The Beatles’ 100 Best Songs, according to me (41-50)

17 10 2010

Continued from prior posts


41.  Hello Goodbye — Lyrically, it’s terrifically simplistic.  Musically, there’s a lot going on, many layers to the song.  There are a bunch of instruments you can’t even hear on the new remasters.  HG is a fun song, well sung by Paul.

42.  Help! — John later admitted it was his “cry for help,” but at first blush it’s a very cool power pop song.  Help is iconic, one of those songs that epitomizes the mid-60’s and the British Invasion.

43.  Drive My Car — Another one of Paul’s attempts at capturing the Motown sound became a great bit of early white funk.  The opening guitar riff is delicious.  Follow the bass through the song; it has that flow.

44.  Things We Said Today — Following this song is a tiny bit like trying to imagine what would happen if you traveled back in time and did something that prevented your existence.  How could you go back in time and do that if you had never been born?  The lyrics themselves are hardly artsy, but the changes in tense is what makes the song interesting.  Paul starts singing about something his lover just said about the future, but he refers to it as an exchange that took place in the near past.  “Someday when we’re dreaming, deep in love, not a lot to say, then we will remember things we said today.”  In the future things will be different and they’ll look back to the past to see that.  Pay attention to how it jumps around and you’ll see its subtle cleverness.

45.  Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey — It’s a dirty little guitar driven rock track, some of the best hard guitar work the Beatles ever did.  I really don’t remember where the title came from, but there’s never been another rock song that pull off something that lyrically clumsy so…awesomely!  “Come on it’s such a joy” is apparently something the Maharishi was fond of saying.  His influence all over the White Album despite the way the Beatles’ love affair with him ended.

46.  Sexy Sadie — Speaking of the Maharishi, Sexy Sadie’s all about him and his alleged transgressions in India which was cause for John, George and Magic Alex to leave the Ishram.  From what I know about the story, Maharishi allegedly made a pass at a woman camper, which apparently John felt was a breach of etiquette.  (Maybe there was a feeling that the campers were supposed to be living a clean lifestyle and that the master should, therefore, lead by example.)  McCartney later said that leaving under that pretext seemed a little “prudish” on John’s part.  When Lennon went back to England he proceeded to dump his wife in favor of Yoko.  Apparently yogis cannot hit on women but pop stars can dump their ways.  Whatever really happened, it resulted in a great song.

47.  I Will — Probably because it was on the Beatles Love Songs double album that I had as a kid that I have always liked this one.  Paul sings it beautifully.  It’s one of those dozen songs that helped cement McCartney’s reputation as a sentimentalist and a balladeer.  What works best about the song is, intentionally or unintentionally, it’s got a Buddy Holly thing going.

48.  Can’t Buy Me Love — I’ve never been able to tell if “me” means “for me” or “my.”  Money can’t buy love for me or it can’t buy my love.  You know how the Brits sometimes say “me” in place of me.  I’ll never know I suppose.  It’s one of the best pop songs ever.

49.  I Saw Her Standing There is proof that John and Paul had an innate ability to write songs that they just happened to be blessed enough to be able to hone to a sharp point.  It was probably written in the late 50’s and stands up against pretty much any of the early American rock n’ roll hits.  It would fit nicely in the Chuck Berry catalog.

50.  Do You Want to Know A Secret — I believe there are a bunch of Beatles songs that are better in both measureable and immeasureable ways, but this works as a kind of doo-wop rock piece that is especially catchy.  It’s dated but almost sounds better after all these years.  You gotta love George’s nasally Scouse accent pouring through the speakers.


Abbey Road Studios: not for sale!

22 02 2010

Here’s a bit of good news (unless you were a prospective buyer.)

Not until 09/09/09

11 08 2009

As you may know, on September 9, 2009, EMI is releasing the entire Beatles UK catalog on CD.  The albums, all remastered and with expanded liner notes and slick new packaging, will be available in stereo and mono.  The stereo albums will be available individually or in a box set, but the mono albums will be available only in a box set.

I’ve heard that the sound quality of the new remasters is supposedly out of this world.  Hopefully it will merit rebuying (at least one copy of) the Beatles’ catalog.

I want to enjoy the new release so on August 9 I pledged to not listen to any Beatles for a month.  Ideally this will make me crave the new releases and give me a fresh ear, so to speak.

I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire month without listening to the Beatles.  This will be a musical Ramadan of sorts for me.

43 years ago

6 08 2009

On August 5, 1966, one of the finest albums in pop-rock history, The Beatles’ Revolver, was released.

Back in 1987, when the Beatles catalog was released on CD and Sgt. Pepper’s turned 20, the Beatles’ “Summer of Love” was thought, in retrospect, to be the Beatles’ greatest work.  Many music critics and even the Beatles’ contemporaries, reflected that Sgt. Pepper’s might arguably have been the greatest rock record ever made.  Certainly that sentiment hasn’t disappeared.

It seems, though, that in the last 10 years or so, many Beatles fans and music lovers in general have looked back on Revolver, measured it against Sgt. Pepper’s, and concluded that Revolver was the better album.  I fall into that category.  “Tomorrow Never Knows” arguably broke more ground and sounded more ahead of its time than anything on Sgt. Pepper’s, “A Day in the Life” being the lone possible exception.  The album as a whole holds up better.  Sgt. Pepper’s, though still mind-blowing in many ways, sounds like a product of its age.  If you didn’t know that Revolver was a Beatles album, and you heard it today for the first time, it might be hard for you to peg it as a product of the mid-60’s.

Whatever the case may be, it’s a classic.  I always remember Revolver’s release date since it falls on my birthday; pretty cool, I think.

Drummers named White

29 05 2009

Answer: He was a member of the Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voorman)  and the band Yes and has played with a number of famous rockers including George Harrison, Joe Cocker, Ginger Baker and The Ventures.

Question: Who is Alan White?


Second from left.

Answer: He was the drummer of Oasis who replaced Tony McCarroll and was with the band from 1995 to 2004.

Question: Who is Alan White?


Answer: He was a seasonsed session drummer who, to the chagrin of the Ringo Starr and his fellow Beatles, was tapped by George Martin to record “Love Me Do” for single release.

Question: Who is Andy White?


Answer: He is the older brother of Alan White (Oasis) and has been the longtime drummer for Paul Weller, going back to his Style Council days.  He has also played with The Who.

Question: Who is Steve White?


Answer: She is the drummer of the White Stripes and was married to Jack White from 1996 to 2000.

Question: Who is Detroit’s own Meg White?


No wonder the Capitol Years Vol. 3 was squashed.

7 04 2009

As you might have already found out — it’s all over wordpress — the Beatles are releasing re-mastered versions of their British (Parlophone) catalog this coming September.

Audiophiles have been begging for this for years.  I always though the 80s CD releases sounded pretty good, perhaps because I used to listen to the Beatles on scratchy vinyl records.  But apparently the mixes could — and will — sound better done on today’s technology.  Who am I to argue?

Capitol Records put out the Capitol Years Vols. 1 and 2 a few years back but Vol. 3 never saw the light of day.  If you’re not familiar, these were updated re-issues of Capitol’s Beatles catalog available for the first time on CD.  In essence these were the American albums through Rubber Soul.  Speculation was that the Vol. 3 was never released because the Beatles, who prefer the British catalog (for good reason) were going to re-release those in updated format.

If you like the Beatles, I think you’ll be happy with the expected output.  I have all their CDs but I think I’ll need to re-purchase everything.

Another Beatles unreleased track has surfaced: Revolution 9 (alternate mix)

2 03 2009

This is definitely different than the White Album version of  “Revolution 9” but not drastically different.

Questions abound as to the legitimacy of this as a genuine Beatles take/mix or whether it is an “outfake.”