Beatles Songs And Movies, A Beautiful Marriage


This post, contrary to what this picture may imply, is not about Beatles songs in their OWN movies, but rather about Beatles songs in OTHER movies.

Music and movies are more intricately connected than we often give them credit for. Music may exist perfectly fine on its own without any attachment to a movie, but a movie would not be a fraction of its final product without accompanying music to set a mood. Music alone can give a movie scene a lighthearted tone, an eerie mysticism, or an inspirational spirit, even if the actual footage and dialogue used in the scene is the same regardless of the music choices. It also makes a difference to the audience whether the song is well-known or not, as the sudden appearance of a classic rock song, for example, in a movie is likely going to create a different reaction among an audience than a modern indie track.

It’s no surprise to me that many movies over the years have famously featured Beatles songs. The Beatles’ lyrics, especially for songs such as “Eleanor Rigby” and “A Day In The Life,” tell stories akin to how a movie strings together a narrative about characters, places, and hardships. This makes their songs well equipped to accompany movie scenes.  In addition, many opening riffs to Beatles songs are so iconic that the audience immediately recognizes them, adding a sense of familiarity to a scene in a movie that, by endearing itself to the audience in this way, allows the audience to sympathize with or relate more to the character in question than they may otherwise. I am more knowledgeable about music than I am about movies, but several notable examples of this beautiful marriage between Beatles songs and movies come to mind, which I’ll share with you here. Feel free to comment with any additional examples that may be close to your heart.

Baby You’re A Rich Man- The Social Network

This is one of the more critically acclaimed uses of a Beatles song in a movie that I can recall in recent memory, and with good reason. This song, which was originally directed by the Beatles towards their manager Brian Epstein regarding his hedonistic lifestyle, fits in perfectly to question Mark Zuckerberg at the end of this movie. If you’ve never seen The Social Network, during the scene with this song, Mark Zuckerberg is sitting in a conference room, on the cusp of Facebook’s truly explosive breakthrough into mainstream culture that is about to make him a billionaire. However, the movie ends (spoiler alert? this has been out for several years…) with him being put in his place by his constant refreshing of his friend request to his ex-girlfriend, and by this song playing in the movie’s background. I love how the song speaks directly to the listener, asking “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? How often have you been there?” The way the scene is shot, it seems like the song speaks directly to Zuckerberg. It’s a sharp critique of upper-class social life that remains relevant today, as do so many Beatles songs. I’m glad to see that an underrated song like this one received well-deserved attention for its feature in The Social Network, an excellent movie in its own right.

Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight- Sing

This is a more lighthearted addition to this list, which warrants a place mostly because of Jennifer Hudson’s incredible voice. I loved the movie Sing largely for how it celebrated an unbridled love for music, theater, and the arts in general. This song features in both the beginning and end of the movie, initially as a rather diva-esque moment for Jennifer Hudson’s character, and later as a satisfying moment of closure for the characters after the emotional roller coaster that they have all gone through. I cannot recall another animated movie in recent memory that used a Beatles song in as effective moving a manner as this one. Especially near the end of the movie, when the heartfelt characters are finally having their moment in the sun and singing their hearts out, I teared up a bit as this song played again in the movie’s background. Songs such as this from the second half of Abbey Road have a unique power to signify closure, in my opinion because they were among the last songs on the official last Beatles album. I always associate this song with the end of that fantastic album, and featuring it at the beginning and end of a heartwarming movie such as this created a familiar sonic pleasure for myself, and hopefully for other Beatles fans at the movie theater.

Because- American Beauty

Despite being the major Beatlemaniac that I am, I honestly don’t think I noticed that the version of this song in the movie is actually a cover, sung by Elliott Smith, until I looked it up. It sounds nearly identical to the original Beatles version, minus the instrumentation present on the Beatles’ version. This particular Beatles song is known for being one of their most beautiful and also most haunting songs, with which I completely agree. It perfectly complements the themes of the ultimate banality of American suburban life, and also the remarkable qualities present in every aspect of our lives, that this movie features. I find American Beauty a bit scary at times, especially at the very end, and this song plays perfectly into the slightly eerie tone of the entire movie.

Twist And Shout- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

This is one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies of all time. The marriage of song and scene here perfectly captures the universal appeal of the Beatles and how they manage to bring diverse crowds together all over the world, nearly 50 years after they split up. One thing interesting about this scene is how it begins with just Ferris singing along on the parade float, but gradually the entire crowd joins in until the entire street is singing along, young and old, to this classic song. This also illustrates to me the power that Ferris wields throughout the movie to bring people together who may have never associated with each other before, such as his sister Jeanie and Charlie Sheen’s character in the police station. “Twist and Shout” also captures the carefree, happy-go-lucky spirit of the entire movie that defines Ferris’s free spirit on his day off. Out of all of the iconic scenes in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, this scene stands out as perhaps the most iconic precisely for the use of this song.

All You Need Is Love- Love Actually

Last, but certainly not least, is a wonderful scene from another one of my favorite movies, which is perhaps the most literal interpretation of a Beatles song on this list. This scene, like American Beauty, features a cover of a famous Beatles song, this time by a joyful choir in the church during a wedding ceremony. I love how the traditional organ music after the couple exchanges vows quickly segues into the opening chords to “All You Need Is Love,” which begins an even more ceremonious rendition of the song when groups of instrumentalists suddenly stand up from their pews and play the song’s familiar riffs, in my opinion one of the most charming parts of this entire enchanting movie. I love most how delighted Keira Knightley’s character is by the whole affair, though frankly I don’t blame her. If I was surprised on my wedding day with a gospel choir singing a Beatles song, I think I’d react similarly. Anyway, this short scene always sticks out to me as a particularly effective use of a Beatles song  to communicate the message most prominent throughout their musical catalog: love.

Notice how I did not include any songs from the movie Across The Universe, a 2007 movie which featured entirely Beatles songs and which I have not seen. I’ve heard mixed reviews of this movie in particular, and I’ve also only listened to several of the tracks from the movie, which are all sung by cast members. From what I’ve heard, I don’t really love these versions of some of my favorite songs, though perhaps in the context of the movie they leave a different impression. But that’s for another blog post to hash out.

I may do a sequel to this post in the future if I think of any more movies I love that feature Beatles songs, or if a new movie comes out with a Beatles song I love. That’s all for now!


My Top 5 Scariest/Creepiest Beatles Songs

The Beatles, wearing silly costumes and looking adorable

The Beatles, wearing silly costumes and looking adorable

In honor of Halloween, which is in only 5 days, I’ve decided to make a short list of Beatles songs that, for whatever reason, creep me out or used to scare me. This won’t be as long a list as my usual lists, for the simple reason that there are not too many Beatles songs that make me scared! But, though they were originally the lovable moptops, the Beatles also had a dark side. So, without further ado, here is my list of scary Beatles songs!

5. Run For Your Life

Upon a casual listen, this song is pretty unassuming, but when you actually listen to the lyrics, it’s really creepy. Apparently the Beatles stole the first line, “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man” from an Elvis song called “Baby, Let’s Play House”, and they built the rest of the song around that. It’s basically about a man threatening to kill his girlfriend if she cheats on him. This song has never really scared me, but the lyrics are quite ominous, which makes it a good choice for this list!

4. Helter Skelter

Back before I became a devoted Beatles fan who would listen to anything they recorded, I used to not be able to listen to this song all the way through because it scared me too much. I can’t put my finger on why it scared me, but it just did. For whatever reason, I just could not get through it without pausing the song and listening to something else. Of course, I got over this fear a while ago, and rocking out to Helter Skelter at the Paul McCartney concert was one of my highlights of the night! Still, the fact that this song supposedly inspired the Manson murders makes it scary to me.

3. A Day In The Life

This is another song that I’ve grown to love and appreciate, but that for some reason used to scare the wits out of me. I think it was the orchestral links between the Lennon and McCartney sections of the song that scared me, and whenever I listened to that part of the song, I felt like a car was about to hit me.
The song is a work of art, and I thankfully can now listen to it all the way through without getting scared! But it certainly isn’t the cheeriest Beatles song out there…

2. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

For some reason, I could not find the original album version of this on Youtube, but I did find a version performed live by The Fab Faux, so hopefully you get the gist of this song through their performance.
Whenever I listen to Abbey Road, I almost dread this song coming on, because it’s so long and demonic sounding that by the end, I’m always completely freaked out and silently willing it to be over so my heart can stop racing. The last few minutes of this song are entirely instrumental, and the “whooshing” sounds near the end sound like a plane about to crash. In other words, this is a pretty creepy song. Don’t listen to it if you fear the end of the world is upon us.

1. Revolution 9

This is by far the scariest Beatles “song” (I don’t really consider it a song) in existence, but it’s more than that. It’s quite possibly the weirdest, freakiest, creepiest 8 minutes ever recorded in the history of rock. This song creeps everybody out, including me, which is why this is the only Beatles song to date that I have only listened to once all the way through. I hate skipping songs on albums, but whenever I listen to the White Album, I just can’t bring myself to listen to this song. It’s too trippy and too scary for me to handle. This is probably a common choice for “scariest Beatles song,” but rightfully so, because it’s just insane. I love the Beatles, but this takes it a bit too far into the psychedelic territory for me to enjoy and appreciate.

And that completes my list! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and a happy early Halloween!
I’m also VERY excited for the Fab Faux George Harrison tribute concert that my dad and I are seeing tonight! I will surely be posting about it tomorrow, so be on the lookout!

All Summers Must Pass…

A final reminder of the joys of summer

A final reminder of the joys of summer

Well, it’s that time again. For me at least, school starts tomorrow, making this the last evening of the summer. I honestly can’t believe I’m going into 11th grade, and part of me is dreading it. Nevertheless, this has been without a doubt the best summer of my life so far!

There have been many things to make this summer wonderful, and this includes many Beatle-related things. Of course, seeing Paul McCartney in concert in June was definitely a great way to kick off the summer and was my highlight of the entire year. I was also fortunate enough to see another wonderful Beatle tribute band, The Liverpool Shuffle, with my friend, which was also a really fun event. In addition, traveling to Britain with my family and going to Abbey Road and the London Beatles Store was also awesome. I knew this summer would be very Beatley, and I was right!!!

I think this will also go down in my mind as the summer where I became obsessed with Elton John. I now have 7 of his albums on my iPod and have somewhat progressed in my piano playing because of him. I still have a few more of his albums that I would like to add to my music library, but I’ll have to busy myself with that during the school year. I’ve been keeping close tabs on his tour schedule updates, and I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll come back to New York sometime next year!

Although I’m always sad about the summer ending, I always try to cheer myself up by thinking of all the fun things that go on during the year. I have tickets to a couple of Beatle tribute events with my parents that take place during the school year, so that should be really fun! I’m also excited for new album releases by Paul McCartney and Elton John in the fall, and based on the singles from those albums that I’ve already purchased, they should be great!

Since the school year is starting for me, I’ll be going back to my Friday-Saturday-Sunday blogging schedule. Although I didn’t blog all that regularly during the summer, so this really isn’t much of a change. I hope you all have a fab week!

I have gotten back to where I once belonged

Hello! After a 2 week hiatus from blogging while vacationing in the UK with my family, I have returned and am ready to blog once more! It was a lovely trip and, as I had hoped, was filled with many wonderful Beatley moments. By far the best was actually going to Abbey Road in London and standing outside the studio where all the magic happened back in the 60s. Just knowing that I was standing outside the place where the Beatles recorded so many groundbreaking songs and albums made me quite emotional. I was a little overwhelmed by the history and epicness of it all, and it was truly a magical and really fun experience. I felt like such a tourist having my parents take pictures of me and my sisters crossing Abbey Road, but I had to do it. It was my duty as a Beatlemaniac!
Going to the official Beatles store in London was also awesome! Walking in there and seeing the walls upon walls of Beatle stuff before me, I felt like I was in heaven! I spent all of my British money there, on things like a poster, a picture, a shirt, pins, and a magnet, but for me it was definitely worth it! All in all, even aside from those two outings, it was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to go back to Britain soon!

Here are some pictures I took at Abbey Road and the Beatles store:

A lovely view of Abbey Road

A lovely view of Abbey Road

Me and my sisters crossing Abbey Road

Me and my sisters crossing Abbey Road

The outside of Abbey Road Studios

The outside of Abbey Road Studios

Me at Abbey Road Studios

Me at Abbey Road Studios

The outside of the Beatles store. The long line is actually for the Sherlock Holmes museum next door.

The outside of the Beatles store. The long line is actually for the Sherlock Holmes museum next door.

Me in front of the Beatles store

Me in front of the Beatles store

A Sgt. Pepper drum in the window of the Beatles store

A Sgt. Pepper drum in the window of the Beatles store

In the near future, I’m planning on doing a post listing my top 10 most underrated Beatles songs and also an Eric Idle vs. Paul McCartney showdown. Stay tuned! Enjoy the week!

Happy Ed Sullivan Day!

The Beatles with Ed Sullivan

The Beatles with Ed Sullivan

I know that Ed Sullivan Day, February 9th, isn’t an official holiday, but it should be! That was the day when 73 million Americans saw the Beatles’ live debut on American television. Many of those were teenage girls that instantly fell in love with the Beatles, and though I wasn’t around for that historic day, this is exactly how I fell in love with the Beatles!
Confused? Let’s backtrack a bit, while I explain how I became a Beatlemaniac almost exactly a year ago today…

For most of my young life, I vaguely knew the Beatles and their music. I knew John, Paul, George, and Ringo as a band from a long time ago that was and still is very famous. I knew most of the words to Hey Jude and Yellow Submarine like everyone who doesn’t live under a rock. And I knew that Paul McCartney’s 3rd wife, Nancy Shevell, had the same name as our longtime pediatrician. But beyond that, they were not a big part of my life. In fact, until about 3 years ago, I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head who George Harrison was. (sad, I know, but that changed!)
So there I was, going along in life, and when I got to middle school, I made friends with a girl who LOVED the Beatles! (you know who you are…) Whenever I went to her house, we’d listen to albums like Please Please Me and Help! and I’d be mystified as to how she knew all these songs from so long ago. So for about 3 years of my life, I was a casual Beatles fan, but not an obsessive one.
Gradually, I started to realize that there was not much modern music I liked, and I started listening to the measly 16 Beatles songs on my iPod more and more. I liked these songs a lot, but I still couldn’t tell the Beatles apart. I’d stare at the Rubber Soul album cover for 10 minutes at a time, trying to figure out which one George was. As the months went by, I eventually borrowed all of the Beatles albums from my friend and from the library, while uploading the rest of the albums that my family owned on CD onto iTunes. I began listening to almost nothing but the Beatles, as I didn’t know of any other music out there that I could connect with. This was about a year and a half ago, the beginning of 9th grade for me.

And then I started listening to full albums at a time. I made it a point to listen to every single Beatles album out there, and I fell in love with their music. I distinctly remember a turning point in my Beatle fandom came while listening to Abbey Road in the car, and sometime during I Want You (She’s So Heavy), I felt that the Beatles were just the best thing that had ever happened.
Fast forward to 2 months later, the Friday before February break. I had lots of time to waste doing nothing, and I thought that the Beatles, a band I had grown to love, must be on Youtube somewhere. I decided to look for their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, since I thought that would be a good place to start. I found the video and started watching, and within 5 seconds of the first song, I understood exactly how all of those girls from 50 years ago felt. I was thrilled and excited by their performance, and felt like screaming along with the audience! I had never had such a distinct feeling of joy and happiness from anything except going to Mets games, but this was different. I noticed how smiley and happy they looked, and of course, I immediately noticed how good looking they were. And sometime during this video, I decided that I liked George the best. (I realize now that this was probably because of his dashing smile during his solo on Till There Was You)
I was hooked, and watched Beatle videos on Youtube for about 3 hours straight. I loved their wit and sense of humor, and I just thought they were amazing and perfect in every way.

I didn’t tell anyone I loved the Beatles for about a month after that, but slowly, people figured it out or I told them. And I was surprised that so many of my friends liked the Beatles as much as I did!
And that’s my story…
The Beatles, since that day in February, have added a lot of fun times and true meaning to my life. And I am so thankful that they existed! Thank you John, Paul, GEORGE, and Ringo for being the fabulous Beatles all those years ago. You guys rock my world.

To close out this probably too long post, here’s the video that started it all, for me and so many others: