10. I Saw Her Standing There- “Well she was just seventeen, you know what I mean.”
According to The Beatles Anthology, the original opening line for this song was, “Well she was just seventeen, she’d never been a beauty queen.” When John saw that’s what Paul had written, he supposedly said, “You’re joking, right?” and they changed it. Good move, in my opinion. There isn’t that much to dissect with this one, I just like how it flows. And that it’s vaguely suggestive. 🙂
9. Revolution- “But when you talk about destruction/Don’t you know that you can count me out”
When the Beatles sang this live on David Frost in 1968, John actually said, “Don’t you know that you can count me out, in” because he wasn’t sure what he believed. One thing I love about this song in general is that from the very first note, it makes a statement, and every line in the song, like this one, lives up to the boldness of those opening guitar chords.
8. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away- “If she’s gone I can’t go on/Feeling two-foot small.”
The actual line for this song had “two-foot tall” instead, but when John accidentally sang “two-foot small” in the studio once, Paul suggested he keep it that way. I like that this line doesn’t make logical sense initially, but really, it does. It’s sort of like a glass half empty vs. glass half full situation. Just another example of clever wordplay from the Beatles. 🙂
7. The Long and Winding Road- “Many times I’ve been alone and many times I’ve cried/Anyway you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried”
Paul is clearly a master at rhymes, but this line in particular just hits me in a deep emotional place. The song itself is sad, but hopeful. This might be lyrically one of Paul’s best songs ever, actually, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
6. Think for Yourself- “Although your mind’s opaque/Try thinking more if just for your own sake.”
While this was far from George’s first song, I think is the first time his lyrics were truly on par with Lennon and McCartney. The lyrics to this entire song are great, but I chose this line in particular as an example of the growing songwriting aptitude that George demonstrated on Rubber Soul. Way to go George!
5. Old Brown Shoe- “I want a love that’s right but right is only half of what’s wrong.”
More George for you! He has said in interviews that he intended for the lyrics of this song to juxtapose each other, with words like right and wrong and early and late. The lyrics to this entire song are clever and so very George. As I’ve said before, this song is extremely underrated.
4. I’ve Just Seen a Face- The entire song
While the lyrics for this song might not be the deepest, most philosophical in the Beatles’ catalog, I really have a special place in my heart for this song because of them. The whole song flows in a really interesting way because of how the lyrics are structured, and for that reason I didn’t single one line out in particular.
3. I Am The Walrus- “Expert textpert choking smokers/Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?”
I am happy to report that I typed that line entirely from memory. I guess I’ve listened to it too many times. 🙂
But seriously, every line in this song is just nuts. I suppose that’s what happens when John Lennon writes a song purposely to confuse people who read too much into the Beatles’ lyrics.
2. The End- “And in the end the love you take/Is equal to the love you make.”
This might be one of the single best known lyrics in the Beatles’ catalog, so this might not be that original a choice, but it is truly a beautiful, poignant line. I don’t think Abbey Road and the Beatles’ career could end any better than with this line. It sums up their entire essence in one simple line.
1. Across the Universe- “Limitless undying love that shines around me like a million suns/It calls me on and on, across the universe”, but basically the entire song
I firmly believe that the lyrics to this song are some of the most beautiful words ever written. I highlighted this line in particular because it’s the one that always sticks out in my mind, but really the entire song is a beautiful fountain of poetry. John is usually known as “the lyrical one” between himself and Paul, and I think that John really makes the case for best lyric writer in the Beatles with this song. It’s definitely a masterpiece.
Wow, for coming up with this idea on a whim, I really like how this turned out! I think I’ll try to do a “top 10 lines from Monty Python” in the near future as an expansion of this post.
Have a great weekend!