Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Toppermost Of The Poppermost

Over Labor Day weekend, the Beatles channel on Sirius Radio counted down the band's top 100 based on votes from fans.  Here it is, all bunched up so it doesn't take up too much space.

1. A Day In The Life 2. In My Life 3. Hey Jude 4. Abbey Road Medley 5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps 6. Here Comes The Sun 7. Strawberry Fields Forever 8. Something 9. Let It Be 10. Yesterday 11. Eleanor Rigby 12. Blackbird 13. Hey Bulldog 14. I Am The Walrus 15. Norwegian Wood 16. Across The Universe 17. Here, There And Everywhere 18. Penny Lane 19. Dear Prudence 20. Sgt. Pepper's... 21. I Saw Her Standing There 22. Help! 23. Tomorrow Never Knows 24. Nowhere Man 25. All You Need Is Love 26. Revolution 27. Don't Let Me Down 28. If I Fell 29. The Long And Winding Road 30. A Hard Day's Night 31. Rain 32. All My Loving 33. Come Together 34. For No One 35. Get Back 36. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away 37. Ticket To Ride 38. I Want To Hold Your Hand 39. And Your Bird Can Sing 40. And I Love Her 41. Day Tripper 42. I've Just Seen A Face 43. Paperback Writer 44. Oh! Darling 45. She Loves You 46. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds 47. Two Of Us 48. Eight Days A Week 49. Twist and Shout 50. Helter Skelter 51. We Can Work It Out 52. I Feel Fine 53. I Want You (She's So Heavy) 54. This Boy 55. Back in the USSR 56. Hello, Goodbye 57. Things We Said Today 58. I Will 59. You're Going to Lose That Girl 60. When I'm Sixty-Four 61. The Night Before 62. The Fool on the Hill 63. I Should Have Known Better 64. You Never Give Me Your Money 65. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 66. Got to Get You Into My Life 67. Taxman 68. Within You Without You 69. Do You Want to Know a Secret 70. Can't Buy Me Love 71. Please Please Me 72. Michelle 73. Girl 74. Ballad of John and Yoko 75. Drive My Car 76. Lady Madonna 77. You Can't Do That 78. Yellow Submarine 79. Birthday 80. I'm Happy Just to Dance With You 81. Octopus's Garden 82. Good Day Sunshine 83. You Won't See Me 84. Anna (Go To Him) 85. Magical Mystery Tour 86. P.S. I Love You 87. I'm A Loser 88. From Me To You 89. Love Me Do 90. Happiness Is A Warm Gun 91. Please Mister Postman 92. She's A Woman 93. Roll Over Beethoven 94. You Really Got A Hold On Me 95. I Don't Want To Spoil The Party 96. She's Leaving Home 97. I'm Only Sleeping 98. Rock And Roll Music 99. Thank You Girl 100. Boys

A few comments.

As much as I disagree with it, it's a great list--it could hardly help but be one.

I wouldn't put "A Day In The Life" at #1, or "Hey Jude" at #3, but I get their high rankings.  But how did "In My Life" at #2 get so big?

Several covers, which makes sense.  The highest-ranked is "Twist And Shout" at #49.  Okay, but where's "Money"?

Too much George. I can see "Here Comes To Sun" in the top ten, but the lugubrious "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" his top-ranked at #5?  And that crapfest "Within You Without You" at #68?

The Abbey Road medley is not a song (or a suite, for that matter), but it's being treated as such.  Fine, but all the better to ignore it, rather than put it at #4.

In fact, there's too much Abbey Road in general:

4. Abbey Road Medley 6. Here Comes The Sun 8. Something   33. Come Together   44. Oh! Darling 53. I Want You (She's So Heavy) 64. You Never Give Me Your Money 81. Octopus's Garden 

I think (not sure where the medley starts) the only songs they left out are "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," "Because" and "Her Majesty"--which I prefer over most of the songs that did make it.

For that matter, too much stuff from the later albums.

Magical Mystery Tour:

7. Strawberry Fields Forever 14. I Am The Walrus 18. Penny Lane 25. All You Need Is Love 56. Hello, Goodbye 62. The Fool on the Hill 85. Magical Mystery Tour 

The White Album:

5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps 12. Blackbird 19. Dear Prudence  26. Revolution (though presumably the single version) 50. Helter Skelter 55. Back in the USSR 58. I Will 65. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 79. Birthday 81. Octopus's Garden 90. Happiness Is A Warm Gun 

Let It Be:

9. Let It Be 16. Across The Universe 27. Don't Let Me Down 29. The Long And Winding Road 35. Get Back 47. Two Of Us 

Not that all these songs are bad.  It's just that so many could have been left off to allow earlier, better songs in their place.

Guess I should be happy they didn't include "Blue Jay Way" or "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?."

To be fair, the list honors many of the great songs from earlier albums, and I don't just mean Rubber Soul and Revolver. Look at how much love they gave to Help!.

10. Yesterday 22. Help! 36. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away 37. Ticket To Ride 42. I've Just Seen A Face 59. You're Going to Lose That Girl 61. The Night Before 

Still, top-heavy with the latter half of their career. To be expected, though you always hope to be surprised.


Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Not surprisingly, this list is a lot closer to my views than it is to LAGuy's. But I agree that "In My Life" at #2 is pretty silly. I have a soft spot for that song because it was played at my high school retreats (I went to a Catholic high school where the teachers were still hippy-generation), but musically it shouldn't be in the top ten.

(The solo, often thought to be a harpsichord, is apparently slowed-down piano. It's easily the best part of the song.)

"Hey Jude" is one of my least favorite Beatles' songs ever.

If we allow the "Abbey Road medley" as a single unit (which I didn't have the courage to do in the last PajamaGuy Beatles ranking, as you may recall), I would rank it #2, just after "A Day In The Life". But I don't consider it a medley: I consider it a multi-part suite in the progressive rock tradition. The most important aspect of this distinction is the reprise of "You Never Give Me Your Money" towards the end. Reprising an earlier theme with harmonic variations has always been a technique central to the Western classical tradition, but not the Western popular song tradition or the American blues tradition (which use repitition in other ways). I would identify this as one of the key elements of progressive rock.

And for the record, I assert that this suite begins with "You Never Give Me Your Money" and ends with "The End". The first two tracks on side two aren't part of it, even though "Sun King" is an obvious homage to "Here Comes the Sun".

1:44 PM, September 06, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Btw, "A Day In The Life" contains Ringo's best drumming ever; his drumming makes the verses perfect. And "Golden Slumbers" has Paul's best singing with the Beatles.

2:44 PM, September 06, 2017  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

What's wrong with "Oh, Darling"?

4:04 PM, September 06, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Oh man do I find "Oh, Darling" boring. It's such a generic song.

4:12 PM, September 06, 2017  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Well, you are LAGuy. In Columbus, that's soul.

4:18 PM, September 06, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots from Sgt. Pepper, but I didn't see "Getting Better" or "Lovely Rita." They should have made it.

4:35 PM, September 06, 2017  
Blogger New England Guy said...

No Rocky Raccoon?

4:39 PM, September 06, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few pre-Sergeant Pepper songs that they didn't include.

Drive My Car
The Word
I’m Looking Through You
She Said She Said
No Reply
I’ll Follow The Sun
Tell Me Why
I’ll Be Back
There’s A Place
Any Time At All
All My Loving
Hold Me Tight
Ask My Why

5:02 PM, September 06, 2017  
Blogger brian said...

The list definitely takes too long before listing any early Beatles. There would be no late Beatles without early Beatles. But that is no real argument on a song by song basis. Yet there are early songs such as I Should Have Known Better, which beat some of the later stuff placed in front.

5:53 PM, September 06, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Agreed that "Oh, Darling" is awful. Although my favorite Beatles' tracks come from the later band, so do the tracks I hate most. The later Beatles alternated genius with vacuous self-indulgence: "Oh, Darling", "Why Don't We Do It In the Road", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", "The Long and Winding Road" are all crap.

The list creator likes later Beatles even more than me: I would put several early tracks in the top ten. "Can't Buy Me Love" goes in the top 3.

I agree with many of the early Beatles songs that the Anonymouses nominated for the list: "I'm Looking Through You", "I'll Follow the Sun", "All My Loving" -- plus "Getting Better" from the middle Beatles.

"Yer Blues", the most underrated Beatles song of all time, also belongs in this list.

10:42 PM, September 06, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the albums that are probably the most represented on the list are PAST MASTERS VOLUME ONE & TWO.

12:26 PM, September 07, 2017  
Blogger BVC said...

MOST interesting stuff! My chief comment, as founding member of L.A.-based Beatles Tribute band, The Beatunes, is this. We get varied requests from all kinds of people, sometimes several per show, is that the wide variety of opinions certainly underscores how widespread and varied the Beatles audience actually IS. We do know everyone has an opinion, right? And we have to explain, in why we may not play their request, that there are some 350+ songs... it's not possible to play them all! They usually can't believe we don't play "their" song! So it easily follows that in ANY list like this, not only will someone, and their brother, sister or dog, wonder why their favorites weren't on it, or high-up enough, they may also find songs they equally don't like and wonder why they ARE on it! Doing any list like this - or even commenting on it, since it was audience-driven - with The Beatles more than almost anyone else, is really a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't scenario. No win, but somehow everyone wins: we still get reminded of wonderful stuff. They're a little polarizing, because almost everyone loves SOMETHING from them, and they'll staunchly defend it! Talk about a completely-encompassing social and artistic influence! Wow! Only The Beatles... I really believe that.

Considering some comments made, "Within You Without You" and "Love You To" are perfect examples. I actually happen to like those songs a lot, because they're George's honest explorations into a true "classical" (but not western) music, with timings and interesting instrumentation we were just not familiar with. He wasn't trying to create hits; he was trying to learn about a whole new (ancient!) culture, and incorporate it into his life and music. Melodically, they were very legato, sweeping, even in his vocals... to me, very captivating. I suspect most people who didn't like them just had no interest in something different than The Beatles pop and rock fare, in which all four of them played, but George was already thinking outside the box, and no doubt he worked hard to learn from one of the best. I say more power to him! How many Indian-influenced, or sitar-flavored songs came out after "Norwegian Wood?" Even the Coral electric sitar came about as a result, and millions of people have used it... Tom Petty's used it, as did Joe South on "Games People Play." All George's fault!! (-: No one in OUR culture had heard of Ravi before George.

1:44 PM, September 08, 2017  
Blogger BVC said...

Part 2, Sorry! (-:
People LOVE when we do "Hey Jude." It IS hugely popular, and the reason Paul wrote it, for Julian Lennon, is a big part of the story; it makes it Important... a tremendous, caring piece. Then on the other side of the spectrum, occasionally we get requests for "Rocky Raccoon." Not my favorite song, but I gotta admit, the lyrics are clever and humorous as hell! It's just fun, and nothing wrong with that, either. (I'm awfully glad we NEVER get requests for "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?") The writer may not like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" that much (and lugubrious is a great word!), but it's actually one of the more requested songs we get. It builds to a great climax and tension, released by some of the best, strongest guitar work ever on a Beatles song, whether George, Paul or John had played it, or as Eric Clapton did, at George's invitation. It turned the song into a classic; whether or not the lyrical value of it is as high as, for example, "Here, There & Everywhere," which I think is genius even merely in its construction and sweetness, or so many others, almost becomes beside the point. I was glad to see "And Your Bird Can Sing," because that's easily some of George's best guitar work ever, multi-tracked or not. Delicious! And trademark fabulous vocals. As far as "In My Life" goes, yeah, #2 kinda surprised me, too, but in thinking about it, it's really got some of the most poignant lyrics in any of their songs - certainly for an "early-20s" guy to be writing, and lots of people relate greatly to it. Especially as we get older (I'm NOT, mind you, but...), those kinds of thoughts DO occur at times, and many people go right back to that song as some kind of an emotional touchstone. IMHO, to call it "silly" shows a total lack of understanding of (or listening to) that song. It's total, thoughtful "truism." And "Here Comes The Sun" and "Something" - BOTH just make people melt - we see it EVERY show. Those are two we never cut from a show, no matter how little time we have left! I found some of the songs in the comment from "Anonymous" at the end, some of my favorites, as well. "Tell Me Why" is just exuberant, with the trademark Beatles 3-part vocals at their best, and "All My Loving," “Can’t Buy Me Love,” geez, just pure Beatles at their best. MINUS Best, of course. (HAD to say it.)

I agree, too, with the comment on covers. My personal opinion is that when The Beatles covered ANYONE'S song, they invariably did it better. They creamed the originals! I agree about "Money." OMG what a locomotive of a song... the background vocals just as loud as the lead, totally untraditional, and they just never let up! Amazing!! "Twist & Shout," a fun song... surely an awesome dance number... not one of my personal favorites, but requested sometimes. (And ahh, there it IS... it IS someone else's, for SURE! And who am I to say, right??) Another classic cover, in the truest sense, is "Roll Over Beethoven." Everything from the much cleaner, smoother guitar lines (than C.B.'s, who most definitely did, though, create that sound and those riffs!), to George's distinctive voice and Ringo's constant open hi-hat cymbal... just as high-energy, real rock & roll as it could get!

I could, and probably do, have an opinion of most, or all, the Beatles' songs. Our biggest problem, as we add songs to even slightly change our set lists, or if we have to cut songs for shorter shows, is "which ones do we cut?" They're ALL great, all fun or challenging to play, and there's no one who doesn't relate to SOME of them, if not most, or ALL of them. Just as with this pretty amazing list, no matter what order it’s in - what a problem, eh? Frikkin' BEATLES!!!!!!

1:45 PM, September 08, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Thanks for your comments. It's great to hear fro a real pro.

I only hope plenty of people scroll down this far to check out what you have to say.

And I think you make a good point about the Beatles music--with what other band could you say the bottom half of a top 100 list is just as good as the top half? With most bands you couldn't even find that many songs you like.

2:48 PM, September 08, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They went form Love Me Do to Let It Be. That's quite an arc, but it makes sense.

1:50 AM, September 09, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

"They went form Love Me Do to Let It Be. That's quite an arc, but it makes sense."

Agreed. One of the many reasons that the Beatles are so iconic is that their last two albums really feel like a true conclusion, especially in the songs "Let It Be" and "The End".

People often speculate about what would have happened if the band stayed together, and such speculation often focuses on what music they would have made after 1970. But I wonder if, in this parallel universe, people would appreciate the maturity and concluding nature of "Let It Be" and "The End"? Or am I just projecting, using hindsight?

And thanks to BVC for his comments!

4:02 PM, September 24, 2017  

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