The Beatles catalog is second to none. Song after song, hit after hit… so much innovation. They truly are legends. How could anyone pare a list of songs down by a phenomenon like the Beatles to just 10? It’s a near impossible task…. but that is exactly what MHB is here to do!
When a musical quandary like this arrives, MHB is always there to answer the bell! Here at MHB, if need be, I’ll work 8 days a week til the job is done. 🙂 Sometimes though, I like to share the fun. So I rounded up some big guns to help deliberate a topic like this.
Both Kilgore and Hersh work with me at BRC-11, so we chat about music a bunch when we get the chance. John Kilgore plays in 2 bands Frog Holler & La Overtoner. He started and fronts La Overtoner. Hershey also plays in a band, Bells. I urge all those who read to also check out these bands! Wait, let me rephrase… It is not an option – GO CHECK OUT THESE BANDS!!! 🙂
Before we get to each list, I thought it would be fun to ask some hard questions. You know the kind, the questions fans love to delve in to and could talk hours about.
- Who’s your favorite Beatle?
- What’s your favorite Beatles Album?
- Which side of the Lennon/McCartney songbook do you prefer?
Mr. Kilgore.. the floor is yours.
JK: I have been listening to Beatles albums for over 30 years… Well let’s say close to 40 years. But let’s not talk about that second number shall we… :0
I was a wee kid in my brother’s room, I looked at the album covers scattered everywhere while he played them on his stereo system. He would sit at his desk and do math homework while I would study the pictures and the captions on each album, not really understanding these fab 4 were actually human beings that shared the same human necessities as I. They were living some kind of magical life … the kind you only read about or see in a really good screenplay about genius in art.
I would have to say my favorite Beatle in the group is George Harrison. His aesthetic in living a balanced life, his later solo material in albums like “All Things Must Pass,” and his contribution to The Traveling Wilburys just show what an amazing artist he was. Always the dark horse. He wore the coolest robes and outfits. He wrote the most amazing guitar parts and solos that a guitar player like myself could only hope to write. He has hundreds of those moments… There are musicians out there that sound like John or they may remind you of Paul in some way. But no one on planet Earth has ever sounded like or wrote like George Harrison, period.
My favorite album has got to be “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” While listening to it when I was little, I would stare at the record cover and insides for long times looking at the faces and trying to understand the meaning of the whole thing. Like it was some mystery of Paul’s supposed death or it was some statement about the stardom they possessed? Just the most amazing ideas and storytelling ever put in an album.
When I think about the Lennon/McCartney masterminds in the Beatles, I’m always leaning on the McCartney side of the songwriting. His approach to the bizarre and orchestrated on one hand and then total rocked out shit on the other hand always connected with me.
As an avid fan, it is surprising that this is the first Beatles blog venture I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of. The turns, twists, and sacrifices of a top ten list for such an incredible band was a challenge to say the least. Hilariously, the process even made me feel an absurd guilt as if each member were looking over my shoulder, holding judgement towards my innocent selections. I fought myself over which songs I was picking for shallow reasons (obscurity), personal connection (childhood memories), or ones I may have overlooked (stupidity). Thus, my goal became a process of combining all of those reasons. I should also thank my Mom, my best friend Drew, and Drew’s father Dale for being the catalysts for my love of this band. Before I reveal here are my answers to a couple prerequisite questions….
My favorite member for the longest time was John. But as time grew, it became George. I love them all of course, but George embodied the personality that I really respect. He was a musician of exceptional songwriting and skill and his humility was an added plus. He was also severely underutilized when it came to the writing process and the songs that did make the albums prove this.
These questions are too hard!
My favorite album has always been a battle between “Revolver” and “Abbey Road” for the top spot. But I think “Revolver” wins by a hair. In my opinion, it was THE album that really defined how much of a powerhouse the Beatles could be. It was their way of saying “we can do whatever the hell we want and it will be groundbreaking and accessible all at once.”
And last, which side of the Lennon/McCartney songbook do I prefer?
For years I have gone back and forth on this, but at the end of the day, I believe its Lennon. It should be noted however that Harrison should also be a part of the songbook split, but Lennon and McCartney were. Anyways I choose Lennon over McCartney, not because he is necessarily better, but I enjoy his versatility and his creative choices more. Paul was more talented technically, but Lennon was more raw and adventurous.
MH: Wow… These questions are hard. Didn’t think they’d be too difficult when I jotted them down for the contributors. And when I wrote them, I was fairly certain I knew how I’d answer them. But now that I’m under the gun, there are some changes.
Favorite Beatle? I was certain that I was going to list George Harrison as my fav. And when you read my list, my top 10 reflects much love for George. But the Beatles catalog is SO MUCH MORE than 10 songs. My pick here is Sir Paul McCartney.
I mean… literally, just refer to the songs. If he isn’t the best songwriter ever, he’s no lower than top 3 on that list. His versatility is unreal – Playing bass, guitar, piano… basically whatever needs to be played, he’ll play it. His style – again, crazy versatile. Pop songs, love songs, and songs that creatively and socially push boundaries… he’s got it all covered.
Favorite album? Again.. a bit of a flip-flop from what I thought I’d write to what will be put in stone here on MHB. My answer was always going to be “Rubber Soul” or “A Hard Day’s Night,” but at the end of the day I’m going with “A Hard Day’s Night.”
At least in my experience talking to other Beatles fans, I kinda feel that early Beatles isn’t as “highly regarded” as the material from 1965 (Rubber Soul) and on. Even though all of their songs are classics. Mega fans always prefer the latter stuff because its more exploratory, diverse, and rebellious. For me, the track list on A Hard Day’s Night is simply amazing. It might not be the most adventurous or diverse Beatles album, but all of the songs are right on the money. Timing, pitch, punch, and yet soothing… it’s got it all and it flows incredibly well.
And lastly, I think you probably already figured out which side of the Lennon/McCartney songbook I lean towards with the answer to my first question. I just connect a bit more with McCartney’s approach and material. If you were to ask me an on-the-spot question: What Beatles thought pops in my head, non-album title and non-song title related? “The movement you need is on your shoulder,” would be my immediate answer every single time. Paul wrote it, he sang it, but John approved it. Ironic, I know. Lol!
Alright, it’s time to reveal each of our top 10 favorite songs by The Beatles. Let us know your favorites in the comment section! Pretty sure there isn’t a bad list of Beatles songs possible.
Here we go! In reverse order…
John Kilgore’s List – Jon Hershey’s List – Matt Horn’s List
10: Ballad of John and Yoko – Here, There, Everywhere – And I Love Her
9: Martha My Dear – She Said She Said – We Can Work It Out
8: Dig A Pony – Long Long Long – While My Guitar Gently Weeps
7: Across The Universe – Hey Jude – Hey Jude
6: Ob La Di, Ob La Da – In My Life – I’ll Follow The Sun
5: Savoy Truffle – Something – I Saw Her Standing There
4: A Day In The Life – Here Comes The Sun – In My Life
3: Something – A Day In The Life – Something
2: She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
Tomorrow Never Knows
Things We Said Today
1: Paperback Writer – Across The Universe – Here Comes The Sun