I can still remember the night. My mother was casually playing songs on our incredibly old computer more than 10 years ago, it was the first time I had ever heard “Strawberry Fields Forever.” She handed me the “Red” and “Blue” albums of The Beatles. Both albums are collections of The Beatles best hits from their inception in 1963 to the end in 70’. Little did I know what world I was about to dive into. Not very long after I came home to find once again my mother watching something on the TV, it was the first time The Beatles Anthology was being aired on television. It happened to be part 2, but I spent the following weeks ordering all 7 parts on DVD from Netflix, watching each one as soon as they came in. Then came The Beatles Rock Band that I got day one in middle school, having beat the entire game that night. A few years later I got to see RAIN, the official Beatles cover band, at the Aronoff Center. I thought it was the closest I’d ever get to seeing the Beatles live, that is until I got to finally fulfill a dream of mine this past summer. I got to see Paul McCartney, live in all it’s glory, with my own eyes for the first and possibly last time. It was quite literally one of the greatest performances and experiences of my life, finally seeing and hearing my favorite artist perform after listening to him for over a decade.
To put it bluntly, I’m a huge Beatles fan. I’ve got over 200 of their songs on my phone as we speak, I’ve got a giant nicely framed Beatles poster hanging right in the center of my room, I’ve seen all their movies, and I’ve got photos of me being Sir Paul McCartney for Halloween in the 6th grade. And so I come to you with one of the hardest tasks we as humankind will ever face. . .
Ranking the Top 10 Beatles Songs.
I do have some sort of system in which I came up with this list. It’s made up of about 75% of my own judgement, and 25% of the judgement of others including The Rolling Stone, USA Today, and a book I bought a long time ago called “100 Best Beatles Songs.” While some publications like to rank them based on their music merit and how well they are created, my decisions are based off of a few factors.
- How creative and original the song is
- It’s impact on music and the world
- What the song means to me
- How cool, fun, and catchy the song is
You might vehemently disagree with my list, and that’s alright. Just know that you’re wrong and that this is definitively and objectively the best ranking of Beatles songs that you’ll ever see.
With that said, let’s get to it.
If you've got a Spotify account (which is completely free to make) you can listen to all the songs by clicking on their link!
Yes. "Yesterday" is indeed the best Beatles song. Could I have some bias toward it because Paul is my favorite? Surely. But it also has one of the most recognizable guitar melodies in the Beatles catalog. It's a simple, albeit maybe a little somber, tune. But it is one we can all relate to. It's a tune about falling in love, as well as facing the issues and troubles that can come with a relationship. It's more than just love though, it's about any change in life, and what we feel when we lose something important to us. I think that this song can be applied to anyone at any point in life, and it is one that will never, ever, get old.
2. A Day in the Life
If you googled "Best beatles song" 9 times out of 10 you're probably going to get "A Day in the Life". It is perhaps undeniably the best created song when it comes to it's musical structure and composition. The voracious and immense orchestra overlaying most of the song is simply incredible and it makes the finale of the song unforgettable. The juxtaposition between John's and Paul's segments also brings a balance between the two's creativity that is welcome. "A Day in the Life" is a monster of a song. And for the majority, it is the best Beatles song ever created. I don't put it at #1 because I think it's message is murky and doesn't have the same emotional stakes that "Yesterday" holds. But nonetheless, a song worth praising til' the end of time.
3. Hey Jude
Everyone knows this song. Quite literally I challenge you to find anyone who doesn't know this song or recognize it after just 5 seconds. Outside of "Yesterday," " Hey Jude" is Paul's finest work as a Beatle. It's actually not written about a Jude at all, but John's first child, Julian. The best part is obviously the last couple minutes where everyone within an earshot is singing "na na na na.... hey jude" while Paul riffs over the whole thing with every ounce of passion inside him. Play this at a bar, a party, or anywhere with a large crowd of people and you'll have everyone singing along. When I saw Paul live in concert, this song was a borderline religious experience, hearing thousands of people singing along in tandem. Whatever you like the Beatles or not, "Hey Jude" is a song everyone can like and sing along with.
4. In My Life
Another emotional tune, "In My Life" means something different to everyone. Overall it's about all the people in your life, and how you love them. So may stay some may go, some on good terms some on bad terms. But they still all held a special place in your heart and you still loved all of them. But above all else, there's that one person that means more than anything to you. The one no else can compare, and that's really what the story is about. "In My Life" may not be the most recognizable song on this list, or even the most catchy, but it's meaning is one of the most important.
5. Strawberry Fields Forever (LOVE version)
While the original version of "Strawberry Fields Forever" is great, I think the version from the LOVE album (which is sort of a remix album of Beatles songs made for the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas) is the best version. It's a zany song, and one with a unique flair to it. It is perhaps the song John is known most for, hence his memorial in NYC being called "Strawberry Fields." John said it was about one of his childhood homes and how he kind of wish it would've lasted forever. It's about yearning for a time when things were simpler and easier. A good time in life that you like to remember about when things are tough. I think John's humble tune is one everyone can understand. (Unfortunately the LOVE version is not found on YouTube)
"Revolution" is by far my favorite Beatles song to jam out and sing to. The guitar right from the beginning screams out at you and doesn't let up. The song is fairly easy to get, it's about revolution, changing the world. It pulls from real things like Chairman Mao and communism and how those things are the antithesis of revolution. This Beatles jam is one of the best rock songs ever made let alone Beatles songs. Just writing this wants me to pick up a guitar and play it (I have no idea how to play guitar).
7. Come Together
This song is almost perfect, the bass, the lyrics, the chorus, everything about it is just so cool. I love the collab between John and Paul on this one and it's for sure one of the most recognizable Beatles songs out there. It's used over and over again in commercials, movies, shows, you name it. I won't speak about the Aerosmith cover (it's blasphemy) but I think this song best represents the post "boy band" phase of the Beatles in ever facet. It no doubt belongs in the Top 10.
I was torn on this song. It so closely resembles "Yesterday" in so many ways. It's Paul, his guitar, and that's about it. At first it was left as an honorable mention (pretty much spot 11), but after further consideration (and some convincing from my girlfriend) I rightly see it deserves to be on this list. So many times in my life I've heard people talk about Blackbird so much more than any other Beatles song. I even had a friend call me once out of no where just to sing it to them because they liked it so much. Paul has spoken about it before, how he wrote the song to sympathize with the African Americans protesting and marching in America during the 60's. When you look at it in this light, the song is so much more powerful. Alas, with all the evidence provided, Blackbird is surely one of the Top 10 Beatles songs.
9. Let It Be
Yet another solo Paul song of sorts. It probably goes without saying that Paul (is the best Beatle) is extremely talented and special when it comes to music. While this one is a little more somber than "Hey Jude" it's piano melody is unforgettable and Paul's mastery is something to marvel at. There's little else to say, just listen to the song and you'll know why it belongs here.
10. Hey Bulldog
You won't find this song on probably any other Top 10 Beatles list, I almost guarantee it. It's another John/Paul collab and it's killer. It's definitely more on the rock side, and it's got plenty of zaniness to it. From the barking like dogs to fading in and out mid song. Not to mention the sick guitar solo in the middle this song is filled with surprises and things you won't hear in any other Beatles song. The best part? At the very end of the song Ringo screams "I got blisters on ma fingers!" a real thing he said after playing the song over and over again in studio. They liked it so much they kept it in. Go listen for yourself.
Honorable Mentions: Here are some songs that still mean a great deal to me and are for sure some of the most important songs the Beatles ever created. They didn't quite make the Top 10 but they came pretty close.
- I Saw Her Standing There (https://open.spotify.com/track/3KiexfmhxHvG5IgAElm...)
- All You Need is Love (https://open.spotify.com/track/68BTFws92cRztMS1oQ7...)
- I Am the Walrus (https://open.spotify.com/track/6Pq9MmkDQYZiiCDpxnv...)
- Helter Skelter (https://open.spotify.com/track/0Bs0hUYxz7REyIHH7tR...)
- Hard Day's Night (https://open.spotify.com/track/5J2CHimS7dWYMImCHkE...)
- I Should Have Known Better (https://open.spotify.com/track/3pU1CUgPiFfxPCpscwI...)
Well there you have it, the Top 10 Beatles songs. I know it seems like it has an over abundance of Paul songs and songs from their later years, but that really was when the Beatles made some transformative music. I'm sure you probably disagree with this list but that's okay. As long as you listen to them and share The Beatles with everyone you love, this world is going to be a good place.