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The Best Beatles’ Songs of All Time

Music touches my soul. When I am not singing, dancing or playing an instrument, I am writing articles about the songs that I hold dear.

The Beatles arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, 7 February 1964

The Beatles arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, 7 February 1964

For a band that started releasing albums in the 1960s, their music has certainly stood the test of time. Based on the endurance of their body of work, it is safe to say that their musical legacy will live indefinitely. The Beatles have set a standard that many bands have tried to replicate, some of these bands including Cold Play and U2 look to the Beatles’ music as their gold standard of excellence.

The Beatles’ music is unique because it is often catchy, sometimes profound, and yet at the same time the songs can seem understated and simple. The ubiquitous songs included in this playlist tribute only scratch the surface of a body of work by a band that released 12 studio albums, 13 extended plays, and 22 singles during the stretch of their recording career.

Here are some of the top Beatles' songs chosen based on their popularity.

"Here Comes the Sun" (Remastered 2009)

  • Album: Abbey Road 1969
  • Charted: # 58 UK

Beatles’ band member George Harrison wrote “Here Comes the Sun” for the 1969 album Abbey Road. The song reflects the optimistic feeling that a sunny spring day can evoke after a long dreary winter season. This timeless classic has been covered by artists including Charles Wright and Richie Havens. 51 years after its release, the song was used to celebrate the discharge of hospital patients who survived the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Lyrics to look for:

Little darling, the smile's returning to their faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun, do, dun, do, do
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right

"I Want to Hold Your Hand"

  • Album: Meet The Beatles 1963
  • Charted: #1 UK and USA

This was the song that launched The Beatles’ success in America in 1963; they were already popular in England. One of John Lennon’s favorite songs, this hit was also recorded in German and called "Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand." At the time of its release, critics felt the song was a fad and would not stand the test of time, but they have been proven wrong.

Lyrics to look for:

Oh, please, say to me
You'll let me be your man
And please, say to me
You'll let me hold your hand

"All My Loving" (Remastered 2009)

  • Album: With the Beatles 1963
  • Charted: #45 USA

Written as a poem for his girlfriend, Paul McCartney recorded this song in 1963 and it was the first song that The Beatles performed on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964.

Lyrics to look for:

Close your eyes and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow I'll miss you
Remember I'll always be true
And then while I'm away
I'll write home every day
And I'll send all my lovin' to you

"I Will" (Remastered 2009)

  • Album: The White Album 1968

The music for "I Will" was written while the Beatles were visiting India, but the lyrics were still being modified at the time of recording in London. “I Will” is a song with a catchy memorable melody and lyrics that succeed at evoking either a timeless everlasting love or the idea of one. The sweet-sounding song has been covered by Ben Taylor, the son of James Taylor and Carly Simon. This was the first song that the young music sensation Billie Eilish learned how to play on the Ukulele.

Lyrics to look for:

For if I ever saw you
I didn't catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same

"In My Life" (Remastered 2009)

  • Album: Rubber Soul 1965
  • Charted: #34 USA

John Lennon considered “In My Life” to be his “first piece of work” since the lyrics were inspired by a poem he wrote about his childhood and had more depth of meaning than his earlier work. As with many other Beatles’ songs, “ In My Life” was covered by many other artists throughout the years including Bette Midler and Ozzy Osbourne. While there was some controversy over whether McCartney contributed to the writing of the song, expert analysis determined that it was most likely written primarily by Lennon.

The lyrics lead the listener to reflect not simply on Lennon’s past memories and loves but the listener’s own life. It is a reflective and introspective song.

Lyrics to look for:

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain

"Hey Jude"

  • Album: Past Masters, Vol 2, 1968
  • Charted: #1 USA and UK

The song was originally entitled “Hey Jules” as it was a song written by Paul McCartney to John Lennon’s son, Julian. At the time, Julian’s parents were divorcing and McCartney wanted to write Julian a song to cheer him up. The title was later changed to reflect the character of “Jud” in the musical Oklahoma. The song released in 1968 is about overcoming a bad situation and trying to have a positive outlook.

Lyrics to look for:

Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

"I Feel Fine" (Remastered 2009)

  • Album: Past Masters, Vol. 1, 1964
  • Charted: #1 USA and UK

A feel-good song that hit the number one position in the USA and Britain, I Feel Fine was released in 1964 as an A-side of the Beatles eighth single. The single also topped the charts in countries such as Canada, Norway, and Sweden.

Lyrics to look for:

Baby says she's mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I'm in love with her and I feel fine

"Let It Be"

  • Album: Let It Be 1970
  • Charted: #2 USA #1 UK

At a time in Paul McCartney's life when he was suffering from anxiety, he had a dream about his mother, whose name was Mary. As the song goes, during the dream, she gave him the words of wisdom to 'Let It Be.' This was not a favorite song by Lennon who didn't like its religious undertones. The song was covered by artists such as John Legend, Alicia Keys, and Aretha Franklin who actually released this song before the Beatles. The song topped the charts at number one in 1970 in the U.S., UK, Sweden, and Canada among other countries.

Lyrics to look for:

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

"All You Need Is Love"

  • Album: Yellow Submarine 1967
  • Charted: #1 in USA and UK

Written by Lennon and meant to be a unifying anthem for all walks of life, "All You Need Is Love" is a song with a comforting positive message. Lennon liked the idea of catchy slogans like "We Shall Overcome" and the song was written with that in mind. In an interview, Lennon stated "I'm a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change."

Lyrics to look for:

There's nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy

"Twist and Shout"

  • Album: Please Please Me 1963
  • Charted: #2 USA

Twist and Shout is not originally a Beatles song, it was written in 1961 by Bert Russell and became a record chart hit when it was performed by the Isley Brothers. The Beatles released the song in 1964 when it hit the top 10 charts in New Zealand, the United States, and Sweden among other countries. The song had a second life in 1986 when it was used in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when it charted at #23 in the US.

Lyrics to look for:

You know you twist so fine
Come on and twist a little closer now
And let me know that you're mine, woo

The Beatles on Kok Tobe, or Green Hill, in Almaty, Kazakhstan

The Beatles on Kok Tobe, or Green Hill, in Almaty, Kazakhstan

© 2020 Tracy Lynn Conway

Comments

Tracy Lynn Conway (author) from Virginia, USA on November 03, 2020:

Hi Devika,

What a wonderful memory to have shared with your father! My father also played a huge influence on my musical exposure while I was growing up, this was such a blessing. Thank you for your comment!

Best,

Tracy

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 29, 2020:

My favorite Beatle song '' I wanna hold your hand.'' Groiwng up in the 70s and 80s I often heard these songs. My dad likes songs from the Beatles and that is the reason for listening to these songs. Music is one of my best in the day.