11 of the best Beatles songs of all time

Let's celebrate Abbey Road photo by talking all things Beatles-related

By Michelle Ganley - Graham Media Group
Getty Images

Inside the Beatlemania exhibition in Hamburg, Germany (Krafft Angerer/Getty Images).

That photo of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, showing the group crossing the iconic Abbey Road, turns 50 on Thursday.

Can you believe it's been 50 years?

The equally iconic album came out in September of that year, 1969.

That got us thinking about legendary Beatles songs. There are SO many. How do you choose the best ones?

To be honest, there's no fair system and it's almost certain that you're going to leave off someone's favorite. But as longtime Beatles fans, we decided to choose 11 to mention here as among the best of the best.


"A Day in the Life"
There’s a bit of everything in this 5 ½-minute masterpiece off the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album. It's fast, slow, whimsical, upbeat, sad -- everything you can imagine, rolled into one song. Pure magic.
 
"Hey Jude"
If you're looking for a song that makes "A Day in the Life" look short, here we are: "Hey Jude" is more than seven minutes long. In fact, it's one of the longest songs to hit No. 1, according to published reports. McCartney wrote this one for Lennon's son, following his parents' divorce. You know it, you love it, it never gets old.

"Yesterday"
Here's the definition of a true classic. The lyrics are timeless, it's simple and complex all at the same time, and it seems like everyone's trying to cover this song. For good reason!

"In My Life"
This song feels so applicable for all sorts of occasions. Weddings, funerals, you name it. "In My Life" is so touching and wise.

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
It's hard to describe this "White Album" song. The guitar sounds will give you chills, in a good way. It's heavy, but it feels right. Written by Harrison, Eric Clapton even collaborated on this one.

"Come Together"
This first track on "Abbey Road" is guaranteed to put you in a big mood. It's so rock 'n roll -- an all-time favorite.

"A Hard Day’s Night"
Of course, this list comes down to personal preference, and we lean toward the Beatles' later work. But "A Hard Day's Night" is just so upbeat and fun. Editor's note: This was my introduction to the Beatles as a kid. We definitely have some room in our hearts and on this list for this jam.

"Here Comes the Sun"
Put this song on if you’re having a bad day, and we’re willing to bet things will turn around. It's so uplifting, bright and warm. Everyone knows it, and deservedly so.

"Blackbird"
This one’s more than just a pretty tune. It’s actually about racial tension in the U.S. and the Civil Rights Movement, which were hot-button issues at the time, in 1968 -- and still are, really. There's a lot to unpack here, but if you're interested in the background on this song, this blog does a lovely job in providing historical context and background information.

"Taxman"
The Beatles come out strong with opening numbers, don't they? This one kicks off "Revolver" and will get your foot tapping, to say the least.

"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
Here's another early one we thought deserved a spot on our list. Is it even possible to listen to this song without thinking, "Beatlemania has arrived in the United States"?

Some honorable mentions: "Back in the USSR," "Eleanor Rigby," "Two of Us," "Got to Get You Into My Life," "I’m Down," "Glass Onion," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Help!," "Let It Be," "Something," "Helter Skelter."

 

Graham Media Group 2019