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Top 10 Worst Beatles Songs

John Rentoul

beatles 300x219 Top 10 Worst Beatles SongsTalk of dividing the nation. What we need now is more lists.

I noted on Twitter that the New Zealand parliament had broken into song after voting for same-sex marriage. Tom Doran asked what the House of Commons could sing when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is passed. Rich Greenhill offered “All You Need Is Love”, which Tom rejected on the grounds that it is the Beatles’ second-worst song.

I thought that this was a brilliant idea for a list, and suggested “Taxman” as my second-worst Beatles song. “Are you insane?” asked Danny Finkelstein. Tom thought that, although it is “one of the few authentically right-wing pop songs”, it is “redeemed by Macca’s bassline and the intro”. Ian Leslie agreed, so I was outvoted on that one.

Other early nominations were “Octopus’s Garden” (Charlotte Henry) and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (Citizen Sane).

But we were getting ahead of ourselves. If these were the second worst, what was the worst? Again showing my ignorance, I thought it might be “Yellow Submarine”, but Tom put me right: “‘Yellow Submarine’ is good for what it is, a novelty kids’ song.”

No, Tom Doran’s nomination was a song I quite like (not that I like the Beatles, you understand):

The very worst Beatles song is one whose crushing banality and mediocrity are amplified by undeserved acclaim: “Across the Universe.” It’s gone down in pop history as some kind of profound philosophical statement, but is actually just bollocks. Tedious bollocks, more specifically, which is the unforgivable sin.

“Across the Universe” was beamed by Nasa, er, across the universe, in 2008. Ben Stanley agreed: “‘Across the Universe’ is terrible.” But he also loathes “Taxman” – ”GH at his misanthropic worst.”

Still, that simplified things. We were now looking simply for the worst Beatles song. “Run For Your Life” was nominated by William French. Tom agreed: “Even Lennon later disowned it.” I said it had to be songs that people had heard of.

Rich Greenhill offered “Christmas Time”, which even Tom disqualified for obscurity (same goes, he said, for “What’s the New Mary Jane?” and “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”.

Mark Lott offered “‘Honey Pie.’ (But not ‘Wild Honey Pie’, because that’s excellent).” I’m afraid I didn’t know what he was talking about.

Hegemony Jones said: “Everything except ‘Hey Bulldog’, in my eyes.”

Mark Pierce nominated “Revolution 9″.

“Paperback Writer,” anyone?

Now it is your turn. The editor of The Independent on Sunday magazine, The New Review, would like to include a Top 10 as a regular feature. Let me have your nominations for worst Beatles songs, in the comments, or on Twitter #worstbeatlessong. Best nominations and reasons for them might be mentioned in the magazine.

Or if you have suggestions for other Top 10s – I thought of Top 10 Misquotations or Top 10 Works of Public Art – let me have them as well.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/internotional.times Internotional Times

    More interesting would be a ‘Ten Worst Attempts by a Journalist to make hay from the use of the word ‘Beatles’. There are many many contenders over the decades but sadly this article is so bad it wouldn’t even figure in THAT chart.


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