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10 Best Beatles Songs

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Transcript of "10 Best Beatles Songs"

  1. 1. 10 BEST BEATLES SONGS Made by: Benedict S. Gombocz
  2. 2. #1. “Taxman”  Written by George Harrison and released as the opening track on the Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver.  Its lyrics condemn the high levels of progressive tax taken by the British Labour government of Harold Wilson.  Harrison said, “’Taxman’ was when I first realised that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes. It was and still is typical.”  As their salary put them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were responsible to a 95% supertax commenced by Harold Wilson’s government (therefore the lyrics “There’s one for you, nineteen for me”).  In a 1984 interview with Playboy magazine, Paul McCartney clarified: “George wrote that and I played guitar on it. He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what he'll do with your money.”  In 1980, Lennon evoked in an interview with Playboy magazine, “I remember the day he [Harrison] called to ask for help on 'Taxman', one of his first songs. I threw in a few one-liners to help the song along, because that's what he asked for. He came to me because he couldn't go to Paul, because Paul wouldn't have helped him at that period. I didn't want to do it... I just sort of bit my tongue and said OK. It had been John and Paul for so long, he'd been left out because he hadn't been a songwriter up until then.”  The references of the backing vocals, “Mr. Wilson” and “Mr. Heath”, recommended by Lennon, refer to Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, respectively; the former was the leader of the Labour Party and the latter was the leader of the Conservative Party, the two dominant parties in British politics.  Wilson, PM at the time, had recommended all four of the Beatles as Members of the Order of the British Empire the year before.  The chanted names replaced two refrains of “Anybody got a bit of money?” heard in take 11, a previous version released on another 1966 release, Anthology 2.  Recording started on 20 April 1966, but this was left unused and ten new takes took place the following day; the four tracks were filled that day with drums and bass, Harrison’s indistinct rhythm guitar, overdubs of his vocal and Lennon and McCartney’s backing vocals.  The ending was made on 21 June.
  3. 3. #2. “Let It Be”  Released 6 March 1970 as single (and in alternative mix) as title track for 12th and final studio album of same name, Let It Be, released 8 May 1970.  Written by Paul McCartney, despite being credited to Lennon-McCartney.  Last single before McCartney declared his leave from the group (Lennon preceded him in leaving).  Both Let It Be and U.S. single “The Long and Winding Road” were released after McCartney’s declared leave from and following break-up of the band.  Retains number-one spot on “The Fans’ Top 10” poll comprised in The 100 Best Beatles Songs: An Informed Fan’s Guide by Stephen J. Spignesi and Michael Lewis.  Number three in 100 Best Beatles Songs list, behind only “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “A Day in the Life”.  In 1987, the song was recorded by charity supergroup Ferry Aid (including McCartney).  Gained No. 1 on U.K. Singles Chart for three weeks , reaching top ten in many other European nations.
  4. 4. #3. “Here Comes the Sun”  Released 26 September 1969 on Abbey Road.  Composed and sung by George Harrison.  One of Harrison’s best-known contributions, together with “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  Year 1969 was a tough one for Harrison; he was arrested for marijuana possession, had tonsils taken out, and left the band for a limited time.  In his autobiography, Harrison mentioned: "Here Comes the Sun" was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: 'Sign this' and 'sign that'. Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton's house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars and wrote "Here Comes the Sun".  There is a missing picture from Anthology 3 of Harrison composing the song, with capo on seventh fret.
  5. 5. #4. “In My Life”  Released 3 December 1965 on Rubber Soul and credited to Lennon-McCartney.  Instigated with Lennon; while McCartney contributed to the final version, he and Lennon had a subsequent dispute over the degree of McCartney’s contributions (the melody in particular).  George Martin contributed the instrumental bridge.  Is ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone magazine’s “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” as well as fifth on their list of the Beatles’ 100 Greatest Songs.  Ranked second on CBC’s 50 Tracks.  Was named the best song of all time by Mojo magazine in 2000.  According to Lennon, the song’s roots go back to when the English journalist Kenneth Allsop remarked that Lennon should write songs about his early days.  Afterwards, Lennon wrote a song as a long poem recalling his childhood years; the lyrics’ initial version were based on a bus route he used to take in Liverpool, naming several sites seen along the way, such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field (those original lyrics are on display at the British Museum).  Conversely, Lennon felt that it was “ridiculous” and said it was “the most boring sort of 'What I Did On My Holidays Bus Trip' song”; he revised the lyrics and replaced the exact memories with a generalised reflection on his past.  “Very few lines” of the initial version were left in the finished track.  According to Lennon’s friend and biographer Peter Shotton, the lines “Some [friends] are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all” referenced Stuart Sutcliffe (who died in 1962 when the Beatles were on tour in West Germany) and Shotton himself.  In relation to the tune’s authorship, the recollections of Lennon and McCartney hold opposing views.  Referring to McCartney, Lennon remarked that "his contribution melodically was the harmony and the middle-eight itself.“  McCartney claimed that he set Lennon’s words to music from start to finish, with influence from songs by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles: "I liked 'In My Life'. Those were words that John wrote, and I wrote the tune to it. That was a great one."
  6. 6. #5. “Yesterday”  Released 6 August 1965 on Help!  Sad acoustic guitar ballad detailing a break-up.  First official recording by the Beatles relying on performance by single member of the group, Paul McCartney, who was attended by string quartet.  Continues to be popular today with well over 1,600 cover versions, making it one of the most covered songs in history of composed music.  At its debut, it was released by the Beatles’ record company as single in the U.S. but not in the U.K.; as a result, while it made American chart in 1965, the song did not reach British Top 10 until ten months after release of Help! in a cover version by Matt Monro.  Voted best song of 20th century in 1999 BBC Radio 2 poll of music experts and listeners; was also voted #1 Pop song of all time by MTV and Rolling Stone magazine subsequent year.  Admitted into Grammy Hall of Fame in 1997.  Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) affirms that it was played more than seven million times in 20th century alone.
  7. 7. #6. “A Hard Day’s Night”  Written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon-McCartney; was released on the movie soundtrack of the same name in 1964.  Was later released as a single, with “Things We Said Today” as its B-side.  Featured significantly on the soundtrack to the Beatles’ first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night; it was the opening track on their album of the same name.  Upon its release, it reached the top of the charts in both the United Kingdom and the United States.  Features a notable and distinctive opening chord; its success proved that the Beatles were not a one-hit wonder in the U.S.  The American and British singles of “A Hard Day’s Night” as well as both the American and British albums of the same title all claimed the top position in their own charts for a couple of weeks in August 1964; that was the first time any band had achieved this feat.
  8. 8. #7. “It Won’t Be Long”  Opening track on With the Beatles, the Beatles’ second UK album; was also the first original song recorded for that album.  Credited to Lennon-McCartney, but was largely a John Lennon composition; Paul McCartney helped with the lyrics and arrangement.  The chorus is a pun on the words be long and belong.  The song includes early Beatles’ trademarks like call-and-response yeah-yeahs and scaling guitar riffs; also common of this point of the Beatles’ song writing is the sensational closing (similar to the non-album song “She Loves You”, which was just recorded and about to be released) where the music ends, permitting Lennon a short solo vocal improvisation before the song ends on a major seventh chord (“She Loves You” closes on a major sixth).  There is also a remarkable middle eight – for what is, really, a rock and roll song – that uses chromatically descending chords.  In his last interview, John Lennon told Playboy magazine that the song was more the start of a larger audience for Beatles music than the young throng that eagerly pursued them from their Liverpool clubbing days.  "It was only after a critic for the {London} Times said we put 'Aeolian cadences' in 'It Won't Be Long' that the middle classes started listening to us. ... To this day, I have no idea what "Aeolian cadences" are. They sound like exotic birds.”  In fact, the reviewer, William Mann, was referring to “Not a Second Time” (also a track on With the Beatles).  Bob Dylan had a lot of the same thing in mind when he wrote that Beatles chords were “outrageous, just outrageous.”
  9. 9. #8. “Tomorrow Never Knows”  Final track on the Beatles’ 1966 studio album Revolver, but the first to be recorded.  Credited as a Lennon-McCartney song; mostly written by John Lennon.  Has a vocal put through a Leslie speaker cabinet (which was usually used as a loudspeaker for a Hammond organ).  Tape loops prepared by the Beatles were mixed in and out of the Indian-influenced modal backing strengthened by Ringo Starr’s steady, though irregular, drum pattern.  Is also one of the earliest uses of a flanging effect on any instrument.  Is frequently regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time, with Pitchfork Media ranking it number 19 on its list of “The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s.”
  10. 10. #9. “Hey Jude”  Written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon-McCartney.  The ballad unfolded from “Hey Jules”, a song accepted widely as being of comfort to John Lennon’s son, Julian, during his parents’ split.  This report, however, is universally not accepted, with McCartney providing conflicting interpretations.  Opens with verse-bridge structure based around McCartney’s vocal performance and piano accompaniment; additional instrumentation is added as the song advances to differentiate segments.  Released on 26 August 1968 as the first single from the Beatles’ record label Apple Records.  Over seven minutes in duration, “Hey Jude” was, at that time, the lengthiest single ever to top UK charts.  Also spent nine weeks as number one in the U.S. – the longest run at top of American charts for a Beatles single; tied record for lengthiest stay at number one (until the record was surpassed by “You Light Up My Life”).  Has sold almost eight million copies; commonly included on professional lists of the all-time greatest songs.
  11. 11. #10. “For No One”  Written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney) that originally appeared on the Beatles’ seventh album, 1966’s Revolver.  Baroque pop song about the end of a relationship; one of McCartney’s most grown-up and emotional works when it was released.  Mostly sung by the writer; is distinguished by its French horn solo, performed by Alan Civil and used as an obbligato in the final verse.  John Lennon said of the track, “One of my favourites of his – a nice piece of work.”  McCartney remembers writing “For No One” in the bathroom of a ski resort in the Swiss Alps while on vacation with his then girlfriend Jane Asher.  He said, “I suspect it was about another argument.”  The lyrics end emotionally with “...a love that should have lasted years...”  The track’s working title was “Why Did It Die?”  Is built upon a descending scale progression with a refrain that alters to the supertonic minor.  Was recorded on 9, 16, and 19 May 1966.  McCartney sang and played clavichord (rented from George Martin’s AIR company), piano and bass guitar; Ringo Starr played drums and tambourine, while John Lennon and George Harrison made no contribution to the recording.  The French horn solo was done by Alan Civil, a British player described by recording engineer Geoff Emerick as the “best horn player in London”.  During the session, McCartney encouraged Civil to play a note that was outside the instrument’s normal range; according to Emerick, the outcome was the “performance of his life.”  Civil remarked that the track was “recorded in rather bad musical style, in that it was 'in the cracks' neither B-flat nor B-major. This posed a certain difficulty in tuning my instrument.”
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