Thursday, October 02, 2008

Magical Mystery Top 10 List

Here, There and Everywhere: The Beatles have made a lasting impression on modern culture.

It doesn't seem right to blog about rock music and not eventually hit on the touchstone that hits on all parts of the genre, The Beatles. When I was a kid I liked the Beatles, my Mom liked them and had a couple of their records which I would play often. I even liked them enough to want to see Beatlemania when it rolled through San Francisco in the 70's (a pretty good show). As I grew up I lost interest in the Fab Four, even in college when I had a roommate that played Beatles and Crowded House all the time and I just wasn't into it. Eventually, in the late 90's, I regained some fascination regarding John, Paul, Ringo and George to the point that they are sort of mood music. Mood as in if I'm not in the mood their music does nothing for me but if I am then it's sounds like pure genius. No rhyme or reason, just depends on how their songs hit me at that moment.

My casual indifference is to the point I can't even remember what originally prompted this post. Yet, whether I'm up for some Beatles or not there are certain songs of theirs I think are brilliant all the time. I tend to like their later part of their career where it got more experimental than their beat band period, but that's just personal taste. So here it is, my Top 10 favorite Beatles songs.

10. Strawberry Fields Forever

Hey, it's the beautiful sounds of "mind expansion". There is a hypnotic quality to this song with the echoey voices and off kilter mix of instruments to create a relaxed yet stimulated state. Freak Out!

9. A Hard Days Night

The one early era Beatles song on my list, I like the bopping chug a lug beat with the stark guitars and group vocals. Pure power pop from the band that practically originated it (or at least mass popularized it). I tried to find a video but came across this interesting Sims version instead. The Sims, that game was hard! I have a hard enough time trying to figure out what to do with my own time, seeing it on screen was way too much stress. Besides, my character always ended up on the floor dying and releasing his bowels. Not a pretty picture. It did give me an appreciation of the practical applications of IKEA furniture though.

8. Here Comes The Sun

Of the Beatles, George Harrison is my favorite. Not just because he is the "quiet one", but because his sturdy yet sincere approach to music works for me and of the group he's had the strongest influence on performers I like. This song seemed to be played often shortly after Harrison passed away. A pleasant, uplifting song.

7. I Am The Walrus

Another psychedelic classic, seeing this video I just had a Peter Griffin moment and thought "Holy crap, Paul McCartney is left handed!". Well hell, when wasn't he? Anyway, this nonsense spewing head trip is a triumph of tuneful melody, wound up production and bizarre impulses. So good I can't remember it ever being duplicated.

6. Eleanor Rigby

I'm surprised I didn't list this higher, seeing how strong an influence it had on progressive rock. An inspired melding of strings and vocals, the song has a unique elegance as the stabbing strings and empathetic singing takes hold. The starting point for Moody Blues and early Yes.

5. I Want You (She's So Heavy)

I like the sinister, slightly sleazy edge this song has. That plus the blues rock feel that leads up to the huge chorus "She's so...Heavy!" Even though Aerosmith later covered "Come Together", I think of that band when I hear this song.

4. Getting Better

A real upbeat, positive tune with a sharp guitar riff and some slightly trippy asides. And it makes me want to buy computers. Just a happy song, for me one of the high points of the Sgt Pepper album.

3. Revolution

I've blogged about this song before, a revved up ditty I used to listen to in my parents living room growing up. Nice memories of sitting on the rug, surrounded by fashionably dark green furniture while in my pinstriped orange and red pants (it was the early 70's). And after spending an early afternoon with Speed Racer and Kimba the White Lion, who wouldn't want to change the world?

2. A Day In The Life

Although I had heard Sgt Pepper, the first time this song really turned my head was watching the Sgt Pepper movie with the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. The next step in the evolution of progressive rock, a multisection masterpiece starting with a lonely piano based opening going to an upbeat middle before wrapping up with one of the best known final notes in Rock. Why that guy on American Idol tried to cover this is beyond me. Editing this song is like carving up the Mona Lisa to just the smile.

1. Something

George Harrison strikes again, there's a simplistic and comforting grace to this love song. The unplugged version on the Anthology album was even better. There are songs that just speak to me (not in the voices in my head way, but on an artistic level. What? The voices in my head say they agree). I wonder if Harrison wrote this song about the woman who later dumped him for Clapton? He was the dude that happened to, right?

That's my Top 10 Beatles songs, the most influential and remembered band in rock and yada yada yada. Just can't throw enough words in to state their importance to music and Rock & Roll.


Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Ummmm... Norwegian Wood? Day Tripper? I'm sure there are others that I like, but I can't think of them right now. Good list, tho, Mr. Mike.

Mr. Mike said...

All good choices, I also came close to picking We Can Work it Out, Get Back, Across the Universe, Tomorrow Never Knows...but then that's my lack of self editing showing. Happy to see you back SKW! :)