June 15th, 2010
My Mom asked me what my top 10 Beatles songs were. I'm don't know everything about the Beatles and their music (although I've learned a lot since marrying Alyssa), so I knew that I couldn't make a list of their most technically impressive songs, or their most culturally important songs. The only list I'm qualified to make is the top 10 Beatles songs that mean something to me.
10. Can't Buy Me Love - This song represents the Beatles of my youth. While growing up, my parents listened to the local oldies station in Denver (KOOL 105) and I was exposed to a number of Beatles songs. Then on a trip to Idaho we listened to the best of the Beatles. I was amazed by how many songs I recognized, but never knew were Beatles songs. There were two tapes, one of their earlier stuff and one of their later stuff. As a kid, I liked the earlier stuff--fun and upbeat, with easy to understand lyrics.
9. Let it Be - I enjoy playing the piano, and I always wanted to learn to play and sing at the same time (you know, to impress the ladies). Problem was, I could only find sheet music that had the melody built in to the music. I didn't want the melody, I just wanted the accompaniment. (You can find that kind of thing now, but when I was a teen--nothing.) Then I went to Japan and discovered that their sheet music was done the right way, so I bought song books for Elton John, Billy Joel, and the Beatles. Let It Be was in that book, and I spent many a happy P-day learning to play it. It has a beautiful chord progression and a lovely melody.
8. Hey Jude - This song was also in the songbook mentioned above, but it's a lot more fun to play. A little bit easier, and a real crowd pleaser--everyone likes to gather around the piano and sing along.
7. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) - One of the title tracks to what is probably my favorite Beatles album. This song is on this list mostly to represent my affection for Beatles: Rockband. From the moment I saw the opening sequence for the game I knew we would need to get this game. As I imagined what it would be like playing it, I most often pictured us playing this song--an energetic song about a band who just enjoys playing the music. This is the Beatles in their prime.
6. I Am the Walrus - Although I liked this song before, I really grew to appreciate it through playing it on Beatles: Rockband over and over. I was trying to get a trophy on the drums -- 350 perfect notes in a row or something like that. Playing that many times I got to know the song pretty well and I really like it. I also like John's supposed reason for creating the song. It seems like some college classes were analyzing the Beatles songs, so John made a nonsensical song to really give them something to think about.
5. Because - This song speaks to my love of great harmonies. I especially like the Anthology version, which is presented a cappella. The harmonies with the slight echo effect are hauntingly beautiful.
4. Nowhere Man - This song is on the list because Alyssa and I would sometimes sing the harmonies together while I played the guitar. I really enjoy singing with Alyssa because she has such a great voice.
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer - What? Why is this on the list? Nobody likes this song! Even most of the Beatles hated it! Here's why I like it. Alyssa loves the Beatles, so soon after I started seriously dating her, I wanted to get to know the band better. I borrowed some of her CDs and listened to them while driving around. This was my first exposure to some of their lesser-known songs, including this one. I loved the dark imagery of the lyrics contrasting with the upbeat melody. It was very reminiscent of another band I associated with Alyssa, They Might Be Giants. Also, because nobody else likes it, it feels like my own personal Beatles song--my unique connection with the band.
2. Strawberry Fields Forever - I don't know what it is about this song. My fondness for the Beatles matured through listening to a couple of audiobook historical accounts, through watching the Anthology, and various other articles and books. I started really listening to their songs. I remember listening to this song and being so impressed by it. I just thought, "This is my favorite Beatles song." Of course, now it also makes me think of Ethan.
1. We Can Work It Out - This is the most important Beatles song in my life. While Alyssa and I were engaged, we hit a bit of a rough patch. I was working at Checker putting away stuff and thinking about her, me, and our decision to start a new life together. I was questioning whether this was the right choice or not. I said a prayer asking for some kind of sign--some way to work out the problems between us. Right as I thought this, the store radio started playing "We Can Work it Out." The lyrics hit me so hard that I started crying right there in the store. Of course, no matter what problems we have, we can work it out. And we did. And we still do.