It’s 09/09/09, and you know what that means. The long-awaited release, in the US, of the new digital remasters of 14 essential Beatles albums, with original artwork, new liner notes, and…wait a second. You’ve already got all the albums.
You already know every song off by heart. You already know, just by listening to the silences between the songs, what song is going to come up next on which album.
And you also know, as much as you’d hate to admit it, that not every Beatles song ever written is a masterpiece of contemporary music. All right then, classical music.
So let me admit it for you: The Beatles made some pretty lousy music too.
I often wonder, as the world’s greatest Beatles fan (next to you, that is), how the world would have remembered the Beatles if they’d only ever written and recorded their very lesser works, such as the following 10 songs on my Personal Beatles Hate Parade.
The 10 Worst Songs, Relatively Speaking, Ever Written & Recorded By The Beatles
1) “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. A nails-on-chalkboard clunker of a pub singalong song, once thought to be an ode to mind-altering drugs because of the closing line, “And if you want some fun, take Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”. Well, they obviously did, and for them, it must have been fun. For everyone else, torture. The one Beatles song most likely to be played on an infinite loop by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay.
2) “Girl”. John Lennon at his whiniest, whining through his nose about some girl who came to stay. Before CDs were invented, this song would make me leap up to lift the needle from the vinyl, and the resultant scratching sound was a pleasure by comparison.
3) “Run For Your Life”. An oddly upbeat litany of murderous threats and recrimination, aimed at a “little girl” who had better run for her life if she can. Listen to this song, out of context of the greater Beatles catalogue, and you’ll instantly understand why Charles Manson was such a fan.
4) “The Long and Winding Road”. Paul McCartney at his most pompously liturgical, his voice oozing like mollases over the sugary strings. And the worst thing about it is that it’s not even the worst song on “Let It Be”. That would be, um, “Let It Be”.
5) “Let It Be”. I still get annoyed by the fact that when John Lennon was shot on December 8, 1980, the SABC played this Paul McCartney hymnal in his memory. That was an even bigger insult than banning the Beatles in the first place. Yes, that’s right, the South African Broadcasting Corporation banned the Beatles, for reasons now too embarrassing to recall.
6) “Don’t Pass Me By”. Everyone knows that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best singer in the Beatles. Hey, everyone knows that he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. But it became a tradition for the other Beatles to give him a chance to sing a silly, jaunty song on their albums, and this was Ringo’s silly, jaunty song from The White Album. It’s not very good, even by Ringo’s silly, jaunty standards.
7) “Because”. Because why? Because it is all drippy and druggy and gooey, and not in a good way, with its pitter-patter pizzicato strings, its soporific harmonies, and its nursery-school lyrics. Another embarrassment from “Let It Be”, the ultimate and most embarrassing Beatles album.
8) “Across the Universe”. I used to quite like this until that stupid movie came along and ruined it for everyone.
9) “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”. If this were a song by Coldplay, I would probably have a reason to like Coldplay, because at least it’s got a nice driving rhythm and cheerful lyrics. But we’re talking about the Beatles, for heaven’s sake. Off The White Album. If only it were really were off The White Album.
10) “She Loves You”. Not really. I mean, of course not really. I just put this one in here to make up numbers. It’s actually one of my favourite Beatles songs, and even though it’s not one of their greatest-ever songs, they would still be the greatest group in the history of popular music if they’d only ever recorded this song. That’s how good they were. Well, except for the songs mentioned above, of course.