Now that the Beatles library is available on iTunes (don’t we already have all their CDs loaded up?) U.K. music critic Neil McCormick has ranked the worst ever Beatles songs.
There are many Beatles songs to love, but quite a few to hate–most of them sung by Ringo Starr–which I’ve rediscovered playing Beatles Rock Band. Here are my least favorite Beatles songs–many of them from the films Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine (something Bob Zemeckis will have to deal with on his upcoming 3-D remake). The soundtracks for their two best films, A Hard Days Night and Help!, turned out far better. The double White Album was also crammed with filler. See my and McCormick’s lists and selected music clips below:
1. Boys (Starr, The Beatles)
2. Why Don’t We Do It In the Road (
Lennon, McCartney, White Album)
3. Yellow Submarine (Starr, Yellow Submarine)
4. Magical Mystery Tour (McCartney, Magical Mystery Tour)
5. All Together Now (McCartney, Yellow Submarine)
6. Honey Don’t (Starr, Beatles for Sale)
7. Blue Jay Way (Harrison, Magical Mystery Tour)
8. Hey Bulldog (Lennon, Yellow Submarine)
9. Revolution 9 (White Album)
10. Your Mother Should Know (McCartney, Magical Mystery Tour)
The Beatles: Misery
1. Revolution 9 (The Beatles aka The White Album)
Start with John and Yoko’s nearly nine minute avant-garde sound collage, once pored over by hippies for hidden meanings. What it really means is that you shouldn’t try to make music when you’re stoned out of your brain.
2. Only A Northern Song (Yellow Submarine soundtrack)
“If you’re listening to this song / You may think the chords are going wrong” admits George, on a dreary, tuneless, quasi-psychedelic paean to The Beatles publishing company that proclaims its own laziness: “It doesn’t really matter what chords I play, what words I say”. But it bloody well does.
3. Your Mother Should Know (Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack)
Soft-shoe music hall whimsy from Macca. One of his child friendly numbers that John always hated (others include Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da and Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), this has the added disadvantage of starting with a simple idea and not taking it anywhere.
4. Mr Moonlight (Beatles For Sale)
Here’s one your mother might know, and wish she didn’t. A waste of Lennon’s roaring vocal opening, this is an extraordinarily silly cocktail lounge style cover with cheesy harmonies and a hammy organ solo.
5. The Inner Light (B-side, available on Past Masters)
Droning Indian mysticism from George. “Without going out of my door / I can know all things on Earth”. Yeah, right.
6. I’ll Get You (B-side, available on Past Masters)
Uninspiring Lennon-McCartney Merseybeat workout that seems like an exercise in getting to the chorus. Unusually for an early Beatles b-side, nobody else even bothered covering it.
7. Honey Don’t (Beatles For Sale)
Rockabilly classic that they allowed Ringo to sing with more enthusiasm than skill from an album on which you can almost hear the band’s exhaustion at the madness of Beatlemania
8. Long, Long, Long (The Beatles aka The White Album)
George created some beautiful songs, but he could really get on a minor chord downer sometimes. A boring song about ennui. Which, you could argue, is conceptual perfection.
9. Blue Jay Way (Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack)
George barely stirs himself from marijuana torpor to provide a tuneless account of a dinner party in his house in LA.
10. Don’t Pass Me By (The Beatles aka The White Album)
Ringo’s first attempt at solo songwriting, it should have been his last. Country chaos, that includes the immortal couplet: “”I’m sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair / You were in a car crash and you lost your hair”
11. Savoy Truffle (The Beatles aka The White Album)
As glorious as The White Album is, its questionable whether they had enough really great songs to make it a double. Here George fills the gaps with a little ditty about the contents of a box of chocolates. It’s basically a song about the munchies from the marijuana mystic.
12. Octopus’s Garden (Abbey Road)
Ringo trying to replicate the childish underwater joys of Yellow Submarine, but only succeeding in ruining the otherwise perfect Abbey Road album
13. Maggie Mae (Let It Be)
During increasingly acrimonious recording sessions, The Feuding Four release tensions with a sudden burst of a dirty scouse folk song. Not their finest moment.
14. You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (B side, available on Past Masters)
We can play out with another stoned farrago of a comedy song. You should only be grateful that I didn’t include What’s The New Mary Jane from Anthology.
As for the rest? Unmitigated genius.