(Author: Sruthi Dhulipala)
50 years ago…. The Beatles broke up! The fab-four John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, popularly known to us at the Beatles, were formerly called the “Quarryman” and “The Silver Beatles.” They came together in 1960 and remained one of the most influential English rock bands of all time.
The band composed tunes in R&B, American pop, and rock, and never wavered to explore “music without fuss” and as candidly as they could. They were a cultural dynamo to many generations and created a sound that defines them, even to this day.
The band broke up in 1969 after years of love from squealing fans, exhaustion over live shows, and the burn-out. The breakup was collective – let’s just say they took a long holiday and never returned! Like any group, they had their disputes and dramas. Still, The Beatles remain one of the most sought out bands for the invaluable music they have conceived.
If I had to pick the best out of their archives, it would roughly sum up to a number of 200. What about you? Unfortunately, we have to cut the list down, to well, a few!
Here are some masterpieces from the band’s archives that would make you revisit them –
(Released: August 26, 1968)
“Don’t make it bad….take a sad song and make it better!” If you’re an ardent Beatles fan, you’d know that the “Na Nas” in the chorus are repeated 19 times in this piece!
McCartney penned the lyrics for this piece as a dedication to John Lennon’s son, Julian. After writing the lyrics, McCartney drove to Lennon’s home in Weybridge to play the song to Julian and tell him, “it’ll all be better,” addressing his parents breaking up. As he mentioned in his anthology, McCartney initially sang “Hey Jules….” and later turned the lyrics to “Hey Jude” – Jude, as in the character of “Oklahoma!”
(Released: March 6, 1970)
In the times of trouble and hurt, lookup (I perceive this as ‘within’), and there’ll be an answer – Let it be.” This song, to me, is the best work from Paul McCartney – it gives you hope and sparks positivity. A few weeks before penned the lyrics, McCartney had a dream where he saw his mother (whose name was “Mary”) came to him when he was anxious and stressed and spoke a few wise words to him and assured him not to lose faith. Hence the lyrics – “speaking words of wisdom, let it be..” The song was one of the memorable hits in their last album and a bitter-sweet reminder that we move on with life, and it’s okay to!
This masterpiece of an album stays relevant even to this day – it’s positive, invigorating, and just what we need in these unprecedented times.
(Released: August 6, 1965)
This is one of the lesser-known Beatles tunes written by John Lennon. Ironically, Lennon describes this as one of his “least favorite Beatles songs” However, as explained in the book Revolution In The Head, this song is unique for its explorative “vertical” vocals. The book described Lennon’s songs as “horizontal,” which meant he would sing notes closer to each other instead of traversing the higher and lower ends of a scale. This song broke the habit! Fun fact – this song was recorded in six takes to nail the vocals. Listen to the track if you missed it earlier!
(Released: September 26, 1969)
Yes, we haven’t forgotten the classic Abbey Road album. To this date, the trend of the crosswalk photo lives on! Released in September 1969, The Beatles’ last-released album has garnered commercial traction. It is their best-loved and lasting albums of all time. What’s your favorite song of the album? Beatles fans, you know Paul walks barefoot in the album cover photo, right? If you missed this detail, it’s time to look at the signature photo again and spot the clue!
(Released: 1967 )
Let’s look at one more lesser-known song by The Beatles, written by Lennon and McCartney. The song was inspired by a DailyMail post that McCartney read – about the story of one Melanie Coe from London who went missing. She ran away from home, the news article read. McCartney put this to a song about a girl running away from home.
Fun fact – George Harrison nor Ringo Starr were involved in the recording of this song. Instead, the instrument section was carried by a string orchestra arranged by Mike Leander.
Here are some more songs from the archives of The Beatles that you may like or revisit:
- Good Day Sunshine, Revolver – 1966
- Thank You Girl, single – 1963
- Chains, Please Please Me – 1963
- Only a Northern Song, Yellow Submarine – 1969
- I’ll Be Back, A Hard Day’s Night – 1964
- Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby, Beatles for Sale – 1964
- Rocky Raccoon, The Beatles (“The White Album”) – 1968
- “Old Brown Shoe,” single – 1968
- “Her Majesty,” Abbey Road – 1969
- “Mr. Moonlight,” Beatles for Sale – 1964
- “Baby, You’re a Rich Man” Magical Mystery Tour – 1967
- “Piggies,” The Beatles (“The White Album”) – 1968
- “Yellow Submarine,” Revolver – 1966
Do you have more gems from The Beatles that were not mentioned above? Share with us in the comments below!