First off, let me state that I’m not a huge fan of “Revolution” or “Helter Skelter”, so if you’re wondering why they’re omitted that would be why. In some cases, there are also songs that I feel get less attention and are under-rated. I’m sure everybody has their own opinions about what The Beatles’ best rockers so here is mine. If you agree or disagree, feel free to comment away! (In no particular order.)
“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”
The fourth track off The White Album is one of the Beatles’ fiercest rockers. Lennon and Harrison never sounded so riotous. The verses are noisy enough with each guitarist begging to be heard over the other, but it’s the last 30 seconds of the song that hit the hardest. On the surface, the lyrics seem like nonsense, but it one of many songs where Lennon addresses Yoko Ono.
“One After 909”
“One After 909” is one the few Beatles songs in the latter part of their career that captures the energy and sound of their early albums and singles. Of course there’s a reason for that: even though it was released on Let It Be, is actually one of Lennon and McCartney’s first written songs. Harrison gets some amazing breaks, and despite all of the tension that was going on in the group when they recorded it, it’s sound like they’re having a blast.
Anybody who dismisses Paul McCartney’s skills on the bass should really listen to this song. McCartney’s fluid leads drive the song, which was partially inspired by Lennon’s observation of loud bass sounds on a Wilson Pickett record. McCartney also claims to have played the song’s famous opening riff.
The opening guitar riff is one of my favorite Beatles moments. It’s so harsh and forceful. Lennon sounds possessed as he spits out the lyrics against some of Ringo’s most forceful drumming. There’s some nice jamming and a cool solo by Harrison before the song segues into “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window”.
“I Saw Her Standing There”
It begins with a countdown that changed history. “I Saw Her Standing There”, is one of the Beatles’ crowning achievements. It proved early on that Lennon and McCartney could write a song just as good as their rock and roll heroes. No matter how many times you listen to it, it’s impossible not to get caught up their giddiness.
“Anytime At All”
I’ve always thought that Ringo was under-appreciated as a drummer. While his beat here isn’t wholly original in style, his playing here is quite furious and driving. He slams his way in right from the beginning, providing the perfect introduction for Lennon and McCartney’s call and response. Later on the chorus, Starr’s playing matches the pleas of the dueling lead singers.
Does it get any better than having McCartney, Lennon and Harrison all trade guitar solos for the final song of their final album? Didn’t think so.
Another song along the same lines as “Monkey”. The memorable riff cuts right through the speakers, and McCartney gives one of his best bass lines. I also love how the riff is played with different guitars and effects at various times throughout the song and each part sounds entirely different.
“I Feel Fine”
Ahhhh, feedback. This song gets a lot of attention due to the screeching sound on Lennon’s guitar, which is apparently the first recorded use of feedback on record. But what really makes this song stand out for me is the intricate guitar work throughout the entire song and Lennon’s effortlessly melodic vocals.
“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”
Easily one of my favorite Beatles’ songs. Lennon never sounded so desperate and pleading. The fact that there are less than 20 words, and the same guitar riff is repeated over and over for over 3 minutes and the song is still captivating is nothing less than extraordinary. Also, be careful where you listen to this song: the last 3 minutes could make you paranoid depending on the circumstances and location.