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The Water Cooler
See other The Water Cooler Articles

Title: All 213 Beatles Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best
Source: The Vulture
URL Source: http://www.vulture.com/2017/06/all- ... om-worst-to-best.html#comments
Published: Aug 20, 2014
Author: Bill Wyman (no, not THAT "Bill Wyman")
Post Date: 2018-08-20 12:53:16 by Liberator
Keywords: Beatles, songs, ratings
Views: 247
Comments: 12

It turns out that ranking the songs recorded by the Beatles in the 1960s is easy; you put the worst one at the top, and the best one at the bottom.

The list is based on the band’s British releases, which is how they thought of their work.

In the U.K. in the 1960s, the group released 13 official studio albums, including the A Hard Day’s Night, Help!, and Yellow Submarine quasi-soundtrack albums. The so-called “White Album,” The Beatles, was a two-record set. There was also a flurry of non-album singles throughout those years, collected in different ways in the U.K. and the U.S. EMI also released a number of four-song EPs in Britain, particularly early on, but only one of them, Long Tall Sally, contained songs not available in other forms. Releases in the U.S. were a similar mishmash, but from Revolver onward, with minor exceptions, the studio-album releases, at least, were standardized. The songs the band released in the 1960s that were not on their studio albums were eventually consolidated in a catchall collection dubbed, quite lamely, Past Masters.

The Beatles based their sound largely on American R&B, and they, like their compatriots in the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds, filled their early records with covers of their favorite tracks. They are duly noted below; most sound like the appreciative efforts of a young and not-quite-formed band; the Beatles being the Beatles, however, a few are transcendent.

I use the songs on those releases to create this ranking, with some ephemera (like the German versions of “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” or George Martin’s Yellow Submarine orchestrations) ignored, with a few other interesting tracks that have dribbled out over the decades added in.

This doesn’t get said enough: These songs were specifically designed to pack their punch at high volume. Try ‘em with real speakers, not headphones....

...Any mistakes are, of course, my own. Please let me know if I conflated any facts or misrepresented anything in the comments section below, or publicly humiliate me on Twitter @hitsville.

Beyond everything else, the Beatles were the biggest cultural story of the modern era, and they were, in the end, pop, if pop is music that makes people happy. Through the confusion and the chaos, the pain and the self-questioning, they worked to create a joyous sound. They didn’t fuss about it; it’s what they wanted to do. They loved to turn us on.

Poster Comment:

I thought this author's List and so-called "Ratings" and comments/impression for each song was interesting. Even IF I disagreed with most of his list. If you read his critiques, he seemed to hold Paul McCartney in contempt.

Simple IS best sometimes. But not according to this author. what has always bothered me are people insist that when critiqung art (whether movies or music) "Edgy" = Better. How do you tell someone? "YOU HAD TO BE THERE AT THE TIME." Yet...your age also had a bearing on your impression -- musically as well as personally. Simple call for me. But...that's just me. Rating Beatles songs is like rating your favorite foods; It's a mood-thing. A "comfort-food" thing; a nostalgia-thing; and era-thing; and most of all, a style-thing. That said, The Beatles was in itself a "Genre". Especially early on. Early Beatles -- considered 1962-1965 is by far my favorite era of Beatles songs. Especially during '63-'65. I was very young, but back then most kids followed and knew baseball and music extremely well; there few distractions. At one time in '64, the Beatles had the Top 8 of 10 Billboard hits. It could well have been 15-20, they were that good. No one came close to toucing them and their sound (The Stones and Dave Clark Five came closest.)

IF one remembers the era and time, early Beatles music at the time was so fresh, so sweet, so different, so dynamic and so...good that its spoiled your ear and forever. AS WELL AS ruining any future expectations for the Beatles.

Yeah, I know -- during '66-'67 they also composed good stuff, on up to Abbey Road -- but they also produced quite a bit of absolute rubbish. For me, the Early Beatles era of '62-'65 was Lightning-In-A Bottle, an era of humility, of heart, of romanticism and idealism still untainted by drugs and cynicism.


Lennon-McCarthy began their roller-coaster downward and their imminent emotional baggage began seeping into their albums by 1965. Even as a kid, I still recall sensing a relentless bitterness and confusion.

Their mostly fresh-sounding up-beat/melancholy tracks and lyrics by 1966 became infused damaged-goods/lost-soul lyrics along with goofy compositions; By 1967 their psychedelic-sitar style and enigmatic lyrics, goofiness, and off-the-wall drug-induced edginess was a turn-off.

Was some of the Beatles albums '66-'67 good? Even excellent? Sure. But half the material was trash IMO. By then the Stones were actually arguably better than the Beatles. Many bands had caught up to them.

After that till the end (1970), a mockery of their own art, celebration of the druggie experience, and sexual innuendo continued while their whining and social commentary made Beatles music insufferable. Franky, they just plain ran out of gas.

What were *your* earliest impressions of the Beatles?

When were *your* favorite era of Beatles music?

Your worst?


(Yes. You just had to be there. And old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan Show.) Though it got minimal airplay, here is my favorite "essential" Beatles song:

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#1. To: Liberator (#0) (Edited)

"There's a Place" is a good solid song - many people overlook the gems from the very early years.

"Nowhere Man" is very near, if not at, the top of a list if I had to make one. Love that one.

"Day Tripper" is also boffo, IMHO. Or, as Ringo would have once said around the time of the Help! album: "gear".
The 45rpm title song to that movie was the very first musical recording I ever bought, for around 69 cents as I recall, having saved up for a couple weeks. I still remember walking to the store to buy it.

My latest earworm is "Henry the Eighth" by Herman's Hermits. That damn thing won't leave my head ever since I started watching "The Tudors" on Netflix.

Memory sucks.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2018-08-20   13:53:55 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Liberator (#0)

misterwhite  posted on  2018-08-20   14:26:31 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Hank Rearden (#1)

I obviously agree -- 'There's A Place' IS an absolute gem. And severely overlooked. Essential Beatles.

'Nowhere Man' is another; lyrically, composition-wise. Combine harmonies and other great elements.

Wasn't a particular fan of 'Day Tripper' but George's axe work riff was epic.

'HELP!' -- An actual biographical cry for help fro John at the time. And amazing track. It was your very first 45...and you remember the experience? Good stuff. Funny. Remember the store? (we had a Kresge's, a Woolworth's and Grant's five & dime store -- all three -- at Bloomfield Center, NJ. As a little kids you were still safe back then to walk the commercial center of town.)

You remind me of recalling the very first album I ever bought -- The Beach Boys Today'. The mono-version was $4.99. Stereo, $5.29. Sprung for the stereo.

Yeah, when your allowance was $.25 - $.50 per week, those were yuge purchases.

My latest earworm is "Henry the Eighth" by Herman's Hermits. That damn thing won't leave my head ever since I started watching "The Tudors" on Netflix.

HA!! "Henry The Eighth". 9 years old, on a little league field listening to all the other kids sing in unison. Precious times.

(Heard the Tudor was a decent show).

Liberator  posted on  2018-08-20   14:36:59 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: Hank Rearden (#1)

ever since I started watching "The Tudors" on Netflix.

Great series.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-08-20   14:37:02 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: misterwhite (#2)

Wow. Never heard it before. TILL NOW.

Liberator  posted on  2018-08-20   14:38:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: Liberator (#5)

#123 on his list. I liked the lower rated songs better than his favorites.

misterwhite  posted on  2018-08-20   14:43:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#7. To: misterwhite (#6)

Yep...you could flip this entire list by this guy on its head and still not affect the "ratings".

Liberator  posted on  2018-08-20   14:48:05 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: misterwhite (#2)

"Another Girl"..... thanks for the reminders; the vocal harmonies still blow me away.

I have all the released Beatles stuff, in Mono and Stereo; never get tired of hearing one when I put the server into Random Play mode. It tells me that if I started playing my current collection of tracks 24/7, nonstop - it would take 1,311 hours, 45 mins, 11 secs to listen to every one of them once. I remember agonizing which six of my CDs I'd load into the changer on my motorcycle years ago - now every track I own is on my phone as well as my server; it amazes me to think of such miracles. Thanks be to lawyers and politicians, who bring us all of the good things.

Sometimes it takes a while for a gem I haven't heard in years to fall out of the speakers. Need to cut down on talk podcasts and get the music back on center stage.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2018-08-20   15:44:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: Liberator (#3)

It was your very first 45...and you remember the experience? Good stuff. Funny. Remember the store?

I think it was the corner liquor store a few blocks from our house where I used to check out the new comic books; they had a cardboard bin of 45s that used to get updated once in a while. When "Help!" appeared, I had him set a copy aside for me until I could raise the cash. I didn't even have anything to play it on; had to get one of those adapter thingies for my Dad's record player. He and Mom got so sick of it that they bought me a little cheap folding all-in-one player for my own room.

My little 45-sized psychedelic-decorated carrying box is still at his house in the closet, that one is still in there, along with "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaaaaa.... to the Funny Farm, where Life is Beautiful All Day Long...." - that one had the song backwards on the flip side - what happened to that sort of corporate whimsy, anyway? Like the 3-sided Monty Python LP still in my collection: "Matching Tie and Handkerchief".

Sure wish they hadn't tossed my comics; could have been my retirement plan......

Hank Rearden  posted on  2018-08-20   15:53:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: Hank Rearden (#8)

Alternate text if image doesn't load

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

In a Cop Culture, the Bill of Rights Doesn’t Amount to Much

Deckard  posted on  2018-08-21   9:04:54 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#11. To: Hank Rearden (#9)

My little 45-sized psychedelic-decorated carrying box is still at his house in the closet, that one is still in there, along with "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaaaaa.... to the Funny Farm...

Those 45s "psychedelic-decorated carrying box" -- triggered memories.

The tune...Can't believe it ever became a "hit".

Comics, matchbox cars, Tonka Trucks...man, if only. Mine must have been stolen in the moves I've made. What a collection I had (Tonka Trucks.)

Liberator  posted on  2018-08-21   11:33:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: Hank Rearden, All (#11)

If you haven't already seen/heard this -- amazing:

This is some unscripted spontaneous footage filmed by the proverbial "Fly-On-The-Wall" during a rehearsal was for Bob Dylan's 30th Anniversary Concert in 1992.

We can see Petty, George Harrison, Roger McGuinn, Clapton, GE Smith, Neil Young doing their thing without fanfare...and nobody is a prima donna.

IF this were today, all the SJW would be demanding "equal representation" of other groups standing on stage. Nice to see ZERO chicks there.

Liberator  posted on  2018-08-21   14:14:22 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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