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The Worst Beatles Songs

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The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:05 pm

(A little background, which you can skip if you just want to get to the bad Beatles songs: I am currently engaged in listening to all of my CDs alphabetically. I began in October. As of today, I'm at Black Sabbath. The upshot of this is that a couple weeks ago, I was deep, deep, deep into Beatles territory. Not only do I own all of their original CDs from 1987, I also have the Mono Box, all 3 Anthologies, a 9-disc "Complete at the BBC" bootleg, 2 5-disc bootleg sets, and a handful of other boots. Needless to say, I listened to A LOT of Beatles for a week or two there and it prompted me to make this list.)

For this list, I considered only official releases (no BBC or live-only stuff and no unreleased-until-Anthology stuff either.) And as much as I enjoy being snarky, compiling it was still rather difficult. The Beatles catalog is truly amazing and there's very little chaff. But there's some, even if most of it isn't truly awful. So without further ado, my list of the 21 Worst Beatles songs (listed alphabetically, and followed by some statistics):

Blue Jay Way
Flying
The Fool On The Hill
Good Night
Honey Pie
I Don't Want To Spoil The Party
The Long And Winding Road
Long, Long, Long
Love Me Do
Love You To
Martha My Dear
Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Mr. Moonlight
Revolution 9
Run For Your Life
She's Leaving Home
A Taste Of Honey
Why Don't We Do It In The Road?
Wild Honey Pie
Within You Without You
Your Mother Should Know

Covers: "A Taste Of Honey", "Mr. Moonlight" [2]
George Songs: "Blue Jay Way", "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party", "Long, Long, Long", "Love You To", "Within You Without You" [5]
Paul Songs: "The Fool On The Hill", "Honey Pie", "The Long And Winding Road", "Martha My Dear", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "She's Leaving Home", "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?", "Wild Honey Pie", "Your Mother Should Know" [9]
John songs: "Revolution 9", "Run For Your Life", "Good Night" [3]
Collaborations: "Love Me Do", "Flying" [2]

Touring Years: [4]
Studio Years: [17]

non-LP: [1]
Please Please Me: [1]
Beatles For Sale: [2]
Rubber Soul: [1]
Revolver: [1]
Sgt. Pepper's: [2]
Magical Mystery Tour: [4]
The White Album: [7]
Let It Be: [1]
Abbey Road: [1]
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby minicat » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:40 pm

I can't wait til you get to the Stones. Though you probably don't have the last 30 years worth of their discog.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby lamberticus » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:40 pm

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da often gets skipped while listening to the white album.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Detritus » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:44 pm

"The Long and Winding Road" has always struck me as a song that needed finishing. Not a bad song, exactly, but unfinished.

"Rain," on the other hand, is a totally bad song.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:46 pm

minicat wrote:I can't wait til you get to the Stones. Though you probably don't have the last 30 years worth of their discog.
Yeah. The latest CD of theirs I have is Tattoo You. It's possible I have some of their '80s crap on vinyl still, but I'd guess I sold it all in my store by now, and that would fall outside of the purview of this exercise anyway.
lamberticus wrote:Ob-la-di, ob-la-da often gets skipped while listening to the white album.
Yeah, it's pretty irritating. But less so than the other Paul songs I picked from The White Album. I think John's obvious distaste for it elevates "Ob-la-di" slightly. That said, let's call this one #22.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:16 pm

Detritus wrote:"Rain," on the other hand, is a totally bad song.

Woah, super disagree! I like that one.

Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite is annoying.
I think half the White Album isn't good, but "Glass Onion" is a true stinker.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:21 pm

I'm with you on "Rain", Kyle, but I think "Kite" is one of Pepper's best tracks ("Good Morning" and "Lovely Rita" being my faves) and I really love "Glass Onion", right down to the orchestral coda. If nothing else, both of those are great George Martin songs.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:31 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:I'm with you on "Rain", Kyle, but I think "Kite" is one of Pepper's best tracks ("Good Morning" and "Lovely Rita" being my faves) and I really love "Glass Onion", right down to the orchestral coda. If nothing else, both of those are great George Martin songs.

The orchestral stuff is the best part of "Glass Onion". The lyrics are pretty dismal....and I normally don't mind bad/lazy lyrics if the music is good.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby wallrock » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:46 pm

I'm not a big Beatles fan and I haven't listened to much beyond what was played on the radio when I was a kid, but "Come Together" is easily my least favorite. I can't rightly say why I hate it as much as I do but I'll switch off the radio immediately if it comes on.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby rrnate » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:04 pm

I love that Love Me Do is on your list - that has always struck me as totally awful.

That being said, Martha My Dear / Fool On The Hill / Your Mother Was Born are all tight, if overly cutesy Paul songs.

Weirdly enough, my favorite Beatles song as of late is either I Will or Dig A Pony.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:26 pm

Then there is "Her Majesty" which is good bad. A short throwaway song, with easy to remember lyrics. Kinda like Cream's "Mother's Lament."

I also agree that the White album has too much chaff. It didn't need to be a double album.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:38 pm

rrnate wrote:I love that Love Me Do is on your list - that has always struck me as totally awful.
And it's such an inauspicious debut too, considering how revolutionary The Beatles songwriting would be (beginning with their second single, "Please Please Me", which is absolutely amazing.) This was one in particular I got really sick of hearing during my Beatles blowout as there are several officially-released versions as well as numerous BBC takes.
rrnate wrote:That being said, Martha My Dear / Fool On The Hill / Your Mother Was Born are all tight, if overly cutesy Paul songs.
Obviously, I have no love for Paul's old-timey music, but sure "Martha" and "Mother" are fine for what they are. But "Fool" is Paul at his absolute worst, IMO, and that damn flute is perhaps the most annoying sound on any Beatles record.
rrnate wrote:Weirdly enough, my favorite Beatles song as of late is either I Will or Dig A Pony.
Classics both.
Henry Vilas wrote:I also agree that the White album has too much chaff. It didn't need to be a double album.
Maybe we should start a thread of double albums that earn their girth. Bet it'd be a short list.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Kenneth Burns » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:52 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:I also agree that the White album has too much chaff. It didn't need to be a double album.


I've experimented with paring the White Album down to two sides. Seems like it should be obvious what to cut, but no sequence I've come up with seems as strong as the original. Maybe the Beatles knew what they were doing.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby rrnate » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:12 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:
Henry Vilas wrote:I also agree that the White album has too much chaff. It didn't need to be a double album.


I've experimented with paring the White Album down to two sides. Seems like it should be obvious what to cut, but no sequence I've come up with seems as strong as the original. Maybe the Beatles knew what they were doing.


Yeah - I really like the full White Album. It's obviously too long and has some shit but the way it veers between good/bad vibes is pretty unique IMO.

(Also, on Glass Onion - except for the orchestral part, I hate it.)
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:25 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:I've experimented with paring the White Album down to two sides. Seems like it should be obvious what to cut, but no sequence I've come up with seems as strong as the original. Maybe the Beatles knew what they were doing.


Honestly, I would have a tough time getting that record down to only 40 min, which is about how long (or shorter) most albums of that era were. But it's pretty simple to pare it down to sixty (-twoish) min without having to rearrange too much to keep a nice flow, and that isn't overlong for an album (especially in the CD era). Note that you can't just rip and burn the tracks in this order, tho -- because of the interstitials, you'd need to do some editing.

Back In The USSR 2:43
Dear Prudence 3:56
Glass Onion 2:17
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill 3:14
While My Guitar Gently Weeps 4:45
I'm So Tired 2:03
Blackbird 2:18
Savoy Truffle 2:54
Don't Pass Me By 3:51
Happiness Is A Warm Gun 2:43
31 min.

Revolution 1 4:15
Piggies 2:04
Rocky Racoon 3:33
Yer Blues 4:01
Cry Baby Cry 3:02
Mother Nature's Son 2:48
Sexy Sadie 3:15
Everybody's Got Something To Hide... 2:24
Helter Skelter 4:29
30 min.

Now, had I been in charge of tracking the record back in the day (and could convince The Beatles to do what I say*) I would have pared it down first by editing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Don't Pass Me By" and "Helter Skelter" to shorter lengths (I'd cut "Don't Pass Me By" entirely except for it being Ringo's only songwriting contribution.) I might even have urged Lennon to tighten up "Happiness Is A Warm Gun". Then I'd yank "Bungalow Bill" and slap it on the B-side of "Back In The USSR", which should have been a single, and now you've got yourself one standard-sized Beatles album.

*I love the idea of telling Paul McCartney he doesn't get to put out any of his vaudevillian grandma music.
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