Showing posts with label The Beatles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Beatles. Show all posts

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Worst to Best: The Beatles

Worst to Best: The Beatles

One of my biggest fears is to be ordinary. Typical. Unoriginal. Predictable. Normal just like you. My parents always said I was special, and goddamnit, I had better start acting like it.

These are the reasons as to why I’ve always struggled with the depths of my Beatles adoration. It's because every publication in existence will mention them by name as one of the most important artistic contributions to modern music. They are already a permanent signature in all of the musical history books, more often than not on the first page. Hence why it seems like such a tasteless place to lay your eggs. There is nothing exciting about loving The Beatles. Go ahead, and tell people about your interest. Watch as you receive nothing more than a mere pat on the head from those who smile at your safe selection. Or, at very best, you may even witness an eager scream from your mate’s mom as she experiences a Beatlemania flashback, fainting and then convulsing upon the floor. You love The Beatles? Omg, me too! As does eveyone.

That said, over the years, I have occasionally come across members of the anti-Beatles movement. At first, I was always impressed by their bold opposition. How big does your ego have to be in order to claim your opinion is greater than a force which literally influenced all of the music you enjoy today? How much attention are you seeking right now, exactly? Were you neglected as a child? But eventually I realised, nobody dislikes The Beatles. That's impossible. Rather, what people are rejecting is the sheer popularity of the band. They cannot stomach the myth. The folklore has outgrown the product. This band are not as great as the monumental reputation they hold, because how could anything possibly be that size? And to be fair, this makes sense! I get it! Ok, I'm in! Let's fight against the norm! Let's go on an anti-Beatles rally! Off I march! But then before I know it, I've walked in circles, gravitating towards the core center where The Beatles reside. They're always waiting for me there. And then we dance in the middle of this story like nobody is watching. Because nobody is watching. I am alone all of the time.

It’s a tired claim when a subject is said to require “no introduction”. In the case of The Beatles, however, any introduction is beyond redundant, and that includes this one. I don’t need to justify my decision to dedicate this space to these heroes. It's none of your goddamn business what I do with my blog anyway. It's not even like it matters, my list is nothing more than an insignificant speck of fluff floating down into the ether of similarly existing articles, forever lost so deep within The Beatles cosmos that no search engine will be able to find it. And this is for good reason. But I still feel compelled to tell you one thing: it was an absolute joy to write this piece. It felt like I was eating a healthy meal, like I was happy again, and I fell in love these guys deeper now than ever before. I'm just sorry it took me so long. Here is my Worst to Best of the Greatest Band That Ever Lived.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 15. With The Beatles

15. With The Beatles (1963)

Merseybeat Pop Rock & Roll

The Beatles were on a roll in their early days, although when weren’t The Beatles on a roll? Rather, what made this era so particularly unique was a certain pre-fame hunger which existed before the group outgrew Jesus and were shrouded in the security blanket of Beatlemania validation. They had been standing on the cusp of world domination for a while now, and it was here, on With The Beatles, when they fell in. Their debut was a mere eight months old, and they were still charging forward, unstoppable and armed with these joyous clap-along rockers, edging away from the pop naivety and still jumping around just because they loved the thrill of it all. But with this blind rush, came a slight taint of an understandable fatigue. The six cover songs featured on this album should have been the first warning flag, as they were shoved between disorganised cracks of an otherwise undercooked inspiration, the biggest crime of this sophomore being an obvious lack of any wow factor whatsoever. It may have sold well (the second album to ever sell a million copies in the UK, in fact) and the artwork may be as iconic as they come, but nothing can distract this as the most boring collection the band ever threw together in their entire career, and my personal choice for their worst batch of material. Most people don't have a problem with me saying this.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 14. Past Masters, Volume One

14. Past Masters, Volume One (1988)

Merseybeat Pop Rock & Roll

Early Beatles discography is an utter mess to follow thanks to the practice of reordering and repackaging the exact same collections of songs under different album titles for the British, American, and Canadian audiences. Thankfully, at some point in the 80s, somebody realised how ridiculous this was, and a core catalogue was established, otherwise known at the “correct catalogue” or the “UK catalogue“, exactly how The Beatles had always intended. However, said unification left a stack of homeless non-album tracks floating away, some of Fab Four’s most revered works clinging onto their b-sides, gone and lost forever. Just kidding. Money could be made, and the Past Masters duo were the clever solution, working as erratic dumping grounds for #1 monster hits, vinyl underbellies, German translations, and Long Tall Sally EP cover tunes, wrapped up neatly in one sellable product. Due to these characteristics, the Past Masters inclusions within the stricter Beatles discography is debatable—more a completist bag if anything—but thank God for their existence all the same. Volume One specifically suffered from the scrappy jumbles dripped out from those sugary pop days (most of which could be located elsewhere anyway) hence why this compilation feels a teesntie bit pointless to me. But still... how massive were those singles??

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 13. Beatles for Sale

13. Beatles for Sale (1964)

Merseybeat Pop Folk Rock & Roll

Peak Beatlemania came with some serious demand, and nothing could reflect the band's waning interest more than this title itself. Beatles for Sale. A product. Their fourth album, 21 months after their first. The pop curtain was getting thin, the cynicism was settling in, the lethargy showed on their artwork. Historically speaking, no one could shit out decent music quite as fast as these guys could, and that’s pretty much all they did here. They sat down and pushed out a rushed dump, risk-free and exhausted, just take what you are given. What’s worse is that The Beatles had already proven themselves as the best songwriters on the planet by the end of 1964, hence why the six cover song filler fluff really stank the place up, 42.86% of the ingredients may contain less Beatle. To be kind, this record’s hindsight charm was recognised as an in-between release, the band unsure of where they wanted to go but certain of where they didn’t want to be, ending up in some Lennon-heavy country-folk phase, not lost in the artiness just yet but way past the bouncy yeah yeahs—just some Liverpool lads having a rock ‘n’ roll jam really. And let's not forget about those vocal harmonies! On point. Perhaps better found here than anywhere else, hence why I'd happily buy some of that Beatles stuff everyone is banging on about, pass it here.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 12. Yellow Submarine

12. Yellow Submarine (1969)

Psychedelic Pop Rock, Orchestral

Does Yellow Submarine possess the genuine Beatles membership card as an essential block in their fundamental discography? That’s a controversial conversation. Due to contractual obligations, the boys were forced to provide some new compositions for a (now classic!) animated film simply because it wore their likeness and sported their brand logo. The Beatles had no choice, and they reluctantly threw aside four tracks they didn’t care much for, packaged with two previously released hit singles, and that’s side one, done. Side two was eagerly seized by producer George Martin, who filled it up with his orchestral score for the film, and with that, the messy soundtrack was folded up and handed over. In defense of this sloppy execution, The Beatles had just released their monumental Beatles [White Album] two months previous. And as Yellow Submarine was such a happier collection glinting off the peaks of surreal LSD rejects, its trippy love and colourful characteristics did provide an interesting antithesis of the otherwise tedious indulgence found on the aforementioned self-titled affiar. The primary criticism against this record stood loudest against those Martin contributions (even the band were heard to dismiss them), but I personally appreciate those tracks too, as a welcome intermission in the overall Beatles catalogue if nothing else. Honestly, for something so utterly inconsequential, the Yellow Submarine soundtrack sure knows how to bring about a smile.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 11. Let It Be

11. Let It Be (1970)

Pop Blues Rock

The Beatles’ catalogue ends in tragedy. Let It Be (released a month after their dissolution) is oft-mistakenly considered as their final album, when this project was actually recorded before Abbey Road. The project had been abandoned for good reason and was only resurrected as a shameless cash-in on their recent demise (or at least that's what I tell people). Consequently, this “swan song” is an incomplete mess shoved together without merit, dirtying up the group's perfect score after the finish line, even if we need to take a moment to admire the initial idea. Story tells that the concept was proposed by McCartney’s dictatorship enthusiasm as an attempt to recapture their former back-to-basics magic, bluesy one-take style, no overdubbed psychedelic doodling or another effort to etch their names into the wheel. And that was totally worth the shot, right? It may have even worked too if The Beatles themselves weren’t so sick of one another by this point, the disintegration of the world’s biggest band taking place right here and conveniently captured by the documentary of the same name. What followed was hours upon hours of disorganised tape dumped upon eccentric genius madman Phil Spector’s desk, featuring some of McCartney’s most realised work spread thin by worthless chips of filler and sarcastic Lennon chatter. Spector did his best, bless him, and his best was actually incredible, coating on his orchestral wall of sound until The Beatles’ mistakes were densely covered up, a sneaky move which McCartney has publicly despised a billion times over. And yet, annoyingly, it's still better than your best work.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 10. Please Please Me

10. Please Please Me (1963)

Merseybeat Pop Rock & Roll

I may have been four decades too late, but I find it rather fitting that the band's debut was the first Beatles record I'd ever bought and listened to in full. Consequently, my affection may be slightly tainted by bias, but nobody can deny that a certain exciting charm still remains on Please Please Me above any of their subsequent records. There was no drool of global audiences as of yet, and this absence has blessed the record with an amusing power in hindsight. Just listen to it now and remember: nobody involved had the slightest clue about the atomic bomb which sat beneath them. This was nothing more than a hungry little Liverpudlian band, rushing to capitalise on one successful single by building an entire album around it, consisting of nothing more than their cover-heavy stage shows, so well rehearsed that the project itself took a mere 10 hours to record. Critics argue against its cautious commercial calculations and lack of creative innovation, but these fools overlook the playful naivety and youthful energy of four guys simply having a blast and loving music for music’s sake. This was the first Beatles album, man! And they came out swinging with smart attire and wide smiles, capturing a tight magic with a stickiness so immediate that it initiated one of the most important artistic stories of all time. And that's just perfect.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 9. A Hard Day's Night

9. A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Merseybeat Pop Rock & Roll

The Beatles were working hard. Running around, getting things done. Beatlemania was currently burning the world down, and the only logical solution was to milk public pockets for every dime they held. How about a full-length feature film then? And a soundtrack to go with it? Why not the first album to be 100% penned by the boys themselves? Oh no, these artists were becoming self-aware! They were taking control and getting cocky within their role. They were actually thinking about their musical direction now. The brains were overpowering the guts because they knew that the whole empire would come crashing down without them. Place all of these observations in one lunchbox, shake it around, and that's what makes A Hard Day's Night such an important record. It may have kept both feet firmly fixed inside of the classic Beatle sugar bowl, swooning from silly romantic simplifications and juvenile optimism, but they were consciously evolving towards a tighter overall consistency. Every song needed to be a memorable inclusion. A thread of cover fillers connecting the odd hit singles together would no longer suffice. This is exactly what peak early Beatles sounds like. That special sweet spot where the world was infected and the band were still loving it, while slyly contemplating where their creative boundaries ended, quietly rebelling against the advice of those in charge. Needless to say, everybody loved it and the film itself was a landmark cinematic masterpiece too. Of course it was! Fucking Beatles, man!

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Worst to Best: The Beatles: 8. Rubber Soul

8. Rubber Soul (1965)

Folk Pop Rock

In terms of Beatles folklore and global importance, this is a landmark album. The band were experimenting with marijuana while hanging out with Bob Dylan, and that kinda sloooooowed everythiiiiing dooooown. Their stoned third-eye was struggling to open as they decided now was the time. They needed to take complete creative control of this adventure. The cheesy crowd pleasers were smoked out by a more unified aura of folk rock, somewhat drifting towards space but ripening into an artistic wokeness within their core until it hardened as a Rubber Soul. It was the earliest indication of the band’s restlessness and their refusal to stand still, finally breaking free from any predictable former commercial ties. And (like various Beatles albums following) it changed the entire music industry. Historians are quick to point towards this direction as the first “true album” ever made, a full package presented as one cohesive piece of art, not just some formality product intended to support the radio singles. And this approach shook other musicians from their slumber, until proper albums became the priority, a practice which has benefitted us all greatly still to this very day. Thank you! The initial public reaction may have been one of confusion, and admittedly I find this record to be a smidgen overrated, but retrospectively, it has been lauded as the earliest bonafide Beatles classic for justifiable reasons.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 7. Help!

7. Help! (1965)

Pop Rock

Help! is essential Beatles splendour which has been criminally overlooked by latter-day fanatics. I guess it was too quickly overshadowed by what followed, and then unfairly lost within the lump of early easy-stick pop Beatles (not to mention that the US version opted to replace many of the central tracks with instrumentals from the associated film, and that didn’t “help” in the slightest). But for those of us who were paying attention, here are the first hints that this band were progressing towards The Beatles that we know and adore today. The songwriting was maturing, the reliance on cover songs were slowly being phased out, and this was the crouch before the leap, leaving their mop-top days behind for good, the final traces of Merseybeat shaved off into the ground as seedlings for future compost. Sadly, Help! may have had the right ingredients to be another classic, but it fell slightly short due to a top-heavy song sequencing and a continued fixation on love love love. But at the same time, the winning hits were fucking knockouts! Most notably was McCartney’s confidence which truly expanded here, point proven with his song Yesterday, the most covered piece of music ever written in history, fact.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 6. Past Masters, Volume Two

6. Past Masters, Volume Two (1988)

Psychedelic Pop Rock

The two piece Past Masters compilations may have been sold as one idea but they could not be any more contrasting in terms of quality. Volume One leaned closer towards the written concept: a safe haven for those homeless scraps and prime cuts to live in harmony, allowing the completists to round off their collections, no longer cluttering up their precious vinyl shelves with the endless single releases otherwise required. Volume Two, however, was a different spread altogether, as an almost perfect run of non-album hits and their associated b-sides, gathering up lost children along The Beatles’ most compelling psychedelic period right until their crash-landing. Consequently, it’s easy to forget that this is not a greatest hits assemblage, but rather, nothing more than a convenient nesting point, a fact alone which proves the unparalleled supernatural genius that is The Beatles. Make no mistake, if this second Past Masters was an official Beatles album, it would undeniably be considered their most consistently impressive work and perhaps even the pinnacle of pop music itself.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 5. Magical Mystery Tour

5. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

Psychedelic Sunshine Pop Art Rock

Magical Mystery Tour was never intended to be a real album. Rather, a double EP soundtrack was the plan, fixed to the (critically despised) film of the same name. The US market, however, had other ideas, wrapping the rushed somewhat forgettable EP tracks up with a collection of previously released A-side singles to create a full LP, and you know what? Those Americans actually got it right this time. The second half outshines the first half dramatically, featuring a solid run of unimaginably impressive work without toppling over the cohesiveness of this overall kaleidoscopic vibe. Every song danced though a surrealistic hippie-coloured world, playing in the sunshine, singing like children, nth degree cooked and undoubtedly their quirkiest record ever. The band had truly eaten too many lysergic doses at this point, and the acid ran thick as their hallucinatory exploration concluded right here with what can only be described as Sgt. Pepper’s reject brother. And that is exactly the type of Beatles I prefer anyway. Rest assured that this is a band at their peak creativity carrying some of the most extraordinary psychedelic songs ever written, totally underrated and deserving of much more love from you.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 4. Revolver

4. Revolver (1966)

Psychedelic Pop Rock

Revolver is the audible equivalent of the stars aligning. It was a special period for art itself, where the trippy drugs and lovey-dovey counterculture were conspiring together, breaking into new territories with The Beatles at the forefront of the creative explosion, fueling their indulgences with as much money as they felt necessary. Due to their mental expansion and touring exhaustion, this album marked an important global musical activation when the studio itself became an instrument, smashing boundaries and innovating unprecedented techniques which have since influenced all future recording practices if you’re willing to research it. Consequently, this does feel like some sort of an apex in The Beatles universe, at the top of their game without trying to be anything but themselves, gradually sinking deeper into ego artiness and contemplative metaphysical lyrical matters while still remaining somewhat safe within commercial boundaries. Truthfully, it’s impossible to grasp what this utterly flawless record meant back in 1966, as even today the untouchable masterpiece sounds ahead of our time. Its reputation has fairly reflected this significance though, as it's often considered The Beatles’ finest half hour to many, especially in latter-day arguments. In fact, any dispute over the greatest Beatles record from this point onwards is nothing more than an unresolvable debate at best.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 3. The Beatles [White Album]

3. The Beatles [White Album] (1968)

Hard Rock Art Blues Pop

Meet the ugly duckling of this tale. As if a loud opposition against their recent psychedelic vibrancy, all flashy frills were torn down just like the minimal artwork told you so, hiding a dark disturbance beneath the whiteness of nothing. Listen to a band falling to pieces. A four-way solo album with far too much ego to make the necessary trimmings. Unrestrained creativity at war with highly tense interpersonal bitterness. Look no further than the once inseparable productivity of the Lennon/McCartney partnership, now not even featuring on one another's creations. See Paul’s sweet vanilla storytelling as it clashes with junkie John’s harsh and thought-provoking shouts intended to make Yoko happy. Notice all of this and be astounded that the turmoil birthed The Beatles’ most fascinating work, as a rushed, sloppy disconnection of brilliance and filler, unstable and uncomfortable even when it was just trying to play nice. What an eclectic mess of stress, a raw experiment lost within atmospheres of confused conflict, unfulfilled spirituality, and a political upset, delivered so effortlessly that none of this makes sense whatsoever. People often (rightfully) observe that The White Album could have easily been cut down into another flawless Beatles gemstone, but that would hack away at its essential character, and it would no longer be the monster it has come to be feared. Do not entertain such thoughts. Rather, enjoy this imperfect masterpiece as truly one of the most remarkable albums ever made.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Psychedelic Sunshine Baroque Pop Rock

Sgt. Pepper has become so synonymous with “The Greatest Album Ever Made” that we’ve grown jaded, nauseous as we witness this record drowning within its own pretensions and overblown reputation, dying beneath layers of blinding sparkles and swirly rainbow colouring without losing that goddamn cartoon smile upon its face. The LSD had dominated their common sense! The flower power naivety was bad for our teeth! Take off those rose-tinted glasses and see this for the 60s novelty album which it truly is! Of course, these fatigued critiques would work much better if each song on Sgt. Pepper wasn’t such an explosively magnificent landmark of inventiveness, surging so far forward into the gaping abyss of blinding imagination that The Beatles themselves were forced to retreat shortly following. Furthermore, this ingenuity extends a billion years beyond just some pretty compositions, as a full art piece without a single corner left unexplored, featuring unprecedented studio wizardry (including the first ever hidden track), packaging unlike the world had ever comprehended (including the printed song lyrics, which had never been done before), and the (incorrectly) praised “earliest concept album in history”. Opinions will outlive us all, but if Sgt. Pepper is not the greatest, then it is undeniably the most important and innovative album ever created, as well as the purest musical masterpiece above every other musical masterpiece ever, done.

Worst to Best: The Beatles: 1. Abbey Road

1. Abbey Road (1969)

Art Pop Rock

Abbey Road opens the door with a cheerful smile and welcomes you into its tidy home, so apologetic that they couldn’t quite fully fumigate all of the demonic tensions. Still, I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s very clean and tidy in here. So airtight and polished to reflection. Hey, would you like a biscuit? It’s very digestible. Void of any artificial colouring. Nobody is trying to push the boundaries anymore. Baking on LSD was so ‘67. Try one of Harrison's treats, by all accounts they rival even the most satisfying of Lennon/McCartney desserts. Why don't you take a seat? There’s something else you must know. Unfortunately, we have some bad news. Despite what the released chronology may tell you, Abbey Road is the final amalgamation of the Fab Four’s creative spunk. The inner workings may sound like a band functioning at their absolute unified peak, but in reality, things have been crumbling for a while now, and sadly, this is to be the curtain call. Oh no, please don’t cry! Here, take this box of cookies home with you and treasure it forever. Remember The Beatles for this bittersweet finale, as it is their absolute best work really. Oh, and would you look at that? We're sorry but it's time to go. We hope you have enjoyed the show. The love you take is equal to the love you make. The End.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs

Ah yes, The Beatles. Super important. Revolutionised the whole musical playing field, until it became pointless for anyone else to even try anymore. They were like The Simpsons of pop rock, everything has been done before because they already did it. You will never be as worthy as a pimple on Lennon’s buttocks, or Ringo's ingrown toenail, or Harrison's cold sore, or a little piece of forgotten rice in McCartney's beard, so you might as well put that guitar away, cut your hair into a respectable shape, and get a real job.

That said, when considering their 13 studio albums and 237 original songs spat out in a mere 10 years of activity, they were bound to occasionally get a bit sloppy, and that is where this list comes in. It’s to prove that just because The Fab Four were celestial beings forged from the breath of baby angels, this did not make them infallible, as they too had a misstep here and there. Which is why the next time you start to feel the pangs inadequacy as an artist, simply put on this playlist to remind you that the best-selling band of all time also had their bad days (even if those bad days were still better than anything else you will ever achieve in your entire pathetic life).

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 10. All Together Now

10. All Together Now (1969)

Appears on: Yellow Submarine Soundtrack

Despite the anthemic chorus which basically demands that you sing along with it, there is no avoiding the fact that All Together Now is a song written for toddlers. And considering that we are all adults now, we should not be allowed to enjoy such a simple type of fun, because life is super serious and we have to demand a certain amount of depth to our preferred artistic flavours in order to prove that we are sophisticated grown ups, and not just big fat stupid people.

Case points: this McCartney composition includes all the numbers from 1 to 10, cites the alphabetic letters from A to J, and lists nine colours. That’s kiddie stuff right there! We then receive clear instructions from John on how to work with boats, trees, and skipping ropes, which we obviously already know, duh, our lives are far more complicated than that, Mr Lennon. How about a lesson on filing tax returns or attracting a decent lover, hey? Seriously, can anyone help me with that stuff?

The most damning line, however, comes when Paul asks "can I take my friend to bed?". Such a careless question has no place in this otherwise innocent children’s song, and it is completely uncalled for. Some might even say that it’s irresponsible for our adolescents to hear a sentence like this. Reason being, is that it’s grammatically incorrect. The proper phrasing would be "may I take my friend to bed?". Terrible language skills will breed a badly spoken youth, and we should all be the change we want to see in the world.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 09. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)

09. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)

Appears on: Past Masters, Volume Two

Here is a song that epitomises the “so bad, it’s good” ethos, an example of where The Beatles took a break from entertaining everyone else, and focused primarily upon entertaining themselves. This is probably why said track was never released on a studio album, and has sunk into such obscurity that it's often overlooked even by the most seasoned of Beatles fans. They still needed to sell records, at the end of the day.

Picture a group of stoned Beatles, impersonating comedic voices, sticking a bunch of unfinished ideas together with duct tape, and then getting Brian Jones to lather it up with a saxophone. And there you have it, You Know My Name, simplified on paper. Reading it like that, you may speculate that this could be quite a cheerful little piece of amusing silliness—and you’d be completely correct! It's awesome! It's the most carefree piece they ever achieved as a group! However, this is also the reason why I've included it here, as the song is far beyond any serious representative of the band’s artistic intellect and their acute commercial savviness. It stands so far removed from their primary message, and if this was what The Beatles sounded like, you would not know their name. The number would have been disconnected a long time ago. Paul wouldn't be as rich as he is right now.

Speaking of Paul McCartney, he actually once went on record stating that this was “probably my favourite Beatles' track”, and that makes sense because if his midday solo albums are anything to go by, McCartney has shit taste in music.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 08. I Wanna Be Your Man

08. I Wanna Be Your Man (1964)

Appears on: With the Beatles

How many times can you say “I Wanna Be Your Man” in just under 2 minutes? 21 times, apparently. Which is why it is oh-so-easy to discard this early Lennon/McCartney arrangement as one of the most unimaginative bits of rubbish they ever conceived. That said, in the same train, it does come with an impressive backstory which provides additional bonus points fighting in this song's favour, aND iT g0es a liTTlE S0meThinG LYK DIs:

Have you heard of the band The Rolling Stones? They were pretty famous once upon a time, often considered as The Beatles’ greatest rivals, when in actual fact, they were the happiest of friends, skipping along hand in hand, trading drugs, fucking each other's girlfriends. As legend tells it, back in 1963, them Stones were desperate for a hit single, and upon expressing this predicament to John and Paul, they watched in awe as the Fab Two casually sat in the corner of a room and scribbled down this track within mere seconds. The Beatles selflessly handed it over, the Stones recorded it, and then bang, like magic it hit number 12 on the British charts, Jagger and co.’s highest scoring single up until that point.

The Beatles recorded and released their own cleaner version a few weeks later on their album With the Beatles, sung by none other than Ringo Starr. And as John Lennon so arrogantly described it: “It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it. We weren't going to give them anything great, right?”

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 07. Revolution 9

07. Revolution 9 (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

If there ever was any tangible evidence that Yoko Ono had crawled inside of John Lennon’s ear, rearranged the furniture and set up home, you didn't have to look much further than Revolution 9.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it yet, let me politely caution you that this song isn’t so much “music” as it is an 8+ minute sound collage, featuring looped effects that fade in and out, Lennon screaming his oesophagus dry, and Yoko mumbling to us about getting naked. It is inarguably the most challenging piece of music available in the entire Beatles’ studio catalogue, and certainly the most likely Beatles track you’d skip passed (in that “once is enough” type of way). However, you’ve still got to respect John for pushing the swimming pool as far out as he did here, and when you consider the amount avant garde drivel that we have abundantly available in our modern underground experimental scenes, you can easily appreciate this as something way ahead of its time.

The true genius of this endurance test becomes even more apparent when you imagine being part of the LSD-ridden hippie culture back in ‘68. Picture all the stoner kids, huddled around their record players, listening intently to every word, deciphering the true meaning behind the number 9, playing it backwards, arguing over who understood it more, dismissing the critics as suits who just didn’t get it, maaaan. It’s hilarious.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 06. Piggies

06. Piggies (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

If you briefly glance at Piggies from the corner of one eye, it can deceive you into thinking it was a bit of clever Harrison trickery. After all, on a surface basis, it worked like a charming little nursery rhyme, providing the humour much needed to relieve in the infamously tense sessions of the bloated White Album. Plus, like, who doesn’t love a good pig story?

However, peeling away at this song's shallow skin reveals that this was not the naive pretty ditty that we initially accepted it to be, but rather an anti-authoritarian protest song which nods towards George Orwell’s Animal Farm, so desperately that its head falls off. This floundering hookless attempt at disguising some political message beneath a farmyard anthem is so blatantly obvious, that it feels like we’re watching Harrison wink at himself in the mirror until he gets bored, lazily cutting the song short with pig snorts, and then wandering off to practice his mantra.

It is morbidly curious then, that of all the unlikeliest candidates to inspire brutal murder, Piggies was right up there. For some reason, these words resonated particularly deep with Charles Manson and his family, as they wrote the words "Political Piggy", "Pig" and "Death to Pigs" on their victim's walls using their blood. All the more reason why this ghastly crime against The Beatles should have never existed in the first place.
The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 05. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

05. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

By all sales and chart positioning, this pop ska single from The White Album is way more impressive than a lot of other work The Beatles gave birth to. It hit No. 1 in Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan, all the while the less cynical of us praised this signature example of McCartney’s repulsively carefree view on life. He was unashamedly having a little fun, without taking his role in the most successful band in history all that seriously, which is rather refreshing, and honestly, I quite like the track myself.

Then again, many other listeners did not praise this offering quite so highly. On the contrary, it has been been snubbed as the worst song ever written, according to a poll of 1,000 people organised by Mars, Incorporated. In case you did not pick that up the first time round, we’re not talking about the worst Beatles song here. We’re talking about the worst, song, ever, made.

Interestingly enough, this wasn’t even the most scathing review reported. The worst response on record came from within The Beatles camp itself, as John Lennon was so appalled by the song (which he called "Paul’s granny shit"), that he stormed out of the sessions to smoke copious amounts of marijuana just to calm himself down. That’s not a joke either, he literally did that, look it up.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 04. Dig It

4. Dig It (1969)

Appears on: Let It Be

Phil Spector may have shot Lana Clarkson to death, but you’ve got to applaud the guy, he definitely had the magic touch when it came to production—better than anyone, really. Just take The Beatles’ final album Let It Be, for one pretty fucking massive example. After months of turbulent sessions, the band gave up on this project to wisely focus on the far superior Abbey Road, and promptly dumped hours upon hours of tape on Spector’s desk, as if to say “here, you deal with this”.

Good old murderous Phil did his best, and considering what he had to work with, his best was actually a damn fine job. He managed to salvage a semi-decent album from the half-assed jammy sessions, by dusting off any snippets which sounded like they might be real songs, and then hiding The Beatles deep beneath layers of orchestral arrangements (must to McCartney’s dismay). However, even Spector could not save the eight minute unfinished improvisational clutter of Dig It, and instead plucked out his favourite 51 seconds of the waffle, essentially working as an interlude, the only segment which Phil could justifiably release with a clear conscience.

Perhaps even more embarrassing, is that Dig It is one of the very few songs where each Beatle received a credit equally, potentially because none of them wanted to carry the weight of the blame alone. This sentiment was further solidified when McCartney completely omitted the track from the 2003 alternative mix of this album, titled Let It Be... Naked, a project which removed all of Spector's hard work, leaving behind a much worse product which still made a lot of money, I'm sure.

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 03. Don’t Pass Me By

03. Don’t Pass Me By (1968)

Appears on: The Beatles

Renowned comedian Bill Hicks once famously quipped that “The Beatles were so high they let Ringo sing a couple of tunes,” which is hilarious because, well, it's true. But wait, if you thought Ringo’s inferior vocal talent was intolerable enough, just wait until you hear him write!

Let’s all imagine the phone call to Jack Fallon, who was the hired gun as this song’s contributing violinist. “Hey Jack, guess what? You’re going to be on a Beatles album! It’s the messiest Beatles album ever made! Oh, and it’s a Ringo song! That’s right, a Ringo song! No, he doesn't just sing on it, he wrote the damn thing! It’s the first composition he’s ever written! Isn't that great?” I can almost feel Fallon’s enthusiasm deflating per every word passing, but then again, the paycheque probably helped him forget any apprehension quite quickly, and also, the dude is on The White Album, I'm talking shit, that's pretty much the best thing that could happen to a musician ever.

Maximum respect to Jack anyway though, as he really fiddles the fuck of this country composition, and he must have done something right, because the song hit No. 1 in Denmark and stayed in their Top 10 for a month. Not to mention, Don’t Pass Me By was also considered somewhat of a golden nugget for conspiracy theorists who believed Paul McCartney had died in a motorcar accident and was replaced with a lookalike. “You were in a car crash, and you lost your hair”. You hear that? Did you actually fucking hear that?? Ringo practically admitted it!

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 02. Only a Northern Song

02. Only a Northern Song (1969)

Appears on: Yellow Submarine Soundtrack

We have to bow to Harrison: when he wrote a terrible song, it was purely intentional. Only a Northern Song was a result of Georgie’s intense frustration with the Beatles’ publishing company, who he felt were unfairly favouring the Lennon-McCartney partnership as if they were the most successful duo of musical geniuses in history or something.

In protest, he wrote this little number, in which he assured us that “you may think the chords are going wrong, but they're not, he just wrote it like that”, and “if you think the harmony is a little dark and out of key, you're correct”. It was a cry for help, comparable to intentionally stabbing your hand in class with scissors for attention, which is definitely not something I ever did.

He offered the track as his contribution to the Sgt Pepper sessions, to which the band politely declined, with producer George Martin later deeming this as his least favourite song of Harrison's ever. However, the meta mess did eventually find a home on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack as one of only four new original songs included, slapped together to merely fulfil contractual obligations. And surprisingly enough, this wasn’t even the worst song on that album...

The 10 Worst Beatles Songs: 01. Yellow Submarine

01. Yellow Submarine (1966)

Appears on: Revolver/Yellow Submarine Soundtrack

Hands up all of you who are not completely sick of this song! Except you, Ringo, put your hands down.

Revolver may be considered as one of the greatest albums ever recorded (because it is), and this song may also be one of Ringo’s most recognisable vocal achievements (it's that too), but the simplistic childlike charm of Yellow Submarine was such an obviously accessible choice for a single that it’s genuinely embarrassing. Look, I am as happy as anyone that The Beatles found some colourful cartoonesque hallucinations in their newfound adoration for LSD, but when the world is forced to endure the sickeningly sweetness of this pop novelty for over 50 years, we have to start taking a stand! Enough is enough!

The song eventually outgrew even itself, inspiring the animated musical comedy film of the same name, leading to the soundtrack which has been openly belittled as the biggest hiccup from the whole Beatles’ catalogue. But hey... the film itself was fantastic. Silver linings and all that.