From “A Hard Day’s Night” to “Something”, and “Help!” to “She Loves You”, here are Paul, John, George and Ringo’s best songs. As chosen by a bevy of famous fans – including Ryan Adams, Bryan Ferry, Radiohead, Roger McGuinn, Paul Weller and Ian McCulloch. Originally published in Uncut’s July 2001 issue (Take 50).
=50 A HARD DAY’S NIGHT
Single, July 1964
SHARLEEN SPITERI: Of those classic early singles, this and “Help!” are the ones I go back to again and again. Great intro, rousing chorus, killer vocal- it’s just an inspired pop racket. Plus Ringo coined the title, and I believe all great Beatles work needs a healthy dose of Ringo.
GARY MOORE: I saw the Beatles live in Belfast when I was a kid. I liked the 12-sting Rickenbacker George used at that gig. It looked like it was from another planet. That was the guitar he used on “A Hard Day’s Night”- that high, jangly sound he got. Years later I got to know and play with George, and I got to play “A Hard Day’s Night” on that guitar. We had an argument over that brilliant chord at the start. I said, “Are you sure? It doesn’t sound like that!” He sort of looked at me- “Yes, I’m sure actually, Gary”
=50 HERE COMES THE SUN
Abbey Road album track, September 1969
LAUREN LAVERNE: George Harrison is, of course, the most hateable Beatle by a country mile. Always had a face on him like he was really too good to be there. But as much as I hate the fact he wrote it, this is a fabulous song. It starts really simply and beautifully, but by the end it’s enormous, with a million different things going on. It’s one of the most uplifting songs I can think of. It makes you feel the world is a lovely place and everything in it is smiling and swaying along and everything is going to be all right. I put it on once after I’d been out all night, to greet the day and stir my soul, but I had to take it off because it was just too pure and lovely for a sinful, dirty stop-out like my to listen to.
=50 THIS BOY
Single B-side to “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, November 1963
SEAN ROWLEY: There were those great moments early on in their career when they were writing in awe of contemporaries, and the contemporary you can hear on this is Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. In their heads, they believed they were making a copy record, but what would come out would be a twisted version that was musically as good as Smokey Robinson. It was all completely natural. They were working off everything they were listening to at this point.