I’d probably have trouble picking out the top 10 Beatles albums lent alone songs. So acknowledging that it’s enough of a task just to pick out the top ten hits, there’s no way I can go so far as to rank them.
With that in mind, here’s my list in no particular order. (And please don’t respond with angry emails informing me which Beatles gem I left off the list. I’m aware some hits are going to be left behind in the dust of my all too cursory list.)
1.Twist and Shout
Why it made the list: This pop rock anthem has enough snap, crackle and pop to make a mummy move. Well…that might be stretching it slightly, but it’s certainly catchy.
It’s one of those immediately recognizable songs that sneak into feel good films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (think the parade scene when Ferris takes over a float and Ferris’ unsuspecting dad dances in his high-rise office.)
It puts a smile on my face after the first familiar bar, and that alone is reason enough to put it on my list.
2.A Hard Day’s Night
Why it made the list: Come on. Any song that gets an entire movie named after it deserves to make the top list.
But I have to admit, my reasoning for adding it to the list is much stranger than just an appreciation for the Beatle’s ability to cross media mediums. I laugh every time I think of this song because of an old Saturday Night Live “Celebrity Jeopardy” skit. The category is “Words that rhyme with dog.” Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell) asks his celebrity guests to finish this sentence—It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a…this. Sean Connery (Daryl Hammond) quickly buzzes in. Trebek looks hopeful. “Yes, Sean Connery.” “Chinese whore!” Connery seems so sure of his answer, so proud. It’s hysterical, and single-handedly earns A Hard Days’s Night a coveted spot on my list.
Why it made the list: Again, if it engenders a film, it probably deserves to be on the list. At least the song version of Help! wasn’t as atrocious as the film version (don’t hate me hardcore Beatles fans…)
4.Drive My Car
Why it made the list: I’ve always loved this song. My dad used to blast it while we were on family road trips. (My siblings and I cultivated a love for the Beatles this way.) So for the sake of personal nostalgia, on the list it goes.
Why it made the list: This song is just plain haunting. There are certain songs that by virtue of their sappy nature and slow rhythm become staples for weddings, graduations, christenings…you name it.
And while Yesterday is admittedly present at many of these milestones, it’s always meaningful and perpetually heartfelt. It’s not sugarcoated, and it doesn’t feel the need to apologize for that. I respect that enough to add it to my list.
Why it made the list: Granted, the line, “Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door” has always intrigued me and is just sufficiently strange enough to secure it on the list.
But the real reason is that I had to play this song in my high school orchestra. After learning a song and playing it for months, one gains a new appreciation for it.
7.I am the Walrus
Why it made the list: Some people say they don’t even listen to the lyrics of a song, and this never ceases to shock me. Lyrics can really make or break a song for me, and in the case of this song, it absolutely makes it (not that the music isn’t phenomenal as well).
This stanza was the clincher:
Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye.
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess,
Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your Knickers down.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen, I am the walrus,
goo goo gajoob
Now I don’t pretend to know what that means, but I know I like it.
8.Strawberry Fields Forever
Why it made the list: Somehow this seems like such a definitive Beatles songs I just had to put it on the list. If I didn’t, it would be like having a Bob Dylan Best Of and not including The Times They Are A-Changin’. It just wouldn’t seem right.
Why it made the list: The constant stops and starts of this song are what make it so classic. The rhythm of the song never lets you get comfortable, and consequently it feels innovative when you listen to it.
Not to mention the creative things they do with lyrics. I particularly like the paralleled lines “He got hair down to his knee” in the fist stanza and “He got feet down below his knee” in the third.
10.Tax ManSo that’s my top ten. And believe me—this is my list, and I still had to leave off some of my personal favorites. Let the angry emails commence…
Why it made the list: There’s quite a bit of political angst loosely hidden behind its pop music veneer. Don’t tell me you don’t hear a smidgeon of anger in the chorus:
(if you drive a car, car;) - I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit, sit;) - I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold, cold;) - I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk, walk;) - I'll tax your feet.
Great music with a message? It had to make the list.
- Reference/Source: associatedcontent.com by Liz Herrin, Yahoo! Contributor Network(Sept 20, 2006)