Some John Lennon Beatles songs

The Beatles in Italy

Image: GETTY

Sometimes, I just want to play some Beatles music. And since it’s what would have been the 81st birthday of John Lennon today, I opted for some of my favorite Fab songs I associated with him. I described all of these more fully here. But as an exercise, I’m not going to look at what I said at the time.

I Want To Hold Your Hand – this is the archetypical Lennon/McCartney song. Lennon told Playboy magazine in 1980; “We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball… I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u/ got that something …’ And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that—both playing into each other’s noses.”

Ticket To Ride – I was at a program for the Albany Institute of History and Art which featured the Fab Four almost 20 years ago. I even had some of my records on display, such as my Japanese singles (I think) and the 1965 album The Beatles in Italy (for sure). That LP title suggests a live performance, but it was just the songs that were not yet on albums. In other words, singles, B-sides, and the four tunes from the Long Tall Sally EP. Ticket To Ride, of course, would subsequently appear on the Help! album.

In the beginning, I misunderstood

The Word – my favorite three Beatles songs in a row on an album are on the US version of Rubber Soul: You Won’t See Me, Think For Yourself, and The Word. (The UK version has Nowhere Man between the McCartney and Harrison tunes).

Day Tripper – one of the great hooks in all of pop music.

 Twist and Shout – one of the greatest covers, ever.

Good Morning Good Morning – I did not know for the longest time that McCartney, not Harrison, played the guitar solos.

A Hard Day’s Night – in some ways, I think the whole album is their greatest, done in the midst of Beatlemania, touring, making a movie. And the title song was done on deadline.

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – I bought the Abbey Road box set in 2021. It’s interesting to hear the Billy Preston organ explode. It’s much more subtle in the final mix.

Help – my daughter has sung it publicly. I relate to it greatly.

Tomorrow Never Knows – a much better title than The Void.

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