Other than James Bond, there is nothing I know more about than the Beatles. I first fell in love with the Liverpudlian super group in seventh grade, and even though I listen to them less than I did then, I still consider them the best band of all time. Even those who don't necessarily like their music can recognize the mark they have left on the world, forever changing the way we hear and experience music. With the upcoming release of Beatles Rock Band later this week, I am cashing in on their renewed popularity with a list of Beatles bests. By the way, where was this game when I was a teenager? My version of Beatles Rock Band was an air guitar and sing-along to their greatest hits. Here now is the Best of the Beatles.
1. Revolver (1966)
This is their finest work. The precursor to Sgt. Pepper, Revolver is deeper, more varied and dare I say more experimental. Even though Sgt. Pepper ushered in the summer of love and a rock revolution, Revolver is much better from start to finish. Each song can be heard over and over again, and this is the only Beatles album that can boast that accomplishment. In addition to having some great Lennon/McCartney cuts, this album boasts the arrival of George Harrison as a bona fide songwriter. Taxman, Love You To and I Want to Tell You are all among his best- Taxman especially for its topical lyrics and aggressive guitar riffs. I also love the variety- the symphonic Eleanor Rigby, the LSD fueled Dr. Robert and the wildly experimental Tomorrow Never Knows. All in all a masterpiece. Great Klaus Voorman cover as well.
2. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Even though the film of the same name was a big dud, the album is a triumph. Though it boasts some forgettable numbers (Flying, Blue Jay Way) it also has some of the band's best. Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane are two of their best all time songs, All You Need is Love is a classic hippie anthem and Hello, Goodbye one of their most fun clean pop tracks. Even Paul's ballad The Fool on the Hill is a very listenable tune. The real standout here is one of my all time faves- I am the Walrus. Probably the weirdest song recorded by the boys, it has as John put it "enough little goodies to keep you interested even a hundred years on." I agree, and the same is true of the album.
3. Abbey Road (1969)
The last album recorded (but not the last released) is another gem in the catalog. I love 90% of this album and it is easy to see why. Abbey Road boasts such classics as Something, Come Together and Here Comes the Sun, but it is the lesser known songs that make this album shine. You Never Give Me Your Money is a great little diddy, as is Maxwell's Silver Hammer, the happiest song ever about murder, and the finale trio of Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End. While other albums boast some more showy numbers, this one seems more heartfelt and complete as far as the whole band giving their all. This is true because they knew it was their swan song. A fine farewell to a great band.
I am going to break this section down into sub catagories because it is too hard to separate out a few as the "best."
BEST "JOHN" SONGS
I'm So Tired (White Album)
Don't Let Me Down
Norwegian Wood (Rubber Soul)
I'm a Loser (Beatles for Sale)
BEST "PAUL" SONGS
Can't Buy Me Love (A Hard Day's Night)
Drive My Car (Rubber Soul)
Get Back (Let it Be)
BEST "GEORGE" SONGS
Something (Abbey Road)
I Need You (Help!)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (White Album)
Here Comes the Sun (Abbey Road)
For You Blue (Let it Be)
BEST HARD ROCKING SONGS
Helter Skelter (White Album)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band
A Hard Day's Night
Blackbird (White Album)
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (Help!)
In My Life (Rubber Soul)
Let it Be
BEST CATCHY TUNES
Eight Days a Week (Beatles for Sale)
Good Day Sunshine (Revolver)
Octopus' Garden (Abbey Road)
I Saw Her Standing There (Please, Please Me)
All My Loving (With the Beatles)