The Best Beatle Album Tracks
A companion bookend to my August 25th piece on the worse Beatles album tracks. A much harder prospect than the previous article, sifting the best will be difficult but – hey! – that’s why I get paid the big bucks. Only rule is that (UK) singles are not permissible, other than that, let’s get down to it!
Please Please Me – There’s a Place
Already I’m in trouble. Some of my very favourite Beatles tracks are on this one album. The winner could have been Baby It’s You, I Saw Her Standing There, Twist and Shout or Anna (Go to him)… But on reflection, I’ll go with this introspective Lennon song. Used to play it with my group in the mid-90’s. No one cared (though the photo above is me playing the song in London).
With The Beatles – You Really Got a Hold On Me
The Beatles go Smokey Robinson. Supercharges the original, great arrangement, powerful vocals by Lennon. Edges out Money and Devil In Her Heart.
Hard Day’s Night – I’ll Be Back
Had the most trouble with this album. There’s five John songs on the album that I could have picked. He was undisputed leader of the group in all senses at this period in time. I’ll Be Back is an understated, but more powerful for it, acoustic ballad that showcases John’s early song writing.
Beatles for Sale – Baby’s In Black
Baby’s in Black is part of the strongest trio of songs ever to start off an album (No Reply and I’m a Loser being the other two). Only the Beatles could have written and performed this crazy, swinging, blues, country song. Weird but oh so right. Brilliant guitar solo from George.
Help! – You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
Lennon does Dylan. The result is pure Beatles, pure John. Acoustic, hypnotic, great tune, ambiguous lyrics and, yes I keep saying it, great Lennon vocals. Number one busker’s song.
Rubber Soul – Norwegian Wood
Acoustic guitars, sitar, understated, epic. A classic from a classic album. Nuff said.
Revolver – She Said She Said
“She said, I know what it’s like to be dead” lyrically is a million miles away from the boy meets girl constructs of previous Beatle songs. Great stinging lead guitar from George (who also played bass as Paul threw a wobbly and walked out of the session).
Sgt Pepper – Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
I not a big subscriber to the view this is the Beatles best album. It seems to me the production overshadows the actual songs. Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds contains some of Lennon’s best images and has a cracking chorus to boot. From its haunting keyboard opening, Paul’s intelligent bass, this is the standout track.
The Beatles (White Album) – Back in The USSR
An erratic album but with some absolute gems. This McCartney rocker kicks off the album. It’s wild, badly mixed, recorded without Ringo, but it takes on the Beach Boys at their own game and gives them a beating!
Magical Mystery Tour – I Am The Walrus
Lennon snarls his way through four and a half minutes of invective, which provided the whole basis for Liam Gallagher’s career. A song only Lennon could have written. The production is amazing but what holds it together, as usual, is John’s vocal.
Abbey Road – Here Comes The Sun
Harrison’s unstoppable juggernaut takes over the Beatles and flattens Lennon and McCartney. George writes the album’s two best songs. Something could equally have been in this position but as it was the single I’ll go for Here Comes The Sun. Anyone who grew up in the 70’s would be familiar with the guitar figure as it used to the theme tune of the Holiday programme. Beautiful song.
Let It Be – I’ve Got A Feeling
The Beatles as garage band. Live and unadorned, the Beatles rock out. Appropriate that this is a Paul/John combination song showing how great they could be together (check out the version on Anthology 3 to see how John could inspire Paul). Hypnotic riff, powerful harmonies, the song gets better with age.
Who knows? I'll probably change my mind on all of these tomorrow. Or later today. That's the beauty of it, I guess.