TJR presents... Top 10: The Beatles

TJR presents… Top 10: The Beatles

  • 10 tracks, runtime: 27m.
  • A playlist for the 10 highest rated tracks in my collection, compiled on 30-Sep-2019.
  • Fantasy Album Rating: 9.89 “An elite masterpiece”
  • To access shuffle-play or avoid in-play interruption due to territorially blocked videos, it might be best playing directly via YouTube external-link.png

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Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles (1966)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Contemporary Classical
TJR saysThis masterpiece from “Revolver”, the greatest Beatles album, is, for me, Paul McCartney's finest piece of song writing. Inspired by Vivaldi, a string section scored by Beatles producer George Martin created the music with 4 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos. The Beatles didn't play any of the instruments; all of the music came from the string players, who were hired as session musicians. “Father Mackenzie” was originally “Father McCartney” but Paul decided he didn't want to freak out his dad and picked a name out of the phone book instead. Speaking in Observer Music Monthly (November 2008) he said: “When I was a kid I was very lucky to have a real cool dad, a working-class gent, who always encouraged us to give up our seat on the bus for old people. This led me into going round to pensioners' houses. It sounds a bit goody-goody, so I don't normally tell too many people. There were a couple of old ladies and I used to go round and say, 'Do you need any shopping done?' These lonely old ladies were something I knew about growing up, and that was what 'Eleanor Rigby' was about – the fact that she died and nobody really noticed. I knew this went on.

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Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles (1966)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Psychedelia
TJR says“Revolver” has an embarrassment of riches to commend it, and it’s a monotonous, droning wig-out which emerges as one of thee greatest creations in their entire catalogue. “Tomorrow Never Knows” will sound fantastic for ever and a day, but I often wonder how many teeny boppers were lost for good when this closed the set? The title came from an expression Ringo used – they chose it to take the edge off the heavy, philosophical lyrics. John Lennon had written it, and described it as “my first psychedelic song.” It was inspired by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert's book “The Psychedelic Experience”, which Lennon would read while tripping on LSD. Each Beatle created strange sounds which were mixed in throughout the recording, often backward and at different speeds. McCartney had the idea for using tape loops to create effects. John Lennon used only one chord in the whole song, creating that amazingly hypnotic feeling. For his vocals, he asked producer George Martin to make him sound like the Dali Lama! They were The Beatles man – bigger than Jesus haven’t you heard? They could do whatever the hell they wanted in 1966 – thankfully. As a result, this work of art was duly delivered.

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This Boy by The Beatles (1963)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Rock n Roll Ballad
TJR saysThe awesome b-side to “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” in '63 was written by John whilst on tour (no time to waste!) who revels in his role as a dooby-doo-wop heart-throb. Says he: “Just my attempt at writing one of those three-part harmony Smokey Robinson songs. Nothing in the lyrics; just a sound and harmony. There was a period when I thought I didn't write melodies, that Paul wrote those and I just wrote straight, shouting rock 'n' roll. But of course, when I think of some of my own songs – 'In My Life', or some of the early stuff, 'This Boy' – I was writing melody with the best of them.

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Mr. Moonlight by The Beatles (1964)
(Roy Lee Johnson)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Folk Rock / Americana
TJR saysAll hell breaks loose on “Beatles For Sale” with the throwaway, carefree, joie-de-vivre simplistic genius of “Mr. Moonlight”, an irresistible reading of the tune which had been done by Dr. Feelgood and The Interns in 1962. What a cover – without a shadow of a doubt the greatest interpretation they ever committed to vinyl. Lennons’ rasping vocal just nags away at you and sends a shiver down. The irreverence of that dumb-ass organ solo is absolutely priceless. I can't believe it's not Jimmy Smith : – O Irk the purists. Hell yeah!

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She’s Leaving Home by The Beatles (1967)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Songwriter
TJR saysFor eclecticism and adventure, Sgt. Pepper's merited the plaudits, as the group continued to drive forward artistically; George Martin’s orchestrated approach to “She’s Leaving Home” is magnificent, as is McCartney's storytelling. Utterly compelling.

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No Reply by The Beatles (1964)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Folk Rock / Americana
TJR saysThis happened once before when I came to your door, no reply. They said it wasn't you, but I saw you peep through your window. I saw the light, I saw the light. I know that you saw me ‘cause I looked up to see your face.” 30 seconds was all it took to realise that “Beatles For Sale” was gonna change the game for the better. There’s a great emphasis and delivery all ‘round here; this whole unit are feeling the protagonists angst at the betrayal. As album openers go, “No Reply” has to be one of the greatest of all-time.

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Revolution by The Beatles (1968)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

9.8 “All-time classic” Blues Rock / Soul Rock
TJR saysThe “Hey Jude” b-side version of “Revolution” was the one, heavy on distortion, so much so that exasperated record shop workers would have to explain to some customers that it was supposed to sound like that! As a soul-stirring call to peace and love over violence, the protopunk ferocity of this single version connected via directline; “You better free you mind instead.” Ian McCulloch used to come on live to this, whipping up a frenzy in the house.

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Taxman by The Beatles (1966)
(George Harrison)

9.8 “All-time classic” Blues Rock / Soul Rock
TJR saysOne of the coolest basslines of all-time opened “Revolver”, and, for the first (and only) time in the Beatles “A-list” discography, it’s a song by George which did the deed. This classic mod-rocker blasted Harold Wilson’s Labour administration for their aggressive 95% supertax policy, which was directly affecting the group at the time: “let me tell you how it will be, there’s one for you, nineteen for me” sings George, with a biting humour which gets the point across splendidly.

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I Should Have Known Better by The Beatles (1964)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

9.7 “All-time classic” Pop
TJR says“Starring in their first full-length, action-packed film – The Beatles!” Elvis and Cliff had been there and done it – but “A Hard Day's Night” was new territory for a group. On this harmonica-driven pop-rock swinger, the band pay subliminal homage to Dylan in stupendous fashion.

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We Can Work It Out by The Beatles (1965)
(John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

9.6 “All-time classic” Folk Rock / Americana
TJR saysReleased with “Day Tripper” in December '65, this was deliberately marketed as a AA-side single, a compromise agreed between John (DT) and Paul (WCWIO) who were unable to agree which should lead. Despite this, John played a key role in Paul's song, adding a found-harmonium as well as lyrics: “In We Can Work It Out, Paul did the first half, I did the middle eight. But you've got Paul writing, 'We can work it out, we can work it out' – real optimistic, y'know, and me impatient: 'Life is very short and there's no time for fussing and fighting, my friend.'




TJR presents… Top 10: The Beatles (via Spotify)

  • 10 tracks, runtime: 26m.
  • To access shuffle-play or overcome other issues with the embed application, it might be best playing directly via Spotify external-link.png




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