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Posts Tagged ‘100 greatest Beatles songs’

At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”. This is one of my favourite Beatles songs, not just of 1965 but of any period. I simply adore this song. It is, in  my opinion, pure perfection. Instrumentally, if features the first use of a sitar on a Beatles’ song (and probably on any western pop music song). Lyrically, it is both profound and light; leaving the listener wondering at the end of the song – what happens next?

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At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

As the screen capture above to the Rolling Stone blurb says, “Norwegian Wood” was John Lennon writing about an affair, but in a way to try and hide it from his wife. The song is only ten lines long, but it is ten lines of perfection. It is a mainly Lennon composition, with Paul McCartney claiming that he contributed the two lines “She told me…..”, and the title. But, in an interview just before his death, Lennon claimed it was his song entirely, with no contribution from McCartney.

I suspect McCartney’s version of events is more true; even when a song was nearly entirely a creation of one of them, the other would often suggest ideas or word changes in the studio, as they were recording the song. This went on even right up until the end, when they were barely speaking to each other outside of the studio. So, with this song, I suspect that McCartney did indeed suggest a line or two and a word here and there.

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me…
She showed me her room, isn’t it good, norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said, “It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, norwegian wood.

Here is a video of this mesmerising song. Enjoy!

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At number 15 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Help!”. This John Lennon song is literally that, a cry for help. Lennon wrote it when he was depressed over the winter of 1964/65. It was recorded in April 1965, and was released as a single in July of the same year. It is also the opening track of their album Help!, which was released in August of 1965, a week or so after the movie of the same name was released.

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At number 15 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Help!”

Not surprisingly, Help! got to number 1 in many countries around the World, including the USA and Disunited Kingdom, but also Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help

When I was younger (So much younger than) so much younger than today
(I never needed) I never needed anybody’s help in any way
(Now) But now these days are gone (These days are gone), I’m not so self assured
(I know I’ve found) Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

(Now) And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
(My independence) My independence seems to vanish in the haze
(But) But every now (Every now and then) and then I feel so insecure
(I know that I) I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
(But) But now these days are gone (These days are gone), I’m not so self assured
(I know I’ve found) Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me, ooh

Here is a live version of Help!, performed on a British TV programme some two weeks before the famous concert at Shea Stadium. Enjoy!

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At number 16 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “I Saw Her Standing There”. This song was recorded in February 1963 and released on their debut album Please Please Me in March 1963. It is the opening track on their debut album, and was never released as a single in the Disunited Kingdom. However, in the USA it was the B-side of their debut single released by Capitol Records, with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the A-side. This single was The Beatles’ breakthrough in the USA, getting to number 1 in January 1964 and staying at number 1 for 7 weeks.

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At number 16 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “I Saw Her Standing There”

The song, written mainly by Paul McCartney but with some contribution from John Lennon, was written in 1962. McCartney scribbled the lyrics in a notebook from the grammar school that he had attended as a teenager.

(1,2,3,4!)

Well, she was just 17
You know what I mean
And the way she looked was way beyond compare
So how could I dance with another (Ooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well she looked at me, and I, I could see
That before too long I’d fall in love with her
She wouldn’t dance with another (Whooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine…

Whoah, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another (Whooh)
Since I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine…

Whoah, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another (Whooh)
Since I saw her standing there

Here are The Beatles performing “I Saw Her Standing There” live. Enjoy!

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At number 17 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Ticket to Ride”. This song was recorded in February 1965 and released as a single in April 1965. The B-side to the single was “Yes It Is”. Unusually for a Beatles single, it was also included on an album, in this case their 1965 album Help!, but this is more because the song is in the movie, and the album was essentially a soundtrack of the movie.

According to the screen-capture of the Rolling Stone blurb below, its writers were Lennon and McCartney. I defer to their greater knowledge, but I have always thought of “Ticket to Ride” as a John Lennon composition. He certainly takes the lead vocal, and its style is very much Lennon rather than a collaboration between him and McCartney. The single got to number 1 in the Disunited Kingdom, the USA, and many other countries.

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At number 17 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Ticket to Ride”

Here are the lyrics for this great song. It is one of my favourite Beatles songs from 1965.

I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today, yeah
The girl that’s driving me mad
Is going away

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

She said that living with me
Is bringing her down, yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

I don’t know why she’s riding so high
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
Before she gets to saying goodbye
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me

I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today, yeah
The girl that’s driving me mad
Is going away, yeah

Oh, she’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

I don’t know why she’s riding so high
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
Before she gets to saying goodbye
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me

She said that living with me
Is bringing her down, yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around

Ah, she’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care
My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care
My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care (fade out)

Here is a version of “Ticket to Ride” being performed live by the Beatles in 1965 concert at Wembley Stadium, as part of the New Musical Express Poll Winners Concert. Enjoy!

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At number 23 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Abbey Road Medley”. This refers to the sequence of songs which merge into each other on the second side of their album Abbey Road. The second side of Abbey Road opens with “Here Comes the Sun”, then “Because”, and this is followed by the medley.

There are 8 songs in the medley, in order they are “You Never Give Me Your Money” (McCartney), “Sun King” (Lennon), “Mean Mr. Mustard” (Lennon), “Polythene Pam” (Lennon), “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” (McCartney), “Golden Slumbers” (McCartney), “Carry That Weight” (McCartney) and “The End” (McCartney). There is no conceptual link between the songs, rather they just merge into each other, culminating in “The End”, with McCartney’s unforgettable lines “And / in the end / the love you take / Is equal to / the love you make”.

At number 23 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Abbey Road Medley".

At number 23 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Abbey Road Medley”.

Most of the songs in the medley do not seem to be available on YouTube, but I have found this video of the last 3, namely “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight” and “The End”.

Here are the lyrics to each of these songs. First, “Golden Slumbers”

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullabye

Next, “Carry That Weight”

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight,
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitations
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down

Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you’re going to carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

Finally, “The End”

Oh yeah, all right
Are you going to be in my dreams
Tonight?

[Drum solo]

[Guitar solos]

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make

And, here is the video of these three wonderful songs. Enjoy!

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At number 24 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is their 1968 song “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”. This John Lennon composition appears as the 8th (and last) track on the first side of the double album The Beatles (usually known as The White Album). According to Lennon, the song was partly inspired (see below) by the cover of a gun magazine which producer George Martin showed him.

Apparently the song is a fusion of three separate songs. The first was a series of visual images which Lennon had when on an acid trip with Derek Taylor, Neil Aspinall and Pete Shotton (a childhood friend from Liverpool). Lennon wanted to describe a girl who was really sharp, so Taylor suggested the line “she’s not a girl who misses much”. The second song  fragment was some lines about Yoko, whom Lennon would often call “mother”. Finally, the third fragment of song was based on his seeing the cover of American Rifleman, the magazine of the National Rifle Association (NRA), where a single feature by a write named Warren W. Herlihy was entitled “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”.

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun” was recorded in September of 1968, and appeared when The White Album was released in November of the same year. It is, apparently, both Paul McCartney’s favourite song on the album, and was also George Harrison’s favourite. Because of supposed sexual references, the song was originally banned from being played on BBC radio.

At number 24 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Happiness Is a Warm Gun".

At number 24 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”.

She’s not a girl who misses much
Do do do do do do do do, oh yeah
She’s well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane
The man in the crowd with the multicoloured mirrors
On his hobnail boots
Lying with his eyes while his hands are busy
Working overtime
A soap impression of his wife which he ate
And donated to the National Trust

Down
I need a fix ’cause I’m going down
Down to the bits that I left uptown
I need a fix ’cause I’m going down

Mother Superior jump the gun
Mother Superior jump the gun
Mother Superior jump the gun
Mother Superior jump the gun
Mother Superior jump the gun
Mother Superior jump the gun

Happiness is a warm gun (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
When I hold you in my arms (Oo-oo oh yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (Oo-oo oh yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (Oo-oo oh yeah)

Because happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm, yes it is, gun (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Well, don’t you know that happiness is a warm gun, mama? (Happiness is a warm gun, yeah)

Unfortunately I have not been able to find a video of this song anywhere. If anyone is aware of one please let me know in the comments section below, but it looks like all copies have been removed due to copyright infringement. But, as of Christmas Eve 2015, The Beatles’ music is now available on various streaming services, so if you have not heard this fantastic song you can now do so via one of those.

Here is the link to the song on Spotify

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At number 25 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is their 1966 song “Here, There and Everywhere”. This Paul McCartney composition is 5th track on the first side on my favourite Beatles album, Revolver, which I blogged about here (as it is at number 3 in Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums).

“Here, There and Everywhere” was recorded in June of 1966, and the album Revolver was released in August of the same year. Some critics have called it McCartney’s finest love ballad; critic Tim Riley describing it as “the most perfect song” McCartney has ever written. It was one of John Lennon’s favourite Beatles songs, and in 2000 it was rated the 4th greatest song ever by Mojo magazine. It is certainly one of my favourite McCartney songs from this period; and together with “Good Day Sunshine”, it is my favourite McCartney song on Revolver.

At number 25 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Here, There and Everywhere".

At number 25 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Here, There and Everywhere”.

To lead a better life I need my love to be here…

Here, making each day of the year
Changing my life with the wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there’s something there

There, running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking but she doesn’t know he’s there

I want her everywhere and if she’s beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there

I want her everywhere and if she’s beside me
I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her everywhere
Knowing that love is to share

Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes and hoping I’m always there

I will be there and everywhere
Here, there and everywhere

Here is a video of this beautiful song. Enjoy!

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