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…”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 🙂