Top 10 Beatles songs to listen to in the car

I got the idea for this post while listening to Breakfast with the Beatles in the car this morning, and I thought it might be helpful if any readers are looking to make a Beatles driving playlist. The songs here don’t necessarily have to do with driving subject-wise, but I think that the vibes of all these songs are conducive to driving (or passenging). Feel free to disagree or come up with your own list. Here we go!

10. I Want To Hold Your Hand

I’m not going to say a ton about each song on this list, but the opening riff to this is just so good. It’s a great song to sing along to and it’s always a crowd pleaser. If it comes on the radio, crank it up and enjoy!

9. If I Needed Someone

Again, it’s really the riff here that makes this a “car song” for me. The relaxing, slightly lazy pace makes it perfect for any drive, any time. This is one I would listen to with the windows open, unless it’s snowing. Then, definitely close the windows. 🙂

8. A Hard Day’s Night

This is a great car song mostly because the opening chord is so instantly recognizable. It’s nice to know exactly what song is playing in the car without having to take your eyes off the road (or if you’re passenging, your phone, most likely), so this song is a great candidate for any Beatlemaniac’s car playlist.

7. I Am The Walrus

I’m going to assume that no one driving will be tripping on LSD (which would be very dangerous indeed), so I don’t think listening to this in the car will blow your mind TOO much… Anyway, I’m not exactly sure why I chose this song for this list. Once again, the opening is very famous, but aside from that, I just like it a lot. Not that I ever really do this, but if I were driving around with friends late at night and the car windows were open, this is the song I would want to bother the neighborhood with.

6. Day Tripper

For anyone who thinks this song is literally about taking day trips to the countryside, you’re wrong. It’s slightly more metaphorical (and naughtier) than that. But anyway, this riff combined with the awesome harmonies and the chorus makes it a fantastic song to listen to in the car. As I’ve said before, this is definitely one of my top 5 favorite Beatles songs. For a brief time, you can at least imagine that it’s about day trips. 🙂

5. Help!

Once again, the instantly recognizable opening makes it a good car song. I also think that the layered, call and-response harmonies throughout have a sort of Beach Boys-ish vibe that makes me think of driving cars in California. (again, I am clearly not a Californian…)

4. Get Back

This song is literally about going back to somewhere, and it mentions California and Arizona (two states 3,000 miles from me), so I thought it would be a good addition to this list. I think I’ve said this before, but I really like the drums on this song for some reason. Even after everything they had already accomplished musically in such a short time, the Beatles still found ways to innovate on this album.

3. One After 909

This isn’t a hugely popular Beatles song, but it REALLY makes me think of cruising along a highway on a nice day. I love the keyboards and guitar on this track. A relatively unknown Beatley tidbit is that this was actually one of the first songs the Beatles wrote, way back in the late 1950s. There’s a couple of versions of this on Anthology 1, but I definitely prefer this faster Let It Be version to any of the earlier ones.

2. Back in the USSR

This is a classic, and the plane sound effect at the beginning gets me every time. Again, I love listening to this in the car because it’s so upbeat and has a fantastic guitar solo. Many of you may know that Ringo quit the band for a bit while they were making the White Album, so who do you suppose plays drums on this song? That’s right, it’s the multi-instrumentally talented Paul!

Annnnd…

1. Drive My Car

So it might be a bit of a cop-out to have this as #1, but I honestly could not think of a better choice. The “driving cars” in this song may be metaphorical (I bet you can guess what it refers to…), but it’s still a great song to listen to in the car! And come on, who doesn’t love the “Beep beep, beep beep, yeah!” part? Just don’t honk the horn along with that part, as you may get some Looks of Doom from neighboring drivers. 🙂

So, that’s it for this list. On my list of “future posts,” in case you’re interested: Top 10 non-Beatles songs to listen to in the car, reviews of Phillip Phillips’ “Behind the Light” and U2’s “Songs of Innocence,” my thoughts on Conan’s George Harrison Week, and much more. Stay tuned folks!

Happy (belated) birthday Ringo Starr!!!!

Priceless. :)

Priceless. 🙂

Sorry this post is a little late, but I wanted to wish Ringo a very happy birthday! Even among Beatle fans, Ringo often gets a lot of flack for not contributing as much to the Beatles as the other three members, but I genuinely feel that he was just as important to the band’s dynamic as John, Paul, and George. I’m also happy that Ringo was featured prominently in the Beatle movies after being designated “the acting Beatle” by the critics after A Hard Day’s Night. Generally, I feel that with a name like Ringo, how you go wrong???
In honor of Ringo’s birthday, here are some of what I’ve determined are his “best moments” that I’ve come across on Youtube. Enjoy!

This is a pretty well known part of AHDN, and also the scene for which Ringo was most critically lauded. Now, do I think this scene is Oscar-worthy? Not really. But it certainly is charming, and sometimes, that’s all that matters. 🙂

We all know that George was very involved with Monty Python, but when I was watching an episode recently, I had no idea that Ringo would be in it! Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise.

This video mostly features Elton John (I haven’t done an Elton post in forever… That must change!) and Marc Bolan, but in case you’re wondering, that is in fact Ringo dressed as a clown holding a camera in the beginning. He also drums fantastically in this song. What a great group of musicians all in one room.

I just discovered this. It is by far Ringo’s best moment ever. That is all.

Well, once again, happy birthday Ringo!!!!! I wish I was seeing him on his current All Starr Band tour, but hopefully I will see him one day. Then, I will have seen not one, but TWO Beatles in person! My life would essentially be complete. 🙂

A Hard Day’s Poll

As many of you may know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in America. It also marks 50 years since the release of their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. To commemorate this, about 500 theaters across the US are re-releasing A Hard Day’s Night this July! Although I own the movie on DVD, I still sort of want to experience it in a actual theater. If only the movies would charge 1964 prices for this special event… 🙂

After reading an article about this in the newspaper today, which included an original review of the movie from 1964 (the reviewer back then apparently did not know George’s name…), I was inspired to break out my DVD and watch this movie, yet again. I’ve probably seen it about six times in its entirety by now, and I found myself reciting a lot of the lines under my breath, in attempted Scouse accents. I love how fast paced this movie is, which shows how crazy and hectic the Beatles’ actual life was back then. In fact, this movie plays more like a documentary than a traditional movie.

Just as a side note, a couple of famous teenage extras in this movie include Phil Collins and Meryl Streep. How awesome it would have been to be an extra in this film! That would surely be a story to tell the grandkids. Also, considering that this movie was made to capitalize on the Beatles’ fame at the height of Beatlemania, I don’t think the screaming girls throughout the movie were really acting… 🙂

Anyway, with this movie in mind, I’ve created a poll devoted to the Beatle movies. Personally, I would probably vote for both Help! and A Hard Day’s Night as my favorites, but I’d love to see how others vote. Enjoy!

My Top 10 Favorite Movies

The Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

I know this list won’t be strictly Beatle-related, but I felt like I had to do it at some point. I’m not really into movies the same way I’m into music, but I do enjoy a lot of movies, mostly comedies, and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you! There are a couple of Beatle-related movies on here as well. 🙂

10. Elf
I thought about not including this since it’s a Christmas movie, but a good movie is a good movie, regardless of the season. Anyway, I absolutely love this movie! I saw it it in the theaters when I was young, and ever since I’ve been entranced by its charm. I really don’t know how anyone could dislike this movie, unless they can’t stand Will Ferrell. Whom I love dearly, so that’s not an issue for me. 🙂

9. Stranger than Fiction
I first watched this back in January when my friend recommended good Will Ferrell movies for me to watch. As soon as I saw this, I was hooked. The story is fascinating and the acting, from Ferrell to Emma Thompson to Dustin Hoffman to Maggie Gyllenhaal, is phenomenal. Also, for a movie not based on a book, the screenplay is fantastic. Not that many people know about it, but it’s a great movie that makes you laugh, cry a little, and contemplate life.

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Though I’m a huge Python fan, I’ve actually only seen this entire movie once. That said, I think it’s one of the most brilliant comedies ever made. I don’t think I’ve laughed harder at a movie from start to finish ever than I did at this movie. This would probably be ranked higher if I’d watched it more than once, but I do love it. A lot.

7. A Hard Day’s Night/Help!
I know in a previous list I separated these two movies, but here, I just can’t. They’re both so great for different reasons, and really I don’t prefer one over the other. I really should just have all of the Beatles movies in this slot.

6. The Sound of Music
I’m definitely a sucker for old fashioned movie-musicals, and this I think is one of the best. Whenever this is on TV, which thankfully is pretty often, I have to watch it and sing along to all of the songs. Julie Andrews has one of the most beautiful singing voices I’ve ever heard, and all of the songs are classics.

5. Forrest Gump
Watching this in my history class recently reminded me just how much I loved this movie, which is why I’ve included it here. I don’t think I need to tell anyone why it’s amazing, but I’ll just echo the masses and say that Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor. This is also one of the only movies that really makes me emotional at the end. It’s visually stunning, emotionally penetrating, and well deserving of its status as a modern classic.

4. George Harrison: Living in the Material World
I hope I’m not cheating by including a documentary on this list, but this one is so amazing that I can’t resist. It’s three and a half hours long, but it never drags. And of course, it’s about my dear George. 🙂
He lived a very interesting life, which lends itself well to a fantastic documentary. I’ve probably watched this 4 or 5 times. By the end, I’m always crying, but always glad I watched it again. I’d recommend this to any music fan or fan of documentaries.

3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
The third and final Will Ferrell movie on this list, but probably the most well-deserved entry. I first watched this movie in December because of the hype over Anchorman 2, but as soon as I watched it, I understood why so many people love it. It’s absurd, ridiculous, weird, and absolutely hilarious. I tend to like movies with kind of a weird charm anyway, which this definitely has. Here’s hoping there will be an Anchorman 3!

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I am a huge fan of movies from the 80s, but this one stands above the rest I’ve seen as a true masterpiece. This is my go-to “snow day/rainy day/boring day” movie, and no matter how many times I see it, I laugh just as hard in all of the same parts. There’s also the memorable scene with Twist and Shout, which of course I love! If you’ve somehow never seen this, you’re missing out. And life moves pretty fast to be missing out on this. 🙂

This pretty much gives it away...

This pretty much gives it away…

1. Field of Dreams
I haven’t seen this in a while, but it’s without a doubt my favorite movie. I first watched it as a 7th grader obsessed only with the Mets and not yet with the Beatles, but as my love for the Beatles and many other things has developed, this has remained my #1 favorite movie. Its story is magical and uplifting in a way that truly distinguishes it as a work of art, and even my friends who aren’t baseball fans love this movie. I definitely need to watch this again soon, and you should, too!

I hope you enjoyed this list! Have a great week!

My Official Ranking of the Beatle Movies

I’ve been thinking of doing this post for a while, but for the last few weeks, I’ve had other things to post about, like Paul’s new album and the George tribute concert. But this weekend, there’s nothing notably Beatley going on, so I’ve decided to rank all of the Beatle movies in order from least favorite to favorite. There have been a lot of movies and documentaries made about the Beatles besides the 5 movies that they were actually in, so my ranking consists only of the 5 “official” Beatle movies: A Hard Day’s Night, Yellow Submarine, Help!, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let It Be. You may or may not agree with my ranking, but here it is anyway!

5. Let It Be

The famous rooftop concert, immortalized in Let It Be

The famous rooftop concert, immortalized in Let It Be

This choice is a little biased because I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch this movie, so I had to put it last. I’ve heard that there’s some cool footage of the Beatles in this movie, like the rooftop concert at the end, but everything I’ve read about it describes it as basically a documentary of the Beatles’ breakup. I know it’s been over 40 years since they broke up, but I still think it would be really sad to watch their magical bond breaking before my eyes. I just think this is probably the least entertaining out of all the Beatle movies, so that is why it’s my least favorite.

4. Magical Mystery Tour

A gorgeous shot of the Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

A gorgeous shot of the Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

This movie is really, REALLY, weird! It has no plot and is basically just the Beatles doing weird, silly things with some other people in tow for a little over an hour. Despite this, I love it. It’s just so random that it seems almost intentional, and the songs in it are great. Paul was the Beatle who spearheaded the whole project, and while I concur that this wasn’t his best idea ever, I think this movie is an important part of the Beatles’ story.

3. Yellow Submarine

A cool picture of the Beatles doing press for Yellow Submarine

A cool picture of the Beatles doing press for Yellow Submarine

I’ve only seen this movie once, and not in a while, but I remember that it made me deliriously happy for some reason. I think I was tricked by the colorful animation and weird, trippy sequences. The animators must have taken a lot of LSD while making this movie. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful animated movie and very fun and entertaining to watch. I’d recommend it to anybody who likes the Beatles or cartoons, which from my life experience is basically everybody.

2. A Hard Day’s Night

An iconic shot from A Hard Day's Night

An iconic shot from A Hard Day’s Night

Choosing between A Hard Day’s Night and Help! for my favorite Beatle movie was extremely difficult. It felt like choosing between two of my children. But in the end, I put A Hard Day’s Night at #2, but just barely. In reality, I like it just as much as Help!, but for non Beatles fans, I’d recommend Help! over A Hard Day’s Night.
Anyway, I have watched this movie many times, but every time I watch it is just as entertaining as the first time. I love so many things about it: the snarky comebacks from John, the adorable chase scenes between the Beatles and the police, the “live” performances, the absolutely priceless scene with John playing in the bathtub and George in a t-shirt staring intensely into the bathroom mirror, the clever British humor throughout… I could go on and on. It’s perfect. I am in love with this movie!

1. Help!

Aw, what cuties!!!!

Aw, what cuties!!!!

Here’s why I put Help! above A Hard Day’s Night as my favorite Beatle movie: It’s not a “mockumentary” like A Hard Day’s Night. It’s not an actual documentary like Let It Be. It’s not an animated movie like Yellow Submarine. And it’s certainly not a Beatle-directed semi-debacle like Magical Mystery Tour. It’s just a “normal” movie that happens to star the Beatles, and I think that’s what draws me to it so much. They do play themselves in the movie, but unlike A Hard Day’s Night, they’re in color! Which makes them even more handsome!!! 🙂
I think this movie is also the most Monty Python-esque Beatles movie, which might be another reason why I like it so much. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s so absurd, hilarious, and fun! And as a bonus, the Beatles somehow became even better looking here since the last movie they made, which makes this all the more pleasurable for me to watch. This movie is just a ball of laughter, and I think everyone should watch it at least once!

If you haven’t seen any of these movies, it’s time to get your act together and watch one! Or two! Or all five! You won’t regret it, I promise!
Have a wonderful weekend!

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY JOHN LENNON!!!!!!!!!

What a cute picture. I love you John!!!

What a cute picture. I love you John!!!

I realized today that I did not do a birthday post for John, since his birthday fell in the middle of the week this year. Still, better late than never, I always say! So today I’m wishing a very happy birthday to a man who would have been 73 this year and still is an inspiration to us all, John Lennon! Happy birthday John!!!

When I think about John, the first thing that comes to mind is how much the world today needs him. I wasn’t around when he was alive, but from what I’ve read and watched, he was a musical and emotional leader for an entire generation of people in the 60s and 70s. So many musicians I love have been inspired by and idolized him, including Elton John, Robyn Hitchcock, David Bowie, and many others. I feel like John is the one songwriter that almost all musicians can relate to and aspire to be like. His music is so honest, beautiful, and straight from the heart, and there is a certain Lennon-esque quality that I feel like is missing from most music today. I subscribe to the theory that music started to go south in quality after John was killed, because such a big musical icon was no longer around to set the example for the next generation of artists.

But this post is about celebrating John’s life, not mourning his death, and celebrate I shall! One thing I really like about John in particular out of the four Beatles is his witty, sharp, clever sense of humor. He was never at a loss for words, had so much to say, and always had a wry comeback or a funny joke to add to every interview. Take this video for example:

Of course, George is absolutely charming at the end of the video, but that’s besides the point. John just looks so uninterested in what this Swedish interviewer is asking that it cracks me up from the very beginning of the video. He is hilarious!

This next video is my absolute favorite clip from the movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. 47 seconds of awesomeness, capped off by what I think is the funniest line in the entire film.

Obviously this was scripted since it’s in a movie, but John’s delivery of that line in such a silly voice makes me laugh every single time!

I often wonder what John would be up to if he were still alive today. Would he still be an active presence in show business and be making new albums regularly, like Paul? Would he be touring the world with a rock supergroup, like Ringo? Would he have retired from the spotlight and decided to focus on other things, like George did for a while? I really don’t know. What would John think of the world today? Would he use social media like Facebook and Twitter? I have no idea. But I am certain that the world would be a better place with John in it.
Still, I have a feeling that people will still have the same reverence for John Lennon in 100 years as they do now. He is such an iconic figure that I don’t think will ever be forgotten. I certainly will never forget him!

To close out this birthday post, here’s John’s plea for peace, love, and happiness. We’re not there yet, John, but we’re working on it!

Once again, happy birthday to the amazing and wonderful John Lennon! You inspire me every day! I LOVE YOU!!!!! 🙂

Do you want to know a secret?

It's no secret that the Beatles were absolutely adorable!

It’s no secret that the Beatles were absolutely adorable!

So for today’s post, I’ve decided to compile a list of little-known Beatle factoids that I’ve stored in my mind over the last several months. Some of these I read about in the Beatle Anthology book, which I would HIGHLY recommend to any Beatle fan! And I’m really not sure where I read some of the other facts, but I do hope they’re accurate. Otherwise I would be letting you down. And I wouldn’t want that! So here we go!

– The original working title of the movie “Help!” was “Eight Arms To Hold You”. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer “Help!”.
– George’s “first time” was when the Beatles were playing in Hamburg in 1960. All four Beatles have said that Hamburg, and not Liverpool, was where they really grew up, and they were definitely exposed to the seedier side of life there…
– According to Paul, John threw up before almost every concert they ever did.
– George was first introduced to the Indian culture when there were sitars and things of that nature around a lot on the set of “Help!”. And so his lifelong obsession began!
– It’s well documented that the Beatles performed the first-ever outdoor rock concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 to a packed house, but they also played there again in 1966. Amazingly, I don’t think the 1966 concert sold out.
– The word “Beatles” is never mentioned in the movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. I know, hard to believe, but I watched the whole movie recently and “Beatles” is definitely never said at all in the film.
– Most of the songs on George’s 1st solo album, All Things Must Pass, were actually written during the Beatle years. Unfortunately, they didn’t make the cut for any of the Beatle albums. I guess when John and Paul are also in your band, there is a LOT of competition for getting songs on the albums!
– Fellow 60s British recording artist Donovan contributed the lyrics “Sky of blue and sea of green” to the song “Yellow Submarine”.
– “Flying”, the only officially released instrumental in the Beatles’ catalog, is also the only song on which all four Beatles share songwriting credits.
– Technically, the first solo Beatles album was Paul’s soundtrack for the 1966 movie “The Family Way”.
– An possible, but ultimately rejected title for Abbey Road was “Everest”. I think that lasted about five minutes.
– The Beatles had almost nothing to do with making the movie “Yellow Submarine” other than approving the basic idea and appearing in it at the end to fulfill a contractual obligation. I kind of wish that they did their own voices for their animated selves…
– John wrote “All You Need Is Love” about two weeks before the Beatles performed it on the internationally broadcast “Our World” program in 1967. He had apparently forgot that he had promised to write a new song for the occasion and dashed it off at the last second.
– The last song that the Beatles performed at their last official concert at Candlestick Park in 1966 was “Long Tall Sally”.
– George earned the nickname “the Quiet Beatle” on their first trip to America in 1964 when got very sick, lost his voice, and was ordered by the doctor not to talk too much. And the name stuck!
– George visited America before any of the other Beatles when he visited his sister in Benton, IL, in 1963.
– The Beatles were the biggest selling band of the 1st decade of the 2000s, and their greatest hits compilation album “1” was the biggest selling album. This makes me very happy!!!!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Have a lovely weekend!