Tag Archives: 40 best songs

July 19: The Beatles released the single “Help!” in 1965

help single

“The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help”.
– John Lennon (1980)

Help! is a song by the Beatles that served as the title song for both the 1965 film and its soundtrack album. It was also released as a single, and was number one for three weeks in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Help! was mainly written by John Lennon, but credited to Lennon–McCartney.

“I seem to remember Dick Lester, Brian Epstein, Walter Shenson and ourselves sitting around, maybe Victor Spinetti was there, and thinking, What are we going to call this one? Somehow Help! came out. I didn’t suggest it; John might have suggested it or Dick Lester. It was one of them. John went home and thought about it and got the basis of it, then we had a writing session on it. We sat at his house and wrote it, so he obviously didn’t have that much of it. I would have to credit it to John for original inspiration 70-30. My main contribution is the countermelody to John.”
– Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now)

The Beatles – Help! (live):

Continue reading July 19: The Beatles released the single “Help!” in 1965

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 40 “All You Need Is Love”


 “All You Need Is Love” was a number one single in mid-1967, becoming the unofficial hippie anthem for the Summer of Love, that brief time that ranks among the most optimistic periods in popular music and culture. It is to the Beatles’ credit that the song endures as a pop classic today, removed from its original context.
~Richie Unterberger (allmusic.com)

We kick off our countdown of The Beatles 40 best songs with “All You Need Is Love”.


Single by The Beatles
B-side “Baby, You’re a Rich Man”
Released 7 July 1967
Format 7″
Recorded 14 and 19–26 June 1967,
Olympic and EMI studios, London, respectively
Genre Rock, baroque pop, pop
Length 3:57
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin
Certification Gold (RIAA)

All You Need Is Love” is a song written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was first performed by the Beatles on Our World, the first live global television link. Watched by over 150 million in 26 countries, the program was broadcast via satellite on 25 June 1967. The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom’s contribution.

“I don’t think it was written specially for it. But it was one of the songs we had. … It was certainly tailored to it once we had it. But I’ve got a feeling it was just one of John’s songs that was coming there. We went down to Olympic Studios in Barnes and recorded it and then it became the song they said, ‘Ah. This is the one we should use.’ I don’t actually think it was written for it.”
~Paul McCartney

Probably written ~100% by John Lennon.

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 40 “All You Need Is Love”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 16 She Loves You


She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

“John and I wrote She Loves You together. There was a Bobby Rydell song (Forget Him) out at the time and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another.

We were in a van up in Newcastle. I’d planned an ‘answering song’ where a couple of us would sing ‘She loves you…’ and the other one answers, ‘Yeah, yeah.’ We decided that that was a crummy idea as it was, but at least we then had the idea for a song called She Loves You. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it.”
– Paul McCartney (Anthology)

“She Loves You” is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and recorded by English rock group the Beatles for release as a single in 1963. The single set and surpassed several records in the United Kingdom charts, and set a record in the United States as one of the five Beatles songs that held the top five positions in the American charts simultaneously on 4 April 1964. It is their best-selling single in the United Kingdom, and was the best selling single there in 1963.In November 2004, Rolling Stone ranked “She Loves You” number 64 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In August 2009, at the end of its “Beatles Weekend”, BBC Radio 2 announced that “She Loves You” was the Beatles’ all-time best-selling single in the UK based on information compiled by The Official Charts Company.

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 16 She Loves You

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 19 Helter Skelter


“I was in Scotland and I read in Melody Maker that Pete Townshend had said: ‘We’ve just made the raunchiest, loudest, most ridiculous rock ‘n’ roll record you’ve ever heard.’ I never actually found out what track it was that The Who had made, but that got me going,  just hearing him talk about it. So I said to the guys, ‘I think we should do a song like that,  something really wild.’ And I wrote Helter Skelter.

You can hear the voices cracking, and we played it so long and so often that by the end of it you can hear Ringo saying,’I’ve got blisters on my fingers’. We just tried to get it louder: ‘Can’t we make the drums sound louder?’ That was really all I wanted to do – to make a very loud, raunchy rock ‘n’ roll record with The Beatles. And I think it’s a pretty good one.”
– Paul McCartney (Anthology)

“Umm, that came about just ’cause I’d read a review of a record which said, ‘and this group really got us wild, there’s echo on everything, they’re screaming their heads off.’ And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, it’d be great to do one. Pity they’ve done it. Must be great — really screaming record.’ And then I heard their record and it was quite straight, and it was very sort of sophisticated. It wasn’t rough and screaming and tape echo at all. So I thought, ‘Oh well, we’ll do one like that, then.’ And I had this song called “Helter Skelter,” which is just a ridiculous song. So we did it like that, ‘cuz I like noise.”
– Paul McCartney (Radio Luxembourg)

Other posts in this series

“Helter Skelter” is written by Paul McCartney, and recorded by the Beatles on their eponymous LP The Beatles, better known as The White Album. A product of McCartney’s deliberate effort to create a sound as loud and dirty as possible, the song has been noted for both its “proto-metal roar” and “unique textures” and is considered by music historians as a key influence in the early development of heavy metal.

The first version was a 27 minute jam that was never released. During the July 18, 1968 sessions, The Beatles recordedthe long version, which was much slower and less intense than the album version. Another recording from the same day was edited down to 4:37 for The Beatles Anthology, Volume III.

“…the first time the Beatles recorded the song at Abbey Road, they got so caught up in its heavy, screeching fury that they jammed on for more than ten minutes on one version, over twelve minutes on a second, and an epic, yet still tightly played, twenty-seven minutes on a third. On September 9, the night they taped the version of ‘Helter Skelter’ heard on the record, they held the length down to four and a half minutes but went just as wild, both on tape and off. Ringo’s impassioned scream, ‘I’ve got blisters on my fingers,’ was caught on tape, but had the Beatles also been filming a video that night, it would have shown George setting fire to an ashtray and running around the studio, wearing it on his head like a crown of fire.”
-Mark Hertsgaard (A Day In The Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles)

The Beatles – Helter Skelter:

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 19 Helter Skelter

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 20 Paperback Writer


Paperback Writer was recorded between 13 and 14 April 1966. It was released 30 May 1966 (US) and 10 June 1966 (UK).

“I think I might have helped with some of the lyrics. Yes, I did. But it was mainly Paul’s tune.”
– John Lennon (Hit Parade in 1972) 

“Paperback Writer is son of Day Tripper, but it is Paul’s song. Son of Day Tripper meaning a rock ‘n’ roll song with a guitar lick on a fuzzy, loud guitar.”
– John Lennon (Playboy, 1980)

“I took a bit of paper out and I said it should be something like ‘Dear Sir or Madam, as the case may be…’ and I proceeded to write it just like a letter in front of him, occasionally rhyming it. And John, as I recall, just sat there and said, ‘Oh, that’s it,’ ‘Uhuh,’ ‘Yeah.’ I remember him, his amused smile, saying, ‘Yes, that’s it, that’ll do.’ Quite a nice moment: ‘Hmm, I’ve done right! I’ve done well!’ And then we went upstairs and put the melody to it. John and I sat down and finished it all up, but it was tilted towards me, the original idea was mine. I had no music, but it’s just a little bluesy song, not a lot of melody. Then I had the idea to do the harmonies and we arranged that in the studio.”
– Paul McCartney (“Many years from now” by Barry Miles)

I love the sound on this single, Paperback Writer/Rain, the bass lines are incredible. The story according to Mark Lewisohn goes that it was John Lennon who demanded to know why the bass on a certain Wilson Pickett record far exceeded the bass on any Beatles records. This single certainly changed that.

“‘Paperback Writer’ was the first time the bass sound had been heard in all its excitement,” said Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick in Mark Lewisohn’s book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. “Paul played a different bass, a Rickenbacker. Then we boosted it further by using a loudspeaker as a microphone.

These are the probable credits:

  • Paul McCartney – lead vocal, bass guitar
  • John Lennon – backing vocal, rhythm guitar
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine

The Beatles – Paperback Writer (promo):

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 20 Paperback Writer