“For You Blue,” written by George Harrison: The last album to be released by the Beatles includes two songs by George Harrison. “For You Blue” is a beautiful love song written for his wife, Pattie Boyd. It was inspired by Bob Dylan, Harrison’s stay in Woodstock, NY and his love for Indian Classical Music. The Lap-Steel Guitar used by Lennon makes this country blues song so original and interesting. My love for George Harrison is a major reason this song is included, but it is also a song that you can listen to many times without getting sick of it because of the unique guitar sounds, as well as the simple lyrics and tune.
“Michelle,” written by Paul McCartney: “Michelle” is another love ballad, but this time by Paul McCartney on the album Rubber Soul. Part of the song is in French, and the beautiful romance language is part of the reason why it’s so beautiful. The introductory guitar part is such a recognizable rift that defines the tone of the song as light hearted and upbeat.
“Helter Skelter,” written by Paul McCartney: Opposite of the first two songs we have looked at, “Helter Skelter” is a song written by McCartney, that he describes as having the dirtiest sound possible. While McCartney hasn’t said this explicitly, many people believe that the band that inspired this song is the Who, and McCartney wanted to “outdo” their loud sound. This song is the Beatles’ most hardcore rock sound and has served as an inspiration for many metal bands in the 70s. The Beatles isn’t a band that people think of when they talk about heavy metal, but this song proves the versatility of the iconic four, and the way they used their fame to experiment with many genres.
“With A Little Help From My Friends,” written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney: “With A Little Help From My Friends” is a song about the fab four and all they are willing to do for each other. People describe a sense of unity when McCartney and Lennon asked Drummer Ringo Starr to sing lead vocals on this song. When it was given to Starr, McCartney spent significant time working with him to reach all the notes. Starr’s lower register, more drawn out vocals adds something to the song, and it is definitely his best sound.
“Free As A Bird,” written by John Lennon: 15 years after Lennon’s death, Starr, Harrison and McCartney took an unfinished recording by Lennon from 1977, along with the song “Real Love”, and completed it by adding drums, guitar, piano, ukulele and bass. This was the first new release by the Beatles after “The Long And Winding Road” in 1970, making it very special to a lot of Beatles lovers.
“I’ll Follow The Sun,” written by Paul McCartney: “I’ll Follow The Sun” at the fourth Beatles album, Beatles For Sale is a song by McCartney about how we do not know what tomorrow will bring, so we must embrace the fleeting presence of each day. This song was actually written by McCartney when he was 16.
“Tomorrow Never Knows,” written by John Lennon: “Tomorrow Never Knows” is a revolutionary song by the Beatles because of the way it has changed the psychedelic rock genre. This song is said to be written based on Lennon’s use of the drug LSD. There was an influence from Indian music sounds that launched Eastern spirituality into songs from this time period.
“Glass Onion” written by John Lennon: “Glass Onion” is another White Album Track that was written and sung by Lennon. This song has lyrics that allude to 5 different Beatles songs, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “I am the Walrus”, “Lady Madonna”, “The Fool on the Hill”, and “Fixing a Hole”. Ironically, this song is about how Beatles fans read too much into their lyrics. I think this song is so cool conceptually, and the sound is another one of the Beatles unique, psychedelic songs.
“Baby, You’re A Rich Man” written by John Lennon: “Baby, You’re A Rich Man” is a Magical Mystery Tour classic and unlike any other song by the Beatles. There are many different instruments in this song, a clavioline on the oboe setting, a monophonic keyboard, and most notably, a sitar. This song was written by Lennon as an homage to the hippie movement and the increasing popularity of a non materialistic mindset. It was featured in the end credits of the 2010 film, The Social Network.
“Happiness Is A Warm Gun,” written by John Lennon: “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” is a Lennon hit on the White Album, written about his sexual attraction to Yoko Ono, as well as an NRA Magazine that stated a warm gun is one that just shot a bullet and said “Happiness is a warm gun”, which Lennon thought was a crazy thing to say. When I first heard this song, I was sure it was at least five minutes long, but it is actually less than three. This song has five distinct sections, with different time signatures in each, which had contributions from Harrison and his knowledge of classical Indian music.