Number 14

I’ve Got a Feeling

No one guessed that this song would be in my top three, so everyone who entered the contest is still in the running – at least until tomorrow. This is the last track from Let It Be to make my list.

This song is good for basically the same reasons as Oh! Darling. It has a few other things going for it though that make me give it a slight edge. The lyrics still aren’t much – they aren’t bad, but they’re just kind of sixties rock lyrics. I think the bridge here is better (“all these years I’ve been wandering around…”), plus John’s contribution works perfectly – especially at the end when they do both parts together.

John’s part actually dates back to the White Album sessions at Kenwood, where he had a fragment he called “Everyone Had a Hard Year.” He never made much progress on it until digging it back up for the Get Back sessions. His lyrics contrast with Paul’s which are much more optimistic, as Paul was not using heroin at the time. In addition to the bootlegs, John’s original version of the song appears in Yoko’s art film “Rape: Film No. 6.”



A free paperback copy of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time to the first person who can guess my top three Beatles songs.*

*any order, multiple entries per person allowed, results not revealed until the countdown is over

Songs remaining, in alphabetical order:


Dear Prudence

Don’t Let Me Down

Happiness is a Warm Gun

Here Comes the Sun

Hey Jude

I’ve Got a Feeling

In My Life



Ticket to Ride

Twist and Shout

While My Guitar Gently Weeps


Number 15

The Abbey Road Medley

I freely acknowledge that this is a cheat, but it’s my list and I’m defining my own parameters.

Abbey Road is sometimes called the best Beatles album. Maybe it is. I change my opinion frequently, but sometimes I think Abbey Road is the best Beatles album. Usually while I am listening to it. What makes this remarkable is that the album really only has six fully developed songs on it – and two of them are by George, one is by Ringo, and one is Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Those two George songs are still to come in the countdown; I Want You is a jam but it’s great; we just covered Oh! Darling; and Come Together speaks for itself. That gets us a lot of the way to “best,” but this medley carries almost the entire second side. Let’s break it down!


Gorgeous harmony inspired by (per John) Yoko playing the chords of “Moonlight Sonata” backwards on the piano. Problem is, that doesn’t actually end up sounding like “Because” if you try it yourself. John came in with nothing more than this idea and his lyrics – the bulk of the credit goes to George Martin, who worked out the harmony parts for John, Paul, and George.

“You Never Give Me Your Money”

This was written right before Paul went solo, and it reminds me of a lot of his solo work, like “Band on the Run” and “Live and Let Die.” Each little segment has nothing lyrically and almost nothing musically to do with one another, but Macca makes-a it work.

“Sun King”

Lousy. All the nonsense at the end is supposed to be funny, but it ain’t. Also clearly stolen from Fleetwood Mac’s “Albatross.”

“Mean Mr. Mustard”

My Official Wife pointed out to me yesterday that this bit sounds a lot like Harry Nilsson, and it does. The lyrics are silly and fun, and he changed the sister’s name to “Pam” to provide a little coherence with the next song.

“Polythene Pam”

I don’t really know what to make of this on its own. It’s kind of nothing, but the feel of it works in context and John’s vocal keeps us chugging along.

“She Came in Through the Bathroom Window”

Based on a true event from Paul’s life. His house was centrally located and usually surrounded by female fans. They were normally respectful and sometimes he’d come out and play them a song on acoustic guitar. But at least once, fans wanted a bit more. I don’t think the rest of the lyrics are true though.

“Golden Slumbers”

Soaringly perfect melody with lyrics taken mostly from Thomas Dekker’s poem “Cradle Song.” From the very beginning, even rehearsing alone and straight through to recording with the full band, this was done together with the next track:

“Carry That Weight”

Maybe the least song-like of all of these. Really more of a bridge, but I love it. I love that you can hear Ringo’s voice in the chorus and I love the call back to “You Never Give Me Your Money.”

“The End”

What can I say? It’s perfect. The guitar solos switch every two bars, and the order goes Paul-George-John. George plays the solo over the closing chords.

Number 16

Oh! Darling

People who love this song all love it for the same reason, and that’s Paul’s vocal performance. That is also why I like it! Apparently, once the backing track was recorded, Paul would come in every morning to re-try the lead vocal, continually looking to improve on the previous performance until he got one that he liked. John maintained, at the time and afterward, that Paul should’ve given it to him. What a dick. While John had much more of a classic “rock voice,” Paul had every right to stretch his own comfort zone. Also, it’s not Paul’s fault you only showed up with one finished song, dude.

Interestingly, the bootlegs from the Get Back sessions reveal early versions of this song that didn’t try the torn-up vocal we hear on Abbey Road. He’d always be at the studio like an hour earlier than everyone else and would start working. Here, he’d sit at the piano and do one of his falsetto silly voices. I don’t know if this was part of his plan, or if he was just trying to preserve his voice for the rest of the day, but I’m glad he took it in the direction that he did.

Number 17


Almost certainly Ringo’s best drumming performance on a Beatles track. I don’t know what got a hold of him, but my man loses his mind back there, and it’s the perfect opportunity – some decent but bland lyrics are masked by a huge sonic deluge, including distorted guitars, backwards solos and vocals, and the aforementioned crashing drum fills.

The band filmed a couple music videos for the song, just called “promo films” at the time. George commented in the Anthology film that he thought they’d invented MTV, which is probably a bit strong. Although if the Beatles could get partial credit for Beavis and (his dad) Butt-head, that’d make everything so much sweeter.

Number 18

I Saw Her Standing There

This is the first track on the first Beatles album, and man oh man does it ever hold up. Others may disagree, but this is my favorite original from the early Beatles. It’s hard to top, and Paul continues to play it live more than 55 years after writing it.

It’s hard to put my finger on why I like this so much. The lyrics are at best a throwaway – the “you know what I mean” is deliberately meaningless. But Paul’s lead vocal and harmony with John during the chorus sure do sound good as hell. A halfway decent guitar solo may well have bumped this up into the top ten.

Number 19

A Day in the Life

It’s worth pondering if Sgt. Pepper would have anywhere near the reputation it does if not for this closing track. Many lists like this one put “A Day in the Life” at or near the top (I don’t begrudge them this; I just don’t much like Paul’s little piece in the middle). Pepper would still benefit from its vision, its cover art, its production value, its blending between tracks, and its assemblage of “very good” songs. But without a closing masterpiece to blow the minds of pot-smoking and acid-dropping hippies, it might instead be Revolver that stood out as the representative piece of art from the mid-to-late 60s. Or worse, it might have been Their Satanic Majesties Request!

That’s just me funnin’ ya. No one would ever enjoy Their Satanic Majesties Request. I do enjoy “She’s a Rainbow,” though.