Top 20 Beatles Songs

The Top 20 Beatles songs of all time

The Top 20 Beatles songs as voted by Magic listeners in the search for New Zealand's ultimate Beatles song.
3 July 2023 1:29PM

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Beatles' first two albums, Please Please Me and With the Beatles, we wanted to know.....what is your favourite Beatles song?

With almost 200 songs to choose from, you had plenty of choices. And after a month of your votes, we uncovered New Zealand's ultimate list of Beatles songs.

Here they are below.

20: Eight Days a Week

Written primarily by Paul McCartney, "Eight Days a Week" was released in 1964 as part of the album "Beatles for Sale." The phrase "Eight Days a Week" originated from a chauffeur's remark about their busy schedule during a tour. McCartney and John Lennon crafted the song during a tour in North America. The infectious rhythm and catchy lyrics made it a fan favorite, reaching the top of the charts in both the UK and the US.

19: Lucy in the Sky

Inspired by Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is one of the most iconic songs from the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Though many speculated the song's initials referred to LSD, John Lennon explained that his son Julian's drawing of a classmate named Lucy inspired the title. Lennon collaborated with McCartney to craft this psychedelic masterpiece, showcasing the band's experimentation with new sounds and lyrical themes.

18: Michelle

McCartney's love for French culture influenced the creation of "Michelle." The song's inspiration came during one of McCartney's late-night songwriting sessions, where he was toying with French-sounding phrases. Originally written on a guitar, "Michelle" features a sophisticated melody and heartfelt lyrics. The song earned the band their first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Solo Vocal Performance.

17: All My Loving

Written by Paul McCartney during a tour, "All My Loving" was featured on the album "With the Beatles." McCartney penned the song for his then-girlfriend Jane Asher, and the track became an instant hit. The lyrics express a message of deep affection, while the lively melody showcases the band's signature harmonies.

16: Get Back

"Get Back" was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon-McCartney. The song originated during the recording sessions for the "Let It Be" album, and it was initially intended as a satirical commentary on immigration. The track's original concept focused on a fictional character named Jojo, but it evolved into a straightforward rock song with a catchy chorus. Billy Preston's keyboard skills contributed significantly to the final version of this classic tune.

15: Love Me Do

"Love Me Do" marked the Beatles' debut single in the UK and is a testament to the early days of their career. Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, it showcases their simple yet effective songwriting style. It's interesting to note that the version released features session drummer Andy White, not Ringo Starr, on drums. Despite its humble beginnings, the song's success laid the foundation for the Beatles' unparalleled rise to fame.

14: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" from the "White Album" has a unique story behind its creation. Paul McCartney wrote it based on a phrase coined by a Nigerian conga player named Jimmy Scott. The band spent significant time recording this track, with McCartney pushing for a lively ska rhythm, much to the chagrin of some band members. Eventually, the upbeat and catchy tune was released and has since become a beloved sing-along anthem.

13: Let It Be

"Let It Be" is one of the Beatles' most significant and enduring songs, penned by Paul McCartney. The song's inspiration came from a dream McCartney had about his late mother, Mary, who appeared to him with reassuring words during a period of turmoil for the band. The song's spiritual essence and poignant lyrics resonated with listeners worldwide, making it one of their most beloved ballads.

12: Twist and Shout

"Twist and Shout" was originally recorded by the Isley Brothers, but the Beatles' version became legendary. John Lennon's raw and powerful vocals, recorded in a single take despite his sore throat, turned it into an electrifying rock 'n' roll anthem. This song quickly became a crowd-pleaser during the band's early performances, showcasing their incredible energy and stage presence.

11: A Hard Day's Night

Written specifically for the film of the same name, "A Hard Day's Night" became the title track for both the album and the movie. John Lennon crafted the song after hearing Ringo Starr describe a particularly busy day as a "hard day's night." The track's infectious chord progression and energetic lyrics solidified the Beatles' reputation as the most prominent band of the British Invasion.

10: In My Life

"In My Life," a beautiful composition by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, reflects on their personal experiences and relationships up to that point. Lennon wrote the lyrics, reminiscing about his youth in Liverpool, while McCartney contributed to the melody and arrangement. The result is a touching and introspective ballad, capturing the essence of growing up and cherishing the memories made along the way.

9: Something

George Harrison's songwriting prowess is evident in "Something," regarded as one of his finest compositions. Inspired by his then-wife Pattie Boyd, Harrison's heartfelt lyrics and melodic genius shine through in this classic love song. It's interesting to note that Harrison initially crafted the song on a piano, and it later evolved into the version we know today, with contributions from the entire band.

8: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Another gem from George Harrison, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" stands out for its emotional depth and stunning guitar work. Harrison's introspective lyrics were inspired by a book he randomly picked up, and the song's recording featured an unexpected guest: Eric Clapton. Clapton's guitar solo became a highlight of the track, making it one of the Beatles' most powerful and beloved songs.

7: A Day in the Life

"A Day in the Life" from the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album is a collaborative masterpiece by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The song beautifully weaves together two distinct compositions, representing each songwriter's style. Lennon's introspective verses are juxtaposed with McCartney's cheerful middle section, culminating in a grand orchestral crescendo. The song's controversial lyrics led to it being temporarily banned by the BBC.

6: Penny Lane

"Penny Lane" captures the essence of the Beatles' hometown, Liverpool. Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, the song pays homage to the iconic street where they grew up. Each verse describes specific landmarks and characters, while the instrumental arrangement perfectly complements the nostalgic and charming lyrics.

5: Eleanor Rigby

"Eleanor Rigby" is a departure from the band's usual sound, featuring only Paul McCartney's vocals with string accompaniment. Written primarily by McCartney with contributions from Lennon, the song tells the melancholic tale of loneliness and isolation. The inclusion of classical instruments added depth to the track, showcasing the Beatles' evolving musical experimentation.

4: The Long and Winding Road

"The Long and Winding Road" is one of Paul McCartney's most soulful and emotional compositions. It reflects on the hardships and challenges of life's journey, making it a fitting farewell song for the Beatles. McCartney wrote the song in Scotland, and the final version was produced by Phil Spector, leading to a more lush and orchestrated arrangement.

3: Here Comes the Sun

Written by George Harrison during a period of frustration and tension within the band, "Here Comes the Sun" represents a ray of hope and positivity. The song was born one sunny morning at Eric Clapton's house, where Harrison sought refuge from the band's troubles. Its uplifting melody and lyrics quickly became a fan favorite and have continued to resonate with audiences over the decades.

2: Yesterday

"Yesterday" is a remarkable achievement by Paul McCartney, who composed the entire song in a dream. Initially worried that he had subconsciously plagiarized an existing tune, McCartney famously played it to friends and acquaintances, asking if they had heard it before. Its simplicity and poignant lyrics turned it into one of the most covered songs in history, showcasing the timeless appeal of the Beatles' music.

1: Hey Jude

At the top of the list is "Hey Jude," a monumental anthem written by Paul McCartney to comfort John Lennon's son, Julian, during his parents' divorce. Originally titled "Hey Jules," McCartney later changed it to "Jude" to make the name more universal. The song's extended outro, featuring an uplifting and repetitive refrain, creates an unforgettable and communal experience when played live. "Hey Jude" remains an enduring symbol of unity, hope, and the Beatles' undeniable impact on popular music.

So there you have it, the Top 20 songs by The Beatles as voted by Magic listeners. From catchy rock 'n' roll hits to profound ballads and groundbreaking experiments, each song showcases the band's evolution and lasting influence on the world of music. Decades after their heyday, the Beatles' legacy endures, and their timeless tunes continue to captivate new generations of fans.