Number 77

Lady Madonna

Monday’s child has learned to tie his bootlace

See how they run

Thursday night your stockings needed mending

See how they run

My mind was blown when someone pointed out that there are two different meanings to the word “run” here. There’s no deep meaning or anything; I just like unexpected wordplay! It could also be a reference to John’s “I Am the Walrus.”

Paul is doing a Fats Domino impression here, so a fun fact about Fats Domino: he died last year somehow even though he definitely died before I was born.


Number 78

And Your Bird Can Sing

Just thinking about this guitar duet makes me smile. George and Paul played it simultaneously in studio, but I can’t tell you who played the high part and who played the low part. IM SORRY I DONT KNOW EVERYTHING.

John’s lyrics make more sense when you realize “bird” is a Britishism meaning “woman.” Allegedly, he’s talking about Mick Jagger’s then-girlfriend Marianne Faithfull. In that context, the song is a brag. John is too cool and smart – “you don’t get” him. And I love to pile on The Rolling Stones. John was too cool and smart for Mick to get him!

Number 79

We Can Work It Out

I like this song. John’s melancholy bridge fits perfectly into Paul’s idea here – it’s an optimistic song about how some things aren’t worth fighting over. I do want to point out though, that Paul’s main solution seems to be to “try to see it [his] way.” That’s not really the same thing! Let’s not fight, you and me; let’s just agree that I’m right and move on.

Number 80

Eight Days a Week

Lyrically, this isn’t doing much beyond all the other major Beatles singles of their early period: I love you, you love me, everything’s great when we are together, and when we aren’t we miss each other a lot.

What makes it stand out are the remarkable fade-in intro, the vocals on “hold me, love me,” and more than anything, the incredible bridge(s). The sound of Paul and John’s voices together along with the quiet musical breakdown is a revelation, building excitement as it comes back for another verse.

My biggest issue, though, is there aren’t eight days in a week! There are only *seven*! I don’t know if anyone’s ever pointed this out before. Paul is going to be so embarrassed when he realizes it.

Number 81

Penny Lane

Here are my favorite things about Penny Lane: the horns, the perfect production (probably the best, cleanest sound of any Beatles record).

Here is what I have to say to everyone who thinks number 81 is far too low for “Penny Lane”: I do not care.

I don’t meant that in a shitty, rude way. Most of you reading this certainly feel that way, and maybe all of you! My point is, that’s cool. If you want to tell me why you love it so much, I’m happy to hear it. It doesn’t have the dramatic stakes or musical catharsis I’m looking for in a truly “great” song, but hey, your mileage may vary. If you make a long list of ranked Beatles songs and your list has “Penny Lane” in the top five, I promise not to cause a ruckus because: I don’t care.

People get upset at lists. These people have very different brains from mine. This list is an exercise for me in writing about the Beatles, and expressing my opinions about their music. I’m really not trying to convince you of anything, and I fail to see what the point of that would be.

Anyway, I still have to write about 80 more god damned Beatles songs. The good news is that they’re all great.

Number 82

Day Tripper

This is the first riff I tried to play when I learned to play the guitar eighteen years ago. I’m still not very good at playing it, but that says a lot more about me than it does about the riff.

I like John and Paul’s shared lead vocals.

Number 83

A Hard Day’s Night

A lot of people will tell you they know how to play the unique chord that opens this song, but they’re either mistaken or lying. George would play a half-assed version when they did the song live, but in studio, it took multiple instruments.

It is some form of a G major chord with a suspended 4th, but beyond that there is debate. George played a 12-string guitar and described the chord as “F with a G on top,” which would make it something like an Fadd9. Paul plays a D on his bass (on the third string)and George Martin plays the piano with the same notes as George’s guitar: F A C G. John played the same chord as George on a six-string guitar.

This is all alleged: many people have tried to break the chord down using modern techniques and come up with slightly different conclusions. My point is you can’t do it, and if you think you can, there’s a very good chance you’re wrong. You can never know for sure.