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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Happy mother’s day from the Beatles!

The Beatles and their mothers

The Beatles and their mothers

I know my last few posts have been song-based, but since Mother’s Day is tomorrow, I’ve decided to dedicate a post to songs written by the Beatles about mothers. There are quite a few of them. So tomorrow, celebrate mothers everywhere while listening to the Beatles. It can only make the day better, right? Right. 🙂

Mother- John Lennon

John once said that he lost his mother twice in his life, once when she left him to be raised by his Aunt Mimi and once when she was killed by an oncoming car. So clearly he had some things he never said to his mother that he wanted to get out in this song. The emotion John brings to this song is absolutely incredible.

Julia- The Beatles

Yes, this is a Beatles song, but it’s also the only Beatles song that features only John, so really it’s more of a solo John song. This is I think one of John’s most poignant and beautiful songs ever, written about his mother, Julia. It’s a regular on my “relaxing Beatles songs” playlist, and in my heart. 🙂

Let It Be- The Beatles

A popular misconception is that this song is religious because it mentions “Mother Mary”. However, Paul actually wrote this about a dream he had in which his mother, whose name was Mary, gave him advice. Poor Paul lost his mother when he was 14, but clearly she was still a presence in his life even after her passing. I wonder if he still thinks of her whenever he sings this song. It’s such a perfect song about learning to let go, but I bet it still carries some emotional weight for him.

Deep Blue- George Harrison

George wrote this in about 1970 about his mother while she was severely ill. What a sweetheart he was.
I just realized that this list has been very sad so far, and I’m sorry. I will be sure to rectify that with the next song!

Your Mother Should Know- The Beatles

Here we go, a much happier song! This isn’t explicitly about any of the Beatles’ mothers, but it does have the word “mother” in the title, so I thought that was good enough. Also, this video makes me very happy. I’m just so happy this exists.

That’s all for now. Remember to tell your mom how much you love her, tomorrow and every other day of the year!
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love the Beatles, but I love you more. 🙂
Have a great week!

And I Love Polls

So here’s another poll I came up with. I think this is a pretty interesting one, because I was curious to see what is the one Beatles song that most people can’t live without. I tried to pick a list of Beatles songs that basically everyone, even non-Beatles fans, would know.
If you would choose another song that’s not on this list, feel free to comment about it!
For me personally, out of this list of songs, I’d have a hard time choosing between Hey Jude and Here Comes The Sun. It’s pretty much a toss up between those two, although While My Guitar Gently Weeps is my #1 favorite Beatles song.
Enjoy the 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!

My Top 10 Favorite Guitar Solos

My sweet George, playing the instrument featured in this post!

My sweet George, playing the instrument featured in this post!

Here it is, another countdown list! Today I’ve decided that since so many of the songs I love feature a guitar prominently in them, this list would probably be a good one to make. One thing that I think has sort of gone out of fashion in the music industry today is the art of beautiful and emotional guitar playing. Even in some mainstream pop songs today, a guitar is present, but it’s usually just there and is not intended to make a statement or improve the song, which is a shame. I think the guitar is a beautiful instrument that deserves to be featured in more of today’s popular songs!!!
Most of these guitar solos are pretty close together in my mind, so there really isn’t a big difference between the placements of the songs, but I have put them in order from 10 to 1, with 1 being my favorite guitar solo. (hint- it’s a Beatles song!!!) I hope you enjoy this list!

10. Cheer Down- George Harrison

The entire last minute to this song is basically an extended guitar solo, but I love it so much!!! This is definitely one of George’s least-known yet absolutely-amazing songs! If you’ve ever seen the movie Lethal Weapon 2, this song, co-written by George with Tom Petty, plays during the credits! I’m in love with the guitar here, because George’s slide guitar is amazing and brilliant, as it is in all of his songs!

9. I Live For You- George Harrison

This song is achingly beautiful, and the guitar solo, which starts at about 1:58 in the song, is just gorgeous. I often tear up listening to this song because it’s so beautiful and perfect, just like George! I can’t for the life of me figure out how George managed to get such an incredible, distinctive sound out of his guitars, but I suppose it’s a testament to his musical genius.

8. Something- The Beatles

For this song, the guitar solo starts at about 1:43 in the video. This is yet another fine example of George’s guitar-playing prowess. I bet you’re noticing a theme so far… 🙂
As I’ve stated before, this is one of my very favorite Beatles songs, and the guitar solo is just one of the reasons why. It’s to the point and works with the song, and most of all, it’s beautifully played. I’ve probably listened to this song hundreds of times by now, but I never get sick of it!

7. Taxman- The Beatles

This is probably one of the most famous Beatles guitar solos, but it was Paul, not George, who played it! I think this proves that while he’s no George, Paul was and still is a fantastic guitarist, in addition to being a fantastic everything else. Even when I play this on Beatles Rock Band, I still can never get it 100% right, so I imagine that it’s pretty hard to play on an actual guitar!

6. Badge- Cream

Don’t worry, not EVERY solo on this list is from a Beatles song! Although most of them are… Anyway, this song was co-written by Eric Clapton and our old friend, George Harrison! The story behind the rather obscure title is that George was writing the bridge for the song when Eric walked in the room, probably drunk, and saw the paper upside down. He wondered why George wrote “Badge” at the top of the paper, and thus the song’s name was born! This is just an incredible song, and I LOVE the guitar part starting at about 1:08 in the video, played by George. The solo itself, played by Eric, is awesome as well. I think I’m a little obsessed with this song, actually.

5. Till There Was You- The Beatles

The solo here starts at 1:23 in the video. I can’t get enough of George’s jazzy guitar playing throughout this song, and the perfect solo is just the icing on the cake! This song was originally from The Music Man, although apparently the Beatles didn’t know that until after they recorded it, and I think it’s one of the best examples of George’s fantastic guitar playing from the earlier Beatle years. He was extraordinarily talented from a young age, and he only got better as he got older!

4. It Don’t Come Easy- Ringo Starr

In addition to this being song containing one of my favorite guitar solos (which starts at 1:40 in the video), this song also contains a fabulous riff, played by none other than George Harrison! I think I’ve said before that it was actually George who wrote this fantastic song, and I’m so glad he did. There’s a fabulous version of this song floating around that has George singing instead of Ringo, but I think both versions are equally great. Anyway, this solo is typical George awesomeness, and it rocks!

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The Beatles

You didn’t really think that I’d leave my favorite Beatles song out of this list, did you? 🙂
The solo here starts at about 1:56 in the video, and it is memorable for a couple of reasons. Besides being just all around amazing, this was the first and only time that Eric Clapton played guitar on a Beatles song, so that weeping guitar you hear is all him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Eric Clapton is the Guitar God for a reason. He can play the guitar like no other!

2. Maybe I’m Amazed- Paul McCartney and Wings

While this song was originally featured on Paul’s first solo album, McCartney, it became even more famous when he played it with Wings on their 1976 “Wings Over America” tour, and I think this version here is the best one. The solo, played by Wings guitarist Jimmy McCullough, starts at about 1:23 in the video, and I just love it! No real reason, but it’s really moving and beautifully played here. Whenever I hear this song, I always find myself anticipating the guitar solo, and as soon as it begins, the song comes alive in a whole new way.

And now… Number 1!!!

1. Let It Be- The Beatles

Out of the hundreds of Beatle guitar solos out there, this is the one that always sticks in my head. It’s powerful, edgy, and moving, and George just rocks the heck out of it! For some reason, the original album version of Let It Be (there are at least 3 official versions in existence) is the only one with this fantastic solo, and that is why it is my favorite version of all! Nothing can top this guitar solo for me!!!

I see after writing this post that I probably need to go discover some guitar solos from other groups. While I work on that, have a wonderful week! Hint hint, there will probably be some Paul McCartney and Elton John posts coming your way next weekend!

A Brief History of the Beatles at the Grammys

Since today is the 55th annual Grammy awards, I thought I’d dig up any interesting videos of the Beatles at the Grammys I could find. Here’s one that I love, of John Lennon and Paul Simon presenting at the 1974 Grammys. John is so funny!!! If he hadn’t been a Beatle, he easily could have been a successful comedian.

6/3/13 UPDATE: I don’t know why I feel the need to keep updating this post, but just in case anyone’s still reading it, here you go. I’d just like to say that as a newly minted fan of Elton John, he should have won this award! “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” is a great song! That is all.

And here is a video of Paul performing at the Grammys in 2006. I looked for his performance from last year’s Grammys, but I couldn’t find it. I wish he was performing this year, but I’ll have to settle for hoping he gets interviewed on the red carpet beforehand.

I love the cool piano in the first song!!!

Here’s Ringo accepting the award for Album of the Year, the Concert for Bangladesh to which he contributed, in 1972.

I love when he carries the whole tray of Grammys off at the end! No one could give poor Ringo a hand? Oh well, he survived.

Finally, here’s Paul accepting the award for Best Film Score for Let It Be in 1971. This might be the first time I’ve ever heard him say less than 5 words in a row. He usually likes to talk a lot!

I couldn’t find a video of George at the Grammys… 😦
Anyway, I’m off to hope Paul shows up on TV! Have a great week!

2/11/13 UPDATE: Paul won the Grammy last night for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, for Kisses On The Bottom. Yay Paulie!!!! Congratulations!!! I let out a loud “Yes!!” when I saw that he’d won and did a little victory dance. I’d been looking forward to finding out all day, and I knew that he just HAD to win! Although I didn’t see him on TV, it was still worth watching the Grammys. PAUL ROCKS!!!

ELO, John Lennon, and American Idol

George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, buddies and pals.

George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, buddies and pals.

This title may seem rather random, but I had a few random thoughts I wanted to share on the blog today.
First, if you don’t know who ELO is, the letters stand for Electric Light Orchestra. It was a British band with Jeff Lynne at the helm that was popular during the 1970s and 1980s. Jeff Lynne is a well-known Beatlemaniac and a good friend of George Harrison (I feel like every other musician I listen to is either George, a different Beatle, a friend of George, or George’s son), and the music of ELO really reflects the Beatle influence with its many dramatic string arrangements and very catchy melodies. Their songs, at least the ones that I know, generally rock and are fun to listen to.
I was reminded of ELO the other night after not having listened to them in a while. I had just finished a LONG study session for my math midterm, and afterwards, I found myself having an impromptu dance marathon to some of ELO’s more upbeat songs. I’d forgotten jsut how great their songs are! Basically, if you like the Beatles, you’d like ELO, so if you like the Beatles but don’t know ELO, check them out!
Here are a few of my favorite songs by ELO:

Don’t Bring Me Down

This song flat-out rocks. I can’t stop myself from dancing whenever I hear it. A little embarrassing, but it’s true.

Can’t Get It Out Of My Head

This is perhaps the second most beautiful song ever recorded, after The Beatles’ Something. It’s so beautiful that sometimes it makes me tear up a bit. To me, it sounds like a mix of Something, Let It Be, and The Long And Winding Road. Once I hear it, I can’t get it out of my head.

Evil Woman

I used to listen to this song in the car with my family, and not knowing who ELO was, I thought it was part of a Broadway soundtrack or something like that. I was mistaken, but I still love this song! Jeff Lynne sounds a little like John Lennon here, I think. To the rest of the world, maybe not.

Mr. Blue Sky

This is probably the most famous Beatlesque song by ELO. I absolutely love it, and the creative arrangement never fails to surprise me. I feel like this song could have fit right in on Sgt. Pepper as a John/Paul collaboration. Wishful thinking, I suppose, but really, Sgt. Pepper is just fine the way it is.

Do Ya

Amazing song. Great guitar. End of story.

To quote Monty Python, “And now for something completely different!”

Yesterday in the car, I had a random vision of John Lennon trying out for American Idol. I don’t know why this came to mind, but the thought was so funny that I burst out laughing. I can just picture him going in there with his guitar and Liverpudlian accent and singing Across the Universe as his audition. Then, Randy Jackson and the other judges would say stuff like, “We think you’re really special! We love your voice! Welcome to Hollywood!” John would probably say something like “Thank you very much,” run out of the audition room yelling “I MADE IT!” and give whoever was around a big hug.
Then, I pictured Paul auditioning, being his cute and charming self and singing Let It Be or Hey Jude. He and John would both make it for sure if they tried out today. Imagine a John Lennon/Paul McCartney finale of American Idol! That would be amazing!
George probably wouldn’t want the instant fame that comes with auditioning for a reality show like American Idol.
And honestly, I love Ringo, but I’m not sure if his singing skills alone would carry him though the competition. Still, he’d certainly be a fan favorite!

Thus concludes this random post on Beatle Me Do. I hope I passed the audition.