Continued from prior posts…
21. Yesterday I feel almost duty-bound to include this one on my list earlier rather than later. There’s no doubt it’s an incredible composition both musically and lyrically. It is said to be the most covered song in pop music history. Sadly, though, it no longer speaks to me on the emotional level it once did. Perhaps that’s because it’s a sentimental favorite, a staple of oldies radio. Who knows? Whatever I might (or might not) feel about it, Yesterday must be acknowledged as a monumental pop music achievement.
22. Come Together I love the swampy bass and the nonsense lyrics. It’s one of John’s best later numbers.
23. I Should Have Known Better I know this song from its American release on the Hey Jude” compilation album, but it’s from A Hard Day’s Night. The vocals, I think, capture a certain feeling. I like the change between major and minor chords.
24. I Wanna Be Your Man At the risk of overstating its significance, I have put I Wanna Be Your Man this high on my list because I see it as essentially proto-punk. This is the kind of song that spawned the music of the Ramones and, thus, much of the rest of the Punk and New Wave movements. It’s simple and its quality is in its simplicity and raw energy.
25. Nowhere Man Near perfect guitar pop. The Beatles hit a home run when they decided to crank the treble up to 11. It’s one of the rare instances in which all that jangly crunch is pleasing to the ears. I also suspect, like McCartney does, that Lennon was being at least semi-autobiographical. It comes at the tail end of what he described as his own “Fat Elvis” period. The lyrics are quite meaningful, layered.
26. Happiness Is A Warm Gun Talk all you want about this being a drug song. It really is more complicated than that. It’s probably about Yoko more than anything. You get 3 songlets in one, sort of a micro rock opera. The fuzzy guitar’s velvety smooth. It’s acid-drenched do-wop.
27. Michelle Some unexplained force or feeling compels me to list this song at this point. It’s easily dismissable as sentimental drivel. If you don’t believe me, just read the lyrics by themselves. But when you understand that Paul was going for a Nina Simone feel with “I love you, I love you, I love you,” and you listen to the bass and lead guitar, you hear it as a jazzy ballad. The French, while at first blush cutesy, is actually a pleasantly clever trick, a change-up American pop love songs. Once again, it shows the Beatles taking a pinch of work done before them and making it into their own one-of-a-kind sound.
28. Hey Bulldog Lennon dismissed it as a song that “means nothing,” in his typical cynical fashion. Who cares what the song means, it rocks! There are a lot of chord changes and progressions. The guitar’s great and the bass is just plain frickin’ sick! This song is a great example of why McCartney is revered as a rock bass pioneer. It was a good preview of the crunchy rock to follow on the so-called White Album.
29. Got to Get You into My Life The horn section intro sets the table for scrumptious plastic soul. It’s McCartney doing white-boy Motown…and kicking ass in the process. It really doesn’t sound like Motown to me. It sounds like the bloody Beatles ! To think that Paul was barely 24 when he wrote put together this gem.
30. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window This one’s said to be inspired by a real groupie that got into Paul’s place through a bathroom window. It’s more abstract than that and has the day of the week word play reminiscent of “Lady Madonna.” Once again, the rhythm section carries the song. Paul and Ringo are at their best on this track. Joe Cocker can stick this one up his goofy, spasmatic, gyrating arse. The Beatles’ version is the best.