Tag Archives: 40 best songs

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 23 “Love Me Do”


Love Me Do” is the Beatles‘ first single, backed by “P.S. I Love You“. When the single was originally released in the United Kingdom on 5 October 1962, it peaked at No. 17; in 1982 it was re-promoted (not re-issued, retaining the same catalogue number) and reached No. 4. In the United States the single was a No. 1 hit in 1964. In 2012, the song entered the public domain in Europe. This was my first encounter with The Beatles, I got the single from an aunt (still have it!). Love Me Do was the best song in the world for me for many years and I still love it!

It was written as early as 1958:

Paul wrote the main structure of this when he was 16, or even earlier. I think I had something to do with the middle.”

“Love Me Do is Paul’s song. He wrote it when he was a teenager. Let me think. I might have helped on the middle eight, but I couldn’t swear to it. I do know he had the song around, in Hamburg, even, way, way before we were songwriters.”
– John Lennon

But Paul remembers it a bit different:

“Love Me Do’ was completely co-written. It might have been my original idea but some of them really were 50-50s, and I think that one was. It was just Lennon and McCartney sitting down without either of us having a particularly original idea. We loved doing it, it was a very interesting thing to try and learn to do, to become songwriters. I think why we eventually got so strong was we wrote so much through our formative period.

Love Me Do was our first hit, which ironically is one of the two songs that we control, because when we first signed to EMI they had a publishing company called Ardmore and Beechwood which took the two songs, ‘Love Me Do’ and P.S. I Love You, and in doing a deal somewhere along the way we were able to get them back”
– Paul McCartney

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 23 “Love Me Do”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 24 “Help!”

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 The Beatles 40 best songs: at 24 “Help!”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 25 “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

Australian EP

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” (also known as simply “Norwegian Wood“)  by The Beatles, mainly written by John Lennon, with the middle eight co-written with Paul McCartney, released on the 1965 album Rubber Soul. It was the first example of a rock band including a sitar in one of their songs, played by lead guitarist George Harrison.

 “George had just got the sitar and I said, ‘Could you play this piece?’ We went through many different sort of versions of the song, it was never right and I was getting very angry about it, it wasn’t coming out like I said. They said, ‘Just do it how you want to do it,’ and I said, ‘I just want to do it like this.’ They let me go and I did the guitar very loudly into the mike and sang it at the same time, and then George had the sitar and I asked him could he play the piece that I’d written, dee diddley dee diddley dee, that bit – and he was not sure whether he could play it yet because he hadn’t done much on the sitar but he was willing to have a go, as is his wont, and he learnt the bit and dubbed it on after. I think we did it in sections.”
– John Lennon (1970)

“… anyway, we were at the point where we’d recorded the Norwegian Wood backing track and it needed something. We would usually start looking through the cupboard to see if we could come up with something, a new sound, and I picked the sitar up – it was just lying around; I hadn’t really figured out what to do with it. It was quite spontaneous: I found the notes that played the lick. It fitted and it worked.”
– George Harrison (Anthology)

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 25 “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 26 “If I fell”


“That’s my first attempt at a ballad proper….It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads way back when”
– John Lennon (1980)

“People forget that John wrote some nice ballads, people tend to think of him as an acerbic wit and aggressive and abrasive, but he did have a very warm side to him, really, which he didn’t like to show too much in case he got rejected.”
– Paul McCartney

If I Fell”  by The Beatles  first appeared in 1964 on the album A Hard Day’s Night in the United Kingdom and on the North American album Something New. It was mainly written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. 

Musically, it was one of Lennon’s cleverest songs to date: The harmonic tricks of its strummy, offbeat opening were miles beyond what other bands were doing at the time, and it was “dripping with chords,” as McCartney said. It also showcased some of the Beatles’ finest singing. Lennon and McCartney shared a single microphone for their Everly Brothers-like close harmonies.

“[‘If I Fell’] was the precursor to ‘In My Life,'” Lennon pointed out later. “It has the same chord sequences: D and B minor and E minor, those kind of things. It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back when.”

– Rolling Stone Magazine

…by the way, Rolling Stone Magazine rate the song at 26 of the hundred best Beatles songs.

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 26 “If I fell”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 27 “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”

John Julian

“A song like ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’, that’s directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time … Day Tripper”, he says, “that’s one about acid. ‘Lucy in the Sky,’ that’s pretty obvious. There’s others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.”
– Paul McCartney (Weekly Standard, 2004)

The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds:

John Lennon: , lead guitar and vocals
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, Lowrey organ and bass
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar and tambura
Ringo Starr: drums and maracas

The song has the distinction of being the first Beatles recording to be referenced by the group themselves: the second verse of Lennon’s “I Am the Walrus”, released on Magical Mystery Tour at the end of 1967, contains the lyric “see how they fly, like Lucy in the sky, see how they run…”

“Lucy…” was one of the fastest rehearsal/recordings for Sgt. Pepper.
Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 27 “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”