Nine Of My Favourite Lyrical Beatles Songs

I love these pictures!

I love these pictures!

In my opinion, The Beatles didn’t just write some of the world’s greatest tunes. They also wrote a lot of the greatest lyrics, too! Sometimes in music, lyrics are sadly underrated. But from being a Beatles fan, I’ve learnt that quality lyrics are just as important as the melody. From 1965 onward, their lyrics were particularly wonderful, proving that they were very talented when it came to writing. But even in the early days, there were still a lot of outstanding examples, too! So today, I thought I would pay homage to The Fab Four’s words of wisdom (pun intended), and list my favourite Beatles songs in the lyrical department. Let the list begin…

‘Across The Universe’

Widely recognised as one of The Beatles’ greatest lyrical songs, I can certainly see why. John’s beautiful metaphors and imagery could probably evoke exquisite scenes in the minds of even those who don’t think of themselves as imaginative. John uses words that just sound good together, too. An absolutely sublime piece of work that could definitely hold its own without the music!

FAVOURITE LINES: “Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes / They call me on and on across the universe.”

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

A song shrouded in controversy, the lyrics of ‘Lucy In The Sky’ create much psychedelic imagery. Inspired by Alice In Wonderland, a drawing by the young Julian Lennon (from which the song takes its name) and (probably) acid, the trippy lyrics create beautiful images of (among other things) newspaper taxis, tangerine trees and marmalade skies, tall cellophane flowers and a girl with kaleidoscope eyes…

FAVOURITE LINES: “Picture yourself in a boat on a river / With tangerine trees and marmalade skies / Somebody calls you, you  answer quite slowly / A girl with kaleidoscope eyes…”

‘Hey Bulldog’

This song’s lyrics are complete nonsense. And that is what makes them so good! Ever since I first heard the song, the different phrases have always captivated me. Whether it be words that probably don’t even exist, or the phrases that end each verse that kind of make sense or just a bunch of words piled in probably just ‘cos, the lyrics in this song are absolutely great!

FAVOURITE LINES: “Big man / Walking in the park / Wigwam / Frightened of the dark.”

‘In My Life’

The lyrics for ‘In My Life’ are beautiful! John  talks of his affection for those who have disappeared. But he has never loved anyone like the “muse” for this song. His love for people that went before pales in comparison. But he will never forget those who he has loved before…

FAVOURITE LINES: “And these memories lose their meaning / When I think of love as something new / Though I know I’ll never lose affection / For people and things that went before.”

‘Within You, Without You’

I reckon that this is George’s lyrical masterpiece. The words discuss how humans are only very small; that love could save the world; how the only person who can change themselves is them… Very deep.

FAVOURITE LINES: “When we find it, to try our best to hold it there with our love / With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew.”

‘Piggies’

I love this song! The piggies are of course the posh 1960s conservatives who loved looking down upon youth. George mocks them wonderfully  — he sings of how they always have “dirt to play around in”, and of how they didn’t care of what was going on around them…

FAVOURITE LINE: “Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon!”

‘For No One’

This is my favourite song ever written by Paul. The lyrics are especially powerful. Lamenting the end of a relationship, Paul sings of how it all went wrong, of how he and his partner fought; of when his other half left him, and of how he will never forget her… Quite sad.

FAVOURITE LINES: “She wakes up, she makes up / She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry / She no longer needs you.”

‘Blackbird’

The lyrics of ‘Blackbird’ are quite simplistic, but are nonetheless symbolic. Paul encourages the bird to learn to fly, and to learn to see with its various differences. The blackbird has been waiting all its life for the upcoming moment to arise. It then flies into the dark, black night, presumably to face the moment… Supposedly about the Civil Rights Movement.

FAVOURITE LINES: “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

‘The End’

Ironically, this is the last song that all four Beatles recorded together. Paul wrote the song, and decided that he wanted to end the cycle of solos with a meaningful couplet. And so he wrote two of the most beautiful lines of The Fab Four’s catalogue! The couplet has an air of finality to it, and is a poignant listen near the end of a poignant album. As with ‘Within You Without You’, very deep…

FAVOURITE (AND ONLY!) LINES: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

So hard to chose just nine! Which Beatles song do you think has the best words? What is your favourite Beatles lyric? Be sure to tell me in the comments!

Hope you’re all good, and I will post again soon! ‘Till then, good day sunshine 🙂

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO STARR!!!

 

The birthday boy performing at Shea Stadium in 1965

The birthday boy performing at Shea Stadium in 1965

 

As most Beatles fans know, today is the 74th birthday of Richard Starkey – or as the world knows him, Ringo Starr, the ring-sporting drummer of The Beatles! Happy birthday, Ringo – I hope you have a fabulous day! I am currently wearing my Yellow Submarine t-shirt (as I said I would) and listening to the iTunes-exclusive Beatles compilation album Tomorrow Never Knows to celebrate.

One thing that amazes me about Ringo is that he is left-handed, yet he played a right-handed drum kit – incredibly well, too! People may tease drummers, but – trust me – they are really hard to play, with lots of coordination needed and all that. But the fact that Ringo could play a kit not set up to suit the hand he preferred shows how good he is! Oh, and not that this is related to anything, but his rings are cool – ever since I watched a certain film about a certain ring that Ringo was sent by a ‘fan’ that landed The Beatles into a lot of strife (you know what I mean), I always laugh to myself when I see a ring with a giant red gem perched on top…

Unlike the other Beatles’ solo careers, I am ashamed to say I only know two of Ringo’s songs – ‘You’re Sixteen’ and ‘Photograph’ (actually, I heard ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ played at a George Harrison tribute I went to in March, but that doesn’t really count, considering I don’t know his version). Sorry, Ringo! So for his birthday, I will post the three above songs (‘cos I’ve just decided I’ll pause ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and YouTube ‘It Don’t Come Easy’…), plus my four favourite examples of his drum-work within The Fab Four. Enjoy!

 

‘It Don’t Come Easy’ – wow, I can’t believe that I didn’t listen to this earlier! I reckon that is my favourite Ringo song (though I only know three, so you be the judge of whether I can really make that statement…)! Anyway, I officially love this song. It’s also quite obvious that George helped to write it – it almost sounds like it could come straight off All Things Must Pass (which I just YoutTubed, and am finally listening to it in full – sure Ringo won’t mind!)

 

‘Photograph’ – another Harrison/Starkey composition! I don’t like it as much as the above, but it’s still a nice song, so give it a listen.

 

I’ve only heard Ringo’s cover of ‘You’re Sixteen’ once (on the radio), but my recollections of it are very positive – must give it some ear-time after ATMP has finished!

 

‘Tell Me Why’ – I love this song! John’s voice in it is absolutely gorgeous (never is it not, though 🙂 ), but I’m not here today to gush over my favourite Beatle – another reason I love this song (other than John) is that Ringo’s drumming is really, really, really fabulous! Just check out those fills – they prove just how musically accomplished the Fabs were (even in their early years), and how good Ringo was/is a drummer. This song (like a lot of The Beatles’ catalogue) is criminally underrated – if only more people knew it… Oh, and that clip is from the concert scene at the end of A Hard Day’s Night.

 

‘What You’re Doing’ – boom, b-boom, boom, b-boom… wow – those drums at the beginning of this song make for a killer intro! This is one of my favourite Paul songs (that I forgot to put on his birthday post…), but (as with ‘Tell Me Why’) I love it just as much for its rolling drum line. This is one of the few Beatles songs with a drummed introduction – and does Ringo do it well!

 

‘A Day In The Life’ – yeah, yeah, yeah (pun intended) – I hear you saying, “Oh, tangerinetrees99 – ‘A Day In The Life’ is such in obvious choice!” But there’s a reason behind why so many people love Ringo’s drum-manship (just made up that word – calling on the Oxford Dictionary!) in this masterpiece only fit for the finale spot on the most influential rock album of all time (you know what sergeant and his lonely-hearts club band I’m talking about…). At the moment (over the top of ‘Isn’t It A Pity’, which I should also mention is  a gorgeous tune), I can hear John’s acoustic guitar, heightened by those booming bass drums that Ringo plays in John’s sections of the song. Ringo really is a great drummer – I don’t think The Beatles would be quite as accomplished if Pete Best had been kept as the drummer (no offence, Pete)…

 

‘The End’ – you didn’t really think I’d leave the sort-of-finale of Abbey Road (‘Her Majesty’ is a hidden track, that was almost never on the album – and Paul never wanted it on there, anyway) off this list, did you 🙂 ? Two words – DRUM SOLO! In fact, this is the only Beatles song to involve such a thing – apparently, Ringo absolutely hated them, but John, Paul and George convinced him into adding one to this tune.  I love the guitar solos in ‘The End’, too – I often play a little game with myself whenever I listen to it, in which one has to work out who’s playing what (clue: John plays the gutsy, overdrived bits, which are – you guessed it – my favourites), and I’m quite good at it (if I say so myself!). It’s quite fitting, really – this was the last song The Beatles ever recorded together as a foursome ( 😦 ), so it quite literally is ‘the end’. I’ve got the Anthology 3 version on my iPad (it came on Tomorrow Never Knows), which has an elongated E piano chord at the end, a lot like the infamous ending of ‘A Day In The Life’ – looks like I’m on an ‘A Day In The Life’ theme, here…

 

So, there you go – some Ringo-solo songs, and my favourite examples of his drumming! Ringo in a kind of nutshell, if you like…

Lastly, I’d like to wish Ringo a happy birthday, again, so happy birthday, Ringo! Us Beatlemaniacs have been thinking of you all day 🙂 !

I’ll leave you with another picture of Ringo, but after that, I’m going to finish listening to All Things Must Pass, so good day sunshine! 🙂

 

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