Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Beatles Are Not Overrated. The Hold Steady Are.

Just what we need, another Beatles post. But...wait! Hear me out.

A friend on Facebook posted the following:

"List 15 Beatles songs that particularly move you."

She also said this:

"OK - this one was a little difficult for me since I'm not a huge fan of the Beatles."

Impulsively, moved by the word "move," I started to think of the heavy shit. "For No One" came to mind 6 out of the 15 times I tried to comply. But, I realized, thanks to the first comment on that Facebook page...

"You like the pretty songs!"

...that, being "moved," didn't necessarily mean, moved to tears. So, my mind raced a bit more. First thought from racing mind: "And Your Bird Can Sing." Man, everything about that song moves me. Next thought: it would be more difficult to come up with 15 Beatles' songs that didn't move me.

Anytime anyone comments about not being a "huge fan" of The Beatles, or as one person once said, "They were completely overrated," my body stops working, as if a bucket of water was thrown into my electrical works. When I look at such legendary artists as The Stones, The Who, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, etc., artists I absolutely lurve, I understand comments like "not a huge fan," or "overrated." I don't agree, but I get it. The Beatles, though? That's like saying, "I don't like oxygen."

That being said, I thought I'd offer my list of least favorite Beatles' moments. For years, when asked what Beatles' song I liked the least, my answer would always be "Get Back." What I heard was muddy production, no patented harmonies, and silly lyrics. I got over it.

I'm not including snippets such as "Dig It," "Her Majesty," or "Wild Honey Pie." They come and go too quickly to get all twitchy. I've also paid no mind to "Revolution 9." It was a one shot deal. These are songs that, though I've never hit "skip" on my CD player or iPod, or lifted the tone-arm off of my turntable, I don't need to hear again...except when they come on, of course.


15. Michelle
14. Run For Your Life
13. Misery
12. Matchbox
11. Yellow Submarine
10. P.S. I Love You
9. Flying
8. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
7. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
6. Octopus' Garden
5. Ob-La-di-Ob-La-Da
4. A Taste Of Honey
3. Don't Pass Me By
2. All Together Now
1. Good Night





stu said...

I agree with all these except "Misery," which has always made me smile. "The world is treating me bad..."

FD13NYC said...

The Beatles overrated? Never, ever. My favorite band of all time. You could post them everyday and I'd be a happy camper.

As for the duds, I admit there were some. I like about 3-4 songs on the list though, no gems but still enjoyable, I mean c'mon, it's them.

I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You still give me goosebumps. As well as We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper. Help, songs from A Hard Days Night, move me quite nicely. Along with, of course, many many others.

I think people who think they're overrated or never got truly into them will never understand the musical and cultural phenomenon that is The Beatles. Yeah Yeah Yeah!!

steves said...

I agree! I always thought people who say they don't like the Beatles are trying hard to be cool in some bizarre, contrarian way.

I also agree with most of your "nonmoving" picks, although having children has caused me to revise my feelings on a few of them ("All Together Now," "Yellow Submarine," "Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da"). I'd replace those with "Little Child," "I Wanna Be Your Man," and "Love You To" (and I'd stick "I'm Down" on there as well).

soundsource said...

without having to go through all my beatles records I'd say that's a pretty good list. Trivial fact, Misery was offered to the English pop singer Helen Shapiro before the fabs were the fabs and her producers turned it down.

soundsource said...

on second look I'd take run for your life off the list but not sure what i'd put on

Peter Ames Carlin said...

Beautiful piece. Though I think there's something really cool about "Flying," that groove they establish in the first few bars, before the melody kicks in. I never got "Misery" either, though I know serious Beatle folk, authors and stuff, who swear by it. (he's talking about his mind! His consciousness! No one in rock had ever. . . )

Main point is perfect - the Beatles are all that, and way more. An accident of fate. From out of the darkness, faith-making beauty. What's not to love?

Anonymous said...

No George Harrison songs! We already discussed "Within You, Without You," but leaving that aside "Piggies" would certainly make my least list.

Also "The Long and Winding Road." (Is there an emoticon for someone shivering in revulsion?)

Bruce Handy

Sal Nunziato said...

I genuinely like "Within You, Without You," though "Piggies" maybe should have made the list over "Michelle."

As for "Long & Winding Road, " I don't hate the song. And once I heard the live version that was included on the deluxe edition of "Flowers In The Dirt," I began to actually like the song.

Sal Nunziato said...

I genuinely like "Within You, Without You," though "Piggies" maybe should have made the list over "Michelle."

As for "Long & Winding Road, " I don't hate the song. And once I heard the live version that was included on the deluxe edition of "Flowers In The Dirt," I began to actually like the song.

steve simels said...

Did you ever see "Superbad"?

My favorite joke is when they're talking about how some guy they know who's popular with girls. and how it's because of his eyes.

"Have you ever looked into his eyes?" one of the kids says. "It's like the first time you heard the Beatles."

Anonymous said...

I don't know that version of Long and Winding Road. Is it by Paul and Elvis together? (That would be cool.) Also, don't know that edition of the record. Did you get a preview of the upcoming rerelease? I only have the one from the mid-90s, I think, that I bought used at the late, great, deeply mourned NYCD.


steve simels said...

My two favorite sort of obscure Beatles songs:

George's "Long, Long Long."
John's "Cry Baby Cry."

They have a similar vibe, now that I think of it...

Tak said...

Always nice article.

I have to disagree with a few songs(well, my opinion anyway)
I like "Michelle", because that's the name of my beloved ex-girlfriend.
As many people mentioned, I like "Misery" a lot.
And, I somehow like "Bungalow Bill",I can't think of the next song without this song leads into it.
Same theory goes to "Goodnight". It's a good choice as a closer for the chaotic side of the White Album. Maybe does not work for Sgt. Pepper.

big bad wolf said...

sal, what about this: i'm a huge fan and yet i still think they are overrated. by this, i mean that the claims that some people--not you, i love the way you explain why you love them and loved your posts on the rereleases---make for them are simply objectively unreasonable, they really aren't the alpha and omega of pop music. for example, the lyrics are overpraised, none are as good as the great pop songs of the twenty years before, whether clever existential meditations like dancing in the dark or wry ones like i get a kick out of you. and when john became engaged politically, well jejune is what i thought even when i was a teenager (i'm weird that way :)). in fact, the biggest reason that i think the beatles overrated, though almost unimaginable great, is those last three years. an awful lot of overwrought, underthought stuff.

but before that, wow. absolutely beautiful. john yearned and loved and evoked the way few, if any, pop singers (other than sinatra) ever did. paul was way up there, and the three of them singing together as almost one, unmatched.

Anonymous said...

oh, and dead on about the hold steady

Eric said...

It's Ringo's vocals that kill it, huh? Still has Barbara Bach after all these years, though.

Sal Nunziato said...

The "Flowers In The Dirt" release I mentioned was the 2 CD Japanese release. It isn't Paul & Elvis, but a live version from the '89 tour. I love the way Paul sings it, especially when Robbie or Hamish... I forgot which AWB member was in the band...harmonizes with him.


I wonder how old Cole Porter was when he wrote "I Get A Kick Out Of You." Lennon and McCartney were barely in their 20s when they wrote...well everything through "Pepper."

The difference in sound from "Pepper" to "The White Album" still confounds me. I know many who prefer later Beatles to early Beatles. To me, they almost sound like two different bands from 1967-1968.

And I don't completely disagree with this:

"...those last three years. an awful lot of overwrought, underthought stuff."

There's a full side's worth of material on The White Album that fist that description. But what's brilliant is not overrated, I don't think.

Anonymous said...

Saying The Beatles' music is the best thing you can listen to is like saying oxygen is the best thing you can breathe. And you may quote me.
Another great post, Sal.
-- James A. Gardner

Ken D said...

For a long time, I wasn't a "huge fan" of The Beatles. I think that it's because when they first hit it big here in America, I was in the 2nd grade and The Beatles — at least in my little elementary school corner of the world — were something that the girls liked. And anything the girls liked, the boys instinctively hated. All the squealing and arguing over who's the cutest and the moptop lunchboxes only made us roll our eyes and go back to our kickball game.

Recently I've been re-watching "The Beatles Anthology" series. It's a good reminder of how amazing they were. I must admit, I came to the game very late.

(But re songs that make me cringe, nobody's mentioned "Hello Goodbye." Admittedly a fine tune but who else could ever get away with those lyrics?)

misospecial said...

i was in the first grade when the fabs crossed the pond, so i was one of those little girls, although i'm not really the gushy type...

john was my beatle. i thought paul was stuck up and way too cute for his own good. and i maintained that position for decades, until in the past ten years i realized that they never would have survived brian's death if not for paul (the careerist and grown-up), and that my beloved john was...disturbing in ways not apparent back in the day (at least not to the public). i still love him, of course, but i give a lot more credit to paul, and i also wish george had gotten more airtime—i have come to appreciate him more and more, and i miss him very much.

btw, "mister moonlight" always made me cringe.

Sal Nunziato said...

Mr. Moonlight may not be great, but that opening scream by Lennon--"Mis-TAAAA-uh-uh-UH-UH MOO-HOON-light" is priceless.

Anonymous said...

cry baby cry, a wonderful gem.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Yellow Submarine? I find it a very original, funny and likable song. And it also was the basis of an awesome imaginative surreal trippy animated movie of the same title!