The Beatles’ 50 best songs

Roll up! The Fab Four's greatest songs chosen by famous fans

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46 FLYING
Magical Mystery Tour EP-set track, December 1967

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us2x_AH1MCc

EDWYN COLLINS: Unlike the detractors, I like the Magical Mystery Tour film. I think it’s quaint. I can remember the footage of sunset and big, orange clouds that they used for that song. It’s very evocative, and I like the psychedelic touches to the whole thing, and the Mellotron and strings.

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BRETT SPARKS: A lost gem.
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45 BABY YOU’RE A RICH MAN
Single B-side to “All You Need Is Love” July 1967

WILLIE CAMPBELL: It’s a completely under-rated, brilliant song. It would’ve sat really well on Sgt Pepper. There’s a really nice groove, and it’s got a great opening line- “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?”

LAUREN LAVERNE: I was rocked to sleep by my dad to this tune when I was a baby, and I’m still listening to it today. It’s probably as textural and ambitious as The Beatles ever got, with wind instruments imitating tropical birds at the beginning, crazy Indian bagpipes and things going backwards all the way through. It’s quite funky as well. The lyrics are fairly out-there. I’ve loved this song since watching Yellow Submarine every day when I was a kid. It’s the best bit of the film, the happy ending where flowers grow out of flowers and, eventually, poor Nowhere Man Jeremy comes out atop the fantastical LSD beanstalk and does an arabesque.
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44 SHE LOVES YOU
Single, August 1963

JOE ELLIOT: I listened to The Beatles vis my parents from the age of four or five. I even had my own, plastic, Paul McCartney guitar. I used to stand on this little pouffe thing and thrash about doing “She Loves You”.

JOHN POWER: Sometimes I’ll completely forget about the Beatles only to rediscover how great they really are. Childhood memories- a bunch of 45s. “She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah”, seems very accessible when you’re three or four. The influence The Beatles have had on my music is that they helped me want to make it.

PHIL MANZANERA: It’s a particular period when it was so exciting- the way they looked, everything they stood for, the energy in that song. It just jumped out of the speakers. It summed up a state of mind, an attitude- “Be excited!” The fact they hammed it up- shook their hair and went “Oooh!” The suits, the harmonies, the hooks…I used to watch it on telly and it would take 20 minutes to recover. I’m feeling that now, and I’m 50.

IAN MCNABB: After Sgt Pepper, they were like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, doing their own thing and coming up with great stuff, but there wasn’t really much of a band there. Whereas stuff like “She Loves You” sounded like someone kicking in the doors of the Sixties.

JACKIE LEVEN: I heard this when I was passing a Christian youth club one night. I thought “Fucking hell, what is that?” It still transports me right back there.

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