The Best Of The Beatles: Top Songs From The Beatles Ranked
The Beatles are arguably the most iconic rock band in history, and while some might even say they are overrated, there is no denying the impact they have had on the music industries and countless musicians in varying genres. The Beatles music has impacted fans in many different ways which has made it incredibly difficult for anyone to agree upon their best songs out of the over 200 that the band has produced. From 1963’s Please Please Me album to 1970’s Let It Be, here are 20 of The Beatles best songs ranked:
20. We Can Work It Out
The Beatles recorded their single “We Can Work It Out” in 1965 during their sessions recording the Rubber Soul album, and was promoted as a double A-side along with “Day Tripper.” The song hit No. 1. in five countries including Britain, America, Australia, Canada and Ireland, and for many was a telling sign of the growing separation between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Although the song was about an argument with a girlfriend, fans believed it also described the ways in which Lennon and McCartney were moving in separate directions.
19. Ticket To Ride
“Ticket to Ride” off of their 1965 album Help! really took fans of The Beatles by surprise. The heavy drums and fiery guitar were quite unlike the more pop-oriented songs the band had produced up until that point, but they didn’t hate the new sound. “Ticket to Ride” ended up marking many firsts for the band including being the first time a recording of theirs broke the three minute mark, and once again they had a No. 1 hit on their hands.
18. Eleanor Rigby
Many had mixed feelings about The Beatles’ 1966 song “Eleanor Rigby” off of the band’s Revolver album. After taking strides with previous singles to break away from their traditional pop sound, The Beatles continued the effort in the album and it can especially be heard on “Eleanor Rigby.” The song is undoubtedly one of their best, but many are conflicted due to the fact that none of the Beatles actually play an instrument on the song.
17. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is arguably the most well-known record from the band, and as such, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is one of of the most-well known songs. While it was not released as a single, the track has become iconic, but more or less so for its relation to being on a drug-induced trip. Unfortunately for fans who appreciate the song because of the LSD acronym, that was not the band’s intention at all. ” “I swear to God or swear to Mao or to anybody you like, I had no idea it spelled LSD.” The inspiration was a picture that his four-year-old son, Julian, painted of Lucy O’Donnell, the girl who sat next to him at school. “He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,'” Lennon said. “Simple.”
16. Come Together
1969’s Abbey Road was nearing the end of The Beatles time together, and they still had so much more fantastic music left to give. The single “Come Together” originated as a “campaign chant” for politician Timothy O’Leary but what came out as the song on the album was something completely different. “Come Together” deftly compiled the incredible individual talent of each band member and made each shine distinctly yet together on the song. From John Lennon’s origin work and voice on the song to Paul’s riff to Ringo’s drums and George’s guitar, “Come Together” is one of their best as a unified band and holds a special place in the hearts of fans.
“Help!” was the title track to the band’s second movie and fifth album, right in the middle of Beatlemania and it isn’t surprising the song lasted thirteen weeks at No. 1. As an actual plea for an escape from the chaos and fan mania around them, Lennon actually created just another major hit to propel them even higher in the industry.
14. Penny Lane
With “Strawberry Fields” detailing Lennon’s tribute to his memories of Liverpool, “Penny Lane” was the same for McCartney, and having the two songs released on opposite sides of the first single from the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, really elevated the competitive nature between the two musicians. What set “Penny Lane” apart at the time was not just McCartney’s lyrics and melody but the arrangements of complicated sounds which included piano, bass, harmonium, tambourine, guitar, horn, and handbell. For any other band the track would be a convoluted mess of expression, but for The Beatles it was an enchanting hit.
13. Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown)
With the innocence of their early pop hits behind them, “Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown)” was yet another example of a transition in The Beatles’ music. Not only was it a step into maturity due to its obvious theme of sex it was also much more personal which was something Lennon shied away from doing in early years. From Harrison’s sitar making the first entrance into rock music to Lennon admitting about an affair, the song took the band in a whole new deeper direction, which meant just when the world thought they had seen or heard it all from the biggest band out there, they were very wrong.
12. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
George Harrison rarely receives the same amount of credit as other members of the band, but 1968’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was a perfect example of the incredible lyrics he had inside of him. Harrison admitted he had a difficult time getting the others to take his songs seriously, and when he brought Eric Clapton in for his memorable guitar solo, things were different. “It’s interesting to see how nicely people behave when you bring a guest in, because they don’t really want everybody to know that they’re so b-tchy,” Harrison remembered. In the end, the song became a hidden gem amid the endless work sustained by Lennon and McCartney, and perhaps one of the most underappreciated Beatles tunes.
11. She Loves You
No band in history had created hit songs in quite the way The Beatles had, and the new energy on “She Loves You” was just as unexpected by the band as it was their fans. As it turns out, the single which was yet another No.1, was recorded in record time, causing the new energy, because a mob of crazed female fans actually broke down the front door of the studio as the guys were about to record. As reported by Rolling Stone, “She Loves You” was yet another important milestone for the band. “The appearance by the Beatles on ITV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium on October 13th, 1963, culminating in the band’s performance of “She Loves You,” is often considered the tipping point of Beatlemania. The Beatles would go on to triumph after triumph as the 1960s went on, but in Great Britain, “She Loves You” remained the bestselling single of the decade.”
10. Let It Be
“Let it Be” was much more emotional than was intended because of the implications of everything it meant. At the time of recording the band knew their time together was nearing its end, and rumors of trouble within the band had not escaped the attention of fans either. Although the band described the recording sessions as “the most miserable that ever existed,” what they produced was pure art. The heartbreak behind the song rang true as not only a tribute to Paul’s late mother but as a somber goodbye from the most prolific band in music.
9. Tomorrow Never Knows
1968’s Revolver album was known as the band’s most experimental and one track that stood out the most was “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The song about Lennon’s personal experiences about the escape he felt while on LSD let listeners into his world, and departed so far from Rubber Soul which was released only five months before that many had a hard time believing it was the same band. As any band with the talent of The Beatles though, instead of pushing away from this new sound, Revolver was embraced and “Tomorrow Never Knows” was its sendoff into the other side of the members’ lives.
8. Hey Jude
“Hey Jude” is one of the most popular songs from the band, and has endured decades in its popularity. Paul McCartney wrote the seven minute single for John Lennon’s son Julian after his parents got divorced but was also cathartic for McCartney as his relationship with Jane Asher came to an end. Of course, it wasn’t just Julian and Paul that the song helped. It became an anthem for many people, and an entire generation. The Beatles were at the peak of their confidence and knew they could take risks like producing a seven minute song and hiring a 36-piece orchestra for the session, and with a result like “Hey Jude” it is easy to see why.
With McCartney and Lennon getting a lot of the love and credit for most of the band’s hits, “Something” from 1969’s Abbey Road was the first George Harrison-penned A-side, and it quickly turned into one of their biggest successes. The praise for the love song came not only from passionate fans however. Elvis Presley covered the song and Frank Sinatra called it the greatest love song of the last 50 years. “It took my breath away,” producer George Martin later said, “mainly because I never thought that George could do it. It was tough for him because he didn’t have any springboard against which he could work, like the other two did. And so he was a loner.” “Something” went to No. 3 and is now the second-most covered Beatles song.
6. In My Life
By 1965 The Beatles already felt like they had lived a lifetime in the spotlight, and at only 25 John Lennon recorded “In My Life” about looking back on what had already transpired. The song marked a turning point of maturity for Lennon and the band as they focused more on personal experiences rather than just writing catchy pop songs, and the results were electrifying. “I started being me about the songs, not writing them objectively, but subjectively,” Lennon said. “I think it was [Bob] Dylan who helped me realize that — not by any discussion or anything, but by hearing his work.”
5. Strawberry Fields Forever
1967’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” wasn’t a No.1 single from the band and yet it became one of their classics. The psychedelic tune and the multi-faceted and emotional chorus took listeners on a roller coaster ride of feelings and places, and began a more experimental era of music from The Beatles. Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1968, “We were trying to write about Liverpool, and I just listed all the nice-sounding names arbitrarily. But I have visions of Strawberry Fields. . . . Because Strawberry Fields is just anywhere you want to go.” Strawberry Field was actually a Liverpool children’s home near where Lennon grew up with his Aunt Mimi and he would often climb over the wall to play in the gardens.
The Beatles’ hit song “Yesterday” spent 11 weeks at No.1 and became the most covered song in history, not to mention inspired the 2019 film of the same name, and many consider it one of the best songs from the band of all time. The timeless classic displayed a maturity from the Paul McCartney that gripped fans despite the fact that none of the other members had anything to do with recording the tune. Despite only coming from one Beatle, “Yesterday” has endured decades as perhaps one of the most popular Beatles songs in their entire catalog.
3. A Hard Day’s Night
“A Hard Day’s Night” is not only one of the best and most famous songs from The Beatles, but one of the most famous songs in rock and roll history thanks to its opening chord. The one off comment from Ringo Starr after the band had been working all day and into the night quickly became the title for their film, and the song to go with it. The song signalled the change and new beginning for The Beatles as it was clear they weren’t one-hit wonders or even one album wonders, at the time they were history in the making, and “A Hard Day’s Night” exemplified that in every way they knew how.
2. I Want to Hold Your Hand
Special consideration in The Beatles extensive collection of works will always go to the 1963 single “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The bright pop track single-handedly began Beatlemania in America and enamored listeners and musicians alike, many of whom were unable to replicate the rhythm that was so unique to the song and the band. Everything about the song screamed “catchy” and it worked! Although The Beatles sound of innocence portrayed through the song would change in less than a year, it really was the single that started it all in the U.S. for the four British boys.
1. A Day in the Life
Another reason The Beatle’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is so iconic is because of “A Day in the Life.” The song has often been identified as the best song from The Beatles, and John Lennon even said in 1970 that, “It was peak. Paul and I were definitely working together, especially on ‘A Day in the Life.'” The heavy emotion and combination of two separate songs kept the song from being released as a single, but following Lennon’s death, and with the emerging sound of the ’80s, fans really began to appreciate the intensity of the song’s lyrics and tone, making it a Beatles masterpiece.