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!

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Random songs I’ve been obsessed with recently

So this post isn’t really Beatle-related, but today I thought that I’d compile a list of songs that, for whatever reason, I have been listening to a lot in the last few weeks. No real significance to these songs, but perhaps if I post them here, they won’t be stuck in my head anymore! Somehow, I don’t think it works that way. 🙂

Blue Oyster Cult- Don’t Fear The Reaper

I hear this song on the radio all the time, but it wasn’t till a few weeks ago that I decided to actually get it out of the library so I could listen to it whenever I wanted. I don’t quite know why I like this song so much; I think it’s a combination of the cool riff and the haunting vocals that gets me. Either way, I can’t stop listening to it!

Led Zeppelin- Hey, Hey, What Can I Do

This is another song that I heard on the radio and liked so much that I decided to download it. I’m not a huge fan of Led Zeppelin, but I do like a lot of their songs, and if I had to choose my favorite song of theirs, this would definitely be it. I just love the guitar part here, and I never get tired of listening to this song!

Gavin DeGraw- I Don’t Want To Be

How handy that the day I decided I wanted to download this song, I saw that someone in my family had just downloaded it! No real reason why I love this song. I just do. It’s pretty awesome.

Neil Young- Old Man (Live At Massey Hall 1971)

The studio version of this song is beautiful, but for a while, the only version that I had on my iPod was this one, and I am absolutely in love with it. If I ever learn how to play guitar, this song will be very high on the list of “songs to learn”. It’s just so powerful and brilliant.

The Kinks- Full Moon

For reasons I don’t quite understand, I am absolutely OBSESSED with this song!!!! Something about the beginning piano bit just hypnotizes me, and whenever this comes up on my iPod, I have to listen to it at least three times in a row. I’ve been listening to this A LOT recently, and I probably will continue to do so in the upcoming weeks. This song is just beautiful and perfect.

Well, I think that’s all for now. I’m sure there are a lot more songs that I could add to this list, but these were the first few that came to mind.
Have a wonderful week! Happy first day of December!

A Beautiful Tribute to a Beautiful Man

I'm almost positive this lovely picture was being projected onto the screen...

I’m almost positive this lovely picture was being projected onto the screen…

As I posted yesterday, I attended a Fab Faux concert with my dad last night at the Beacon Theatre in NYC that paid tribute to George Harrison. And here I am now, 24 hours later, to write about it!

I had very high hopes for this concert, and despite the fact that my dad and I were in the very last row of the theatre and couldn’t see a supposedly beautiful picture of George that was projected on the back of the stage, a splendid time was had by all. From the very first note of Wah Wah to the very last note of Roll Over Beethoven, I had a rollicking good time singing along to every song, cheering for George, and occasionally tearing up at the beauty of it all. Throughout the concert, I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it was to be in a room with thousands of people who loved George as much as I did. If there’s one thing I love more than talking about how much I love George, it’s hearing other people talk about how much they love George, and all of the personal stories about George told by the band members made me very happy and emotional. While George himself was not there, his spirit definitely was watching over the whole thing.

Once again, I was absolutely floored by the musical perfection that was the Fab Faux. They are truly a fantastic band and I can’t think of any way to improve upon the tribute to George that they did. Every song was perfectly and beautifully done, and in addition to playing the hits and crowd favorites like My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love, Here Comes The Sun, Something, and the like, they also threw in some wild card songs that hardcore fans like myself were thrilled to hear, like Run Of The Mill, Any Road, and Living In The Material World. I was also ecstatic to hear them play George’s very first song, Don’t Bother Me from “With The Beatles”! My favorite George solo song, What Is Life, was also played, much to my delight. It’s hard to choose a favorite moment, but I think it’s a tie between Here Comes The Sun, which almost made me cry because it sounded so beautiful, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, which absolutely brought the house down and got a standing ovation.

Here’s a couple of videos from the concert that I found on Youtube. I didn’t actually film these, but they give a good sense of the incredible musicianship that was on display last night.

This concert was the first time that I’d heard most of George’s songs played live, and it only further reminded me just how many amazing songs George wrote in his career. I never actually forgot how great his songs are, of course, but this concert proved that they sound awesome in a live setting as well!
Listening to the positively George-like guitar solos on songs like Beware of Darkness and My Sweet Lord and the mind-blowing sitar playing on Within You Without You (if there was one thing I wasn’t expecting, it was a guy playing sitar, but they even had that!) served as a reminder that George’s songs aren’t just songs; they’re beautiful, heartfelt, honest works of art.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to love George any more than I already do, but at the end of this concert, I was in love with him a million times more than I was at the beginning. At a few choice moments during the show, I just closed my eyes for a second and imagined that George was in the room, and it really felt like he was there. To me, George Harrison is simply the most beautiful human being who has ever lived, and this amazing concert in his honor was one that I will never forget.

I do hope that if you are a Beatles fan and the Fab Faux come to a theater near you that you have the opportunity to see them, because as far as Beatle tribute bands go, they are the absolute best. I hope that the Fab Faux do this type of George tribute show again, because it was fabulous!!!
Have a great week! Happy early Halloween!

My Top 10 Favorite John Lennon Solo Songs

My all time favorite picture of John Lennon!

My all time favorite picture of John Lennon!

I intend to do a solo countdown for each Beatle, and John Lennon’s solo career is next up on my list. Although I’m not as familiar with his solo work as I am with George’s or Paul’s, he has a lot of great songs from his too-short career. I used to not be a big fan of John in general, for some reason, but once I started listening more closely to his solo songs, I began to appreciate him much more. And now we arrive at this countdown! Here we go!

10. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

John wrote this for his son, Sean, back in the late 70s. I can really feel the emotion he puts into this, and he seems so protective and loving of his son. I suppose that he wanted to try again at being a father after his first attempt with Julian in the heyday of Beatlemania didn’t work out so well. In any event, he succeeded, both with this song and with Sean.

9. Working Class Hero

Despite John’s use of the F-word in this song, twice, I love the lyrics and the whole song in general. This is John at his most honest, and the guitar part is haunting, but beautiful.

8. Cold Turkey

I think Eric Clapton plays guitar on this song, but even if he doesn’t, I LOVE the guitar on this song!!!! This could have been a Beatles song. I believe the Beatles rehearsed this at some point, but I guess it didn’t make the cut. Oh well, neither did 90% of George’s songs, and he turned out all right!

7. Imagine

It would basically be blasphemy if I didn’t have Imagine on my list, so here it is. Seriously though, it’s not my favorie John song ever, and I haven’t spent hours studying the lyrics like some people, but I do love the song. I think that people take this song a bit too seriously sometimes, and they forget that, as John once said, “It’s just a song, man!” Since John didn’t take it too seriously, neither will I!

6. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

This was John’s only #1 hit while he was alive, and he wrote it with Elton John. They actually had a deal where John agreed to appear on stage with Elton John if it went to #1. John didn’t think it would get to #1, but it did, and he appeared on stage at Madison Square Garden because of it. Anyway, this is one of John’s most upbeat and bounciest songs, and I love it!

5. Instant Karma

This song rocks!!! I love singing along to the chorus! Also, I think George played guitar on this track. Double the Beatles, double the awesomeness!

4. Watching the Wheels

This song is kind of like Imagine, but I actually like it better. The piano part is so soothing, and as usual with John, the lyrics are great. I first heard it in a ice cream store in Montauk, of all places. I’m not quite sure why I remember that.

3. #9 Dream

Ahhh, it’s Beatlesque John! This song could easily be a psychadelic Beatles song, and also reminds me a lot of one of my favorite George songs, Dream Away, especially in the “ow bowakawa” part (Spell check, anyone?) Also, one of the lyrics is actually, “Dream, dream away.” I wonder if George was inspired by this song? My Beatley senses tell me YES!

2. Jealous Guy

For some reason, this song is so beautiful that I’m always tearing up within the first 10 seconds. Combine that with an emotional Lennon/McCartney video, and I’m a wreck. It’s just so perfect. Lennon/McCartney videos always make me emotional. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song in a public setting, but I guarantee that if I did, I’d have a hard time holding back the tears.

1. Nobody Told Me

This is my favorite John solo song and my favorite John tribute video, combined! This is rocking John at his best! He knew how to have a good time! This is the song to listen to when you’ve been working hard and nobody told you there’d be days like these. Strange days, indeed!

So there you have it. Lennon in a nutshell, sort of. But here are some more solo John songs to check out if you’re curious!
Power to the People
(Just Like) Starting Over
Oh, Yoko!
Woman
Happy Christmas, War is Over!
How Do You Sleep?
Mind Games

For all you Lennon Lovers, here’s another, stunningly beautiful picture of John to end the post. I’ve always firmly believed that George was the best looking Beatle, but John sure gives him a run for his money here!

John Lennon, lookin' fine!

John Lennon, lookin’ fine!