The Beatles…Best Songs (“1” is not enough)

It would be a shame if younger or future Beatles fans only knew The Beatles through their album of #1 singles…1.

It’s obviously a very good collection of their songs that were #1 in America or England, with 21 of them topping Billboard in the U.S. (although “Something” lost it’s #1 designation when Billboard later altered their methodology.)  The problem is…The Beatles didn’t release many of their best songs as singles.

Another option is to purchase the Red and Blue albums 1962-1966 and 1967-1970.  They’re decent collections, but at 26 songs and 28 songs respectively, they could be priced like Beatles 1, which has 27 songs.  Instead, they’re priced higher, as double-albums.  And really, are “Old Brown Shoe” and “Octopus’s Garden” among their best songs?  Those were included just to help George and Ringo with royalties.

An interesting analysis of those two collections shows Rubber Soul provided the most songs…8 (6 album cuts + the 2 singles released the same day).  Using that same basic method, Revolver, surprisingly, has only 3 (2 +1), Sgt. Pepper has 6 (4 +2), The White Album has 5 (3 + 2), Abbey Road 4, and Let It Be 3.

What if we created two CD length Beatles albums…Best 1, and Best 2.  They would not be limited to singles or “Greatest Hits”.  A collection like this would be the songs that are so good we never get tired of hearing them.

Best 1:

  1. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  2. I Saw Her Standing There
  3. This Boy
  4. All My Loving
  5. She Loves You
  6. Twist And Shout
  7. A Hard Day’s Night
  8. And I Love Her
  9. Can’t Buy Me Love
  10. If I Fell
  11. Things We Said Today
  12. I’ll Follow The Sun
  13. I’ll Be Back
  14. I Feel Fine
  15. Eight Days A Week
  16. Help
  17. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  18. Ticket To Ride
  19. Yesterday
  20. We Can Work It Out
  21. Day Tripper
  22. Norwegian Wood
  23. Nowhere Man
  24. Michelle
  25. In My Life
  26. Paperback Writer
  27. Eleanor Rigby
  28. For No One
  29. Here, There, And Everywhere
  30. Good Day Sunshine
  31. Penny Lane
  32. Strawberry Fields Forever

The list starts with songs from Meet The Beatles, since that’s how America got to know them, and then catches up with a couple earlier songs, as they charted here.   Only one song was not written by The Beatles, “Twist And Shout”.  It was such a big hit (twice), and it shows the rock style of their roots so well.  Twelve of the songs on this list were not singles.

Best 2:

  1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  2. With A Little Help From My Friends
  3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  4. She’s Leaving Home
  5. A Day In The Life
  6. Magical Mystery Tour
  7. The Fool On The Hill
  8. All You Need Is Love
  9. Lady Madonna
  10. Hey Jude
  11. Revolution
  12. Back In The U.S.S.R.
  13. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  14. Blackbird
  15. Let It Be
  16. Two Of Us
  17. The Long And Winding Road
  18. Get Back
  19. Here Comes The Sun
  20. Come Together
  21. Something
  22. Because

Thirteen of these 22 songs were not singles during The Beatles era, 1962-1970.  Abbey Road songs are placed last, because those were The Beatles’ final recordings.  Each of these playlists will fit onto a CD.

You can see that some of The Beatles’ hits are not included, and there are certainly many other excellent songs that wouldn’t fit, or that could be substituted to an individual’s taste.

These days we all can make our own “Best Of The Beatles” playlists.  The two playlists above are the CD’s I give out to friends who want to get to know The Beatles better.  From there, they can take their own “Magical Mystery Tour” through The Beatles’ amazing treasure of music.

Addendum:  After publishing this article, I thought maybe Apple Records could simply release a companion album for 1…called 2.  The playlist would be something like this:

  1. I Saw Her Standing There
  2. All My Loving
  3. Twist And Shout
  4. And I Love Her
  5. If I Fell
  6. Things We Said Today
  7. I’ll Follow The Sun
  8. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  9. Norwegian Wood
  10. Nowhere Man
  11. Michelle
  12. In My Life
  13. Good Day Sunshine
  14. For No One
  15. Here, There, And Everywhere
  16. Strawberry Fields Forever
  17. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  18. With A Little Help From My Friends
  19. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  20. She’s Leaving Home
  21. A Day In The Life
  22. Magical Mystery Tour
  23. The Fool On The Hill
  24. Revolution
  25. Back In The U.S.S.R.
  26. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  27. Blackbird
  28. Here Comes The Sun

It’s more likely people would buy a single album to add as a supplement to 1…so 2 could be an option for Apple Records, and great for new fans.  Twenty-one of these songs were not singles.  Do you know all 28 songs anyway?

Why is it important for future fans to get to know more than The Beatles’ number one hits?  This 2 list has John Lennon’s three most critically praised songs…”A Day In The Life”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and “In My Life”, plus one of his best rockers “Revolution”.  It has some of Paul McCartney’s best love songs, including…”And I Love Her”, “Michelle”, and “Here, There, And Everywhere”, his innovative rocker “Sgt. Pepper”, and his beloved “Blackbird”.  George Harrison only had “Something” on 1, so this list would add two more of his very best songs…”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Here Comes The Sun”.  For Ringo Starr, it’s simply his best-ever performance…”With A Little Help From My Friends”.  And, the list has many more excellent songs that deserve to be heard by future generations.

Although album sales are disappearing, an album like this would be a good guide for future listeners.  They’d be likely to stream these songs if they were in a single album.  It might be hard to convince them to listen to all The Beatles albums.    would go a long way in conveying the musical importance and uniqueness of The Beatles.

2 Replies to “The Beatles…Best Songs (“1” is not enough)”

  1. I was amazed to find out that I could sing a snipit of every one of the Beatles songs you listed! The earlier songs i must assume had a bit to do with having an older brother and three older sisters! I lived the rest of their hits by listening to them on my own.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane Bro….

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