I imagine that Paste Magazine will be adding to this list, but everyone ahs their favorite non-radio friendly Beatle songs. The first ones that come to my mind are: Hey Bulldog, Girl, and Bluejay Way.
The Paste list is a nice little start to kick things off though.
- What are your favorite overlooked Beatle songs? We’d love to know yours. Please let us know in the comments below.
Here’s what we’ve read.
Today’s list begins a series that will recur every Friday for the next few weeks, in which I’ll highlight my favorite lesser-known Beatles tracks. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr wrote and recorded such consistently amazing songs that, even if you ignore all their #1 hits and everything on their famous Red and Blue best-of compilations (which I’ll be doing for these more obscure Beatles lists), there are still dozens and dozens of amazing songs, some of which you might’ve missed along the way-even if The Beatles are the biggest, most influential band in rock history.
As you get familiar with these songs, I think some of them might even surpass your old, more-overplayed favorites.
“Cry For A Shadow”
Never mind that it has no words, this jinglin’ and janglin’ Lennon/McCartney surf instrumental-originally released on 1963 EP My Bonnie-is one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. I first discovered it when I bought a cassette copy of The Beatles Anthology while I was in high school, and proceeded to play it non-stop for about a week.
This fun cover of Bakersfield country legend Buck Owens-sung pretty darn solidly by Ringo Starr-first appeared on the soundtrack to The Beatles 1965 film Help! I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Help! is even better than more lauded Beatles flick A Hard Day’s Night. I love the stoned shenanigans, muted colors and wide-open cinematography of Help!, and the music is way better, too. (After seeing a few of these lists, you’ll notice that I have a soft-spot for the more folk-rocky trinity of “middle period” Beatles albums: Beatles For Sale, Help! and Rubber Soul.)
“I’ve Just Seen a Face”
This gorgeous, unadorned acoustic number-also from the Help! soundtrack-is my all-time favorite Beatles song. It genuinely captures the kind of happiness you can know only after experiencing deep longing and sadness. Every time I listen to it, the purity of Paul McCartney’s vocal and the simple poetry of his lyrics wash over me, transporting me to a romanticized time nearly two decades before I was born; a more innocent time, when life was as wholesome, uncluttered and satisfying as the 12-string-guitar plucks George Harrison scatters atop all those Beatles-pretty chords. Of course, I know this time never really existed (watching a few episodes of Mad Men will cure you pretty damn quickly of any naivete about the early ’60s). Still, that place of innocence does exist, if only inside of McCartney’s song. I remember being baffled when I learned that he’d written the tune when he was just 16. How could a 16-year-old write something so affecting, so perfect, so… optimistic? The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
“I’m Only Sleeping”
From the chime of the opening strum, this song perfectly embodies its subject matter; I don’t think there’s a better example of a piece of music sounding and feeling exactly like what it’s about. It’s as if you could take the lyrics away and just have John Lennon lazily mumble indecipherable phrases in the same cadence and pitch, and everyone would still get the transmission, straight through their third eye.
This song was originally released as the B-side to 1966 single “Paperback Writer.” Both were recorded during the Revolver sessions but left off the album. The two tracks, taken together, are all the proof you’ll ever need of Paul McCartney’s mind-boggling bass chops and distinct, if erratic, style. “Rain” also features some of Ringo Starr’s most inventive drumming, a purposefully draggy feel, ringing guitars, classic three-part Beatles harmonies and a chorus so monumental it seems to sharply bend the space-time continuum (an interesting contrast, considering Lennon’s admission that the song was merely about how people are always bitching about the weather). You can almost feel the lysergic acid dripping off of this one, especially with the trippy backward vocals during the last verse. “Rain” is one of the first tracks to ever use this now-common technique. And many consider the short film below-which The Beatles debuted on The Ed Sullivan Show-to be the very first music video, planting the seeds for the MTV generation.
Source: Paste magazine