite Beatles song is like picking a favorite child.

No other rock band--not The Rolling Stones, not Led Zeppelin, not The Beach Boys, not The Who--come close matching The Beatles in terms of quality of output. Every song is great because every song is a classic.

Yet in my most recent rekindling of my lifelong affair with The Beatles, I began to think about which songs can be put above others--in terms of influence, in terms of quality, in terms of all-around greatness, whatever that means.

I scanned the Internet for a dozen lists, then added my own The 50 Greatest Beatles Songs, as previously published on this blog, to make a baker's dozen:

Rolling Stone: 100 Greatest Beatles Songs (2011)
Digital Dream Door: 100 Greatest Beatles Songs (2015)
Entertainment Weekly: The Beatles' 50 Best Songs (2009)
Ultimate Classic Rock: Top 50 Beatles Songs (2013)
USA Today: 20 Best Beatles Songs (2012)
Rolling Stone: The 500 Greatest Songs Of All-Time (2004)

These lists ranged from 101 entries (Mojo) to just 20 (USA Today); from formal treatises (A Passionate Fan's Guide) to 23 songs culled from a larger list (The Beatles' songs on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time). All can be found by following the links above except for the one by Dave Marsh, which can be found in his classic Rock Lists, which if you don't have, you probably should. (It was Marsh who was responsible for keeping "Hey Jude" out of the Top 3).

Overall, there were 167 songs that made the initial list. (#167, by the way, is "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," which made #101 on a single list.) By my count, there are 217 songs released by The Beatles while they were together, meaning that about 75% of their catalog were decent enough to make the reaches of somebody's list. Think about that for a second. That stat alone should prove the quality of the work we are looking at here.

Among some personal surprises that didn't make any list: "I'm Looking Through You," "All Together Now," & "Old Brown Shoe" (that said, my pick for the worst Beatles song, "Don't Pass Me By," also missed every list). Among some personal surprises that did make a list: "Revolution 9," "Flying," "Wild Honey Pie," & "Real Love." (& even more surprising: "Revolution 9" is only 5 spots away from making the Top 100.) Finally, the most "classic" song to do poorly in the Top 100: #86 "Michelle," which won Grammys & made the 1st Beatles greatest hits LP, A Collection Of Beatle Oldies, despite never being released as a single.

Only 5 songs appeared on every list; not coincidentally they comprise the Top 5 of the list: "A Day In The Life," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "Ticket To Ride," & "A Hard Day's Night."

The album with the most songs on it is "The White Album," which makes sense because it has more songs on it than any other. Of its 30 songs, 15 made the Top 100.  (Perhaps this is the half that should've been used had they made the album 1 LP instead of 2?) However, in terms of an album being represented, Revolver has 11 of its 14 songs in the Top 100, which is nearly 80% of its contents. This too makes sense because in recent years Revolver has overtaken Sgt. Pepper as their song-for-song, finest album. (That said, Sgt. Pepper has the next most songs represented, with 8 cuts--assuming we count the "Abbey Road Medley" as one song.)

What follows is the full Top 100 list, followed by Top 5 best-ofs for each Beatles album. If you need a place to start, these are the song to go with; but before long you'll find that you'll need them all.

Alright, here's The Top 100:

1. A Day In The Life
2. Strawberry Fields Forever
3. Penny Lane
4. Ticket To Ride
5. A Hard Day's Night
6. Hey Jude
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
8. I Want To Hold Your Hand
9. Let It Be
10. She Loves You
11. Eleanor Rigby
12. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
13. Come Together
14. Help!
15. I Saw Her Standing There
16. In My Life
17. Yesterday
18. Something
19. Tomorrow Never Knows
20. All You Need Is Love
21. Here Comes The Sun
22. Paperback Writer
23. Can't Buy Me Love
24. Revolution
25. Abbey Road Medley
26. I Am The Walrus
27. Please Please Me
28. We Can Work It Out
29. Rain
30. Helter Skelter
31. Get Back
32. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
33. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
34. Eight Days A Week
35. Nowhere Man
36. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
37. Blackbird
38. I Feel Fine
39. Across The Universe
40. All My Loving
41. With A Little Help From My Friends
42. Day Tripper
43. The Long & Winding Road
44. Taxman
45. Drive My Car
46. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
47. I'm Only Sleeping
48. Dear Prudence
49. Back In The USSR
50. Here, There, & Everywhere
51. She Said She Said
52. & Your Bird Can Sing
53. Don't Let Me Down
54. If I Fell
55. Got To Get You Into My Life
56. I Should Have Known Better
57. Lady Madonna
58. I've Just Seen A Face
59. Love Me Do
60. Yellow Submarine
61. Julia
62. Hello Goodbye
63. Twist & Shout
64. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
65. The Fool On The Hill
66. For No One
67. From Me To You
68. & I Love Her
69. Girl
70. Getting Better
71. You're Going To Lose That Girl
72. I'm So Tired
73. She's Leaving Home
74. The Ballad Of John & Yoko
75. I'm Down
76. This Boy
77. Hey Bulldog
78. Sexy Sadie
79. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me & My Monkey
80. I'm A Loser
81. No Reply
82. Oh! Darling
83. It Won't Be Long
84. Yer Blues
85. Baby, You're A Rich Man
86. Michelle
87. Lovely Rita
88. Mother Nature's Son
89. You Won't See Me
90. Long, Long, Long
91. Two Of Us
92. I'll Be Back
93. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
94. I'll Follow The Sun
95. Because
96. All I've Got To Do
97. Glass Onion
98. It's All To Much
99. Birthday
100. Good Day Sunshine

Please Please Me Top 5:

1. I Saw Her Standing There
2. Please Please Me
3. Love Me Do
4. Twist & Shout
5. Do You Want To Know A Secret (#114)

With The Beatles Top 5:

1. All My Loving
2. It Won't Be Long
3. All I've Got To Do
4. Money (That's What I Want) (#104)
5. Hold Me Tight (#138)

A Hard Day's Night Top 5:

1. A Hard Day's Night
2. Can't Buy Me Love
3. If I Fell
4. I Should Have Known Better
5. & I Love Her

The Beatles For Sale Top 5:

1. Eight Days A Week
2. I'm A Loser
3. No Reply
4. I'll Follow The Sun
5. Rock & Roll Music (#136)

Help! Top 5:

1. Ticket To Ride
2. Help!
3. Yesterday
4. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
5. I've Just Seen A Face

Rubber Soul Top 5:

1. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
2. In My Life
3. Nowhere Man
4. Drive My Car
5. Girl

Revolver Top 5:

1. Eleanor Rigby
2. Tomorrow Never Knows
3. Taxman
4. I'm Only Sleeping
5. Here, There, & Everywhere

Sgt. Pepper Top 5:

1. A Day In The Life
2. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
3. With A Little Help From My Friends
4. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
5. Getting Better

Magical Mystery Tour Top 5:

1. Strawberry Fields Forever
2. Penny Lane
3. All You Need Is Love
4. I Am The Walrus
5. Hello Goodbye

"The White Album" Top 5:

1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
2. Helter Skelter
3. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
4. Blackbird
5. Dear Prudence

Yellow Submarine Top 5:

1. All You Need Is Love
2. Yellow Submarine
3. Hey Bulldog
4. It's All Too Much
5. Only A Northern Song (#148)

Abbey Road Top 5:

1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Here Comes The Un
4. The Abbey Road Medley
5. I Want You (She's So Heavy)

Let It Be Top 5:

1. Let It Be
2. Get Back
3. Across The Universe
4. The Long & Winding Road
5. Two Of Us

Past Masters, Vol. 1 Top 5:

1. I Want To Hold Your Hand
2. She Loves You
3. I Feel Fine
4. From Me To You
5. I'm Down

Past Masters, Vol. 2 Top 5:

1. Hey Jude
2. Paperback Writer
3. Revolution
4. We Can Work It Out
5. Rain

The Beatles 1 Top 5:

1. Penny Lane
2. Ticket To Ride
3. A Hard Day's Night
4. Hey Jude
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand

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