The Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr – changed the face of music and pop culture in the 1960s.
Beatlemania, as it was known, swept the world and the Beatles were the most popular, successful and in-demand band of their generation – and perhaps of all time.
Sadly all good things must come to an end. With just two Beatles remaining, it is now impossible to see the legendary British band perform as the Fab Four. But we have the next best thing! Beatlemania On Tour – a tribute act that is as close to the real thing as you’re ever going to get – is set to perform at the Bruce Mason Centre on September 23. Click here to purchase tickets.
To celebrate the upcoming performance, we have featured the Beatles in a special edition of 10 of the Best, where we count down our 10 favourite tracks of a band or artist.
Of course, narrowing the epic back catalogue of the Beatles to just 10 songs was always going to be an enormous challenge, but Ticketmaster Blog was up for the tough task! We hope you enjoy our picks and have fun taking the walk down memory lane with the Beatles.
10 Penny Lane
While Penny Lane was not a chart-topper in the UK like so many of the Beatles’ hits, we love the story behind the 1967 song so much that we felt it had to be included. Penny Lane is a real street in Liverpool and it was the bus terminus between Paul and John’s childhood homes. The pair regularly met at Penny Lane to journey into the city or go to each other’s home. Penny Lane was released as a double A-side single with the Lennon penned, Strawberry Fields Forever. While only written by McCartney, Penny Lane is credited with the Lennon-McCartney song writing partnership. For the record, the track reached number 2 in the UK but topped the charts in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and USA.
9 Hello, Goodbye
Hello, Goodbye was a number 1 hit all over the world including in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and much of Europe. Paul McCartney has described the song as a reflection of “the positive side of duality”, which also represents his star sign, Gemini. Hello, Goodbye was released as the A-side of a non-album single, with John Lennon’s I Am the Walrus as the B-side. The singles were the first Beatles releases following the death of long-time manager, Brian Epstein, and were issued during the 1967 Christmas season.
8 A Day in the Life
A Day in the Life is the last song on the Beatles’ famous SSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The track is an interesting mix of styles as Lennon and McCartney wrote sections independently, which completely altered the flow of the song. According to Lennon, the inspiration for A Day in the Life was the death of the Beatles’ friend, London socialite and heir, Tara Browne, who dies at 21 years of age. The song is famous for its final chord, which is considered one of the most famous final chords in music history. Listen below to hear what we are talking about.
The Beatles’ 1968 song Revolution was recorded twice creating two very different tracks. The first recording, a hard rock version, was included as the B-side to one of the band’s most famous songs, Hey Jude. But the second, known as Revolution 1, was slower, bluesier version, which featured on the Beatles’ self-titled album, which is commonly referred to as the ‘White Album’. And for the trivia buffs, Revolution was the first Beatles song licensed for use in a TV commercial. Sportswear giant, Nike, paid $500,000 in 1987 to use the song in advertisements, which compelled the three surviving Beatles to file a law suit against Nike and Capitol-EMI. It is a really great track, listen below.
6 Twist and Shout
Twist and Shout is one of the few Beatles songs that was not written by members of the band; and that is because it is one of the few covers the Beatles recorded. Originally written, recorded and released in 1961, Twist and Shout was a hit in 1963 when the Beatles included it on their first UK album, Please, Please Me. As with many songs of the era, Twist and Shout has an interesting story behind it. The Beatles recorded all 10 songs featured on the Please, Please Me album in just 13 hours. Knowing John Lennon’s voice would suffer after the performance, Twist and Shout was left until last. Despite a bad cold and sore throat – John Lennon can be heard coughing on the recorded track – the result was an excellent vocal performance from Lennon, which resulted in a classic Beatles hit.
5 Can’t Buy Me Love
Can’t Buy Me Love, written by McCartney, was the A-side of the Beatles’ sixth single, which was released in 1963 and enjoyed worldwide success. While the song is very reminiscent of the Beatles’ early music, it was the first time the band broke away from what had become the signature style of background vocal harmonies. As always, we have a fun fact regarding this track: Can’t Buy Me Love is the only English-language Beatles track that was recorded outside of the UK. The Fab Four were recording German-language songs in Paris, but finished earlier than expected so decided to lay down Can’t Buy Me Love while they were there. We think they did a pretty awesome job.
4 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
The song writing prowess of Lennon and McCartney is unchallenged, but many (myself included) have particular affinity for the Beatles tracks that were penned by George Harrison. As an accomplished guitarist, Harrison’s songs are known for their use of the instrument, but equally, Harrison had a strong sense of social justice and the songs are often poignant and thought-provoking. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a shining example of this. The song was released in 1968 and features Harrison’s long-time friend and guitar whisperer, Eric Clapton on lead guitar. Below we have included a special performance of the song, which was included in Concert for George, a tribute concert following Harrison’s death. Featured artists include Mccartney, Clapton, Ringo Starr and Harrison’s lookalike son, Dhani.
3 We Can Work It Out
In 1965 the Beatles released the Lennon-McCartney-written We Can Work It Out as a double A-side alongside Day Tripper. That in itself is incredible; the Beatles were so prolific and popular that they stopped including B-sides on their singles and simply released two massive hits at a time. The track was a number 1 hit all over the world and was recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions. The song is an example of the rare Lennon-McCartney collaboration, which was far less prevalent after their 1963 co-written singles. We love this track and we are sure you will as well.
2 Hey Jude
Most people are well aware of the genius of Hey Jude, but the story behind McCartney’s track makes it all the more significant in our eyes. Hey Jude came out of ‘Hey Jules’, a song McCartney wrote to comfort a young Julian Lennon during his parents’ divorce. The song was released in 1968 as the first single from the Beatles’ record label, Apple Records. At the time, Hey Jude was the longest single to top the British charts at over seven minutes long. The song was one of the Beatles’ most successful of all time, reaching number 1 in more than a dozen countries. We think it is an incredible example of the Beatles’ song writing and performing talent and consider it very high on our list of favourite tracks.
1 I Want to Hold Your Hand
I Want to Hold Your Hand is one of the best examples of the Beatles’ early music as well as the power of song writing duo Lennon-McCartney. Amazingly, advanced sales for the 1963 song were in excess of a million copies in the UK, which should have been enough to propel the song to number 1 the day of release except it was gazumped by the group’s previous single, She Loves You. I Want To Hold Your Hand was the first number 1 single the Beatles had in the USA and it remains the group’s best-selling worldwide single. We absolutely love this song and we think it is a very deserving track on the list of the top 10 Beatles songs of all time. We hope you enjoy it.
Beatlemania On Tour will perform at the Bruce Mason Centre on September 23. Click here to purchase tickets.