Last week saw one of those milestones, an anniversary that startled a certain generation. Wednesday marked 60 years since the Beatles released their debut single, Love Me Do, igniting the spark that ignited Beatlemania and changed music still.
The milestone immediately transported a certain generation to the ’60s, to a time of beehives, bells, and even more questionable. fashion choices. For those of us who grew up listening to our parents’ record collections, other memories have surfaced.
All I need to hear are the opening notes of a Beatles song and I’m back in the car for the long Saturday drives with my dad at the wheel, mum in the front and my brothers and I fighting in the back.
For almost 16 years the Beatles have been the soundtrack of my life and for this week’s Life in Songs justice I called on the man behind the wheel, the one who sat for hours doing compilations “for the road”.
Russell Kyle (aka Paw), also spent his early career as a music journalist and, while he admits his choice might be controversial, there are few better candidates to pick the songs that made The Beatles.
Spin and Scream, 1963
“Taken from the Fab Four’s highly anticipated debut album, Please Please Me. Of the 14 tracks, eight were original McCartney/Lennon compositions and it should be noted that Paul was the main name in the songwriting credits. Proving that they were a great rock and roll band at heart, the two tracks that stood out were I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout.On the latter, John took the lead and had a bad cold.He said to the band: “We have to do this in one take, my voice won’t last a second.” His hoarse voice makes it a classic.
All My Love, 1963
The band’s second album, With the Beatles, was released a few months later in 1963 and saw the band switch to the Lennon/McCartney credits on songwriting. Again the album had 14 tracks with John and Paul writing seven songs and George making his songwriting debut with Don’t Bother Me. For me the track that stood out was All My Loving which had number one written on it but which was never published in 45. »
If I fell – 1964
“This track is taken from A Hard Day’s Night, the soundtrack to their first movie, where every song was written by John and Paul. It was a massive hit album and possibly the first in the history of the music where everyone knew the lyrics to every track! The whole album is littered with classics and If I Fell and I Should Have Know Better were the crème de la crème of the 13 tracks. If I had to pick one, it would be If I Fell and I Should Have Know Better I was falling.
No Answer – 1964
“This song comes from The Beatles For Sale, where Ringo made his vocal debut with a rather weak Honey Don’t. The album saw them return to 14 songs, including No Reply, I’m A Loser and Eight Days A Week. It’s hard to choose from so many great songs, but No Reply wraps it up with great lyrics, a great hook, and a strong vocal.
You must hide your love – 1965
“Help was the band’s second movie soundtrack and a brilliant listen, from the opening title track to the closing Dizzy Miss Lizzy. The elpee also includes the most covered song of all time with approximately 1400 different versions of the McCartney classic, Yesterday. But ‘You’ve got to hide your love away’ is the standout, not just for the way the whole song is produced but, again, for John Lennon’s vocals.
In my life – 1965
“Many believe that Rubber Soul is the greatest Beatles album of all time. Drive My Car opens the proceedings with other highlights including Girl, Norwegian Wood and Nowhere Man. John Lennon’s incredible In My Life is one of his best compositions. This one resonated even stronger after John died, there was so much of him in the song and when he died it became even more poignant.
Gotta Get You Into My Life – 1966
“By 1966 the band had ditched the costumes and the ‘Beatles Cut’ was replaced with much longer, wilder hair, but the band’s sheer brilliance continued. Revolver was yet another 14-track gem with Here , There and Everywhere, Good Day Sunshine and Got To Get You Into My Life, the latter being the tough pick of the best.You should also find a great cover by Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, one of the few bands to really render justice to a Beatles song.
A Day in the Life – 1967
“Now we come to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – the album was consistently voted greatest of all time. It is, without a doubt, the most creative album the band has ever produced and it is extremely difficult to choose a song that stands out when you have Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, She’s Leaving Home, Lovely Rita and Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!. A day in the life shadow and tell such a beautiful story. During the recording, the orchestra was told to play all their instruments to the extreme, not to worry about the melody. It becomes almost a mob but rises to a great crescendo.
I am the walrus – 1967
“Magical Mystery Tour was, in many ways, a strange album and a lot of Beatles die-hards didn’t think of the band doing a bus tour. But, he provided some brilliant songs in I Am The Walrus, Hello Goodbye, Strawberry Fields Forever and the genius of All You Need is Love. What Beatles fan can forget the band singing All You Need Is Love with a worldwide live TV audiences tune in to see an impeccable vocal performance by John Lennon while chewing gum throughout! I am the Walrus is my pick though, such a quirky, yet excellent song.
I’m so tired – 1968
“Has this group ever done a bad elpee? The White Album is packed with great tracks including Blackbird, Sexy Sadie, Back in the USSR and Rocky Raccoon. John reportedly once said of Ringo’s drumming skills (with his tongue firmly in his cheek) that he probably wasn’t the Beatles’ best drummer, but it’s worth listening to his playing on Don’t Pass Me By. But I’m so tired, this is my pick of this brilliant double album.
Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight – 1969
“When Abbey Road came out, people were like, ‘Is this the end of the Beatles?’ but they were back to their best. The eccentric and murderous Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Here Comes The Sun, Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam make this album a lasting memory, but my favorite is actually two songs, Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight, which blend seamlessly into one perfect track.”
Across the Universe – 1970
“For the finale, I’m going with the old adage of leaving the audience happy, which the band did with their last album, Let it Be. It’s a magnificent record, from the opener Get Back to the closer Let It Be. Add the two beauties of John Don’t Let Me Down and Across The Universe and you have a production of some substance. The latter is a beautiful song, with John’s haunting melodies and wonderful lyrics.
LISTEN ON SPOTIFY